In my last post, I included a video covering some of the basic features of the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP progressive 5-station reloading press. In this post, I’ll finish the overview of this reloading press with another video covering the case feed system, and demonstrating the press in operation.
I wanted to mention again that I’m publishing a full review of the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP in Northwest Gun Magazine Issue #1, so if you are interested in more information about this press, you’ll want to check out the article for sure.
Well, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be publishing a full review of the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP in Northwest Gun Magazine Issue #1! I decided that since the last overview video I shot for the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP was uploaded over 4 years ago, it was time for a refresh! In this two part series you’ll get a more in-depth look at the construction and features of the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP 5-station progressive reloading press.
If you are in the market for a reloading press, and are considering the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP, this video series will be helpful for making your decision. I’ll also note that I’ll be covering each of the 4 popular 5-Station progressive reloaders in the first 4 issues of Northwest Gun Magazine, so watch here for more updated overview videos!
In my Last Post, I covered loading 308 Winchester for the AR-308 rifle on the RCBS Pro-2000 5 station progressive reloading press. I also showed the RCBS Rifle Bullet Feed kit in action. This time, we’ll use the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP reloading press (also a 5-station progressive press), but this time with a case feeder rather than a bullet feeder.
The Hornady Lock-N-Load AP 5-station reloading press setup to load 308 Winchester - Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader
I have reloaded quite a few rifle calibers on progressive reloading presses, including .223/5.56, 30-06, 22-250, and 308 Winchester. One of the difficulties that you can encounter when performing this type of loading is jerky handle movement and perceived “stickiness” when sizing the brass. This happens on the up-stroke (when you size the outside), and on the down-stroke (when the expander ball is pulled through the case mouth). For the AR-308 project, I’ve pre-sized all of the brass as a part of the case prep process. Because of this, we don’t need to use a sizing die at all. This translates to a silky smooth action as we crank out the ammo. This really makes me think that this is the way for me to go – pre-sizing and prepping, and then performing additional/final steps on the progressive press.
Man your stations!
One of the luxuries of a 5-station progressive reloading press is that you have a lot of flexibility regarding how to perform the loading process. On the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP, you have the added benefit of super-quick die swap-out in case you want to dump the powder measure, switch out dies, add dies (like the powder cop) and so-on and so-forth. Here’s a breakdown of the stations utilized for this loading session:
Empty (could put a sizing/decapping die here)
Close-up of the Redding 308 Winchester crimp die in Lock-N-Load bushing - Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader
The Hornady case feeder for the Lock-N-Load AP will make our reloading a much quicker process since we only need to handle bullets for each stroke of the handle. This means our right hand can stay on the handle, which speeds things up considerably. Let’s take a look at the reloading process for 308 Winchester on the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP. A word of caution- you’re about to witness ammunition reloading at an alarmingly quick pace – and with the setup we’ve chosen, we will also have great consistency due to the design of the powder measure, and the sliding collar seating die.
It is quite rewarding to see completed bottleneck rifle cartridges tipping and falling into the completed cartridge bin – more like a tree falling compared to a smaller pistol cartridge flying into the bin. Once we start loading ammunition, it’s time to check everything for consistency. Measuring variation in cartridge overall length (COL), bullet concentricity, and primer seating depth are all important things to keep an eye on.
Properly seated primer - ~ .003-.006" below the surface of the base of the case rim - Image copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader
Here we see a properly seated primer- you can feel that it is seated below the surface of the back of the case rim, and when “stood up” on a table, the cartridge should not wobble, it should stand up straight and not rock back and forth at all. We can also see in this diagram the nice chamfer around the primer pocket. It’s rewarding to take the time to do the job right. This attention to detail will also mean our ammunition is more accurate, safer to shoot, and more reliable as well. That’s what I’m after!
Continuing with our coverage of high-volume loading of .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO ammunition for the AR-MPR project, this time we’ll look at using the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP to load for the AR-15. In this video, I’ll show loading in full progressive mode with the use of the Hornady Lock-N-Load Case Feeder system as well. Finally, we’ll use the Hornady Concentricity Tool to measure bullet run-out.
Phase III of the AR-MPR AR-15 rifle project is really all about “precision mass production” of the ammunition that we’re developing in Phase II (precision single stage loading). There are a couple key things that we’ll explore: first, we’ll look at progressive reloading of .223 / 5.56 ammunition. We’ll also extend our production rates by adding the RCBS rifle bullet feed kit. This is going to make for some very efficient reloading sessions! It will be interesting to compare the characteristics of the progressive loaded ammunition against the single stage loaded ammunition.
What's included with the RCBS Rifle Bullet Feed system (.22 cal shown) - Click for larger image - Images Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader
So I thought it would be cool to show you all a sneak peek of the RCBS rifle bullet feed system that we’ll be using. I’m new to this piece of equipment, so I’m looking forward (as always) to setting it up, experimenting with it, and seeing how it works on progressive reloading presses. Should be a lot of fun!
Meanwhile, I’ll be posting range reports for Phase II (videos are done) that will track my progress towards “consistent 5-shot .5-.75 MOA” groups. The last couple trips to the range have been a bit challenging, and I just now discovered that I had some serious foaming bore solvent crud build-up on my muzzle crown (under the muzzle brake). Ah-ha! I’m hoping that will get me back to the kind of consistency that I was seeing at the first range trip (right before I used foaming bore solvent – not a good idea on gas guns- now I know why ).
So stay tuned here on Ultimate Reloader- we’re going to be exploring some cool equipment scenarios, and I have another upcoming project to share that will be a lot of fun as well!
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