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Hornady Lock-N-Load Iron Press.


THE NEW IRON PRESS FROM HORNADY IS THE LATEST IN THE evolution of the reloading press. This behemoth is the epitome of modern single-stage presses. It does all of the basic functions with lots of add-on features that make reloading easier, faster, safer, and more fun.

The Iron Press is built to be the heaviest, strongest, and most rigid press of its type. It weighs 25.5 pounds. For lack of a better term, the new press might be termed an "0" press in that it has massive support columns on each side and a wide top that is about an inch thick. All this makes the press incredibly strong while leaving the front and back open so that useful additional features can be easily engineered in or added on.

I've been using the Iron Press Kit, which includes not only the press, but also gobs of tools and accessories that get the reloader off on the right foot. The Iron Press's handle can be mounted on either side of the toggle for operation by either hand. The solid steel ram is listed at a nominal 1.125 inches in diameter (the one on my press mikes 1.31 inches). Unlike most presses, the shellholder doesn't snap solidly into the ram. Rather, it slides in somewhat loosely, and a part called the "shell assist collar" snaps down over it, holding it in place. An O-ring holds the collar over the shellholder. RCBS and Lee shellholders are compatible with the assist collar.

Also like most presses, the shell casing can be primed while it's on the ram, but there's a twist. After resizing and depriming a case, the ram comes to a stop, thanks to a strong "toggle assist spring" that deftly elevates the ram slightly. At this point, the case can be removed for inspection, deburring, or some other operation, and then returned to the shellholder for priming. After pushing the handle forward to lower the case down to insert the primer, the "toggle assist spring" again elevates the ram slightly. This allows the now-primed case to be removed and placed in a loading block for charging.

Priming can be accomplished manually or automatically. Manual priming uses an arm attached behind the ram that pivots up and down. It fits in a slot in the back of the ram. It's simple but sure.

The Iron Press also has an auto prime system, and it comes installed and properly adjusted in the Kit version. Frankly, I've had such dismal results trying to use the auto prime feature on some other presses that I dreaded even trying this one. But I must report that it worked the first time and every time after that.

The auto prime system is somewhat similar in form to those on other presses. A tube holds the primers, and as the ram is raised, the "primer shuttle" slides back and picks up a primer from the tube. As the ram is lowered, the shuttle comes forward and is positioned under the case in the stallholder. The primer tube is enclosed in a strong steel housing tube for protection in case of a detonation within the primer tube.

The press's large, flat top accepts Hornady Lock-N-Load bushings so that once a die is set it can be removed and replaced in seconds, with no loss of adjustment. This is a huge time-saver.

The flat top has four tapped holes for the attachment of accessories, such as primer pocket cleaners, deburring tools, and neck brushes. Also, an "accessory deck" can be placed over these threaded holes, and either the provided hex screws or the accessories can be used to hold it down. Holes in this deck accept dies in the Lock-N-Load bushing, making them handy and ready for action.



The Iron Press with manual prime has an MSRP of $268.81, the auto prime upgrade is $80.64, and the Kit is $618.94. The Kit includes the auto prime system and just about everything (except dies) that you'll need to get started in precision reloading: powder measure, digital scale, and a set of six shellholders that accommodate most of the popular cartridges. Also included: the Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, three Lock-N-Load die bushings, electronic digital caliper, bullet comparator tool, several miscellaneous case-prep items, and a powder funnel. Aside from the convenience, the Kit saves quite a bit of money over buying the items individually. Also, the auto prime system comes assembled and perfectly adjusted with the Kit version, so if there is any chance you're going to want the auto prime system, I suggest getting the Kit with it already installed.

Just like bullets and powders, reloading presses have come a long way in the past few years. The Hornady Iron Press is the culmination of thousands of hours of head scratching by a bunch of serious reloaders who just happen to be crackerjack engineers, and we handloaders are the beneficiaries.
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Title Annotation:QUICK SHOT
Author:Gash, Steve
Publication:Shooting Times
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:Nov 1, 2016
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