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Reloading Berger Bullets


Forster co-axial press

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Unread 08-08-2009, 12:39 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 430
Re: Forster co-axial press

My point exactly. The one you choose is the one you'll love.

I still think the simplicity/complexity thing is the determining element.
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Unread 08-08-2009, 09:27 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Mountians of SW NC, near Asheville
Posts: 1,595
Re: Forster co-axial press

"I was told by a very knowlegable and respected gunnut in local circles - who happens to sell a lot of both these presses - that he would much rather spend the extra$ and upgrade to the co-ax. Main argument being the alignment that is (automatically) controlled by the case and not the press, and that this results in less runout."

If any press is bored and threaded perfectly and the dies are perfectly mounted and the ram has zero side play concentric ammo can be made on it. But, in real life such things are rarely perfect. If the alignments are not perfect, we can use the Co-Ax press, with it's floating die holding method, and get concentric ammo every time. If our press is not perfect we can play with largely pointless tricks such as using rubber rings to retain the shell holder, which can only allow shell holder movement in one direction, and we MIGHT get concentric ammo.

But, in ANY press-to-ram fit that has a bit of slack (slop), the case can easily SELF align to a die as it enters, as precisely as in a Co-Ax with it's floading dies. Meaning, the popular myth of a truly tight ram-to-body fit is badly misplaced.

ALL that a super tight press CAN do is force a bad fit, it's really no mechanical help in obtaining a precise fit at all. Sized cases with bannana shapes come from tightly fitted presses, not old, "worn out" presses.

BR shooters with their hand dies and arbor presses have the ultimate in "sloppy fit". But their totally floating die and ram system insures they get a maximum precision fit and accuracy without ANY rigidity of alignment.

Last edited by boomtube; 08-08-2009 at 09:33 AM.
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Unread 08-08-2009, 07:55 PM
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 6,517
Re: Forster co-axial press

I have used a Forster for about 10 years and love it.
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Unread 08-09-2009, 09:57 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Bryan, Tx
Posts: 284
Re: Forster co-axial press

I have both a co-ax and a k&m arbor press. Each work great in different situations. I feel that the primer seater on the co-ax is pretty darn close to worthless. I do feel like I get quite a bit of "feel" when resizing in the forster press. The forster also has a nice primer/debris catcher that is nice as well. I can easily make ammo with near zero runout, however, I have just as easily made ammo with 10-15 thou runout on the same press. I chose the co-ax, but I understand its limitations and use it accordingly
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Unread 08-09-2009, 05:30 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 51
Re: Forster co-axial press

Conventional presses, with the fulcrum attached to the bottom of the ram, and cantilevered on the opposite side of the ram bearing from the shell holder, by necessity, will advance the cartridge in a vertical arc, or at the least, not a straight line. The alignment of the cartridge to the die is thus a dynamic issue, and must be adjusted throughout the stroke. The ability of "float" to re-align the cartridge with the die is limited while force is being applied due to friction in the floating systems. The user can overcome this by pausing once or twice while advancing the cartridge into the die, allowing pressure to subside, and the floating systems to do their job more easily.

The co-ax supports the shell holder & "ram" between bearings above and below, avoiding cantilevering. The co-ax fixes the fulcrum to the press frame, not the ram. The co-ax linkage applies lateral force to the shell holder in one direction only during the stroke. Thus, all play in the ram is taken out uniformly and consistently throughout the stroke, resulting in a straight line vertical travel, making it easier for the floating systems to adjust the alignment of cartridge to die.

As with many things in reloading, technique has as much to do with accuracy of results as equipment does. Some equipment makes the necessary technique easier to apply.

The Redding Big Boss is an excellent press, but I would consider the Big Boss II variant more desirable, since it has a hollow ram to allow spent primers to be captured more consistently and easily. The co-ax takes that one step further, since it does not have a priming arm in the ram, it never allows primer debris near the bearings of the press while efficiently depositing them in a catch bottle.

As mentioned earlier, the ergonomics of the two presses are quite different. Most users prefer to use the co-ax while standing, making it easier to deal with the handle travel down the center. If you prefer to sit while using your press, this may not be the best for you. I personally like the higher position of the co-ax handle and its range of motion.

As with all things, YMMV, etc.

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