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Old August 27, 2012, 01:53 PM   #1
rajbcpa
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Setting up a Hornady L-N-L progressive

I've been reloading on a SS press for years and I recently decided to buy a progressive for all the obvious reasons... Anyway, I spent several hours this weekend setting up the Hornady L-N-L. I knew this would be a challenge but it should be rewarding and hopfully I'll get a few kinks worked out ASAP. I have not used a progressive press before this point in time.

I viewed the L-N-L video from the CD that is included with the kit and followed the directions for mounting the press, die cleaning, powder measure cleaning, setting up the powder measure, using the L-N-L bushings, etc.

1. My biggest issue seems to lie with the primer system.

* The sliding primer shuttle gets stuck in the open position occasionally

* The bent guide post that the primer shuttle rides on occasionally comes out of the pocket at the bottom of the press

* The sliding primer shuttle often refuses to pick up a primer (the white low primer indicator rod is in the primer tube and the primer tube is full).

I researched the issue and found a video on Youtube.com that suggests deburing the primer shuttle assembly, so I attempted this fix and it seems better but I have only run a few cases since this mod.

2. On occasion, cases are getting torn up at the first die - (resizing/decapping) .

Initially, I thought this was an indexing issue but I suspect it is caused by a misalignment between the shellplate and the brass case because none of the other stations are tearing cases. I plan to recheck the case retaining spring to insure it is under the shellplate in Station #1.

Is there anything else that would cause this? My dies are clean and the cases are lightly lubed. The sizing die is carbide. I have removed and replaced the shellplate and it seems OK with nothing under the plate (spilled powder, spent primers, etc.) that would cause this.

3. The Lock-N-Load bushings are tight and I am forced to use vice grips to get the dies in and out of the press.

I lubed the bushings lightly and there is no improvement. I assume it will need some break-in use to free them up a tad.

4. The powder measure throws charges that vary by .4 grains (load is 3.9 grains of Bullseye)

I have cleaned the powder drum, metering insert and powder block twice. I am using the small powder drum. I have thrown only about 100 charges so far. Is Bullseye powder difficult to meter in this powder measure?

How important is the use of a consistent ram pull on powder metering?


THANKS FOR ANY SUGGESTIONS YOU MAY OFFER....
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Old August 27, 2012, 03:14 PM   #2
TheTinMan
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My first recommendation is to call Hornady. Their techs have ALWAYS been really helpful for me.

I got a Hornady LNL just a couple of weeks ago. Been handloading on a single stage for over 3 years.

A mentor warned me to take the press apart and clean EVERYTHING before getting started. Obviously I didn't remove the sub-plate or disassemble the linkages, but I did completely disassemble the priming system, clean it with rubbing alcohol and applied a light coat of REM DriLube to the contact surfaces. There was a warning somewhere about only tightening the screw on the part above the priming shuttle hand-tight or just a touch with an Allen wrench.

If the primer guide (that bent vertical tube) is popping out of the base, then something is catching on the primer slide inhibiting its movement toward the back. That's what the breakaway setup for the primer guide is for.

I can tell you that after about 300 rounds, the lower-front edge of the priming slide on my press was a little chewed up. I stoned off the rough edges and it seems to move more freely.

Another tip I read somewhere is that the priming system on the LNL AP requires rock solid mounting of the press. If the press mount isn't "bolted to the center of the earth", you may continue having problems. This isn't limited to Hornady progressive presses BTW.

If some cases are getting "torn up", it sounds like you are forcing things. When the press feels the slightest bit "wrong" STOP. Figure out what the problem is. I found that sometimes a case didn't get fully captured by the spring so it wasn't in exactly the right place for the sizing die.

Another example of this is that yesterday I was loading swaged Hornady HBWC for .38 Special. These are really accurate bullets but they're also covered with a lot of waxy lube which gets all over everything. No problem on a single stage press, but the gunk made the progressive limp along after a while. I started having problems with the spent primers not dropping completely out of the way. Stopping and reversing the shell plate just a touch usually resulted in hearing the primer and/or anvil drop, allowing me to move forward.

Also, be aware that if you don't push forward enough on the handle to fully seat a primer that will stop the press.

You should never need vise grips to insert or remove the LNL bushings. Something is WRONG there. My single stage press is Hornady too, so I've been using the bushings for several years. How much did you tighten the dies in the first place? When adjusting dies, you should raise the lockring and use your fingers to adjust the die height. Once you're there, tighten the lock ring down with your fingers. You usually do not use a tool to tighten or loosen the LNL bushings AFAIK unless it's just a little bit of snugging up.

I'd look at the bushings - do any of the engagement surfaces look chewed up? I'd definitely ask Hornady about this problem.

Powder Measure: A tip from a mentor is to run powdered graphite through the powder measure after cleaning everything. There's graphite in your smokeless powder as a lubricant anyway, so it won't hurt anything. Just run a bunch through the measure and leave it there. I mean a LOT.

I got really frustrated with my LNL measure a long time ago when I would get the charge just right then discover that after 20 or 30 cases it had drifted up a tenth or two or more. Adding a baffle in the hopper helped. Adding 1/3 of the powder, rapping the measure with a screwdriver 10 or more times, adding another 1/3, rapping some more, finish powder and rap some more pretty much eliminated the problem (except that the first charge in the drum always is high - just toss it). The powder settles and compresses a little as the measure jiggles every time you throw a charge. Even more so on a progressive press with everything happening at once. Now I've got a very small vibrating motor attached to the measure. Turn it on for a minute or two before weighing powder and I'm ready to go. Some guys use a small fish tank pump motor.

Finally, every powder measure is sensitive about how you throw the charge. You need to be consistent to get consistent charges. Yesterday, I experimented and confirmed that my charges where different when running cases through all 5 stations than they had been dropping a charge into a pan by using my hand on the measure. You need to dial the charge weight in while running the press the way you intend to.

BTW it's easier to get charges dialed in by weighing two charges (or 5 or even 10). That way you get an average and have a better idea of how much or how little to adjust the measure. I can tell you that the micrometer insert for the Hornady measure is fantastic. Results are very repeatable and the adjustment increments seem fairly linear (IOW if 13 tics on the micrometer made a 1/10th grain change before, it'll be really close next time too.)

Sorry - I didn't mean to type a book. There are a lot of things going on at once with a progressive press and it's easy to get frustrated when it doesn't work perfectly. I was really aggravated yesterday until I figured out that the bullet lube was the source of most of my difficulties. The clue was that the de-priming and priming had worked fine on my first two batches. That system needs to stay CLEAN to work right. Again, I doubt that's limited to Hornady's system. Oh, and loading powder into a case without a primer (we've all done it) gets powder in places you don't want it like under the shell plate and around the front of the primer slide.
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Old August 27, 2012, 03:50 PM   #3
rajbcpa
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Thanks Tinman. This has been very helpful.

I also spent some more time viewing the Hornady videos again. Hopefully, I can get the kinks out soon.

As you suggest, some of the issues may be a result of the current bench mount and my lack of experience with getting consistent progressive ram pulls. I've ordered the optional steel mount but it has not been received yet.

I'll check the bushings for any chewed up edges.

One of the things that the Hornady video alludes to is the mis-alignment of the primer shuttle guide rod (e.g., the bent rod). I assume this is done from the allen head screw on top of the press. I'll check this per the video.
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Old August 27, 2012, 05:58 PM   #4
PA-Joe
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You did not say what type of ammo you were reloading. If bottle neck/rifle you have to lube the cases before sizing. If pistol check the carbide ring to make certain it does not have a sharp edge. You may alos have to give it a tap to go straight into the die. Are you double tapping to fill the powder measure and to get it all to drop out?
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Old August 27, 2012, 08:08 PM   #5
rajbcpa
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,,,ammo reloads are both 38 acp and 40 S&W.

I received the optional base mount and it has stabalizie the press.

...the bent primer rod that activates the primer shuttle still comes out of the press at the bottom of the press.

I read some reports on the Net of the press chewing up cases in Station #1. Apparently, this is a press manufacturing defect that results from a mis-alignment of Stage #1 only.
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Old August 27, 2012, 11:16 PM   #6
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Received my LnL AP not quiet two months ago. I had been out of loading for nearly 40 years. When I got back in about two years ago I became aware of the Lee Classic Turret and soon purchased one, along with dies, Pro Auto Disk and Safety Prime. Really liked the whole system, however, pulling the lever 400 times for each 100 rounds really got my shoulder to aching.
I started looking at progressives, not for quantity, but for the fact that it takes 105 pulls of the lever to complete 100 rounds.
I set my LnL up for 38 Super. After the normal mishaps (mostly missed primers) things soon smoothed out and I got along fairly well. After a few hundred I changed things out to load 45 ACP. Really had a lot of primer problems. At one point I couldn't get the primers to drop at all. I finally gave up. As I was putting things away I recalled a post about making sure the primer tube housing and the housing body should not be overly tight. I loosened both before I finished up. Yesterday I loaded 100 45's and still missed three primers, but all at the beginning.
When I finished with the 45's yesterday I changed back to the 38 Super. Sat down this afternoon and ran off 200 rounds with nary a mishap. I even managed a fairly confident "feel" for seating the primers. Have to admit that I checked several to see that a primer had been seated, when they didn't feel just right. But it never failed once to load a primer in the shuttle.
To save myself a lot of learning, I transferred my Lee dies to the bushings and set them up again. I also am using my Pro Auto Disk instead of trying to learn a new powder measure. The PAD works just as well as it did on my LCT, which means EXTREMELY consistent. I also added a RCBS Lock-out die after my first 100 rounds.
The first few times I inserted and removed the bushings I had to use pliers, both ways. However, I can now insert and remove with my fingers. The Lee lockrings with the o-rings WILL turn if you try to remove the die and bushing using them.
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Old August 27, 2012, 11:24 PM   #7
TheTinMan
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I use only Hornady or Forster lock rings. Makes loosening to adjust dies much easier.

If you use the RCBS lockout die, make sure it stops the press with either an empty case or a double charge. I was loading light .38 Special loads (3.5 grains of Win 231) and discovered by accident that it did NOT lockup the press on an empty case. I double checked the adjustment and it was by the book. Don't trust it now and am happy I was double checking every case by Mark I eyeball.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:30 AM   #8
rajbcpa
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I called Hornady Customer Service after the press froze and I broke an indexing "pall".

They believe the indexing of the press at the factory was not set correctly.

In addition, they beleive the failure to pick up primers is related to an adjustment of the bent shuttle rod guide which needs to be adjusted so the shuttle pick-up hole is slightly past the center alignment primer pick-up hole at the top of the cycle.

They are forwarding a set of new indexing palls.

Hopefully, I can get this press to run in the next few days. I did not think the initial set-up would involve this much effort and knowledge but I beleive I can get it to run eventually.
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Old August 29, 2012, 10:24 PM   #9
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It sounds like tinman had pretty much the same experience I had. One thing I did that helped the primer feed situation was to mark the pusher rod where there were only one primer left. I crimped an egg shaped fishing sinker to the tube at that point. When the sinker hits the tube I know I'm out. Also, the Dillon primer warning can be mounted to the LNL unit without much fiddling.
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Old August 30, 2012, 02:02 AM   #10
Joker0370
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Quick question, what kind of primers are you using? I found my press uses CCI primers w/o any problems, but when I use any batch of Winchester primers, it seems to jam up at some point. I don't know why, just something I noticed.
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Old August 30, 2012, 03:20 AM   #11
rajbcpa
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I'm using Winchester primers. I will try CCI.

Thx...
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Old August 30, 2012, 09:22 AM   #12
tobnpr
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Good info above. I've had mine for two years now, and about 8K rounds of medium/large cal centerfire ammunution.

No hiccups. Make sure the primer shuttle slide- "female" section- is absolutely clear. A single grain of powder in there will get shoved forward (where you can't even see it) and prevent the slide from traveling fully forward, and cause misalignment where the primer won't seat.

It's EXTREMELY important to have the press on a rock-solid bench. As noted above, powder measures (all of them) meter by volume, not weight. A partially stuck case, that causes you to jerk the press around and vibrate the meter, will cause the powder to settle and increase the charge. Guaranteed...

Large grain extruded powders, like Varget , meter like crap because of their size- they don't compress consistently when dropped into the meter. Small ball powders meter the best...

I will take exception to the above and say that a "consistent" ram pull is irrelevant, IMO.

If you examine the meter, the "new" charge is dropped into the meter when the ram is lowered with the now full case. At that point (unless you vibrate the press), the charge is set. As soon as you index again and begin to bring the next case up, the meter rotates and "closes". It doesn't matter how consistently you operate the ram at that point, the meter is closed and on it's way around to dump into the case.

What you DON'T want to do, is run the ram partially, and then raise it. You may have dumped a partial charge, and by raising the ram again you've completely re-filled the measure.

Anyway, preventing vibration/movement of the press is key to consistent metering.

I'll add that it's very helpful to have metering inserts for each caliber. They're cheap, and save a lot of time when changing calibers because they'll be pre-set for your charge.

Good luck with it. I'm sure when you get the few bugs worked out you'll love the LNL as much as the rest of us.
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Old August 31, 2012, 12:58 AM   #13
MarkDozier
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Quote:
...the bent primer rod that activates the primer shuttle still comes out of the press at the bottom of the press.
You do have have the press setup correctly.
The end of that rod is threaded and there is a nut that screws on the end ot the rod to hold it in place. The nut on the top is used to tighten and hold in place the primer guide rod. Untill you fix that you will continue to have issues.
I know most of the problems with this press so I also suggest you have an extra primer gulde. primer rams. springs for the plate, springs for the other parts. a set of allen wrenches for adjustments, The top piece plastic piece for the primer guide, and anyt other small part I forgot to mention.
Pawls and pawl springs. keep a couple on hand.
Hornady tech support is really good for part replacment but without spares on hand you are down for several days. As an example I broke two springs on one night.
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Old August 31, 2012, 01:00 AM   #14
MarkDozier
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Quote:
...the bent primer rod that activates the primer shuttle still comes out of the press at the bottom of the press.
You do not have the press setup correctly.
The end of that rod is threaded and there is a nut that screws on the end ot the rod to hold it in place. The nut on the top is used to tighten and hold in place the primer guide rod. Untill you fix that you will continue to have issues.

I know most of the problems with this press so I also suggest you have an extra primer gulde. primer rams. springs for the plate, springs for the other parts. a set of allen wrenches for adjustments, The top piece plastic piece for the primer guide, and anyt other small part I forgot to mention.
Hornady tech support is really good for part replacment but without spares on hand you are down for several days. As an example I broke two springs on one night.
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Old August 31, 2012, 09:16 AM   #15
tobnpr
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Quote:
As an example I broke two springs on one night.
I had the spring for the primer shuttle fly off into oblivion not be seen again while changing out the shuttle.

A quick trip down the block to Harbor Freight solved the problem. For a few bucks, a plastic tray with many different sizes, shapes of springs.

Pulled out one that was "close enough"...and it got the job done.

Worthwhile having the "right" spare parts like that long as they don't gouge you five bucks a spring..but I have trays like that of not just springs, but roll pins, nuts and bolts, clamps, cotter pins, "o" rings, washers....

They cost only a few bucks each, and have saved my azz on more than that occasion.
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Old August 31, 2012, 09:47 AM   #16
dickttx
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So far I have found my primer spring everytime, but after the first session with the LnL I e-mailed Hornady and they sent me three more springs, "just in case."
Been wondering if I should do that with the primer feed cam. Has anyone had to replace that?

BTW, my press (#40660) came with a new type base for the primer feed cam. It is spring loaded and just pops up into the tube. Separate instructions for it.
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Old August 31, 2012, 03:09 PM   #17
rajbcpa
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Where do you buy parts for the press? I don't see any being sold on the Hornady web cite.

My bent shuttle rod guide is NOT threaded where it goes into the brass cup on the bottom of the press. On occassion, after about 10 cycles, the shuttle rod does come out of the brass cup at the bottom of the press but I cannot tell why this is ocurring.

thx..
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Old August 31, 2012, 03:52 PM   #18
tobnpr
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dickttx...
Funny you mention that. The roller and pin that goes into the side of the shuttle "disappeared" (my bench is the black hole...) during another change-out. Just fell out of the side of the shuttle.

Fortunately, the roller/pins are intechangeable between the small and large primer shuttles, so I was able to do a quick change-out when I needed to change primer sizes. It turned up a few weeks later...but I agree, they'd be a good thing to have.
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Old August 31, 2012, 07:03 PM   #19
wolfgang78
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i had the same problem with my LNL press (primer slide locking up). look to see if a little bit of powder is getting down there where the little plunger is....sometimes depending on the type of powder and size, the grains jam up the primer plunger. I took mine apart and used a small file to smooth out the edges and always have a can of computer duster on hand when loading. i have been using this press for about 2 yrs now and havent had any other problems. Just keep it clean and lube up all grease fittings. hope this helps
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Old September 1, 2012, 05:43 AM   #20
bkhann
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I have loaded about 35,000 rounds through my L&L and have found that the most critical issue for me is the depriming/repriming steps. Priming can become dicy not only because of issues with the press, but also variations of different cases. Also, sometimes a case will not get primed, and if you try to load it you get powder leaking everywhere; also occasionally, a primer does not get pressed all the way into the case, and you get either a press lockup or a load with a high primer. I deprime-resize/reprime every case as a separate step, then inspect every case.

The solution that has worked well for me is to process all loads in 2 press steps. #1 is deprime/resize....reprime, then al a later time reload the primed cases.

When I reload the primed cases die #1 is a case mouth expander die, #2 is the auto powder drop, #3 is "powder cop" die which makes sure that there is neither a uncharged case or a double charged case, #4 is a bullet seating die and #5 is a factory crimp die. By using specialized dies for each step I get more consistant product. The goal is to produce boring consistant ammo that looks the same and fires the same....every time....no duds,,,,no kabooms!!!!!

This system provides me with consistant high qualty ammo. It might take a little longer, but I schedule my reloading sessions to times when I cand sit and relax and enjoy the process. It is a great thing to do during the winter. As I sit now I have 8000 primed 9mm caes ready to load. This will last me through all of 2013.


Best regards

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Old September 2, 2012, 05:28 AM   #21
rajbcpa
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I failed to receive the new pawl in the mail from Hornady Customer Service, so I removed both pawls from the machine and decided to load a few cases (50) by self-indexing the press.

The primer system seems to be working OK now. The prrimer shuttle system is very sensative to anything getting in the way, especially powder.

From the 50 cases that I loaded using self-indexing, I tore up four cases in Station #1. Staion 1 is the one where I need to use vice grips to remove or install the die into the press with the L-N-L bushing.

The case tears are verticle along the side of the case. The cases are once-fired and lubed. What would cause this?

thx...
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Old September 2, 2012, 09:23 AM   #22
dunerjeff
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Can we some photos of how these cases are being torn? I can't see how the press can be doing anything like that other than crushing them if the case doesn't lineup with the die.
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Old September 3, 2012, 07:00 AM   #23
PA-Joe
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In Station 1 - Did you try using a LNL bushing without a die in it? They should go in easy. You may just have a bad die! Maybe you crossed threads putting in the die into the bushing.
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Old September 4, 2012, 09:45 AM   #24
rajbcpa
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Photo of tourn cases

This is a link to the picture of the torn cases. I took the decaping die apart and cleaned it. It does not apper to be damaged.


http://s1082.photobucket.com/albums/...t=IMG_0617.jpg
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Old September 4, 2012, 07:01 PM   #25
dunerjeff
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It looks like somethinks is catching the edge of the case,Must be not lining up with the die.Is there a radius on the bottom of that die?
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