Make ammo. Shoot ammo. Repeat.
Arrived yesterday. Actually 2 presses arrived yesterday. However I’ve not loaded any on the RCBS Summit as of yet. This is actually my second go round with a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP. The first one I purchased many years ago had some timing issues that neither I nor Hornady could get worked out to my satisfaction so it was returned. I have been reading that Hornady made some improvements, and I thought I’d give the Lock-N-Load a second chance. Especially since Natchez had it on sale for $399.99.
All of the equipment was packed well, and arrived unscathed. Inventoried each item as it was unpacked. Read the manual TWICE before before proceeding. As expected, Hornady has a very easy to understand manual. Did the standard cleaning of the powder measure and components. Press was mounted to my bench in the typical fashion. I never stand while reloading, therefore all of my presses are mounted directly to the bench, without the usage of any ‘risers’.
After the press was mounted I tackled the case activated power measure. Since this press is going to be loading 9MM, the installation of a PTX (powder through expander) is utilized. Assembled all the ‘cleaned’ parts as per the manual without any issues. The measure functions freely, and is very smooth. I really like the Hornady powder measures. Even more so than the Dillon!
After the powder measure assembly was complete, I thoroughly cleaned the Hornady 9MM dies purchased to use on this press. Beginning with a clean press and dies, is a must. A step that apparently several re-loaders (especially newbies) seem to bypass, and they wonder why they have issues right out of the gate.
The press came setup for large primers and required the components of small primers. Thoroughly inspected all components for any machining defects, and found none. Change over was without issue and straight forward. Installed the #8 shell-plate, and began cycling the press, paying close attention to the primer seating punch as it entered the cutouts in the shell-plate. I did notice that the shell-plate needed to advance just ever so slightly clockwise to insure the primer punch was dead center. Made a 1/8th turn adjustment to the left indexing pawl. That did the trick. The shell-plate cutout is now directly centered over the primer seating punch.
Began the installation of the dies with the Hornady die bushings, and carefully adjusted each die to match the 9MM ammo produced on my Dillon XL650. All of the cartridges loaded on the Dillon have performed exceptionally well. Therefore the closer I can get the ammo produced on the Hornady as compared to the Dillon the better it will be. This procedure took some time, and was successful.
Now on to the powder measure installation. IMO this is where Hornady shines over Dillon, and if you know me well, you know I’m a huge fan of Dillon. Not knocking Dillon in any way, but Hornady does have a better powder measure. Anyhow, after several adjustments, the powder measure is dumping the proper charge of powder. As expected it will dispense charges within + or – .1 grain.
Everything is assembled, and apparently function properly. Total time about 2 hours. Loaded the primer tube with 25 small pistol primers, and began cycling the press, removing the exposed primer at each cycle so to insure the primer system is picking up a new primer on each cycle. It is. The press is cycling very smooth. Even better than I recall with the first go round with a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP.
Filled the primer tube, filled the powder measure, grabbed a handful of spent 9MM cases, and grabbed a handful of 124gr projectiles. Lets see if this thing works as well as either of my Dillon machines. I quickly loaded 50 rounds with ZERO issues. None. I spot checked several powder charges along the way, and they were spot on. All primers seated properly. Cases were properly flared. Bullets seated and taper crimped. COAL was within .0005 of the ammo I produce on the XL650. Happy camper.
Conclusion. Apparently Hornady did make some changes to this press, and those changes have greatly improved this machine. Is this machine as refined as the Dillon XL650? No. I’d say it’s 90% of the Dillon with the powder measure being 110% of the Dillon. With that being said, the Hornady Lock-N-Load is a very good value. Especially when you can catch one on sale and save a few $$$. I do feel the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP is going to be on my bench for many years, and will produce thousands of good quality rounds.
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