American 180 Drum Loader
Please read the entire directions from start to finish a couple of times
Using the Loader
For the first couple of times you use the loader load only a light hand full of ammo into the hopper. (25 rounds or so). After you get used to the operation, you can load the hopper up.
Wear safety glasses whenever handling ammunition.
Close the hopper lid. Then with your left index finger plug the top of the ammo exit track. (picture below) The top of the track is where the rim of the cartridge comes out. Holding the loader out away from you at eye level, Shake the loader assembly right to left with a slight angle down to the left. Your left index finger covering the rim portion of the exit track will stop the ammo from falling out and will help orientate the ammo so the bullet is facing down when you hold the assembly vertical. The weight of the bullet ensures proper back pressure to enable the loading process. If the bullets face up when the unit is vertical (loading position), the rim doesn't allow the cartridge to exit correctly.
After shaking the loader so the ammo is in the track, (be sure to hold the loader horizontally so ammo doesn't fall out) lift the AM180 drum and engage the two locating pins into the drum. The hopper box is facing toward you.
Either set the assembly onto the "Lazy Susan" bearing or load the drum in the air. I prefer the loading in the air method, but, until you are used to the loader I recommend keeping it on the bearing while loading. Holding the drum in your left hand and the loader in your right apply a little pressure so the loader pins are pushed firmly to the left. To load, slowly (very slow until you get good at it) turn the drum to the right so the ammo falls into it's nest in the drum. Best to have the loader and drum at eye level. While turning look to see that the entire face of the rim of the cartridge is flush against the drum. If you do not see the entire face touching the drum then the ammo is most likely loading on a angle and you will need to remove the angled ammo and re load.
To clean the loader use soap and water only.
Winchester Dynapoints and Remington Golden bullets were used in testing. If your ammo doesn't fall easily, you can ever so slightly file the exit opening/lead in angles up a little at a time. You can send me the loader with some of your ammo and I can do this for you free of charge.
Don't use wax coated ammo in the hopper. It leaves a residue and will not load easily.
Remove the drum stops on your drums if you haven't already. They need to be removed for the loader to work. The drum stop removal is recommended by the current drum manufacturer so the "teeth" inside of the drum do not get burred up while using the drums. (Steel or Lexan)
Drum stop removed:
On steel drums if you do not want to remove the drum stop, use a refrigerator magnet to hold the drum stop flush with the bottom plate while loading.
Test to see if the loader pins engage the drum bottom plate. If not, slightly file each of the corners equally so the loader stays centered. The aluminum bottom plates almost all have to be filed a little to allow the pins to engage correctly. If the ammo doesn't fall out of the loader you might have to make the pin locations deeper. (file the pin area, red arrow, the in the picture below)
Steel drums can be loaded but require chamfering of each and every "tooth" so the ammo falls in correctly. The steel drums need some "getting" used to because you can not see if the rounds are loading straight in or at a angle. With practice and care they can be loaded. If your Lexan drum is burred up from the drum stop, you will have to de-burr the entire drum as well.
Looking in the picture below, you can see the ammo slots. Each protrusion and between each protrusion needs chamfered so the ammo will fall freely into the drum.
Taking a steel drum apart and chamfering (and de burring) the edges:
Remove the (4) bottom plate screws and springs
Remove the bottom plate and the ammo pusher plate from inside the drum
Using a flat Needle File chamfer/de burr each and every edge marked in red in the picture below. The blue arrows show two of the protrusions that are de burred. The red arrows show where to de burr. The picture shows a drum that has not been de burred.
If the ammo doesn't fall into the steel drum correctly (ammo angles and cross loads) you need to chamfer more. If the ammo doesn't fall into the steel drum, make sure the locating pins on the bottom of the loader are in the correct position. You might have to use a round needle file to remove material in the bottom plate so the pins locate in the correct position.