View Full Version : My thoughts on my new Hornady L-N-L

12-07-2006, 07:35 AM
I have been reloading since about 1998 on a Hornady Lock and Load single stage (my first press) without any trouble. I did buy a Pro 7 about 5 years ago (from about 1977) that still works well but has began to show her age. I decided to get a new Lock and Load progressive as an upgrade. Though I really have had no trouble from the single stage, since I got into IDPA (and more needed practice) the single stage was really cutting into my free time.
The Lock-N-Load feature on the Hornady presses is really a time savor. Instead of threading the die into the press the die threads into a bushing in the press and once you get the die set like you want it locks it into the bushing (same as if locking it into the press) and with a 1/4 turn the die unlocks from the press (reminds me of the function of the bolt in a bolt action rifle) and removes. So when changing dies, once they are set up it is a matter of unlocking one die and locking in another.
The single stage is fast on depriming and priming as on the upstroke of the ram the case is resized and deprimed as an arm (in the ram) catches a primer from the primer feed tube and the case is primed on the down stroke. The other steps is what lead me to a new progressive.
I received the Progressive last month and have had the chance to get it together and load close to 1000 of .45 ACP with it.
Once it was set up it took a small amount of tweaking to get it up and running (really nothing hard if you follow the manual). It is suggested you clean the press before you begin to remove any packing grease and that is a good idea. Also to clean the insides of the primer tubes help with feeding primers.
The first thing I noticed was the press has 3 grease fittings serving the ram and linkage, pretty foreword thinking of the Hornady engineers if you ask me.
The new progressive also has the Lock-N-Load feature which would really speed up die changes. The case activated powder measure works by the case itself activation the measure (so no spilled powder if no case is present). The Hornady measure seems to meter all sorts of powder consistent. The shell plate is self indexing so double charges are less likely but the indexing is smooth enough not to spill powder as it goes to the next stage. I did add the Hornady Powder Cop die (it has a small ram in the die that contacts the powder charge in the case showing a correct or incorrect charge by volume). As the loaded case passes the last stage it is automatically dropped into a plastic catcher. Changing calibers or primer sizes really is not that bad and everything on the press is fully adjustable so if something does manage to get out of whack it is easily adjusted back in spec. The Hornady line is backed by a lifetime warrantee, that with my past experience with their reloading equipment I felt confident in buying the press. As with my other press I doubt if I will need the warrantee. There is a toll free customer service number so any problems that may arise you can get advice over the phone.
I do plan to add the automatic case feeder in time but I want to get used to the full operation of this press beforehand. I do believe this to be a safe press but as to me mistakes are made faster on a progressive than a single stage so I am taking no chances.
I have been more than pleased with all Hornady products I have used as have several of my shooting buddys that use then as well.
I do not know if I would suggest this or any progressive press as a first press as it took me a little while to grasp the operation. Though I like my Pro 7 there is much advancement of the new progressive in function. My father still uses his old Hornady single stage (going on 20+ years now) I think after he checked out my new press he might want to visit with more often.

12-08-2006, 06:41 PM
Bugger ya Hunter !:-D This is probarly going to cost me but you've got my intrest with the New Press I'm going to have to ring my Gun Guy & get a Quote I feel !:-D


12-08-2006, 08:15 PM
Hornady makes some great tools, no doubt about that. The Loc-n-Load single stage my friend owns that I have used is a real time saver if you have to crank out a lot of rounds in a bunch of different calibers on a single stage, though turrets are also efficient and eliminate case handling between steps, and extra turret heads eliminate screwing dies in and out. I don't know which saves more time, but I prefer my turret as I am used to it. Hornady also has pretty good customer service. (Amusingly, though I have great respect for the quality and durability of Hornady's tooling, I have never been impressed by the accuracy or performance of their bullets. I know saying this is like throwing rocks at a hornet's nest.:mrgreen: ) I also note that Hornady sells Loc-n-Load bushings so you can use the system on other brands of presses with 1.25x12 threads. Good move!

When it comes to progressive presses, I have two opinions.
The first opinion, which I have stated many times for the record, is that reloading should never be taught to a beginner using a progressive press. I am probably preaching to the choir here as most of us have many years of experience, but there are always some newbys who discover us and sign on, so I think it bears repeating. A simple single stage allows a newby to learn slowly and completely about each and every step involved in the process in a safe and orderly manner. I liken it to a teenager with a few months of riding a moped being put behind the wheel of a big Semi. Not a safe idea. While none of the operations involved in running either are difficult in and of themselves, there is a lot of material to learn, and people's lives can depend upon it being learned and performed correctly. It's much wiser to learn it slowly and carefully, one small step at a time. Progressives need at least a year (or more) of loading experience before they can be operated competently, and even then, safe operation calls for a degree of mechanical aptitude to properly oversee their operation that (sadly)many do not possess.
The second opinion is that while all the big names have been introducing and marketing their own versions of progressive presses for many years now, I have yet to see any one of them that is the equal of a Dillon. All of them produce shootable ammo, no question, and most can crank it out at amazing rates, but the combination of quality of both design and construction and one of the best customer service departments in the industry make the choice of a Dillon progessive a no-brainer for me. I was always taught to consider the purchase of any tool to be a long term investment and to buy the best, because it will be cheaper in the long run to own and maintain. Most loaders, even some competitors, can have their needs met by other brands, and that's great, their investment in equipment is less and they get decent ammo, but when a lot of consistant ammo has to be produced on a regular basis, the real high volume loaders all end up running Dillons.
I do not intend for this to be in any way a putdown of Hunter, in fact, I am not only glad that he is happy with his purchase, but I am very appreciative of his taking the time to tell us about it in such a clear and complete manner. You can't get an in-depth look at anything today in any of the gunzines that even approaches the detail of his evaluation. After reading it, I would feel confident about being able to set up and run one myself. As a writer, I can appreciate the skill level involved and the time it took to for him to get it done so well. My motive here is simply to point out that the idustry does have a standard of comparison, and for progressive machines, that standard is set by Dillon. We don't all need to drive Volvos; a Toyota is fine for most of us to get back and forth to work in, and as long as the snow holds off, even a moped will do in a pinch. :-D

12-09-2006, 02:56 AM
What about dies?

When I started reloading my fist pistol set was from Hdy, with the usual pain of getting loose all the time. I then went for LEE and never looked back.

My best friend bought the then new Hdy Titanium Nitride dies in every caliber he could and they all seemed undersized for the calibers, giving a bottle of coke look to the ammo (I reckon that some brands of brass are so thin that it will take that to get neck tension).
With the Dillon dies of the time, well, LEE made a fortune selling separate taper crimp dies... :mrgreen:

Have they changed?


12-09-2006, 03:40 AM
I have had no trouble with my Dillon pistol crimping dies applying a nice taper crimp to my .45acp and 9MM cartridges. Lots still swear by the Lee FCD but I have yet to find a reason to buy one. I understand they work very well.

Take Care


12-09-2006, 08:35 AM
I totally agree about a newbes starting out an a progressive. I started out with a Hornady single stage L-N-L in 1998 and only about 5 years ago (almost 6 now) did I venture to the progressive and because I got a great deal on a Hornady Pro 7 (that I still have and still works great) but the L-N-L was an upgrade. I still load my rifle rounds on my single stage but for range and IDPA the progressive is excellent.
I have had little exposure to Dillon and understand them to make an excellent press as well. What exposure I have had has lead me to favor the Hornady. Where I am Hornady is widely used with the folks I know who reload.
I have always had great luck with Hornady dies as well as RCBS myself.
Thank you versifer for the kind words and sorry Dave to fling a craveing on you for a new press but if it makes you feel any better I bought mine on a spur of the moment and gave it to myself as a birthday present. I had to dip in my Colt 1911 fund to pay for it. Them dang Colt 1911s are an expensive hobby. Oh well I have always felt the "get what you pay for" applies to our fine hobby so you might as well have nice equipment.
Now we need a picture thread for our favorite 1911s.

12-09-2006, 10:46 PM
Hunter, I was going to tell you that they are good alternatives to Colts in the 1911 market but then I saw your signature :D.

Are you looking for a new or used gun?

(maybe you start that new thread and we'll debate about Colts there :))


12-09-2006, 10:52 PM
You are about to get into a discussion with the most stubborn, Colt loving, obstinate, mule headed, beer drinking , taste sippen North Carolinian I know. A personal friend but he is all of the above. Careful what you wish for cause Hunter loves his 1911 copies....ahem I mean Colt's even more than his almost Dillon press.:mrgreen:

Take Care


12-09-2006, 11:15 PM
1911 copies and almost Dillon huh? Bob you ain't right. Thats OK my friend not all of us can be as enlightened as I am.:mrgreen:
kg42 I am Colt poor right now. I just added number 16 to the safe a Gold Cup National Match in Super .38. I will be adding another the first of the year either a original Series 70 Government Model or a 9X23 in Government Model depending. I know there are other quality 1911s but to me there is no option other than Colt.

01-03-2007, 08:35 PM

I hate to tell you this buddy, but the Hornady LnL isn't just the equal of a Dillon, it's better. I owned a Dillon 550 and got rid of it for the LnL. Every time I use it, I see ways it's better - faster, automatic advance, powder handling, die changes, powder measure adjustments, you name it, it's better and it's simpler to setup and adjust.

I've used both of their warranties as well. Hornady's matches Dillons.

If you think Dillon is better, you haven't owned a Hornady LnL.

You'd have to go up to a Dillon 1050 to get a better press. The LnL is a match performance wise with a 650, but loads more powders (without modifications) and is as fast.

All of this for the price of a 550.

Dang, Hornady is amazing they can do that.

Be advised, Dillon has lost their edge and is resting on their laurels.

And this is coming from a former Dillon fanatic. Kinda like watching the Cowboys of "America's Team" fame get beat by the Forty Niners. You hate to see it, but you know it's true.

06-17-2007, 02:43 PM
I rate my L-n-L progressive.

Here's a Lee/Dillon/Hornady comparison


Sigma 40 Blaster
06-18-2007, 05:52 AM
Very interesting comparison, I'm a newb to reloading and the guy at the local shop tried to sell me a Dillon 650. I didn't have that kind of money to invest and went with the lowest price progressive I could find...a Lee Pro 1000 after seeing how relatively simple it was to operate and set up. I'm looking up prices/specs on Hornady equipment right now...I don't need the cream of the crop but would like something a bit sturdier.

I thought you were very kind in your analysis of the lee case feeder (most worthless piece of junk I've ever seen...I can hand-place cases faster than that after fixing all of the misfeeds/jams).

06-18-2007, 03:41 PM
That's a very informative article. Thanks for posting it.
I admit to having mixed feelings about progressives.

I teach reloading, and I insist that my students start with single stage presses to insure that they have a better idea of each operation involved, and then move up when they have done a few thousand rounds and have a better idea of all the operations and a realistic estimate of the volume they are going to be loading. With everything happening at once on a progressive, I think it's too much to expect most newbys to be able to digest all the information presented and safely operate the machine. Many do, and have no real problems, but I prefer to to proceed methodically through each step and make sure it is completely understood before moving on to the next one. I think it makes for safer and more careful loaders. The more testing and working up of loads a person is going to do, the less sense it makes to automate, but when you have to crank out thousands of the same load at a time, a progressive is the only way to go.

I do like Lee priming systems and have been using an AutoPrime2 for the last 20years. Other priming systems are a royal PITA. I wonder if the Lee system can be retrofit on other progressives?

After 35 years of reloading, I finally went from my trusty old Rock Chucker (still in use for FL sizing) to an RCBS Turret press this last winter when my loading volume went above 1000 rounds per month. Why a turret? Most of my loading (80%) these days is cast boolits in rifle cases, and their long cases don't go well in progressives, but the turret effectively tripled my loading speed. I have toyed with the idea of getting a Dillon for handgun rounds, but for the couple thousand of them I load in a year, the volume does not (for me) justify the money for a progressive. If I were into competition, doing a lot of one specific load, I would get one in a minute. I have used Dillons before and liked them a lot. It sounds like the Hornady unit is a really good one, too. But working up loads for new moulds, new powders, or new guns is a slow process anyway, and resetting the powder measure every 10 or 20 or 50 rounds is a lot easier if it's not mounted on a press. The turret is for me a workable compromise that upped my volume without sacrificing the versatility I need.

06-18-2007, 04:58 PM
Read your comment regarding priming systems. The system used on the Dillon 550 couldn't be easier to operate and use. How are they a PITA? Pull handle up case is re-sized. Push handle forward and primer is seated.

Take Care


06-19-2007, 04:34 AM
What I don't like about Dillon's primer system is the lack of feel, but that's the problem I have with all progressives. It is easy to use, but not so easy to fill. I like to seat primers by feel and I like to think that the greater degree of control makes for more consistant ammo. (This may be illusion, I will admit. :) Also, priming as a separate step doesn't save me any time, but I have come to trust it.) When it's time to refill, Lee's AP, AP2, and their progressive version are the fastest and easiest to fill priming tools I have seen and used. RCBS's APS isn't bad, but you still have to fill the strips and that is tedious. I hate filling tubes with primers - I just don't trust them. I have tried just about every kind of priming tool I could lay my hands on over the years, and Lee's AP2 ram unit mounted on their little Reloader press gives the best feel of anything I have tried, equal to the bench mounted one-at-a-time units, and more convenient with its ease of refilling. I am not now a fan of hand priming tools, arthritis in my hands makes them too painful to use, but I started out with a Lee AP tool and liked it a lot way back when. RCBS makes a similar one, and both give you great feel.

06-20-2007, 05:21 AM
Here is a link to my full review published for the m1911.org e-zine.
Opinions please.

06-20-2007, 04:10 PM
That is a well thought out, logical, and factual review. The photography is excellent, too. I enjoyed the three-way comparison, but to go into the same depth with all of them that you did with the Hornady, it would have approached novella length. The grease fittings and the Lock-n-Load bushings are two of the biggest plusses, though as I mentioned, I am not fond of the primer tube system.

06-20-2007, 11:55 PM
The new priming system is much improved over the old one for the L-N-L.
I cannot take credit for the 3 way comparison of the Dillon, Lee, and Hornady I posted the link to earlier in my Hornady thread.
Thank you very much for the kind words, I really do dig my red presses!