Dear Lindsey…


Even without the optional case and bullet feeder, reloading speed is amazing.
There are dozens of innovative 3D-printed bin mounts available for this press.

The powder measure and case-activated powder drop are autonomous.
The shrouded tube on the right side is the primer tube — one of the
safest systems on the market.


There are plenty of videos about this press, so I’ll dispense with the how to.” Rather, let’s talk about why this is the best one for your Kai.
The Hornady Lock-N-Load AP system is one of the smoothest-running presses in the industry, advancing halfway on each of the up and down stroke.

The slightly offset frame gives the user a full 180 degrees of observation in the reloading process so Kai can visually confirm all of the reloading operations in a single glance.

It’s a five-station press and the autonomous powder dispensing allows it to be placed where you want it for custom reloading sequences.
The Lock-N-Load AP uses a shrouded primer tube, which sits at the back of the press, opposite the handle. To load it, use a primer pickup tube. A fiber rod serves as a level indicator for primers. When the last primer is dispensed, the rod sticks in the mechanism and locks it up. This is a reliable and safe system.

The press should be mounted so the user works it at eye level, with the opening about the level of the user’s bicep when seated. If the primers ever detonate in the tube, the user is well protected by the shield (housing tube, primer in the exploded diagram), and face and eyes are below the top of the primer tube, where debris might eject. This will also give the best leverage for loading. I always wear eye protection when reloading and Kai should also.

The Lock-N-Load system uses a quick-change bushing system. These allow the user to remove and replace dies without losing adjustments. Even powder dispensers can be swapped mid-stride with the AP.

Since the Lock-N-Load press accepts standard dies, it allows the user to have four die operations plus powder dispensing so Kai can use separate seating and crimp dies. It’s also my go-to press for single or abbreviated operations. For example, I often size, deprime, and flare my .45 ACP brass without loading them, so I can tumble with the primer pockets exposed. I can just pull the quick-change dies I’m not going to use and put them back later. I can size and prime rifle cases smoother on this press than on a single-stage setup. It has a consistent primer feel, so it’s a beast for a .308 shooter.

The powder dispenser for the Lock-n-Load AP press is their bench-rest-grade dispenser, with an added case-activated powder drop section. Not only is this tool infinitely adjustable, it has a quick change metering insert for changing powders, or going from rifle to pistol. In the tens of thousands of rounds I have loaded with mine, I’ve never experienced a measurable variance in loads dropped.

The rotating shell plate with its spring case retainer allows me to pull a case for inspection. On some presses, users have to remove parts or even wait until the brass goes all the way around.

This is the subplate, which is under the rotating shell plate, and the
primer slide, which shuttles primers from the primer tube to the primer ram.
When you first begin to use this press, polish these parts.

If you are a high-volume shooter, or someone who is training
for competition, a progressive reloader is the way to go.


When I first got my Lock-N-Load AP, I was pretty frustrated. The primer system kept jamming, and it would pop the AP breakaway cam wire, the part which moves the primer slide back and forth, out of the frame. To fix, I covered the primer slide track with jeweler’s rouge and polished it. When it was as smooth as cat poop on linoleum, I added lube and reassembled. It never jammed again.

I keep a brush nearby to keep the area clean. Powder dispensing sometimes drops a little debris.

I am the kind of reloader who likes reloading for the pure pleasure of creating new cartridges. The Hornady Lock-N-Load AP has a calming mechanical operation for people who consider reloading a hobby.

Next time around, we can talk about Josh. ­

Purchase A PDF Download Of The American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2023 Issue Now!