Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic Reloading Kit
I have been reloading my own ammo since 1976 and in that time learned a thing or two about the subject. If I had to pick one area that is probably most beneficial to the novice it would have to be a start-up kit. Here you buy the total package, so you are good to go from the box. This is not a new concept as RCBS, Lee Precision etc., have been doing it for years and I have looked at their various kits. Though by no means new this is the first time I have had the chance to test Hornady’s take on the concept.
What makes it a little different is the fact it uses their quick detachable, Lock-N-Load die system. Other companies have followed suit with their own versions but I believe Hornady started this particular ball rolling. This is a boon for a single station reloading press as it saves a surprising amount of time and hassle in changing the dies as we shall see.
What a lot
The Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic Reloading Kit comes with everything you need to turn out good quality ammo and comes with instructions. Check out the list of what is included then we shall go through it in more detail.
Lock-N-Load Classic Single-Stage Press
Lock-N-Load Powder Measure
GS-1500 Electronic Scale (batteries included)
The 7th Edition Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading
Three Lock-N-Load Die Bushings
Positive Priming System™
Hand-Held Priming Tool
Universal Reloading Block
Chamfering and De-burring Tool
Primer Turning Plate
One Shot™ Case Lube
Overall a comprehensive package, though I was initially surprised that Hornady do not offer a balance beam scale. However their GS 1500 electronic proved to be a competent and practical unit.
First a word on Lock-N-Load. Most presses uses the common 7/8x14” TPI thread form as do standard reloading dies and these simply screw into the press head (planten). Lock-N-Load does away with this as it comes with a larger, buttress-type, interrupted screw thread in the planten.
Included in the package are three Lock-N-Load adaptors (bushings) that the dies screw into. So all you do is locate the bushing then screw in and adjust the die and once set lock it in position by the lock ring. Now the die enters and leaves with one simple twist, as opposed to having to screw that long thread out. With a single station machine this does make it much more user-friendly, especially on short production runs.
The press is Hornady’s 00-7, single station model. In their familiar, red livery and made of hi-strength aluminium alloy, it’s an O-frame design with an off set aperture that makes for easier access to the ram/shell holder. It uses a compound leverage system via twin steel rods either side of the ram. The operating handle sits to the right and is long with a plastic ball end. The bench mounting plate is wide and deep and has two screw holes. It’s big and tough enough to handle any calibre too.
Included are a spent primer catcher and basic priming arm with large and small primer adaptors. After market Hornady also offers an Auto Primer Feed that fits to the press, which is another good way of speeding up production. Also in this package is their ‘off-press’, Hand Held Priming Tool, which uses a 100 drum feed for all sizes. This gives a lot more feel to the job and I find it better than doing it ‘on-press’.
Next we have the Powder Measure. The heart of it is a rotary drum with an operating handle on the side, inside is an adjustable volume chamber, which screws up/down to vary the charge weight. This is set up in conjunction with the scale and you change the volume until the desired weight is thrown. Depending on how you load, it can be set-up with a Lock-N-Load bushing, though there’s also a bench/press mounting plate too. The hopper is clear plastic with a rubber lid and will hold around 1lb of powder and like all of this type of design it’s plenty accurate enough in terms of consistency.
Personally I am not keen on electronic scales, but the GS-1500 is a neat little design that won me over. Measuring 5x3” it opens up to show a wide weighing platform and digital read out, instructions are printed inside the lid. It will weigh up to 1500-grains and can be set for oz, grams, grains. It also has a Tare function, which allows you to zero with the powder pan on the platform, so you can throw and check charges accurately. It runs on 2 x AAA batteries (included) and comes with a plastic pan and 100-gram check weight.
Hornady have also not forgotten about the finer points of the job as they include useful accessories like a cartridge block, this holds 50 cases and is reversible to suit most calibres. The powder trickler is another essential if you want 100% accurate charges, as you throw just below target weight with the measure then top up on scale as the trickler will drop in individual kernels of powder. Likewise the powder funnel, which will allow easy pouring of the charge into the case.
The case de-burring tool will clean up the inside and outside of the neck and also the primer pocket too. The One-Shot Case lube is essential as it stops your brass getting stuck in the resize/de-cap die, but don’t use too much or it will dent the case. The primer flipper tray means less contact and possible contamination of this, the reloader’s spark plug. Finally their 7th Edition Reloading Handbook. This last is most useful as it explains the whole reloading process from start to finish as to adjusting dies, seating, priming, crimping etc, plus contains hundreds of loads for all commercial calibres and a lot of other information besides.
Worth the effort
Overall the Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic Reloading kit is a comprehensive set-up that lacks for nothing for the novice or more expierenced reloader alike. Items like the powder measure can be up-graded with a micrometer spindle for added precision and return to weight settings. The press will accept the Auto Primer Feed, which runs on a 100-round tube that deposits the primer onto the seating arm as it is pushed back by the ram. The GS-1500 scale will also be of great use if you are load developing on the range, as it offers a compact and accurate way of weighing precise charges in conjunction with the powder trickler.
Lock-N-Load speaks for itself and is the perfect solution for fast die changes with no need to re-adjust on a single station machine. Plus spare bushing packs are readily available, so you can set up all your dies in this manner. All you have to do is find a place to bolt the press and select your dies and shell holder and you can start rolling your own…
I’d suggest that you visit Hornady’s website as they have masses of dies, presses and reloading tools and accessories, which you can upgrade to as you get better at the process.
A comprehensive package
Excellent start point for the novice
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