Hornady Lock and Load AP Progressive Reloading Press

If you have started the fun and adventurous hobby of reloading your own ammunition, otherwise known as cooking with explosives (OK technically, they’re high burn rate propellants), you might want to check out the Hornady Lock and Load.

Hornady Lock and Load Progressive Reloading PressWe’ve been using a Hornady Lock and Load AP progressive reloading press for about 2 years now and it has changed our life. Or at least the reloading part.

Here are the high points:

  • A progressive reloader has multiple stations so each pull of the press handle completes multiple steps such as depriming, case resizing, priming, case mouth belling, powder dispensing, bullet seating, and crimping.
  • The Hornady Lock and Load AP features automatic indexing, which means the handle pull motion also advances brass through the steps automatically.
  • Like the marketing material says, you can load 400-600 rounds per hour with this press. If you want to be extra cautious and visually verify each step, you can still easily load 200-300 rounds per hour.
  • It’s called a Lock and Load because the design features quick mount and dismount bushings that can hold your dies in just the right position. If you buy a bunch of bushings, you can have all of your dies pre-adjusted on the bushings so much of the hassle of changing calibers on the press is eliminated.
  • The powder drop mechanism only works if a case is present, so you won’t make a big powder mess.
  • You can add accessories like motorized case and bullet feeders to speed up the process even more.
  • It handles gajillions of rifle and pistol calibers. All you need is the correct Hornady Lock and Load Case Plate and normal, caliber-specific dies.

This has been a great investment for us. Hornady service is outstanding if you have questions or problems.

For the price, you can’t beat it.

 

Available Here Hornady Lock and Load AP Progressive Reloading Press

Latest Shooting Buyers Guide Additions

My Gun Culture Shooters Buyers Guide

We’re introducing a new weekly article feature, and a whole new section of MyGunCulture.com this week. Our Shooters Buyers Guide provides a quick and easy reference to stuff that is a solid value – and works. Think of it as shooting tips for buyers.

We check out a lot of shooting gear – tactical lights, gun lasers, optics, red dot sights, ammunition, reloading supplies and equipment, shooting bags, holsters of all kinds, and much, much more. While we can’t do an in depth review of everything that crosses the shooting bench, we can help filter out what works well – and what doesn’t. If you see an item listed in our buyers guide, we’ve used it, we like it, and we believe in it.

Here are this weeks picks:

Sights, Optics, Lasers, Lights

TruGlo TFO Fiber Optic / Tritium Handgun Sights

Crimson Trace LG850 Lasergrips – Glock Compact and Full Size Models

Aimpoint Micro H-1 Red Dot Sight

Crimson Trace Lightguard for Glock Pistols

Crimson Trace Lasergrips For Glock Full Size and Compact Models

Holsters

Blade-Tech IDPA Competition Pack with SRB (Sting Ray Belt) Holster

5.11 Tactical COVRT Z.A.P. 6 (Zone Assault Pack)

Galco Ankle Glove Holster

Blackhawk Leather Magazine Pouch

Galco Ankle Glove Holster

Blackhawk Sportster Standard Concealment Holster

Ammo

Hornady Critical Duty 9mm +P 135 grain Flexlock

Remington Golden Saber .45 ACP +P 185 grain JHP

CorBon DPX .357 Sig 125 Grain Ammo

American Eagle .223 Ammo – Reloaders Bargain

Federal’s Guard Dog .45 ACP – Expands Like All Get Out

Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special +P 100 grain

Speer Gold Dot 9mm +P Bonded Hollow Points

CorBon 9mm +P 115 grain JHP

Shooting Accessories

Gunzilla Gun Cleaner, Lubricant, and Protectant – Look Ma! No Stink!

ESS Crossbow Eyeshields – Eye Protection with Style

Slipstream and Slipstream STYX Weapons Lubricants

Books

Shoot! Your Guide to Shooting and Competition by Julie Golob

The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob

American Heroes in Special Operations by Oliver North

GunDigest Shooter’s Guide to the 1911 by Robert Campbell

Reloading Equipment

Shooting Chrony Beta Master Chronograph

Forster Case Trimmer

Ammo Review: Hornady Critical Defense vs. A Frying Pan

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Our potentially life saving Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty ammunition tests have already revealed that…

Hornady Critical Defense 45 ACP 185 grain

The Hornady Critical Defense .45ACP round expanded after passing through the frying pan – just not in the traditional way.

With all the testing we’ve done with Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty ammo in our Will It Expand series, there are still some cliches that need to be put to bed.

For example, the defense from a frying pan attack. This one is legitimate as it’s portrayed in Disney’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ ride. Just ask that drunken pirate running eternal from the angry frying-pan-wielding wench. Around and around they go. When he gets whacked nobody knows.

We’ve been slack on testing the .45 ACP loading of Hornady Critical Defense and this caliber somehow seemed appropriate for the frying pan test.

So we headed off to the range with a genuine Teflon-coated frying pan and a gaggle of cardboard milk jugs filled with water. An iron frying pan would have been more authentic to the cliché, but we weren’t willing to give up homemade cornbread for this story.

Weighing in at 185 grains with a velocity of 1,001.5 feet per second as measured by our Shooting Chrony out of a Springfield Armory TRP 1911 full size pistol, we figured the round would have no problem perforating the pan.

As you can see by the photo, the Hornady Critical Defense .45 ACP bullet expanded – although in a non traditional manner. The projectile compacted inwards, rather than expanding outwards – just like Hornady claims in its hard barrier tests.

AVAILABLE HERE: Hornady Critical Defense 45 ACP 185 grain 20/box

Ammo Review: Hornady Critical Defense vs. Butt Modulating Yogurt

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Admit it. You’ve already got the Activia jingle going in your head.

Hornady Critical Defense ammo test shooting yogurt

Hornady Critical Defense ‘regulating’ prune flavored Activia.

Or at least you’re wondering why a perennial hottie like Jamie Lee Curtis is now hawking butt modulating yogurt.

Or what happens when bullets strike Bifidus Regularis bacteria – gajillions of them?

Or whether ammunition has occasional irregularity?

Or whether prune flavored yogurt has a messier ballistic aftermath than something fruitier – like strawberry mango tropi-blend with guava-kiwi-pomegranate concentrate?

Or if premium ammunition is worth the cost in terms of facilitating intestinal transit?

But enough of that. After seeing the Activia commercial for the 3,012th time, and listening to its claims of being able to handle the toughest of bowels, we had to ask some questions.

Activia Prune flavored yogurt waiting to be shot with hornady critical defense ammo

Prune Activia – Pre-Yogurtal Expansion

Can prunes handle Hornady Critical Defense pills?

Can Activia regulate the performance of high velocity 9mm and .40 S&W expanding ammunition?

Is the explosion caused by bullets hitting prune yogurt similar to that caused by prune yogurt hitting your bowels?

These are important questions and we aimed to find out.

If you hadn’t figured it out already, we stocked up on Prune Flavored Activia and headed to the range with a few boxes of both Hornady Critical Defense and Hornady Critical Duty ammo. Jamie Lee Curtis did not attend as ballistic testing is not covered in her endorsement contract.

Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty 9mm expansion performance

Glock 17, Critical Defense, and Critical Duty vs. Intestinal flora.

What caliber is appropriate for prune yogurt? We had no idea, so we went with two common self-defense calibers – 9mm and .40 Smith & Wesson. Not knowing how tough of a barrier prune flavored Activia is, we tried both Hornady Critical Defense, designed for civilian self defense use, and Hornady Critical Duty, designed to penetrate tougher bowels barriers, yet still expand.

Here’s what we learned.

Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty .40 S&W ammo expansion performance

We’ve found that the Beretta PX4 loaded with Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty ammo facilitates intestinal transit with aplomb.

Shooting yogurt makes everyone at the range laugh like kindergartners with a whoopee cushion.

Expansion was not an issue. The yogurt expanded all over the range, and some counties of 3 bordering states.

When shooting yogurt, bring lots of wet wipes.

If you get into a running gunfight in a health food store, no worries about evil d00dz taking cover behind the Activia display – you can shoot right through it.

You can buy Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty Ammunition here.

Ammo Review: Hornady Critical Duty vs. A Huge Pile of B.S.

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Today we hope to answer many pressing questions:

Hornady Critical Defense Ammo shoots the new york times

We got the big guns out to shoot a huge pile of B.S.

What happens when you shoot a bullet at a huge pile of B.S.?If the B.S. is laid on really thick, will it clog up a hollowpoint bullet and prevent it from expanding?

Is shooting at a pile of B.S. kind of like squashing a pregnant spider? Does it just create millions of little piles of B.S.?

You guessed it! It’s time for another episode of Will It Expand, featuring Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty ammunition. If you haven’t figured it out already, the goal this week is to shoot a huge pile of B.S. To find some suitable B.S., we didn’t have to go far as our corner grocery store carries The New York Times.

New York Times at the shooting range

Is this the first time that The New York Times has been to a shooting range?

What more appropriate pile of B.S. is there than The New York Times?

Once a bastion of journalistic integrity, The New York Times is currently out-subscribed by The National Enquirer – although that may be more of a reflection on today’s readers and the popularity of “The Kardashian Kapers” than the quality of either publication.

Back to the important stuff. What happens when you shoot B.S.? Given the formidable amounts of B.S. in even a weekday issue of The New York Times, we elected to go with the heavy stuff – Hornady Critical Duty. The Critical Duty line features a heavier projectile and a separate InterLock crimp band that helps prevent bullet jacket and core separation when tough barriers – like huge piles of B.S. – are encountered.

Hornady Critical Duty 9mm expansion performance

The Critical Duty 9mm loads cut through B.S. like butter

For our test, we donned heavy duty eye protection – in this case the ESS CrossBow Eyeshields. Who knows what happens when a high velocity projectile, fired from a southern state, hit’s a huge pile of B.S. from New York City? It could be like some ballistic matter / anti-matter reaction that would cause the earth to wobble on its axis and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to issue concealed carry permits free with every library card. Or worse.

We tried the B.S. Bang Theory with two different loads: Hornady Critical Duty 9mm +P 135 grain and Hornady Critical Duty .40 S&W 175 grain. For maximum velocity, we used full size guns – a Glock 17 Gen 4 and a Beretta PX4 Storm.

What did we learn?

Hornady Critical Duty .40 S&W ammo expansion performance

The Critical Duty .40 S&W loads struggled with so much B.S.

As you can see, the Hornady 9mm Critical Duty load performed better. We think that the extra velocity (clocked around 1,172 feet per second on our Shooting Chrony) helped cut through the B.S.

The .40 S&W load struggled a little more. Perhaps the extra diameter of the .40 caliber projectile caused more surface area to impact the B.S. and slow down expansion?

B.S. is a tough target – as shown by the abuse these bullets took going through it.

This may be the very first time that The New York Times has been to a shooting range.

What’s next? Stay tuned and find out.

And, as always, if you have suggestions for our Will It Expand series, just comment here or visit us on Facebook.

You can buy Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty Ammunition here.

Hornady Critical Duty 9mm +P 135 grain Flexlock

hornady-critical-duty-9mmWe’ve been doing lots and lots of shooting with both Hornady Critical Defense and more recently Hornady Critical Duty.

Our supply of the relatively new Hornady Critical Duty 9mm +P 135 grain Flexlock arrived this week so we took it out for some testing.

Hornady Critical Duty 9mm +P Ammunition

The first observation – and we’ve seen this consistently with Hornady ammo – is that Hornady tends to be conservative on the published velocity. More often than not, we record equal or higher velocities than claimed on the box. This turned out to be the case with the Critical Duty 9mm +P 135 grain load as well. We shot it from a Glock 17 Generation 4, set up our Shooting Chrony Beta Master just over 15 feet from the muzzle, and recorded average velocity of 1,172 feet per second – noticeably more than the 1,115 feet per second claimed.

We’re going to be doing a lot more barrier testing with this load as the Critical Duty projectiles are designed to perform through tougher barriers than their Critical Defense counterparts. There are a couple of design differences between Critical Defense and Critical Duty. Critical Duty projectiles are generally heavier for the same caliber, but more importantly feature an additional InterLock band to help prevent jacket and core separation when the projectile encounters tougher barriers. For starters, we shot some though a couple layers of leather and fabric into some wetpack. Wetpack is the fancy word for soaking wet newspapers. As you can see by the photo included, it performed just fine.

We’re looking forward to additional experimentation with this load.

Available Here Hornady Critical Duty 9mm +P 135 Gr Flexlock – 25 Rounds

Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special +P 100 grain Ammunition

Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special AmmunitionWe’ve been testing a lot of Hornady Critical Defense ammunition and with rare exception, we’ve observed excellent results.

Critical Defense is designed with a polymer plug in the hollow point cavity which aids with bullet expansion – even after the round penetrates barriers that would clog a normal hollow point round.

We’ve shot it through leather, clothing, rocks, grape jelly, flour, and all sorts of silly things with good result.

Available Here Hornady Critical Defense .38 Special 100 grain Ammo 25 / box

Ammo Test: Will Your Short Barrel 9mm Penetrate Heavy Clothing?

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Of course, penetration is only part of the battle. Will your 9mm ammo actually expand after penetrating heavy clothing?

On this episode of Will It Expand, we aim to find out!

As we couldn’t find any heavily dressed bad guy volunteers, we resurrected the boots, stuffed them full of old shirts, and placed them in front of our high-fallutin’ wetpack bullet catcher setup. That gives us a reasonable approximation of a heavy coat or jacket and some lighter clothing layers. And with a lot less bad attitude than your typical street thug.

For the ‘short barrel’ part of the equation, we used a Glock 26 Gen IV which is in for review. A great little gun that packs 10+1 rounds of 9mm and features a 3.4” barrel – perfect for our carry gun test. Shorter barrel, a little less velocity, and a good bit more stress on hollow point performance through barriers.

On the ammo side, we’re trying three different 9mm loads:

Hornady Critical Defense 9mm Luger 115 grain FTX

Cor-Bon 9mm Luger +P 115 grain JHP

Georgia Arms 9mm +P 124 grain Speer Bonded Unicore Hollow Point

Once again enduring the strange looks at the range – “Why on earth do those idiots keep shooting cowboy boots at the range dear?” – we persevered and shot the boots, dug bullets our of wet and nasty wetpack, and brought you the results. Just as a side note, it’s amazing how much wet junk mail resembles used diapers.

The results:

The CorBon loads all expanded beautifully.With one we did have jacket / core separation, but overall they made cute little mushroom shapes.If anything, the CorBon loads expanded a tad too much and penetration was about 50% less than that of the other two loads.Chalk this up to a lighter bullet than the Georgia Arms Gold Dot and bigger expansion than the Critical Defense projectile of the same weight.
The Georgia Arms Speer Bonded Unicore loads were solid performers through our tough, winter attired, evil d00d simulation.Out of seven rounds fired, five expanded perfectly and demonstrated excellent penetration. Two projectiles partially expanded.
All four Hornady Critical Defense projectiles had excellent penetration.Two expanded perfectly, the third had perfectly adequate, but less photogenic expansion, and the fourth had some deformity and partial expansion.

We were somewhat surprised at the good performance turned in by all three loads out of a shorter barrel concealed carry gun. We’re waiting on a backorder of the new Hornady Critical Duty 9mm load, which is a bit heavier, and will test that against a heavier CorBon 9mm JHP load. Should be interesting.

Stay tuned…

You can buy Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty Ammunition here.

Ammo Review: Hornady Critical Defense vs. Flour – Will it Expand?

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Why? Umm. Because we can?

In this episode, we test Hornady Critical Defense ammunition against what is arguably the cloggiest stuff known to hollowpoints – flour.

Stick with us, you never know when you might run into a real-world shootout in a bakery. Or something.

Being that we expected flour to be a tough customer, we elected to test both velocity and weight. Critical Defense .357 Sig to meet the velocity threshold and .40 S&W to meet the weight.

We thought this was a great idea that had potential not only for real world application, but entertainment value as well. And we weren’t disappointed. When you hit a bag of flour with expanding ammunition you get a gratifying ‘fleur de flour.’

Oh, in addition to a neat picture of a bag of flour exploding, we also have expansion test results. Just for fun, we tested two loads in each caliber: the Hornady Critical Defense rounds and Speer Gold Dot projectiles.

The Hornady Critical Defense load in .357 Sig held up pretty well to the bag-o-flour. Five of the six projectiles expanded fullyand the sixth expanded partially.We would trust this load in a donut shop shootout.
OK so we went a little trigger happywith the Speer Gold Dot loads and shot nine of them into the flour. What can we say? It made for great explosions!Out of the nine we shot, five expanded fully, two clogged up and didn’t expand at all, and two expanded just a little – although in a very non-photogenic way.
We shot four rounds of the Critical Defense .40 S&W loads into the flour and all four expanded adequately.As the photo shows, one was exceptionally photogenic and the remaining three were less attractive, although plenty effective.
Cloggy, cloggy, cloggy.Of the three rounds of .40 S&W Gold Dots we recovered, none of them expanded properly.One had no sign of expansion at all, one had a weak attempt, and the third must have hit a flour-based black hole. Either that or it nudged another projectile already in our high-tech bullet catcher.

So what have we learned? Before carrying into a bakery, be sure to test your carry ammo in appropriate conditions.

To see more episodes of our Will it Expand series, click here.

You can buy Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty Ammunition here.

Ammo Review: Hornady Critical Defense vs. Grape Jelly – Will It Expand?

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All y’all have some pretty weird suggestions for our semi-serious ammo testing. Here we are, trying to be all scientific, and you keep sending suggestions for silly random things to shoot. Like you really might find yourself in a situation where you have to shoot through a large glass jar of grape jelly to protect your family. We decided to proceed with this one anyway, as this test offered exciting possibilities for lower cost wine production methods.

Well, you never know. Stranger things have happened. Just watch Jerry Springer sometime. You just might find yourself in a life or death situation where some crazed evil d00d is pelting you and yours with large jars of grape jelly. Rather than judge, we’ll just follow the Boy Scouts creed and be prepared – and find out if our carry ammo is up to the task. If we were dealing with cheap generic grape jelly, we would have tested this scenario with 9mm or .40 S&W loads. Given that it was about 1/2 gallon of genuine Knotts Berry Farm jelly, we thought it prudent to test with .357 Sig.

Loaded with a 115 grain FTX projectile, this load is rated at 1,235 feet per second and in our Glock 32, it chronographed at 1,231 feet per second from the 4” barrel. Plenty enough to stomp grapes.

In addition to providing great entertainment for our staff, there was some practical value to this test. After all, the 1/2 gallon of grape jelly was enclosed in glass. That’s roughly equivalent to the FBI glass barrier test protocol right? Right? Come on, stick with us here…

Anyway, we backed up about 15 feet, placed a high-tech bullet catcher made of wet pack (a pile of thoroughly soaked paper) behind the grape jelly, and fired…

That’s when the cops showed up. Well, not quite, but it was a close call. You see, when you shoot at a sealed glass jar, filled to the brim with gelatinous substance, with a high velocity projectile, all that energy has to go somewhere. Apparently, the latent grape jelly energy dissipated by covering every person at the range with a moderate coat of sticky, sugary, slime. Let’s just say we were more popular before we shot the jelly than after.

After apologizing profusely to shooters in all the other lanes and the good citizens of Montana, we went in search of the bullet. To see if it did in fact expand.

We’ll let you know, as soon as we find it. Apparently, shooting grape jelly creates a matter / anti-matter implosion. As best we can tell, that Hornady bullet is orbiting Saturn about 128 years in the future. Or something like that.

We’re not giving up. As soon as we can find an equally massive glass jar of grape jelly, we’re going to try it again. This time with an electro-magnetic containment vessel.

Stay tuned.

You can buy Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty Ammunition here.

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