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.
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)
- Powder measure
- Powder cop
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.
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!