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Old November 23, 2012, 09:01 PM   #1
golfnutrlv
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Hornady Lock and Load AP Press...

Hey all, seriously looking into getting the Hornady LnL AP Press.

Looks like a darn good press, and gets big thumbs up and good reviews all over the place. Looking for thoughts from the community, on what you like about it, don't like about it, etc etc etc.

I have experience on an RCBS Pro2000 that belongs to a friend of mine, but there are a couple things I don't like about it, that I think the Hornady does better. Powder spills for example, better priming system, and few others.

So, weigh in all, and please, don't mention Dillon, as I am pretty set on teh Hornady due to price, standard die compatibility, and the fact it fits my overall needs more appropriately.

Thanks in advance!
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Old November 23, 2012, 11:23 PM   #2
David Wile
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Hey Golfnut,

I bought my L&L AP when they first came out in the summer of 1997, and it is in 100% original condition - no upgrades whatsoever. My machine has worked properly right from the beginning, but I certainly have had to make some mechanical adjustments to do that. I do not use a casefeeder, nor a bullet feeder, nor a powder cop. I don't like the noise of the case feeder, the bullet feeder gets in my way of viewing things, and my powder feeder works just fine without a lockout die. I am perfectly happy to have a finished round completed with each cycle of the handle.

Now having said all those good things about my machine, I would seriously suggest you try to find someone near you with an L&L AP and ask if he would allow you to watch him use his machine and perhaps even use it yourself. Do not rush into buying any machine. Look at all of the brands you are able to see in operation.

Progressive machines are great, but some folks just do not seem to be meant to use them. They require patience and mechanical knowledge to make them work well.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile
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Old November 24, 2012, 06:27 AM   #3
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I've had a love hate relationship with my LNL. I've had to work through a lot of time consuming issues to get it where I can load a couple of hundred rounds without a stoppage.

IMO the press is sound mechanically, the issues could have and should have been avoided with better QC from Hornady.

My press and case feeder is now a year old, maybe the newer one have the issues I experienced worked out.

Good luck.
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Old November 24, 2012, 07:08 AM   #4
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Ive had my LnL AP Progressive with the bullet feeder and case feeder for about 20 months now.

The press works very well however when changing calibers even with separate powder drops it takes a while to reset the powder measure especially going from pistol to rifle or vice versa.

I have seen my friends Dillon XL650 change calibers much quicker due to the separate toolhead and separate powder measures.

On a side note the price difference between the Hornady LnL AP progressive and the Dillon XL650 is less than $50 when you consider that the case feeder for the Dillon is only $220 versus the $320-350 for the Hornady unit.
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Old November 24, 2012, 08:07 AM   #5
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I've had my LnL AP for three years now and about the only thing I've found that has been an annoyance is station #1, the shells often do not line up correctly and they hit the outside of the resizing die. I just raise the ram slowly and if it catches I tweak the shell with my finger and all's well.

I must note, however, that the LnL AP did not run smoothly out of the box. The primer shuttle required some adjustment (not major) to ensure smooth operation, and the pawls which rotate the shellholder needed adjustment. These pawls are VERY touchy, I turned the screws only 1/6 of a turn at a time until it ran smooth. That was three years ago and it hasn't required attention since.
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Old November 24, 2012, 08:17 AM   #6
Crunchy Frog
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I loaded for years on a single stage RCBS Rockchucker. Decided to buy a progressive after I started shooting cowboy action and my ammo consumption rate went up dramatically.

Went with the LNL-AP for some of the reasons you mentioned. I have added a casefeeder but not a bullet feeder (the latter is not for use with lead bullets which is all we use in SASS shooting). I agree with the comment that if you are going to add a casefeeder the overall cost is very close to the Dillon 650 (I know you said not to mention Dillon but since cost was part of the equation I had to say the "D word").

My experience has been pretty positive. This is my only progressive press so I don't have any other product with which to make a comparison.

I followed Hornday's setup instructions to the letter and also took advantage of a couple of tips I got from various sources, such as polishing the primer shuttles with 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper before use, and lubricating the primer shuttle pathway with graphite.

The priming is the feature where a lot of people report problems. Mine was very sensitive to fouling from spilled powder, grit from dirty cases, old priming residue, whatever. My solution was to clean the priming system (especially the primer seater punch) periodically, at first after every couple hundred rounds. Otherwise the grit or sludge would foul the punch and prevent it from fully retracting, which in turn blocked the shuttle from going into battery. After my press broke in a little the priming began working much better.

The time necessary to change calibers varies depending on what parts you buy. For example, the press comes with five bushings and one powder measure lower assembly (the powder measure is case activated and the setup of the lower assembly is determined by case length). For each caliber I load I have dies (of course), LNL bushings for each die, a powder measure lower assembly (this is the big time saver), and a powder measure insert that I have pre-set for my favorite charge in that caliber. I'm pretty sure I can beat a Dillon owner in changing over.

I will concede that if you are changing from rifle to pistol or vice versa that it would take more time to change out the powder measure rotor. If I were doing that with any regularity I might have to spring for a second powder measure.

One reason the LNL-AP was on my "short list" was because it is a five station press. I wanted to add a powder check die as a safety measure. Once I got the press and saw how the case activated powder measure operates I wondered it a powder check die was really necessary but I went ahead and bought one-I chose the RCBS Lockout Die; it does not depend on the operator to react to a problem detected by the die (as with the RCBS Powder Check Die or the similar Hornady Powder Cop). Instead, it stops the press cold if it detects an overcharged or undercharged case. These conditions can and do happen. I recommend the Lockout Die.
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Old November 24, 2012, 11:45 AM   #7
golfnutrlv
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THanks for the comments everyone, keep going. Relating to the cost issue, I won't be purchasing a case feeder right away. Also, the LnL is on sale through the end of the year for $399, which is what got me interested in researching progressives again.
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Old November 24, 2012, 04:48 PM   #8
thump_rrr
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For $399.00 it's a definite buy.
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Old November 24, 2012, 05:06 PM   #9
Huskerguy
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LNL

I purchased mine about 8 months ago. I got real busy and had some family issues to deal with so I could not devote time to setting it up properly. When I did get time I went one step at a time and read everything and cleaned everything just like the instructions state.

At first I was disappointed with the primer feeding. Then I did all of the tricks mentioned on here - powder was one problem and I had to adjust a pawl that was pretty easy. Now it runs like a clock. Just do not expect it to work perfectly right out of the box. It takes some setting up.

A few things I really like are the five stations. I do have a RCBS powder lock out die, an aftermarket case expander (highly recommend) and I went with the precision powder measure inset for weights under 4.0 grains. It throws consistent charges and turns out good and consistent ammo.

I don't find changing calibers to be that big of a deal. Pop our the dies and pop in the new ones, calibrate both the powder die and powder drop/expander and you are set. Going from large to small or the other way does take more time of course.

I also do not have the case feeder. I think you will be happy with it IF you are willing to spend the time to learn it mechanically. Good luck
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Old November 24, 2012, 05:08 PM   #10
Magnum Mike
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Plus the free bullets! http://www.hornady.com/promotions/get-loaded-2012
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Old November 24, 2012, 06:38 PM   #11
golfnutrlv
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Mike,

That is what makes it a better deal!! Too bad they don't let you get 168 gr Match bullets. I feed those to my Garand...

Oh well, guess I will settle for some 9mm's.

To add on a question: Who here likes the RCBS lock out die, versus the Hornady Powder Cop? My first impression is RCBS as it will stop the press if there is a bad charge. (Which is why I have procrastinated getting a progressive.) Thoughts??
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Old November 24, 2012, 07:49 PM   #12
David Wile
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Hey Golfnut,

Do not buy the L&L AP because you get some free bullets. That is a big mistake. Those free bullets will soon be gone, but your press will be there for the rest of your life. If you find out you do not like the press, those free bullets will be long forgotten while you continue to work with something that does not suit you. If you do find the L&L AP is the right press for you, then think of the free bullets as icing on the cake - but do not let the free bullets make your decision for you.

As to Powder Cop and Lockout dies, I simply have no need for them. The same is true for case feeders and bullet feeders. Starting with case and bullet feeders, to my mine, they simply do not add much to the progressive process. When you think about it, the whole idea of producing one finished round with each cycle of the handle, is what really speeds up the whole reloading process. That is truly an amazing accomplishment. Adding case and bullet feeders does not really do anything near as much for progressive throughput. In fact, they add a lot to the set up time as well as more things to give you problems.

Even if it worked flawlessly, you could not give me a case feeder. They make too much noise for me, and they do not speed up my loading cases by hand. I also do not want a bullet feeder. I like placing each bullet in the case mouth just after I visually inspect the case to insure it has powder. I use my case activated powder measure which is very accurate, and I visually inspect the powder level in each case after it is charged and at the same time I am placing a bullet in the case mouth.

All of this means I have no need for a device to see whether or not a case received a powder charge. I use my eyes to see it for myslef.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile
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Old November 24, 2012, 09:39 PM   #13
Crunchy Frog
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For me the free (well not really, you pay shipping) bullets were gravy. I got bullets for buying the press and more for buying Hornady dies. They are sitting on top of my reloading cabinet as we speak.

I agree with the sentiment that a small price difference or free bullets should not be the deciding factor in which press to buy.

With that said, the LNL-AP is a good choice. The best for everyone? No.

You have to make your own decision as to whether a powder check/cop/lockout die is a wise purchase. I recommend it. The first time my RCBS Lockout Die "activated" it was because a .357 case got mixed into the .38 Special cases I was loading. I was sold at that point.

Same thing with casefeeders or bullet feeders. The casefeeder was a relatively pricey addition to the Hornady press but it has improved my productivity.
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Old November 24, 2012, 11:41 PM   #14
golfnutrlv
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Bullets are not the reason I am after this press. They are, as others have mentioned, a bonus.

In looking at the Pro2000, the Dillon, and the Hornady, I think the Hornady has the features and preferences I like. The price and bonus are great too.

Biggest pro's I see to the Hornady is the 1/2 indexing motion, 5 station head, lock and load die system, non-proprietary dies, and price/freebies.
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Old November 25, 2012, 08:46 AM   #15
stev32k
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My LNL AP had to be replaced. When the press arrived the plastic bracket the holds the primer cam rod (that controls the primer slide travel) was broken and the cam rod was bent. I didn't know enough about the press to recognize that the rod was bent and that caused no end of problems and many phone calls to CS. The rod would also move a little which shortened the travel of the primer slide and it would not pick up a primer. Hornady finally sent me a new cam rod and that issue was resolved. By this time I was on a first name basis with all the CS reps.

A minor issue was the grease zerks. The first time I put grease in the machine two of the three zerks came out when I pulled the grease gun fitting off. That was an easy fix after Hornady sent new zerks, but it did not give me a warm fuzzy feeling.

The killer issue was adjustment of the shell holder plate. It would not maintain adjustment. The cases would hit the side of the sizing die or not line up with the primer seating punch or both. I could adjust the pawls so everything lined correctly then 5 or 10 strokes later it would be out of adjustment again. It was very frustrating and time consuming to stop and check or adjust the shell holder plate on every stroke. It also resulted in cases not being primed and powder would spill out and get all over the plate and floor. That meant I had to stop, remove the cases, remove the shell holder plate, clean up the spilled powder, then reinstall the plate and start over. The only way I could load rounds was one case at a time. I had to guide it into the sizing die then remove it after priming to see if a primer had really been seated. CS walked me though the pawl adjustment procedure on the phone twice, but it would not stay adjusted.

Hornady sent me new pawls, pawl springs, and adjusting screws, but none of that helped. Hornady finally sent me a prepaid UPS label and I returned the press. Last week I received notice that they were sending me a new one. It is not here yet, but I'm anxious to see if everything works this time.

The Hornady CS was very good. I had no hassles with anything, and the parts they sent arrived in about 2 days. So I give them good marks on that score.
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Old November 25, 2012, 11:40 AM   #16
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I am also a believer on the powder cop dies. It gets dark down inside those .223 cases. Nothing says you can't use the Mark 1 Mod 0 eyeball as a main and the powder cop die as a backup. I have the extra station, might as well use it.

I have loaded well over 5K rounds through my LnL now, 90% of which were pistol rounds with the only rifle stuff 223 plinking fodder. Like I have posted before had one issue where I let the shell plate loosen and I monkey fisted the lever breaking a connecting piece, Hornady CS was great and now I now I stop at any hint of a bind. Only other problem was the primer seating pin for small primers was a touch high and was preventing a new primer from positioning correctly so I stoned it down flush. Never touched the pawls they are still the same as when it came out of the box.

For me it was a great purchase, can't see where paying several hundred more for the otehr brand would have been worth it. I don't use a case feeder or a bullet feeder. One of the club members has both sitting in a box he would make me a deal on. He did not care for the noise or finickiness he said. Me I figure they would be just too damn noisy, for me reloading should be a relaxing endeavor. I don't want to feel like I am sitting in a factory, just my opinion's here of course.
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Old November 25, 2012, 08:55 PM   #17
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Buy it.
What I like...
It was my first press. Ran it as a single stage until I knew what I was doing- and it's easy to do that.

Cases pop in and out- at any stage- with ease for spot-checks as they're held in place with a unique retainer spring.

Primer system works flawlessly unless I screw up and overcharge a case or allow a grain of powder to get in the primer shuttle.

Ease of changing powder meters. Every cartridge has it's own meter, pre-set to the required charge. Change calibers- change the powder drop meter. Only ten bucks, no reason not to have one for each.

Half-indexing makes for a very smooth press, and allows you to feel the primer seating better.

What I don't like:

Absolutely nothing. Well....OK... the EZ-ject doesn't work well sometimes....
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Old November 26, 2012, 02:00 AM   #18
nyc71
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I have mine over 2 years now, I was having issues with the paw, large priming, and ejecting the finished round. I got so fed up I sent it back to Hornady, now the machine runs as advertise.
Btw with the case feeder & the "improvised" bullet feeder AP reloading is a breeze.
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Old November 26, 2012, 11:12 AM   #19
JimDandy
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I just bought a LNL Ammo Plant, that's the AP Press, with the case feeder, and the bullet feeder. I have not installed the bullet feeder yet. I want to get a feel for the press before I take away another station to see and observe. I had the same issue with the primer ram as mentioned above. Broke the little plastc bracket, and they're mailing me a new one now. I can hand prime. I have a love-hate relationship with that case feeder. The window it works is small. The window it works WELL is even smaller.

When you drill your holes, if you're going to get the case feeder eventually, you end up changing the bracket that goes on the left side of the press with one that goes on the left side and UNDER the whole press. This new bracket has a location you screw the guide/activation rod for the case feeder. Using the holes from the first bracket (which I then had to remove and replace 15 minutes later when I got to the case feeder step and realized I just waited 15 minutes ) the bottom of that rod sits in two nuts. Yeah, and rod with two nuts underneath... and you adjust the travel of the case feeder ram by playing with it's nuts. By now you can probably guess what I call the guy who designed this...

When it works it's a dream. When it mostly works, it's maddening trying to decide if it's worth it to make that last small adjustment.
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Old November 26, 2012, 07:33 PM   #20
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LNL is a good press.....and its comparable in quality to Dillon 650. There are some differences between the 2 companies ...but its hard not to like the LNL ( altough I opted for the 650).

Both LNL - and most Dillon presses use non-proprietary dies...so that's no issue on either press ( the exception is the lower end Dillon SDB) - not their upper end presses ( 550, 650, 1050).

I do suggest you buy the powder cop / powder check die...it gives you an extra sense of security / alerts you to any issue. You can load good rounds without it ...but why not buy it, and use the technology and the press to its fullest potential.

A case feeder will also speed up your process significantly ....although its not about speed / its about quality ...and if you read and understand your manual, have good practices, keep the bench clean and orgainized you should have great results....but why not get a few hundred more rounds per hour - with the case feeder. Whether its the Hornaday or Dillon case feeder - they both work well.
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Old November 27, 2012, 11:19 AM   #21
JimDandy
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The Powder Cop comes with the LNL Ammo Plant by the way. Somehow I go two of the lower dies for the powder thrower as well. Two Rifle inserts, plus the pistol rotor and insert. My LNL Ammo Plant seemed all kinds of funky, but it still had most of the shrink wrap on it, so I assume it hadn't been returned with extras.
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Old November 27, 2012, 08:52 PM   #22
golfnutrlv
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Thanks Everyone for the replies!! My decision is made. I will be purchasing the press tomorrow after work. (I can hardly wait)!!
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Old December 7, 2012, 01:41 AM   #23
golfnutrlv
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Hey everyone, bringing my thread back to life. I have gotten my LnL AP, and just got everything set up tonight, and loaded about 10 rounds.

Maybe this is a dumb question, but how do you get the last primer out of the pickup tube and into the press feed tube without pushing on it with a pointy object? (Not desirable with primers).

Thanks all!
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Old December 7, 2012, 02:35 AM   #24
rajbcpa
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I owned a new LNL for 5 months and I never was able to get it to run. I will never buy another Hornady product again. My advice would be to buy a Dillon 550B.

Free bullets? What good are they if the press won't run?

I thought I was the only one that got a lemon from the factory. Apparently, I'm not the only one.
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Old December 7, 2012, 05:46 AM   #25
hounddawg
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Quote:
Maybe this is a dumb question, but how do you get the last primer out of the pickup tube and into the press feed tube without pushing on it with a pointy object? (Not desirable with primers).
I use that little white fiberglass rod they send to weight down the primers in the primer tube. Also like a previous poster I made a little flag to let me know when I am down to my last 5 primers. I simply loaded 4 primers into the tube then took a piece of orange electrical tape, dropped the white rod down on top and put the tape on the rod. When I see that tape getting near the rod I slow down, when it gets to the tube I know I have 5 more primers

BTW rajbcpa my son in law is looking for a used LnL you interested in selling yours ?
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