Sunday, February 17, 2008


Saturday morning arrived, and I was anxious to get the new press off the top of the filing cabinet and mounted. The first problem was where to mount it; I had absolutely no flat surface suitable for such a purpose... nor a basement or spare closet to add a table. One might think I would have solved that particular problem before buying a press, but no.

Finally, inspiration struck. I decided to place a board on top of a counter hutch, and keep it in place with weights instead of clamps. I headed off to the hardware store and purchased a large sheet of 3/4" MDF along with various bolts and a couple of large drill bits, cans of brake cleaner and drylube to prep the components.

Several things I learned in the first few minutes:

- It helps to have someone hold the press while you're putting in the bolts.
- 7/16 Wrenches don't fit on the heads of 7/16 bolts.
- Holes drilled in MDF are much cleaner when the drill speed is fast instead of slow.
- Reading the directions 3 times beats taking the bolts out twice.
- You can indeed use too many washers.

I was a bit worried that the press would be too heavy for the counter-weight i was relying on, but it worked out well. Feeling victorious, I turned my attention to the powder measure assembly.

Hornady ships the parts coated in grease/oil to protect from rust, and the manual instructs the user to clean it off before use. The manual could be a bit more descriptive, but after a couple of minutes the method to disassemble was clear.

- Remove powder measure - check.
- Remove hex bolt #1 from rotor with included wrench - check.
- Remove hex bolt #2... remove hex bolt #2... why won't the damned bolt turn...?

The bolt was stuck. And by stuck, I don't mean difficult to turn. It was stuck to the degree that the wrench was nearly stripping the hex hole without turning. After 20 mins and nearly ripping the skin from my palm, I gave up. It would have to be exchanged for a replacement part. I put the other pieces back in. Hex #1 didn't quite fit in the hole anymore, and in my annoyance i just turned it hard a couple of times and went on about my evening.

This morning, a bit of inspiration struck. I grabbed a small hammer and tapped the bar that hex #2 was holding. It rotated just a bit, and as a result the bolt began turning freely. With amazement and glee, I put the wrench in hex #1 and ... oh, great. Hex #1 had gone in the hole diagonally the night before, and the hole was stripped at the crown and no longer straight. It's now unusable. I need another powder rotor and 2-3 hex screws.

So in the end of all this, ordering a new part is more due to my breaking it that the part being defective from the factory. I'm told Hornady's customer service and warranty is outstanding, so tomorrow at 9am I'll find out how forgiving they are in such matters.


Clay said...

Yeah, I'm looking at getting one of these in the future. You think 9mm is getting expensive? Look at the cost of 100 WWB .45

$30.00 for 100 rounds.

$0.30 a round.

Holy. Crap.

After doing some math it appears that reloading .45 may be much more economical than reloading 9mm. I'm seriously looking at it, but gotta get out of the crappy apartment first and get some more space.

Anonymous said...

That is the best deal going on a press. Not only is it a great piece of equipment, you get 1000 free bullets. If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary like 220 gr .30 cal, That is almost $300 worth of free bullets.

Oh, and while you are ordering from Hornady, go ahead and pick up a couple of extra springs for the shell plate. You will stretch or bend them until you get the hang of setting it up. After that the springs will last you years.