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Discussion in 'Reloading' started by ltrbuck, Sep 4, 2010.
Thinking of buying one, anyone have any input on them - pros & cons? Thanks!
Pros: Lots of leverage/power, very good for reforming cases. Decent semi-universal shell holder system. Floating die retention system. Very good spent primer catcher system. Prestige value.
Cons: Ergomomics of the long throw lever AND the straight out lever AND straight in/out case insertion is awkward to some. The short 'wish-bone' lever design of the older models restricted the use of some tall seating dies. Need to use thick Forster type die lock rings on every die. A lot of extra cost for little real ammo quality or user benefit.
Opinion: It's certainly a good press. Some people credit it for loading highly concentric ammo but I found no justification for that. Fact is, a round case WILL align itself in a round hole in a die very precisely unless there is some massive side force preventing it from doing so and no press made is that poorly aligned!
Fact: It's much to costly for my taste. Given the same dies and components I can make equal quality ammo on much less expensive presses.
I've made great ammo at the range with a cheap portable lee press and the Lee perfect powder measure clamped to a shooting bench. 10 shots into 1/4" with a 260 AI.
The Forster press is absolutely awesome. It is very straight and you will make very concentric ammo.
I have seen other presses where the ram is not exactly in line with the die and there is a side moment introduced in the sizing and seating process.
You will not have to worry about that with the Forster.
It's the best press out there!
Will others work? Of course, but the Forster is the best!
I've been using the same one since the summer of 1978. I paid the gastly price of $83 for it without a single die! The press is just as tight and square right now as it was in 1978, and I do some very heavy case forming with mine. I've worn out two sets of jaws, and lost the springs for the jaws more than once. Mine is so old that it uses a regular shell holder for the priming device instead of the current sliding jaws (the I.D. is a little bigger than the off the shelf ones you buy, so I just run a Hi-Roc drill thru them in a lathe. The press is very square, and the case seats directly ontop of the bolster plate. Thus eleminating any error in the shell holder. The only thing the jaws really do is to retain the sized case once you raise the die off it. My press gets a few drops of three in one oil a couple times a year. Never had a problem with die clearence, and I load some Weatherby stuff. Just simply avoid Redding junk, and you won't see that problem. I do not use the Forster lock rings! I use steel Lyman rings that have roughly .005" clearence in the slot. Means little as the ring seats against the top of the slot when it has pressure on it. I never adjust the die once I have it setup again. Repeatability is exceptional, and the only thing I found better is my L.E. Wilson setup in an arbor press. Bullets will almost always be in the .0015" TIR range with either setup. I can take the dies out of the press and put them up for a year, and return to the exact same settings in about thirty seconds. But best of all, I can full length resize 30-06 cases with two fingers! This is critical when doing this big long strait walled cases. The Forster priming device supplied with the press seats the primer between .004" and .005" below the face everytime.
One thing I don't like about the Forster (and most of the others) is the way the set on the bench. The set too low for my eyes! I built a six inch riser out of aluminum, and that made a world of difference. Then I built an eight inch one and a ten and a half inch one. Eight inches seems about right (I also angled the one so the press tilts back about twenty degrees). Also when I want to cut the neck off a modified case the Forster is a pain in the neck. I have a cheap RCBS Partner setting beside it just for that application (and nothing else)
So remember this: if you buy one all your buddys will laugh at you for spending way too much money. But after about ten years they will buy three more presses while your still using the same one. I went thru the same thing, and now better than half just happen to own the same press I do
Still considering one, haven't taken the "plunge" just yet. I like what I'm seeing on them. Stumbled into a small local gunshop\smith who swears by them and sells them for $260. Sound reasonable? He obviously claims they're the best and the only reason he stocks and sells them is because noone else locally does and they are what he has always used........
Looks like a good price. Cabela's had them on sale for 229 but with shipping would probably bring it to about 250
Wonder why Cabella's doesn't have them in their local store here?? Same town as that little gunshop....
I imagine one reason is the lack of markup. Another reason is the crap you often hear about them (weak design, etc.). It without question the most powerfull press sold. It's the only press that uses a "toggle" design in it's fulcrum points. Everytime you add a toggle into the power line you double the power at the minimum. With the two guide rods instead of one single guide rod you defeat all the torqueing in the ram; making everything stay square. Take C or O frame press that has about a thousand rounds thru it, and check the bore in the frame. The ram will move all over the place because everytime you push the ram up your torqueing in in another direction. A poor, but cheap to build design
Another important factor with any reloading press is die alignment. If you can screw the die into threads you have slop. So you then tighten the jam nut to secure it. But with clearence on the threads of the jam nut you got the slight chance of a missaligned nut. Not a biggie if you follow the instructions to align the die in the threads first (90% don't). You also need to do this procedure in the Forster as well (you do this when you adjust the die depth and then tighten the lock ring
Take the basic shell holder for example. When they machine it, there has to be somekind of tolarence involved. Probably around .00075" when you look at the size and shape. Nothing is ground on them, so it may be even be more than that. If the seating face has .0005" error in it for a regular .469 case; that's close to one half degree of error. Not much till your thinking 2.25". Where the Forster press seats the case head directly on the bolster plate of the press.
Trickymissfit: "Just simply avoid Redding junk, and you won't see that problem."
"Redding junk"? Goodness! I assume you mean Redding's dies? I generally prefer Forster dies, and some other items as well, for personal reasons but not superiour quality over Redding. For a "pros and cons" question, that's an unconventional judgement that goes hard against the whole of common reloading wisdom. It would be interesting to hear how you justify saying that. Ditto your comment about a low price mark-up. ??
I've never heard of and can't imagine anyone buying two-three presses inside ten years simply because their first wasn't a Co-Ax. Acquiring different or additional presses (or anything else) with specific features for specific tasks isn't uncommon but never because the first wasn't from Forster!
"It without question the most powerfull press sold. It's the only press that uses a "toggle" design in it's fulcrum points." ????
Oh? Actually, every press currently made has a compound toggle link lever system, that's what the twin swinging links and the block that holds the lever accomplishes. The major "power" difference with the Co-Ax comes from it's longer lever throw, any long lever amplifies force more effectively than a short lever. But, since the others still have much more power, or leverage, than reloading needs it's mostly irrelivant. IMHO of course.
I often easily reform .30-06 to .243 and .22-250 with one hand on a conventional "O" frame single stage press; how much more leverage should I need?
without starting WWIII let me say that a normal style press techically is a link and toggle, but not a very good one. Think about the cross section of each design a minute or two. By the way a Co-Ax press with the short arm is more powerfull than the others as well. You'll notice it right away when pushing the shoulder back on a case nearly a half inch in one pass
"without starting WWIII let ..."
I know what you mean but you'll have no war with me, I don't take opposing views as a personal insult.
I have used the Co-Ax, that's why I said good things about it, but it's ergonomics aren't for me.
I fully appreciate the design of it's toggle arm system and mentioned its great leverage in my first post. That said, I consider it irrelivant for common reloading tasks because others do just as well, at least for me, and at MUCH less cost. That allows me to buy other small presses for special purposes and still have less investment in my loading system.
Individual goals and individual choices. But....Redding "junk"?
the real advantage of the Co-Ax design shows up when sizing really long strait walled cases so much in vogue with black powder metalic cartridge shooters (even a 38-55 and .444 will take it's toll).
I owned a Co-Ax but there were several features I didn't like about the press, especially when loading long cartridges. It's a nice press but like stated before, the ergonomics are not that great and I really got tired of pinching my fingers seating bullets in a 300 win mag. I much prefer my Redding Ultramag to the Forster Co-Ax. The Ultramag is still on my bench but the Forster isn't. At the risk of blasphamy ... I also prefer the Lee Classic Cast over the Forster.
Appreciate conflicting views being as I did ask for the "pros and cons" being as I'm trying to educate myself better before I do buy. I, like others have mentioned don't care for trying to save a dollar on something that I'm considering as a long term investment and really not wishing I'd have purchased some "better" soon after doing so. Curious as to how or why fingers would be prone to pinching while loading 300 WM as that is what I'm going to be loading for first??