THE Progressive Press Shootout (12 presses compared)

Hornady Lock-n-Load AP 5-Station

The Hornady Lock-N-Load AP is a 5-station progressive reloading press with many unique features and construction details, and a very modest price given what is included with the press.

Here’s the overview video for the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP published on Ultimate Reloader:

What’s In the Box

Here’s what’s included with the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP:

Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Press Parts Labeled

In the picture you see:

  1. Owner’s manuals (one for press, one for powder measure)
  2. Tools (the three Allen keys you’ll need to assemble and use the press)
  3. Spare parts: Primer positioning bar upper bracket, indexing pawl, case retention springs (2)
  4. Handle
  5. Lock-N-Load bushings (5)
  6. Priming system parts: Small primer slider and punch (large primer slider and punch are assembled on press), primer weighted rod, small and large drop tubes, small and large pickup tubes
  7. Completed cartridge bin
  8. Completed cartridge bin bracket
  9. Powder measure (case activated, setup for rifle), drop funnels, powder die, PTX flare adjustment bracket, return spring, baffle, pistol rotor and metering insert
  10. Press assembly
  11. Spent primer tube and case retention spring

Hornady Lock-n-Load AP Features and Specs

Hornady Lock-n-Load AP Die Stations Example (Pistol)

Typical Pistol Setup:

  1. Size, De-Prime
  2. Prime (bottom of stroke), Expander (top of stroke)
  3. Powder Charge
  4. Bullet Seat
  5. Bullet Crimp

Like with most other presses, there are a LOT of different possibilities for how to setup dies on the Lock-N-Load AP!

Hornady Lock-n-Load AP Total Cost of Ownership


Hornady Lock-n-Load AP Summary

What it’s for:

Pistol and Rifle Loading, frequent caliber changes. Versatile reloading up to 30-06 cartridge overall length.

What it’s not for:

Commercial reloading.


  • Value and features, cost
  • Lock-N-Load bushing system
  • Unique indexing system
  • Awesome powder measure
  • Priming system
  • Standard-equipment list


  • Case feeder noise and feed issues
  • Some parts corrosion prone
  • Flimsy cartridge bin bracket

Lock-n-Load AP Stories on Ultimate Reloader

Here are a few of the many stories on Ultimate Reloader covering the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP:

Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Unboxing, Overview, and Setup

TESTED: Hornady Sub-X 190gr 300 Blackout (featuring the Lock-N-Load AP)

Hornady Lock-N-Load AP: Overview Part I

Hornady Lock-N-Load AP: Overview Part II


Hornady Lock-N-Load AP
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RCBS Pro Chucker 7
Mark 7 APEX 10
Dillon Square Deal B
Dillon RL-550C
Dillon XL-750
Dillon RL 1100
Frankford Arsenal X-10
LEE Pro 1000
LEE Breech Lock Auto Pro (Pro 4000)
LEE Loadmaster
Total Cost of Ownership Recap
Inline Fabrication Mounts
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8 thoughts on “THE Progressive Press Shootout (12 presses compared)”

  1. I am sort of disappointed that their is no single press that fits my needs.
    A) I reload 30-06 – not all accommodate
    B) I reload 300 Winchester Magnum – not all accommodate
    C) I reload tons of 9mm, 45 ACP, 223/5.56, 308 – high speed progressive needed
    D) Hornady Lock-N-Load AP and RCBS Pro Chucker 7 fit for A) and B) but not C)
    E) Only Mark 7 APEX 10 fits C) but NOT A) or B)
    F) Swaging is important but is very stressful on progressive presses, thus I swage on a single stage Rock Chucker which is about 40 years old.

    1. I have an rcbs pro 2000. I use it for 7.62×54 and 303brit or 7.7×56 if not u.s.. I’m fairly certain that I could do 3006 on it although I haven’t tried. It has good beef for sizing these cases. I like it but the cost to me was just a few shell plates so I may be jaded. Also used it for 7.5×55 308 and 6.5x53r dutch

    2. John, there is no hard definition for “C” but a 1050 will do what you are asking up to 30-06 in my experience. I would ask the OEM what they say about 300 WM in terms of case and bullet feed.

  2. A couple of things I wish you would have added the warranty for each press (you mention it in general but not specific for each press) for i.e. DIllon on there lower end press lifetime warranty and the 1100 one year warranty (unless they change it). Also where they are made (you mention it on a few of them but not all of them).

  3. When I got my L-N-L AP I avoided Big Blue because their powder measure was said to be less accurate than drum types, primer safety concerns and I didn’t want to hand over my wallet and tell them to take whatever it cost. It was said, Team Red lacking floating die head had to be precision manufactured and produced precision ammo as a result. Now I have a reloader that requires some ongoing tinkering compared to Big Blue which was said to run on rails and the Red Team gets no respect.

    My L-N-L AP has sat for awhile but when I had contacted Hornady CS in the past I sometimes got someone interested in helping me solve my problem and sometimes got someone who treated like I was looking for a problem and since they were not overcharging for a BS Warranty, we’re not interested in any fixes that might cost them.

    Now I’m older and retired, shocked at component prices more than doubling with things like primers near impossible to get or the ideal powder choice unavailable, Im thinking I like precision loading on my single stage Co-Ax. Anyway who is buying these mega ammo plants when you can’t keep them fed or afford to keep them feed ?

  4. Thanks Gavin, I have been looking to get a new progressive press to replace a destroyed RL550b
    May go with the RL550c as I never had an issue with the RL550b ever
    But that XL 750 has me thinking…

  5. I run both a Dillon 550 B with case feeder and a Lee Loadmaster. No question the Dillon is a better press, but you get what you pay for.
    The Loadmaster can be fiddly. You need to be the kind of person who loves to tinker and make things work in order to be happy with the L/M in my opinion.
    I load .44 mag and .44 Special on the L/M
    All other pistol calibers-9mm, 38/357, 45 ACP and .45 Colt on the Dillon.
    I like the case feeder on the Dillon because it allows me to concentrate on the powder drop and bullet seating stations. It also can be a p.i.a. at times, especially with .45 acp cases not wanting to center on the decapping station, but like other Dillon products it is well made and backed by solid customer support.
    Now Gavin. Time for a shotshell reloading press shootout.

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