Training on a Budget

Cheap Homemade Bullet Drop for the Hornady Lock-N-Load

Part of being able to train on a budget is being able to reload ammo on a budget. I have a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP, and I must say that I love it. This article is going to be in refernece to that press, and we will looking at reloading 9mm ammunition. The purpose of this tutorial is how you can continuously feed the bullet drop dye without having to purchase the $271 Automatic Bullet Feeder by Hornady. We're going to accomplish the same thing, but we're going to do it for about $30... Thus, reloading on a budget!

Items Needed:

  • Hornady Bullet Feeding Dye ($24.49)
    • The Bullet Feed Die comes with a .355 PTX Powder Through Expander, so you don't need to buy one for your Powder Measure.
  • 36" 7/16" OD Plastic Tube ($1.99 each - I bought three)
  • 5/8" Hitch Pin Clips (2 for each tube)($0.50 each at Home Depot)
    • I had trouble with the weight of the bullets not allowing the collet to move freely, thus jamming the process. I used a hitchpin every 5 inches (exactly 9 projectiles) and load them in sections of 9 with ZERO problems. Thre reason I chose 9 projectiles is because that is exactly how many the Hornady Bullet feeding Dye will hold.
  • Black Electrical Tape
  • 18" Threaded Rod (optional, I used for mounting) (available at any Hardware Store)
  • Eye bolt (optional, I used for mounting) (available at any Hardward Store)

Let's get started. Pay attention to the following steps, most of which were originally posted on THIS thread.

Installation of the Bullet Feed Die

  1. The dye doesn't come with any instructions at all. I read up on the internet on how to do this.
  2. First clean the die and all parts of the packing oil all over everything.
  3. Collet A goes in 1st, then Collet B goes on top of it. Screw the top back on until it contacts the collets and then back it out 1/2 a turn. Tighten the lock ring.
  4. Insert a resized and flared piece of brass in the station you are going to use. I use station 3.
  5. Raise the ram all the way up and screw the die in until it just kisses the brass.
  6. Lower the ram and screw the die in 1/2 - 3/4 of a turn. (Mine was fine at a 1/2 turn)
  7. Tighten the lock ring after completed.

Preparing the tubes

  1. On 1 end of each tube use your black tape and make 3 complete revolutions around the bottom. This will give your tube a snug fit in the die.
  2. About 1/4" above the black tape, drill a hole all the way through so you can insert your hitch pin clip. Drill another hole on the opposite end about 1/4-1/2" from the ends.
    1. NOTE: As mentioned above, I had trouble with the weight of the bullets not allowing the collet to move freely, thus jamming the process. I used a hitchpin every 5 inches (exactly 9 projectiles) and load them in sections of 9 with ZERO problems. Thre reason I chose 9 projectiles is because that is exactly how many the Hornady Bullet feeding Dye will hold. See video below more details

 Three tubes, loaded and pinned:

Drop a loaded tube into the bullet feeding dye:

Remove the pin so that the bullets drop into the dye:

I strayed from the original instructions a little bit to fit my particular needs. I did this in two ways. The first is by later adding in a hitch pin every 9 bullets (exactly 5 inches) as mentioned previously. The second was with how I stabilize the tubes. Because my reloading press is mounted on a free-standing table, I didn't want to stabilize the tube against a wall or ceiling. Therefore, I got an 18" piece of threaded steel from Home Depot (about $4-$6) and used it as the back right mounting bolt. See images below:

(underneath the table)

Then, to stabilize the tube above the powder/primer stations, I used a 5 inch eye bolt with two nuts, as shown below:

(front view of the bullet feeder)

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