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Hornady Lock-N-Load AP vs Lee Load Master

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Jon Eulette
PhotoEscape
glenntd
zanemoseley
Lane579
farmboy
RoyDean
BE Mike
mspingeld
WesG
dannyd93140
tovaert
Wobbley
lanjo
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Post by lanjo 9/5/2021, 8:02 am

Hi All,

I am going to get a progressive press for 45 ACP and 38 Spcl.  Just to load for Bullseye. These 2 are in my price range, and will provide the modest volume that I would need for my level of shooting.  Does anyone have experience with the 2?  Should I get one over the other?  The Hornady press seems to get better reviews.  It seem that either people love the Loadmaster (5 star) or hate it (1 star). 

I have a Lee Classic Iron press for rifle.  It works great and have a Lee mounting system on my bench.  So the Lee Loadmaster would mount nicely, allowing me to exchange quickly.  But I don't want a lemon, and if the Lee press is a nightmare, I would not get it and find a way to mount the Hornady.

Best,

Joe


Last edited by lanjo on 9/5/2021, 9:25 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Wobbley 9/5/2021, 8:43 am

I have 2 Hornadys.  Like every progressive system they have their quirks.  They all will produce lots of good quality ammo.   Of the two the Hornady is preferred by me.

And don’t let the “Blue” fanboys sway you.  The Hornady is very good bang for the buck and ,IMO, a better engineered design than the 750 and 550.
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Post by tovaert 9/5/2021, 9:31 am

I have a load master set up for .45 9mm and .223. I bought the aftermarket turrets. I had adjust the clock angle slightly, but that's easy. I only use the auto drum powder dispenser, not the auto disk. The primer feeds are a little finicky but they work if you keep the drop chute portion full at all times. I put a Lee factory crimp die on the priming station to keep the case centered. Like many others, it needs to be on a very solid (heavy) bench.

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Post by lanjo 9/5/2021, 9:56 am

I think the Dillion presses are really nice but I don't want to spend that much.  I don't need the volume they can produce either.  For me, and my usage, the Hornady or the Lee would be the appropriate option.

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Post by dannyd93140 9/5/2021, 11:12 am

Hornady LNL’s are good presses; just remember there is a learning curve. Loaded 95,025 rounds on two of them and they work just fine as long as you take your time setting them up.  They do hold up better than Lee progressive presses owned those too.
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Post by WesG 9/5/2021, 11:27 am

There's a pretty good comparison someone put together online, a pdf.

My take was I didnt want a square deal, proprietary dies, caliber change looks like enough hassle to buy a second press. Thats what a friend did. 550 is manual index, I didn't want that. 650 and up 'requires' a case feeder since the infeed location is back right.

I got the LNL. Case feed and seating die at the left, keeps my right hand on the handle. Buy the light kit from Inline !!

Case length difference between 38 and 45 will require adjusting the powder measure for full travel. Some mods can fix that ... got a lathe?

A lot of people,  it seems, buy an extra measure.

I haven't yet started priming at the press, so no experience, or issues, with switching over lg to sm.

A first pass at the powder measure activation. Untested, until I can make another 2 day drive  ...

L-R, 9mm, 38 Sp, 40 SW, 45 ACP. Length adjusted for the 45 to 'match' the LNL adapter I was using. The rest adjusted for full travel of the measure at top of stroke. Likely I'll never load 40 on it, but the lathe was set up ... May turn out the holes are too small for good powder flow. Need to polish them a bit still.

I also made a sleeve for the PE SS expander die to give me micrometer adjustment so I can swap calibers there as well.

Hornady Lock-N-Load AP vs Lee Load Master 20210910

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Post by dannyd93140 9/5/2021, 12:47 pm

Get a KMS light, better than inline light (I have both).   Have seven powder measures, definitely don’t need that many just collected over the years.   I came to the LNL from a 550 and SDB, did it because of the easy die change system? I cast 12 different 38/357 bullets and only have to change the seater die.
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Post by mspingeld 9/5/2021, 1:06 pm

Comparison: http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillonLeeHornadyComparison.pdf

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Post by BE Mike 9/6/2021, 7:36 am

lanjo wrote:Hi All,

I am going to get a progressive press for 45 ACP and 38 Spcl.  Just to load for Bullseye. These 2 are in my price range, and will provide the modest volume that I would need for my level of shooting.  Does anyone have experience with the 2?  Should I get one over the other?  The Hornady press seems to get better reviews.  It seem that either people love the Loadmaster (5 star) or hate it (1 star). 

I have a Lee Classic Iron press for rifle.  It works great and have a Lee mounting system on my bench.  So the Lee Loadmaster would mount nicely, allowing me to exchange quickly.  But I don't want a lemon, and if the Lee press is a nightmare, I would not get it and find a way to mount the Hornady.

Best,

Joe
Important considerations for me would be extra hole for powder check die, aftermarket parts availability, service and warranty. With primers and powder being so scarce for so long, I see a lot of used equipment for sale (mostly Dillon). I bought a used Dillon 650 and it was missing a few small parts and some of the parts had been upgraded. Dillon came to the rescue without charge!
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Post by RoyDean 9/6/2021, 7:59 am

I like some of the Lee products. I have their Ammo Processing Plant - excellent for speedily processing brass. And one of their little single stage presses which I keep for those odd jobs (originally bought for "bumping" Fiocchi 32ACP ammo to the correct length for a Pardini). 

Lee is good value for money and works OK, but I found that their progressive press took too much fiddling. Those who have perfected them all recommend that you keep a stock of the plastic parts on hand as they wear and break easily - fortunately those parts are quite inexpensive. I could not get on with it and decided to move on to a Dillon XL650 (which subsequently had problems - but Dillon did supply a replacement major part FOC).

I was tempted by the LNL, but it is clear that Dillon is the dominant brand and most owners swear by them. Currently it is possible to find a new/good 650 with case feeder and conversion kit, etc., for about $1,000 (indeed I have two for sale - long story! - but set up for 9mm).

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Post by farmboy 9/6/2021, 9:13 am

I have both presses.  I prefer the Hornady  LNL  but if all I had was the Load Master I could still get the job done.
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Post by Lane579 9/6/2021, 6:20 pm

I have a Hornady and really like it. The bushing system for your dies makes for handy and quick caliber changes. Never had any problems.

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Post by zanemoseley 9/6/2021, 7:23 pm

I've got 2 LNL's, they're awesome presses wirh a couple tweaks. A bit of blue loctite will take care of half of it.

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Post by glenntd 9/6/2021, 7:28 pm

Back when they first came out . I purchased a Lee load Master.  It is one POS. Light duty progressive loader and many of the parts are machined to loose tolerances. The primer feeder always has had issues and what you save up front you will spend in parts. Do not waste your money. Then I purchase a used Dillon 550B I was so impressed I bought a second one. I never looked back. When every I need reloading equipment I look at the Dillon or the RCBS line as they back up what they sell.

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Post by dannyd93140 9/6/2021, 7:36 pm

Hornady will take care of you just like Dillion or RCBS.  Been using all their customers services for over 30 years never had a problem.
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Post by PhotoEscape 9/6/2021, 7:54 pm

I'll chime in with thoughts that might be off the beaten track.  The most valuable commodity for me, and one that is not replenish-able, is the time.  With that LNL/AP is out of consideration in concept, because I have no time nor patience to change one die at the time, even with quick change options Hornady offers.  I have four tool heads for loading various loads for 45 ACP alone for Dillon 650/750 platform, and change takes literally seconds.  Add to that robust options for case and bullet feeding, and you'll get picture.

If time is not that important, and you have mental aptitude for reloading (I mean, following reloading protocols with great deal of attention to every movement of the lever) I'd recommend old Star reloading press over either Dillon and Hornady.  Lee's press is just not in the same class to begin with, - it is good for dedicated single task function, but not for progressive loading from sizing to finished round in one pass, IMHO.

AP
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Post by Jon Eulette 9/6/2021, 8:32 pm

The Lee Load Master is only for the mechanically inclined. Once tuned they run great. You should keep extra parts on hand because it does have failures at times. I used one for several years. My friends who use the Hornady LNL press really like them.
I now use Star(s) 99.9% of the time. 
Jon
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Post by zanemoseley 9/7/2021, 4:48 am

PhotoEscape wrote:I'll chime in with thoughts that might be off the beaten track.  The most valuable commodity for me, and one that is not replenish-able, is the time.  With that LNL/AP is out of consideration in concept, because I have no time nor patience to change one die at the time, even with quick change options Hornady offers.  I have four tool heads for loading various loads for 45 ACP alone for Dillon 650/750 platform, and change takes literally seconds.  Add to that robust options for case and bullet feeding, and you'll get picture.

If time is not that important, and you have mental aptitude for reloading (I mean, following reloading protocols with great deal of attention to every movement of the lever) I'd recommend old Star reloading press over either Dillon and Hornady.  Lee's press is just not in the same class to begin with, - it is good for dedicated single task function, but not for progressive loading from sizing to finished round in one pass, IMHO.

AP

AP, have you ever actually used a LNL? The LNL bushings are great. You can change them all out in seconds and as someone else stated you can have different seating dies for different bullet profiles which is something not as easily done with a full toolhead change.

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Post by dannyd93140 9/7/2021, 5:26 am

Everyone’s mileage is going to be different.

1. Biggest thing is your budget.

2. Your time

3. Abilities; do you like fixing things

4. Where you work; case feeders are loud.

We will always have the Blue and Red argument; but owned both and you can make good ammunition on ether.
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Post by PhotoEscape 9/7/2021, 7:20 am

zanemoseley wrote:AP, have you ever actually used a LNL? The LNL bushings are great. You can change them all out in seconds and as someone else stated you can have different seating dies for different bullet profiles which is something not as easily done with a full toolhead change.

The honest answer is "NO"!  I had one time tête-à-tête with LNL, and it was enough for me. As you probably noticed throughout my posts on the subject, I've never knocked LNL / AP down on features, robustness of the platform or anything else, although managing tolerances on quick connects is somewhat mechanically challenging.  However, there is not much to talk about as tolerances are not that significant to make difference when loading pistol ammo.  I reject this platform as a concept based on my own parameters with time being the prevalent one.  And that is exactly what I stated in my post.  I have selected Dillon platform based on TIME as a main parameter for me personally.  I load too many calibers, and, when it comes to loading for BE, several distinct loads within same caliber (i.e. 45 & 38).  I have over two dozen populated tool heads for 650/750 platform and half a dozen for Super/RL 1050.  Playing with individual dies is just not an option for me.

I also suggested to look at the Star as alternative to either Dillon or Hornady (and Lee) platforms.  When someone needs a reloader dedicated to loading same caliber with same parameters day after day, and anal enough to follow process with great attention to details, Star has two very substantial advantages over others.  However same advantages can be a huge problem for someone without proper reloading aptitude, - it is very easy to drop double powder charge or not to charge case with powder at all.  In addition to Dillons, I have two Stars dedicated to loading 38 DEWC and short 45s (Brazos 160s and 185gr #130s) with same powder.

AP
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Post by dannyd93140 9/7/2021, 7:40 am

PhotoEscape wrote:
zanemoseley wrote:AP, have you ever actually used a LNL? The LNL bushings are great. You can change them all out in seconds and as someone else stated you can have different seating dies for different bullet profiles which is something not as easily done with a full toolhead change.

The honest answer is "NO"!  I had one time tête-à-tête with LNL, and it was enough for me. As you probably noticed throughout my posts on the subject, I've never knocked LNL / AP down on features, robustness of the platform or anything else, although managing tolerances on quick connects is somewhat mechanically challenging.  However, there is not much to talk about as tolerances are not that significant to make difference when loading pistol ammo.  I reject this platform as a concept based on my own parameters with time being the prevalent one.  And that is exactly what I stated in my post.  I have selected Dillon platform based on TIME as a main parameter for me personally.  I load too many calibers, and, when it comes to loading for BE, several distinct loads within same caliber (i.e. 45 & 38).  I have over two dozen populated tool heads for 650/750 platform and half a dozen for Super/RL 1050.  Playing with individual dies is just not an option for me.

I also suggested to look at the Star as alternative to either Dillon or Hornady (and Lee) platforms.  When someone needs a reloader dedicated to loading same caliber with same parameters day after day, and anal enough to follow process with great attention to details, Star has two very substantial advantages over others.  However same advantages can be a huge problem for someone without proper reloading aptitude, - it is very easy to drop double powder charge or not to charge case with powder at all.  In addition to Dillons, I have two Stars dedicated to loading 38 DEWC and short 45s (Brazos 160s and 185gr #130s) with same powder.

AP

You have an unlimited budget, so Dillion is definitely right for you.
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Post by PhotoEscape 9/7/2021, 8:06 am

dannyd93140 wrote:You have an unlimited budget, so Dillion is definitely right for you.
Budget of what?  I wish I had unlimited budget of TIME!  But I don't!  So TODAY when it comes to TIME versus MONEY, - TIME wins.  Besides, all that equipment didn't show up at my door all at once.  We are talking of many years of accumulation.  And that is another point to be made, - when I selected Dillon as a platform, and specifically XL650 was my first press, I had clear understanding of the potential future increase in use.  Years ago money were the BIG consideration, VERY BIG INDEED, but I always remember the favorite phrase of my late Father: "I'm not that rich to buy a cheap staff".  Helps with buyer's remorse thing, IMHO!

AP
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Post by dannyd93140 9/7/2021, 8:56 am

PhotoEscape wrote:
dannyd93140 wrote:You have an unlimited budget, so Dillion is definitely right for you.
Budget of what?  I wish I had unlimited budget of TIME!  But I don't!  So TODAY when it comes to TIME versus MONEY, - TIME wins.  Besides, all that equipment didn't show up at my door all at once.  We are talking of many years of accumulation.  And that is another point to be made, - when I selected Dillon as a platform, and specifically XL650 was my first press, I had clear understanding of the potential future increase in use.  Years ago money were the BIG consideration, VERY BIG INDEED, but I always remember the favorite phrase of my late Father: "I'm not that rich to buy a cheap staff".  Helps with buyer's remorse thing, IMHO!

AP

But the Gentleman’s question was on his budget; he could choose between the two presses.   Hornady and Lee are not cheap products; you are getting what you pay for.  I cast match grade bullets with Lee molds and load match grade ammunition with Hornady presses.   I have all the time to do reloading it’s my only hobby, so time is never a problem.  I liked my 550 and SDB , but I could do more with the LNL.    I Handload for fun it’s not a chore.  Smile
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Post by John020 9/7/2021, 10:33 am

I will always choose Hornady LNL over Lee Load Master .

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Post by chiz1180 9/7/2021, 12:18 pm

Realistically any progressive press will work when approached with the right attitude. In my opinion the brand loyalty garbage to one press over another is childish and unnecessary. I have shot ammo made blue, red, green and black presses all off which was perfectly adequate for the sport.

When I got my press the biggest deciding factor I looked at was what other shooters local to me were using, if I could get parts locally (e.g. same day), and finally cost. It was mostly a 50/50 split between Hornady and Dillon users in my local area. In regards to local parts support Lee had the least amount of local parts support (next to Dillion in which is/was practically zero), in my area I have better access to Hornady (I also don't care who designed/made it, they all will require parts at some point).

I ended up with a Hornady press, followed by a second a little while later that I got used. I have needed to use customer support once, in which they overnighted what I needed free of charge. 

If you can find something used (with some extras, such as dies would be a bonus) at a good price, that would probably be the direction I would go at the moment.
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