Thursday, February 4, 2010


As regular readers know, I reload my ammo on a Hornady LNL-AP press. Though it's quite capable of reloading rifle ammunition, I don't shoot my rifles enough to bother with reloading for those. Perhaps it seems a bit of a cardinal sin to a few, but buying $100 worth of dies and equipment instead of buying 2 boxes/year doesn't seem like a great financial idea to me.

I do load all my own centerfire pistol ammo, of course... both 9mm and 44mag. I use Hornady dies almost exclusively, with the exception of an RCBS powdercop die. I've found that they are of very high quality, and with proper maintenance will keep performing as the day they were new.

The press itself is also very solidly built, and almost perfect in my opinion... solid, smooth action, and predictable behavior. For example, I've never had a primer insert upside-down... nor any other kind of feeding strangeness that I've read with about other presses.

But if there's one thing that the LNL-AP has been not-so-great at, it's been ejecting the finished round. Their ejection wire works fine with larger calibers, but smaller ones (such as 9mm) have a tendency to bind at the last moment, and not eject into the bin. There are several home-made fixes for this; most involve bending the wire itself:

However, it's not a perfect solution. In my case, the modified wire won't work with 44mag - so in addition to changing the shellplates, dies, and primer seating pin, you also have to change the wire.

A few months ago, Hornady finally fixed this problem by modifying their subplates and shellplates. Owners of an "old" LNL-AP can purchase a conversion. Nearly everything I've seen from owners that have the new parts are very enthusiastic about it.

I've been putting it off, as it would require sending my shellplates to Hornady for modification. In the meantime, I'd be unable to reload anything. I'm told the first 2 are done free, so it wouldn't cost me anything but a couple of dollars in shipping. The new EZ-Ject replacement parts are only $30.

I think I may reload some extra boxes this weekend, just in case my press is out of commission for the next 2-3 weeks - but for that price, I think it's time to take advantage of the deal.


FatWhiteMan said...

I've been putting off the conversion as well and I haven't even been reloading lately. I have also been putting off buying a shellplate for 45 Colt since I would have to convert it later or, more likely, not be able to get the one for an un-modified press.

As for rifle, the only rifle cartridge I load on a progressive is .223 and I use an RCBS X-Die for that. The rest of my rifle cartridges are loaded on a single stage.

And yes, you are a sinner in not having dies for your rifles but then I just completed buying dies the end of last year for all of mine. In fact. I still have 4 die sets that have yet to be used.

thorn said...

I'm almost positive that a new-style plate will work in an old-style press. They basically cut a channel on the underside of the plate, and in some cases flare the shell holes a bit.

So if you order a new plate, I think you'd be able to use it before & after your convert your press.

And speaking of which, I really need to call Hornady and order those parts...