Forester presses??

flashhole

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Messages
464
My 300 WM loads used 200 and 220 grain bullets. They are long bullets and to seat them I had to guide the nose of the bullet up into the seat die and drop it back down onto the case. I would hold it in place as I pulled down on the handle long enough to ensure it was going into the die straight before pulling my hand away. Not very user friendly and I pinched myself frequently. In all fairness, that was not an issue on shorter cartridges.

I also didn't like the fact that the clearance on the handle was not long enough to accomodate a seat die with a micrometer adjust. I hear they have since modified the handle on the B3 version to fix that problem but the throw is still the same. There was not much room to operate in the working area of the press and for people with large hands it is frustrating. I also didn't like having to change out the self-capturing jaws when loading 45-70. Snap-in, snap-out, shell holders are much simpler. You should be aware you will need the Forster die rings for all your dies to get the proper fit in the capture recess. Not a bad thing really since they are very good die rings.
 

BigJakeJ1s

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2008
Messages
52
The use of seating dies that feature a sliding alignment sleeve helps a lot, especially with tall cartridges on the co-ax. No more pinched fingers, since the sliding sleeve slips down and holds the bullet for you. These types (Forster patented the design, and Redding copied it for their Competition rifle seating dies after the patent expired) generally provide straighter bullet seating than conventional seating dies. The Hornady seaters have a similar sleeve, but it does not engage the shoulder and body of the cartridge for alignment. It does however help avoid pinched fingers. Windowed seating dies like those from RCBS also avoid pinched fingers. However, it not a problem for standard length and shorter cartridges with any seating die.

A conventional press has maybe 4" of bearing length to hold the ram and guide its travel true to the die. The Forster has bearings above and below the shell holder (the guide rods ride in the press frame bearings, and the guide block is fixed on the rods), with an effective bearing length of about 8". Thus for a given amount of manufacturing tolerance, the Co-Ax allows much less play measured at the cartridge base, compared to a conventional press. And while a conventional press ram reverses the direction of play in mid-stroke, the linkage and guide rod design of the co-ax does not. The slack in the co-ax is taken out only at the top and bottom of stroke, as the motion is reversed, and there is little force or friction keeping the cartridge and die from re-aligning. Many experienced reloaders pause one or more times in mid-stroke while seating on a conventional press to rotate the cartridge, but it also reduces pressure, and corresponding friction, for the cartridge and die to re-align mid-stroke.

The concerns listed by users who did not like the ergonomics of the co-ax are genuine, and apply differently to different users. I like the ergonomics. I also reload while standing, which may help. I also know users who use it almost sideways to avoid the long handle interfering with their chest/torso in use. If it is available at a local gun shop, I would strongly suggest playing with it there (particularly if they have it mounted to a shelf or counter top). I also like that the tubular gripped handle provides a multitude of hand positions and corresponding amounts of leverage and hand/arm travel. My hand usually starts and ends the cycle near the top of the yoke (base of the handle), and slide out on the handle as needed for leverage during the stroke. I tried the shorter, ball-tipped handle, but it tends to make me want to keep my hand on the ball, thus increasing the hand/arm movement. I will probably shorten the tubular grip handle by a few inches, since I never use the last couple of inches anyway.

Andy
 

Trickymissfit

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Joined
Jun 11, 2010
Messages
4,148
Location
greenwood, IN
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.

each his own, but if you watch closely; most everybody that buys a Forster stays with it till they die. The Forster dosn't do everything well for sure, but what it does do, it does a better than the other guys. The arm thing is a matter of personal preference. I've never had a problem with the arm, and at least a dozen others have used my press in the past without a whimper (several went out and bought one). If you were to see my bench you'd see the Forster and a RCBS Partner press side by side with a Mec press off to one side. The RCBS is used for nothing but case cutting. But I could use it to seat bullets if I wanted to (it's a little too lite for sizing big cases in my opinion, but why should I? As for getting your fingers pinched; I'll be the first to say that loading 40 grain and smaller .223 caliber bullets can be a pain, and 17 caliber even worse. Yet I've never pinched my fingers as long as I've owned that press
gary
 

Trickymissfit

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2010
Messages
4,148
Location
greenwood, IN
The use of seating dies that feature a sliding alignment sleeve helps a lot, especially with tall cartridges on the co-ax. No more pinched fingers, since the sliding sleeve slips down and holds the bullet for you. These types (Forster patented the design, and Redding copied it for their Competition rifle seating dies after the patent expired) generally provide straighter bullet seating than conventional seating dies. The Hornady seaters have a similar sleeve, but it does not engage the shoulder and body of the cartridge for alignment. It does however help avoid pinched fingers. Windowed seating dies like those from RCBS also avoid pinched fingers. However, it not a problem for standard length and shorter cartridges with any seating die.

A conventional press has maybe 4" of bearing length to hold the ram and guide its travel true to the die. The Forster has bearings above and below the shell holder (the guide rods ride in the press frame bearings, and the guide block is fixed on the rods), with an effective bearing length of about 8". Thus for a given amount of manufacturing tolerance, the Co-Ax allows much less play measured at the cartridge base, compared to a conventional press. And while a conventional press ram reverses the direction of play in mid-stroke, the linkage and guide rod design of the co-ax does not. The slack in the co-ax is taken out only at the top and bottom of stroke, as the motion is reversed, and there is little force or friction keeping the cartridge and die from re-aligning. Many experienced reloaders pause one or more times in mid-stroke while seating on a conventional press to rotate the cartridge, but it also reduces pressure, and corresponding friction, for the cartridge and die to re-align mid-stroke.

The concerns listed by users who did not like the ergonomics of the co-ax are genuine, and apply differently to different users. I like the ergonomics. I also reload while standing, which may help. I also know users who use it almost sideways to avoid the long handle interfering with their chest/torso in use. If it is available at a local gun shop, I would strongly suggest playing with it there (particularly if they have it mounted to a shelf or counter top). I also like that the tubular gripped handle provides a multitude of hand positions and corresponding amounts of leverage and hand/arm travel. My hand usually starts and ends the cycle near the top of the yoke (base of the handle), and slide out on the handle as needed for leverage during the stroke. I tried the shorter, ball-tipped handle, but it tends to make me want to keep my hand on the ball, thus increasing the hand/arm movement. I will probably shorten the tubular grip handle by a few inches, since I never use the last couple of inches anyway.

Andy

as I said once before; the best thing you can do with a Co-Ax press is to build a riser for it. I built mine out of a junk piece of aluminum I beam with a flat plate about 3/8" thick welded on each end. I found that I liked the eight inch extention best with the press tilted back about 20 degrees. The next guy might want it six inches and strait up and down. I've never addressed the handle issue, but have thought about making a shorter one in the past. I almost always stand when working with any of my presses (yes I do have a stool close by). Still if Forster were to make just one change in the design, I think I would want the frame made of magnesium with Ampco bronze guide busings just to reduce the weight of it.
gary
 
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