I use the Apex 3.1 It was bought at the Grand (Vandalia) a number of years ago as a 3.0 just when the 3.1 Model was released. At the time of purchase I also got, at no charge, the 3.1 mod kit.
The Apex makes good reloads but you must remember that Hornady quit making these a fair number of years ago. They still support them BUT some parts may not be available any more.
The problem areas I have run into are all basically just from long term use. The shot bushing holder is made of a hard plastic but after a while a piece of shot may wedge under it and cause the bushing to only turn part way and drop a partial shot charge. Keeping the rubber washer used in this area in good shape helps. If the washer gets worn, the problem is more likely to happen.
The primer drop, at least with some primers gives me a problem. There is a rotating bar that turns the primer feeder to drop a primer when the shell is in the resizing/depriming die (1st station). I have not figured out why it happens but primers will occasionally hang up in the tube somewhere and either not drop or drop late so that the arm that pushes the primer into the priming station either flips them over or otherwise fails to push the primer into place. This problem first surfaced when I was using Cheddite and then when Winchester went to the zinc coating (they had been using a copper coating) the problem became more common. You just pay attention to listen to the sound of the primer drop and look into the primer drop point to insure the primer is properly oriented. This may happen to me maybe 10 times out a hundred or two loaded shells.
Fine grain powders (NITRO 100 [NEW], THE OLD 452 AA Ball, maybe others) tend to leak around the powder bushing but this problem also happens with other presses so I don't blame the Apex for this.
I also have a 366 and I actually use the Apex for the majority of my loading. I like the shell resizer for every shell rather than the individual station on the 366, and the automatic powder and shot drop of the 366. If you forget a shell and the station is empty, the powder or shot does not drop (MOST OF THE TIME) but if there is an accumulation of powder or shot on the press, this sometimes will allow shot or powder to drop without a shell under it.
If the press is in good condition and has been properly maintained, it can provide you a lot of good service. You may have to adjust it to match the empties you are using but the instructions are pretty good about how to do this. In my case, about the only thing that needs changing is the primer seater. The sizing/deprimeing station, the crimp start and finish and taper-lock stations are almost never adjusted when I change from Win AA, Rem gun club/sts or even the federal cheap shells. The wad pressure is not a problem since it is not adjustable (never been any problems with this). The wad fingers do wear out after several thousand rounds but it is easy and cheap to replace them. You do have to keep the press clean and lubricated for best performance but that is the case with all presses.
Over all I would give it a 4.5 out of 5 rating especially when you consider the price when it was new. Mine cost $150 and that included the 3.1 kit.
I'm a BIG FAN of the Apex 3.0 and 3.1 (have 3/12 gauge, 1/20)... STAY AWAY from the original APEX with the metal collar on lower platen - its operation is not compatible/interchangeable with the 3.0/3.1 tools.
If the Apex you're considering is the 3.0/3.1, understand that the 3.0 shell plate in 12 gauge is no longer available. Othr parts like the clear primer reservoir up top, you'll have to adapt a 366 primer reservoir using some of the Apex parts... otherwise, most parts are readily available and these are fine loaders... with a couple quirks.
Yes, the Apex has some plastic, but in my opinion and having used these machines for more than 15 years - they were really ahead of their time offering hull "detects" for primer, powder and shot drops plus the swing out wad holder - ALL at then a very reasonable price point with superior Hornady customer service...
Also, if you need a loader for both lead and steel reloading - the Hornadys make the change from one to the other very easy...
If you can buy 3.0/3.1 right ($150+/- + shpg) go for it!
Additional questions... PM, I'm glad to offer help with them,
thank you all for the help. i have a 650 mec that i like but i am getting a little age on me and pulling the handle on the mec makes my arm sore. i thought the apex would stop some of this. it looks like the handle on the apex is a more pull back rather than a pull down.i could go to a 9000h but i don't know how many years i will be loading and i just don't have the buck's for a loader like the 9000.the one i was looking at is $140.00.its on ebay.don't know yet?still thinking.