Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Lock - n - Load Report #1: The Unboxing

So last week, I ordered a new Hornady Lock-n-Load AP progressive press; choosing it over the Dillon XL650 I was planning on buying; because a sale combined with a rebate made the press effectively cost less than 1/2 the cost of the 650 even after all the accessories etc... were factored in (and less than 1/3 the cost beforehand).

Along with the press, I ordered a 10mm, and a .45acp shell plate, and a 10 pack of spare Lock-n-Load (henceforth LnL) bushings.

Well, it arrived today; and I thought I'd show you the unboxing and assembly.

Here's the box as it came from Mid-South... rather more compact than I expected actually:

And the opening:

The hardware pack, and the shell plates I ordered:

The first look at the press:

Mid-South checks each press individually before shipping to make sure each part is there; and they did so here, also packing the shell plates and spare bushings I ordered in the box with the press.

This is great because it saves on shipping, but there was an unintended side effect; the bushings broke loose of their packaging, and there was a bit of breakage. In this case a broken plastic brace:

and a warped and cracked bushing:

Thankfully the bracket is no big deal; and I've got 14 more of the bushings waiting. I did however call Hornady immediately, 'pon which they said they'd send out the broken bits right away; even though I hadn't filled in my warranty card or anything yet (having of course just unboxed the thing).

So here's what the whole assemblage looks like:

At first it may seem complicated, but actually it's quite simple and logical. The press itself is almost entirely put together; you just need to mount it, and assemble the powder measure; then load up the right primers and off you go.

Here's a closeup of the toolhead, and base plate:


You'll note the casting is a bit rough... I guess that HUGE discount over the Dillons had to come out of the product somewhere (Mike Dillon would never let such a casting with so many small voids leave his shop); but the press is certainly properly functioning, and I'm not really concerned about compromising the strength of the thing... besides it's got a lifetime warranty.

One thing that DID concern me: Note the mounting holes... there's only the two of them, one on this, and one on the other side; and theyre on a shallow mounting plate (2-1/4") which worries me somewhat. I had to slightly notch the front rail of my bench to bolt it down... and I think the degree of cantilever out from the benchtop is a bit worrying without some kid of bolt down in the rear of the press. I can very easily shake the whole bench, even with hundreds of pounds of stuff in it;and thats gong to het worse with the casefeeder attached. I'd really prefer it if there were at least a rear mounting hole for additional stability; as it is I'm worried about torquing the benchtp enough to break it.

If my concerns amount to something in operation, I'll reinforce the bench top, and add a leg to the bench directly under the press. That ought to be more than strong enough.

Here it is mounted:

and here it is with all the acoutrements attached, and me cycling some brass through for testing:

Honestly, having assembled a Dillon before I thought this would be more complicated; but I figured out and installed on my own, without having to do more than a basic scan of the instructions (just in case), in about a half hour of actual work time (welll... once I cleaned off the benchtop, got the stupid holes drilled and notched, and the sawdust cleaned up... that took a while).

Next step is making ammo; in the mean time, here's the very first round I loaded on this press; a Berrys plated 185gr SWC with 6.7gr of bullseye behind it loaded to 1.27" (simulates the ballistics and feeding characteristics of a 185gr XTP hollowpoint for half the bullet price):

The next report will be on making ammo with the press; and about the accessories and add ons coming for next paycheck.