By Dan Kidder
Typically, our Pro’s Pick column is a specific product. This month, we will be focusing on the Lock-N-Load system used on Hornady reloading products. While it is not a product in itself, it is a great feature that works to make the Hornady products unique in the industry, and provides multiple benefits for the user.
The Hornady Lock-N-Load system consists of a press with a collet receiver, the locking collar for your dies, and a conversion kit to convert competitor’s presses, to receive the Lock-N-Load die bushing.
Hornady Lock-N-Load presses feature collets that receive the threaded bushings and quickly lock into place with six locking lugs. This allows the user to quickly swap out dies, without changing their depth. This means that you can be reloading one caliber on a progressive press and then quickly switch calibers, without readjusting the dies for depth of resizing, or bullet seating and crimp. Once you have properly adjusted the die and tightened its locking ring, you can remove it from the press and retain the proper adjustment over and over again.
The bushings come individually, or in packs of 2, 3, or 10, and are inexpensive enough that a set can be purchased and threaded on every set of dies you own. When I get a new set of reloading dies, I also get a new set of bushings for them, so each set of dies has its own bushings and I never have to reset their depth. I also put them on specialty dies, like those for trim, swaging, and crimp.
The bushings also have a rubber O-ring that makes the bushing fit tightly in the collet and exerts slight upward tension on the bushing to prevent it from working loose in the press.
The bushings accept any die with standard 7/8-14 threads, which is the industry standard, except for some specialty dies, like those for the .50 BMG.
To convert your non-Hornady press to work with the Lock-N-Load bushings, Hornady makes a conversion kit that replaces the threaded receiver collar on your press with a Lock-N-Load receiver. This conversion collar will fit any press with a 1 ¼-12 threaded die bushing. You simply remove the existing die bushing and replace it with the Lock-N-Load receiver collar. The conversion kit also comes with 3 die bushings so you can get started using it right away.
The Hornady Lock-N-Load system lets you increase your cartridge production in a single stage press, because you don’t have to re-screw and adjust your dies between stages of production and because you can rapidly switch back and forth between stages as needed. For progressive presses, you can quickly change out calibers for all of your stages without having to readjust them. It is a quicker, simpler, and more efficient way to reload.
Give the Hornady Lock-N-Load system a try. You will wonder how you ever managed to reload without it.