Hornady Lock-N-Load Powder Measure
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- Last updated: 10/11/2023
Powder measures that use either fixed or adjustable cavities to measure powder charges are undoubtedly accurate and consistent, plus they are also much faster than weighing each charge on a scale. There are versions of this type of powder measure that come with several fixed cavities, and switching between them is very quick and easy. There are also types that have one adjustable cavity that you can set to the desired powder weight before locking it. These are good, reliable, and consistent systems, but there is an even better way.
The Lock-N-Load Powder Measure has metering inserts, a type of cavity measure that can be adjusted and set to discharge the desired weight. Plus, you can switch to a different metering insert with the push of a button. This means that you have the best features of the two types of cavity-style metering systems.
This powder measure is supplied with one metering insert, and you can buy additional ones to suit your needs. Once fitted, the powder measure can handle charges from 0.5 to 265-grains of powder, although for smaller charges, such as those for pistol calibres, you need to buy a pistol insert and rotor, which are not prohibitively expensive. This measure actually has one of the largest charge ranges available, and it can be used for reloading anything from the smallest of pistol calibres to the largest of the magnum rifle calibres.
The measure can be mounted on the edge of your bench or shelf, using the mounting bracket supplied, or you can purchase a Fast Flow Powder Measure Stand and place it on the bench in a convenient position.
With a metering insert in the measure, and the hopper full of powder, you run several charges through the measure and then weigh a few to confirm the charge weight. To set it to the desired powder charge, you then turn the plunger on the metering insert and keep weighing the powder until you get to the desired weight. One full turn of the plunger changes the weight by approximately 5-grains, and you soon get a feel for how much you need to turn it to make the desired adjustment. The O-ring on the metering insert allows you to keep tension on the plunger, so you can make fine adjustments without the setting slipping. Once you have set your desired charge weight, you can tighten the lock ring to fix the setting.
To swap metering inserts, you simply press the release button on the side of the rotor. Next, slide out the insert and put in the replacement. It locks into place and after a quick check of the weight being discharged, you are ready to go again. Each insert can be labelled with the powder name and the charge weight, and then stored with the appropriate set of dies.
The measure is supplied with two drop tubes suitable for calibres .204 to .45, and using the largest one that fits your case mouth ensures the fastest powder flow. They simply screw into the underside of the measure and can be changed over in seconds.
Tolerances on this very well-engineered measure are tight, with just 0.002” clearance between the drum and the rotor, and the metering inserts have no play in them whatsoever. The instructions recommend that you disassemble, clean, and degrease the main parts of the measure before use, and it should also be kept clean and well-maintained. All parts of the measure are really well made, and they fit together perfectly.
The powder hopper is particularly large for this type of measure, and this design can often result in charge weights changing as the powder level in the hopper drops. This is because the weight of powder pushing down onto the charge cavity drops, resulting in the actual weight of powder being discharged gradually reducing slightly, as you use more powder. To prevent this from happening, Hornady has introduced a metal powder baffle into the bottom of the hopper. This V-shaped baffle effectively ‘holds up’ the bulk of the powder and so stops it from acting as a downward force on the powder cavity. Two small inlet holes in the sides of the baffle allow a controlled and constant flow of powder through, and this ensures a more consistent pressure driving the powder into the measuring cavity. Even after taking the powder hopper from almost full to nearly empty, which is not something that is recommended with some hopper-fed powder measures, there was no ‘creep’ in the discharge weight. This is a useful feature if you do large batches of reloading.
In use, this proved to be an excellent powder measure. Using the step-by-step instructions provided, the initial strip down and re-assembly is easy, and setting a metering insert to the desired weight takes just a few minutes. Once a metering insert is set and locked, it discharges very consistent weights. Having different inserts for different rifles is very handy and with each one labelled with the powder name and charge weight, you can change over from one calibre to another in seconds, knowing that you are going to be discharging the correct weight immediately. Hornady has combined the best features of the different types of cavity-based powder measures with very high-quality engineering, and some clever additional features, to produce a top-quality, reliable, accurate, and consistent powder measure. Although modern plastics can be well-engineered, if you are someone who still prefers an all-metal product, this is the powder measure for you.