on the Hornady 366 auto shotshell
Part VI: On buying a used 366
Introduction, mounting set-up, powder/shot
Int'l trap and skeet shells plus recommended spare parts.
adjustments for best results.
Some reasons and solutions for poor
quality crimp results. Includes
a special section
on 410 bore skeet reloading.
changing dies to a different gauge, setting up a
new die head or
insure the 366 is in proper adjustment.
Part V: The 366's annual maintenance.
Part VI: Some thoughts on the buying of a
the essential tool and
recommended spare parts lists.
Master article index for all
(116k – for keyword search)
Index, Part VI:
Thoughts on buying a
maintain the 366:
tools of use
is mainly written for those who
have owned 366's
for while and are interested in possibly picking up some tips,
experienced loaders looking for information
on the Hornady 366 auto shotshell
reloading press. Use of the
information is at your own risk.
notes come from 40 years of working
Pacific/Hornady 366 reloading tool; others
will have had different
not an experienced reloader, please,
please, please, buy
the several excellent books that are on the market
and become intimately
familiar with the process and
the very necessary safety
procedures. Reading the MSDS statements available on the
various manufacturer's websites provides valuable
information as well as the powder recipe booklet forewords. These
booklets are available either by download or by mail at no charge to
the requester. Many of those sites offer how-to-reload information as
well. Always follow exactly the loading recipes supplied by the
propellant manufacturers. Reloading is not a place for short-cuts and
sloppy guesswork. And obviously, you cannot safely reload
with best quality when
are tired, in a hurry, or otherwise not able
your full and proper
attention to the job.
shotgun reloading information books come immediately to mind. The Lyman
edition Shotgun Reloading Manual is
one. Another is the
Reloading for Shotgunners, fourth edition
M.L. McPherson. They are available from www.amazon.com,
buy components or any good sporting goods store, on line
or not. MEC
(RCBS:"The Handbook of Shotshell Reloading")
offer shotshell reloading instruction manuals at a
reasonable price. Better
the books, find someone who is a
well-experienced reloader to help you get
through the learning stages explaining
what the books may not make
clear to you and who can
answer the occasional question that
up from time to time. You will also find that Hornady's tech support is
second to none and will be of tremendous help. They're just plain good
thoughts on buying a used 366
The picture shows an example of an
older 366 that you might run across. At first glance, the loader looks
in pretty good shape. Loader has the swing-out wad
guide, auto advance and the primer seater has been upgraded to the
loaded version. However, closer inspection reveals that the loader has
the older flat red
the die head and the platen casting, but the base casting has a
brighter red, indicating that the original has been replaced.
that the dies have the older black anodized finish—except the
shell plate—but that the primer
drop tube and catcher tray is
missing. The wear patterns are typical and not excessive, but the
handle has a bit of rust. Hard to tell from the picture, but it looks
like the nuts are in decent shape and haven't been bunged up. All
things considered, this 366 may not be a bad deal, depending on the
The typical price
these days for a reasonably recent model average-use non-abused 12
gauge 366 is
$250. A price exception may exist if the machine
is virtually new with very, very, few shells run through
it. Things that also may affect a reasonable price are the
additional Hornady-available add-on features, as primer stop tube
spring loaded primer seater installed, gas assist and
maybe a set of Hornady risers. After market
features could include updated, larger capacity shot and powder
tubes plus a coal shovel style handle in place of the standard
Hornady ball-end handle and maybe a shell counter .
A cheaper price can be a good deal, if the price is low to sell fast.
this low price could mean that the
machine will need work and you need some way to evaluate the
on offer to decide if it's worth the effort and cost to get it back
into loading condition. For example, the machine in the picture above
will need a primer catcher, primer drop tube and primer stop. If you
have to buy them, it will probably run $20 - $30 out of
your pocket. If you have to buy the shot and powder tubes plus
measure assembly and bushings, maybe even an as-is price of $100 isn't
worth while. The machine price has to at least reflect that cost to
you. There are enough 366's around that you can
wait for the right one for you to show up.
load two gauges in the future, the most economical approach is to buy
the 366 complete in the smaller gauge as 12
ga dies are very common and I've seen them on offer for
bucks. If you see 410 reloading in your future, then that is the way to
start since Hornady does not sell the die set and they are very rarely
found on the used market.
I bought my 410 skeet 366 used for
$175 in the late '90s. You can buy a 366, use it for several years and
re-sell it for
more than you paid for it—trapshooters.com had a used 410
on offer recently for $360. It was sold by the next day. The
machine pays for itself within a few months of the
shooting season compared to the cost of factory ammo. And you get
increased options over factory ammo—if you want them. As
shells to factory ammo. And if you are recoil sensitive, reloading is
things that affect the purchase price include what amount of spare
parts, as wad guides,
stops, extra pre-fold dies, auto advance pawl and spare spring as well
as what and how many shot and powder bushings are supplied.
Where to look for
a used 366: ebay.com, trapshooters.com and gunbroker.com are some of
the websites to look through. Don't forget
to look on
your club's bulletin board for the possibility of a local buy, always
the preferred source as it usually allows a very careful inspection and
an opportunity to load a few shells to test before you buy.
What to look for list:
Original, matching, paint on
parts—unlike the loader shown in the above picture.
If it does, then it probably isn't an abused, mickey-moused,
machine. Some guys provide a great service to fellow shooters by
reloaders and making bucks by rehabilating them for sale at a
good price. If you find one of these, ask—preferably test for
machine has had shells loaded though it (preferably the ones you plan
to reload), runs very smoothly without binding and the shells
consistently chamber and fire well in auto loaders and pumps. Some sort
of satisfaction guarentee is wise.
However, even if you get something less
than perfection, the machine has been
around so long that all the design bugs are out of it. The 366 is a
if anything breaks, it's straightforward to
return the loader back to perfect operating condition, but in a
purchase situation, testing to insure this was done is imperative
you pay. Since Hornady still
makes parts, anything can be fixed and Hornady's Tech Support people
cheerfully work with you until you're good. You can even send the
machine to Hornady and they'll fix it.
Swing-out wad guide.
You won't want
one so old that it doesn't
have it. BUT on
the other hand, if the machine has an absolute super price, you may
to do the deal. It's primarly a loading speed consideration: with the
swing out, the wad is just dropped into the guide, with the old
out guide, you'll have to slip the wad's shot cup up onto the wad
ram and let it drop into the guide. Just takes a bit more time and
care. You should be aware that installing the swing-out wad guide in
not an inexpensive nor simple upgrade: for one, the base casting needs
and it goes from there.
In my (biased!) book, the auto-advance is
more trouble than it's worth and the gas assist slows production. But
if the machine comes with it, what the heck. If the machine does NOT
come with it, it can be retrofitted.
of the included die set
Black anodized or natural finished. If
anodized, you may
want a new final crimper and that will cost something
like $60. That
might affect your buying decision.
Hornady came out with a slightly
modified aluminum final crimp die over a decade ago which produces
better crimps and shell crimp-end dimensions closer to SAMMI specs. If
you shoot a single or an over-under, it's unlikely to matter. If you
buy the used
366 with the older final crimp and you find the shells loaded using
once-fired American target hulls have difficulty
feeding through and chambering in autos and pumps, the new
crimper—and perhaps a new resizing ring—may
well solve the problem.
The early prefold dies were
triangle shape. In the picture at the right, these are shown
center. As you can see, the triangle design came in both
black and red color.
latest version is quite different. It's in red color only,
a rounded rib shape in all gauges; the 20 is shown in the picture. The
current design seems
to significantly minimize the number of poorly started prefolds and
improves the appearance of the final crimps.
If you purchased a fairly old machine, this
would be an economical, quite worthwhile, easy to install
Included spare parts and extra bushings
How many bushings and spare parts
come with it will have a major effect on how good the loader deal is.
Since bushings run roughly $5 - 7 apiece, the more you get,
the better the bargain. You'll need a shot bushing for the
weight you intend to load, plus at least
2 - 3 bushings for each powder
type you plan to load (Usually
table-suggested bushing size plus the next 2 bigger).
If you use a variety of powder types, you'll need a lot of bushings.
The bushing size needed
will also vary depending on the powder lot and how it's been stored in
distribution chain before you buy it. Sometimes even this 3 bushing
range isn't enough with poorly stored powder (Realizing the need for
a bigger bushing out of this range warrants a call to the manufacturer
for their advice for safety's sake).
Getting a set of the minimum
recommended spare parts included in the deal will
probably save you on the order of $30 when you
order from Hornady. See the bottom of this page for the table of
recommended spare parts.
Last component set loaded
Getting this info will tell you
which components to
hand when the machine arrives or warns how much in the way of
machine adjustments you may have to make if you intend to load another
loaded on this 366 chamber easily and reliably (assuming once-fired
hulls are loaded) in auto-loaders and pumps? Do they fire reliably
while shooting a skeet or trap 100? If you plan to use auto-loaders or
pumps and the seller advises he's run into problems even using
once-fired hulls, you may want
to pass on the deal or have a new resizing ring and final crimper (if
the machine has the older black die sets) on
hand when the machine arrives. That, of course, affects the deal cost.
While you're waiting for your 366 to
Please don't attempt to reload without a
understanding of the machine's operation. If you didn't get
one with the machine,
Hornady will gladly send you one at
no cost to you. You may also
download it from the Hornady
(1 mB PDF.) I think
the older Pacific/Hornady manual is still quite useful. There are some
informal manuals for the older models—including the
line at pacificreloaders.awardspace.com.
has recently uploaded many of the earlier
Pacific model instruction
manuals onto their website.
The Tech Support folks at Hornady are
very happy to work with you to resolve any problems. Fabulous people to
work with. And you'll love
introductory phone system answering message!
Might also be a good time to go through
the propellant manufacturers
loading manuals to pick out a load that you can get the well-stocked
components easily from your local dealers. See the books page for a full list of
recommendations. The youtube video in 366 Part I is
worthwhile, as well.
If you don't have one now, please order a powder scale, preferably one
with a 1000 grain capacity. Truth is, you just can't load without one
keep you out of trouble and allow you to maximize quality control. In
depth discussion here.
On the receipt of the loader:
It's best to
do the equivalence
of an annual maintance check to start. There is no point to filling up
hoppers with powder and shot, and top off the primer feed tube only to
that there are issues that force you to empty everything to deal with
Part V: The 366's annual maintence for
After running through the annual
maintence check, the only
question left is whether the stations are all correctly set for your
component set. Here's a short
run-down (Details with pictures are in : Part
insure the 366 is in proper adjustment.)
tip-off of the general setting is if station 1A is set correctly: it
needs to be set so that
the hull's "brass" is completely covered and the resizing ring is
touching the platen when the handle is at bottom. But first, check the
lenghts of the hulls you'll be loading—the fastest way is
with a digital calipers. Once you find an average length
for the lot, take a few to set the machine.
The next check is to
see if the primer seater ram setting is correct. Put the resized hull
to check station 1A in the primer seating station and another hull into
station 1A. If necessary, adjust the ram so that the primer sets just
Next is to
confirm the primer drop is set properly, with hulls
in both station 1A and the primer seating station 2. Use dead
primers for this setup just for a bit of extra safety. Primers should
consistently drop every time. The height is critical, so if adjustments
when you're getting close, just go a quarter-turn at a time.
Take one of the resized hulls and
run it around to the wad insertion station and check the clearance.
Hornady recommends 1/8" (3.5 mm), although if you are using more
length hulls as AAHS and Fiocchi, you can set the gap to about 1/16" (2
The smaller gap seems to help with wad insertion. Continue rotating the
hull to the pre-fold station, put another hull
into the resizing station and and lower the handle a small amount each
checking the amount of pre-fold impressed into the case mouth. If
you're lucky, you'll see a 1/4" (~6 mm) gap (for 12 ga) in the case
Finally, using one of the cases that were
primed with a
dead primer (for a bit of extra safety) while setting the
primer seating station, scale out the
powder and shot charges you plan to use and assemble the shell, then
move it to the prefold station and set the prefold. Rotate it to
the final crimp station and iteratively,
move the handle down a little more each time and check for the proper
crimp depth. As with the prefold, if
you're lucky, you'll see perfect crimp at the bottom handle; no
adjustment needed. Again,
a longer, more detailed discussion with pictures of station set-up is
insure the 366 is in proper adjustment.
Once you know your 366 is in good shape with correctly set stations,
you should have no troubles with production loading, although you can
expect to need a few tweaks during the loading of the first 100. To
avoid circular entrapment, It would be wise to measure hull lengths so
that the first 100 hulls or so that you load are close to the same
list to maintain the 366:
can get by with a 6” (150mm)
and 12” (300mm) crescent wrench, but the 7/8”
wrench is a must for
access to the Taper-Loc (station 8) bushing nut—if you're
using this station. This is the
tightens up against the die head casting. You'll also want a 9" (23mm)
long 3/16" (5mm) tip screwdriver to adjust the final crimp plunger and
removing dropped shot out
from under the index plate.
(The 366 uses US SAE standard
sizes. The metric
dimensions are only approximate.)
long 3/16" (5mm) tip screwdriver. Easily reaches in and gets shot out
from under the shell plate ring.
Also used when changing between gauges
and usable for final
crimp adjustment as well as changing
pre-fold dies from 8-fold to 6-fold
(prevents shaft from turning by jamming nut
or shaft, depending on the age of your dies). Can also be
used for adjusting wad guide height.
pliers; a smaller size is better. Pulls wads out of hulls and shot out
of the priming
plus a myriad of other uses. Suggest Xcelite SN55 / Klein
for die head hold
down bolts, final crimp
station lock nut and wad ram nut.
open end wrench;
primer drop station lock nut and index plate hold down nut.
open end wrench; used for
ram, the pre-fold die, and the Taper-Loc die lock nut.
wrench is usable in place of the above, but
it won't reach in for the Taper-Loc die lock nut. Crescent wrenches
also have a way of damaging nut surfaces, particularly at the corners.
1/4” (32mm) open ended wrench used for deprime
station, primer seating station and final crimp lock nuts.
allen wrench for
primer seating station.
3/32" (2 mm) allen wrench for 28 and 410
for charge bar cam
and clevis rod (primer knockout linkage).
used for operating
handle holding nut (older machines).
deep socket and ratchet wrench
for under support bar tightening.
(16mm) for platen
bolts. Also used for spring loaded primer seater.
shaft 5/16" (8mm)
driver: Xcelite #L10 with a 6" (150mm) shaft. Ratchet sets tend be
wobbly with an extension. Another possibility is to change the screw to
an allen head and use a long allen head wrench. Used for
the height of
the wad guide. Adjust the height to 2.6" (66 mm) from
the index plate.
This height pretty
much works well with all 2 3/4" (70mm) length 12, 20 and 28
gauge hulls. Set the 2 1/2" 410's height to 2 3/16"
hammer for drive
link roll pins and to tap out the occasional stuck hull
resize station. A flat head punch guilds the lily for the
rule. To re-set
dies after an adjustment. Assumes you've pre-measured die
slip joint pliers. I
use 8” (200mm) size. Sometimes things just don't screw into
die head casting easily, even with thread cleaning
and a drop or two of
oil. A little electrical tape helps prevent marring.
a case mouth gets jammed in the final crimp die (due to insufficient or
defective pre-fold crimp) a protected-jaw bench vise may be
useful to take the
crimp die apart. Brass pulling off the hull will also force a
crimp die dis-assembly. Neither event happens very often.
the primer drop tube
badly mis-adjusted, the
mouth can develop a burr preventing primers from dropping. A
small 1/2" (13mm) hand reamer judiciously applied works well to remove
the burr. A small 1/2" (13mm) round file could be carefully used, as
tools of use:
(180mm) hull saver from
Precision Reloading, model MMHS7.
cutter to take apart
those shells that come out with BB losing crimps
(An alternative is
to drip candle wax on the crimp. Be careful with the open
candle flame! The dripped wax sealant -- use plenty -- usually
hold to the
range.). Yes, single edge razor blades and knives work, but the
potential for a mess is high. A shell
cutter helps with the
housekeeping, assuring the
loading area stays powder and shot
free by eliminating
spillage. Ballistic Products
and Precision Reloading both offer one and they are
often seen elsewhere.
screwdriver with a hook bent into it. An
Xcelite R3322 is one model. Used to pull
open closed crimps and save
to use if you're curious about
shot size. Measure at least 25 to get a sense;
measure at least 300 if you want definitive
answer (thanx to Larry Nailon
of Clearview products). Make several
measurements of each pellet
and average because shot is
not round (0.002" is very
good as these things go: I've seen +/- 0.008" and worse.) Putting the
measurements into a spread sheet and sorting
the values will also
allow you to assess grading quality. Make sure wash
your hands completely when
you are done.
find a car radiator-fill size funnel useful for filling the shot and
tubes and for returning powder to the keg.
a magnet with a long flexible
extension handle for picking
up primers and other parts
that somehow manage to get
into the darnedest, hardest-to-reach
filler spring and C-washer for swing out wad guide. Once in a while,
you'll want to change the spring in the primer seating station
the 1/4-20 x 1” hard steel bolt at
the top of the
linkage. Having a spare primer depriming rod is useful. On
occasions they can get bent and it's
certainly quicker to put in
a good one than stop everything and go through the
process. Sometimes you'll find the rubber washers in the measure
casting have gotten pretty chewed up. If you
lot of steel-base hulls, you may want
to have a spare clevis link and
resizing ring as well. And if you use the
feature, the spring occasionally breaks along with the pawl becoming
410 uses a different pawl. There is an old spare parts
rule that still seems to apply: if you have two spares for a
part, you'll never
need the second
one. I don't think that works for wad guide fingers though!
you have the
spring-loaded primer seater and/or new model Taper-Loc
and pre-fold dies, then you may want spares of
the press-on nuts. They don't seem easy to come by locally. To
make it easy when you talk to the nice ladies at Hornady
(800.338.3220), here is
the "Official" (:-))
recommended spare parts list:
366 parts list
is here: Hornady
366 manual. The
list works back from page 23. Suggest keeping the/an old manual handy
as it can be clarifingly useful for cross-reference.)
--------------------- Recommended Hornady
366 spare parts list ---------------------
feed stop unit
fingers, 12 gauge
fingers, 20 gauge
fingers, 28 gauge
fingers, 410 bore
swing-out wad guide
& Cam bolt
(for 410 -- Auto Advance)
die ring cap
die ring cap
die ring cap
die ring cap
spare parts recommended. Some
common parts are easily obtainable in local hardware
stores, although I never could find press-on nuts of the proper type
in Home Depot or Lowes. Ace hardware did have them. Note that
supplies the clevis and cam bolt in a hardened steel for
longevity. Chart updated to reflect the latest data in the new Hornady
Suggest keeping the/an old manual handy as it can be clarifingly useful
for cross-reference especially if you have an older model.
stock and Barrel: 800.228.7925; www.lockstock.com.
Parts are discounted.
wad guides, crimp dies, etc are usually
available from many sporting dealers.
Larger capacity shot and
powder tubes are available from www.basicdesignmachine.com.
These are quite large, static coated, and the design eliminates the
infamous ball powder leakage mess—at least from the tubes.
A second source is Jim
**email@example.com**x. He is a
new, recent supplier and
product looks very nice. (Remove the **x for his email address.) A
is more comfortable to your palm during those long,
I-gotta-load-700-for-the-weekend-now sessions. If you plan to load a
both are well worthwhile additions to the 366.
quantity counters are available on ebay as well
as on other
sites. As long as there are no Operational Errors (OE's), they work
well. With an OE, you
have to keep track of any additional machine-fixing operating lever
operations and subtract that count from the final total.
easier to just decide how many shells you want to load, bring out that
primers and just load them? You want 110 shells, just put 10 primers
into the the drop tube, then put the primer pack of 100 into the primer
tray and dial them as you go along into the tube. You get exactly 110
shells and OE's
don't matter any more: you
don't have to worry about counter accuracy. Of
course, if someone came up with a talking counter with an
voice and a bit of vocabulary to tell you how many you've loaded, that
could be entertaining; probably even
loading session go by quicker! )
auto spring loaded primer seater is
attractive if you want to load any hull and have the primer seat
properly. Just set it to seat the primer perfectly for the deepest case
you will use and the spring
will compensate for the highest cases. One downside is that you have to
supply the muscle to move the spring. A second is the need to keep a
spare press-on nut as a spare part. If you stick with one hull all the
time or don't mind making the minor height adjustments, there is no
to installing the spring loaded primer seater.
part VI, 40 years with the Hornady 366.
to Part I: Introduction
to Part II: General problem solutions
to Part III: On poor crimps, 410 reloading
to Part IV: Changing gauges
Part V: Annual maintenance<
Part VI: On buying a used 366
Link to Master article index for all six
(116k – for keyword search)
back to the home page
and sharing his comments to make this series better.
is extended to Ryan Vijil
inspiration to write this series.
always in America in these times, use of
information above is at your own risk.
note of appreciation and a big thanks to Hornady
press in production and parts easily available!
Last revised 3/2012