Does anyone use a Forster single stage for rifle reloading? Are you satisfied with the press operation? What kind of neck run out do your re-sized cases and finished rounds have? Are you using a one piece die, two piece or perhaps a body die and separate neck sizing operation? I'd welcome your opinion and any ups or downs you've had with the press.
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February 9, 2008, 11:14 AM
Are you talking about the CO-AX press?
February 9, 2008, 11:41 AM
IMO, the Forster Co-Ax is the best single stage press commonly available. That being said, do a search. Several threads on THR discuss this press.
February 9, 2008, 11:45 AM
I have used a Forster Co-Ax for many years. I have used others, too. The Forster is very, very good.
February 9, 2008, 12:02 PM
The Co-Ax is the Cadiliac of single stage presses.
February 9, 2008, 12:25 PM
The Co-Ax is a good press, some will say a great press. I had one. I liked it but replaced it in favor of a Redding Ultramag. Got tired of pinching my fingers and dropping bullets when loading long cartridges. There just wasn't enough opening. Aside from that there is nothing bad to say about it.
February 9, 2008, 12:32 PM
Do not load with a Rockchucker for 10 years before buying a Forster Co-ax press, like I did.
And don't be too cheap to buy a Co-ax press, and let the years go by without it.
February 9, 2008, 12:35 PM
Yes the CO-AX. If you use one Don what kind of neck run-out do you get re-sizing rifle cases.
February 9, 2008, 02:12 PM
Since the Co-Ax allows the die to float and the case to float, runout is close to nil, I have never measured a case, but my loaded rounds are always <.002
February 9, 2008, 07:59 PM
Don't have one; wish I did. As previously stated, they are the very best single stage press. Assuming you are using decent dies, your runout should be negligible.
February 9, 2008, 08:31 PM
best press you can buy, for dozens of different reasons. use search
February 10, 2008, 06:56 PM
I have a C0-AX press and it's the best press I've used for getting less run-out in rifle and pistol. The quick die changes is another big plus on the CO-AX. I use Hornady seater dies for pistol and some rifle. The sliding alignment sleeve helps hold bullets straight after you turn them loose and start raising the ram. With other seating dies from RCBS, Lyman, and Redding they give very consistent loads with very little run-out. I don't personally like the priming feature on the CO-AX but I prefer my RCBS Auto-prime tool but the priming system does work ok.
I like the caseholder feature on the CO-AX and the spent primer catcher is great for catching spent primers and debris. Forster advertises that sizing effort is lower than on other presses due to the press design but I find it takes more effort to size 30-06 sized cases than it does on my RockChucker or Big Max presses. Not a problem but I prefer case resizing on the RCBS presses. I have the Co-AX and RockChucker side by side and use them in tandem with seating in the Co-AX and crimping in the RockChucker for instance. If you get the CO-AX press buy the Forster die lock rings to put on your other dies. They sell them in multiple packs.
February 10, 2008, 10:46 PM
I was disappointed in my co-ax press. You have to use the Forster die rings or it won't work right. I had issues with the shell plates not opening properly. Runout was no better than anything else I used.
Since I sold that press in a fit of anger, I discovered that proper inside case neck lube was likely causing my issues, rather than the press.
Still, I would not buy one again due to the necessity to use those proprietary rings.
Since then I've discovered the Lee Classic Cast Turret press, which has the good feature of the spent primers going down through the ram, like the Co-Ax, but it has a better primer seating system too. At a fraction of the cost.
February 11, 2008, 07:07 AM
I have a Co-Ax and I love it. In fact, I'm getting ready to buy another. I load rounds up to and including the 375HH and I don't have a problem with space. It has a lot more leverage than my old Rockchucker, and full length resizing my buddies 416 Rigby was not an issue. Much more mechanical advantage than the Rockchucker. Unlike a lot of people, I actually prefer the priming system on the Co-Ax. It's easy to use, very consistent and accurate. I have loaded rounds with other presses, dies being the same, and the run-out with the Co-Ax is considerably less. Get one! Read the owners manual thoroughly before messing with it, and enjoy! Also, the old RCBS rings work great. Hope this helps.
February 11, 2008, 06:44 PM
Hornady rings also work in the Co-Ax and are cheaper.
February 11, 2008, 09:28 PM
The only lock rings I am aware of that will not work on a Co-Ax are Lee (terrible on any press) and Dillon. But I prefer Hornady lock rings on any die on any press anyway (I've heard they're too big on Lee turrets and Dillon tool heads); they have clamping action rather than set screws, and wrench flats to boot.
I recommend a seating die that has a sliding alignment sleeve. Hornady and Forster have this on all their seating dies; Redding and RCBS have it on their Competition series (RCBS' windowed seating die). The sleeve allows you to let the bullet enter the sleeve with your fingers for assistance, but the sleeve slides up out of the way, and does not pinch your fingers. The windowed seating dies avoid this finger-pinching problem altogether.
The Ultramag has more room, but it lacks the floating die retention and the shell holder jaws of the co-ax. I personally prefer the over-the-top handle motion of the co-ax, but that's just my personal preference; YMMV.
Many recently designed presses direct spent primers through the ram into a catch bottle. However, because the co-ax does not have a slot in the ram for a priming arm (through which primer debris occasionally escapes), and the shell holder is much farther away from the ram bearing surfaces than on traditional presses, it does a better job of making sure that abrasive primer debris goes into the catch bottle, and not where it can damage the press.
February 12, 2008, 09:07 PM
You stated "The only lock rings I am aware of that will not work on a Co-Ax are Lee (terrible on any press) and Dillon." Neither RCBS or Redding rings fit in the Co-Ax press. At least not their current production rings. Years ago, if my failing memory serves me correctly, RCBS rings did fit the Co-Ax press, but they now use a cheaper-to-produce lock nut. And I'm not intending to stir anything up, but I fail to see the benefit of having wrench flats on Hornady rings. IMO, if a wrench is needed to remove a die from the press it is being torqued in much tighter than is necessary.
February 12, 2008, 10:43 PM
I have some of the latest RCBS lock rings, and they will "work" on a Forster co-ax. They are not optimal because they are too thin, and I don't think they do a very good job, but they will function (for instance, I only tried it with a universal depriming die, where optimal performance was not required). Knowing the Redding rings are similar sized to RCBS, I assume that they would function similarly. The Lee and Dillon rings will not work at all, because they won't stay put and/or won't fit.
Lyman also makes a clamp style ring (not offered on their dies), that may work, as do the standard set-screw rings that come on Lyman dies.
As for wrench flats on die rings, I agree that under most circumstances, they should not require a wrench to loosen. However, there are two occurrences where they may be needed. First is when the die and ring are first adjusted and then tightened (clamped down) on the die. The clamping action usually causes the lock ring to center on the threads, which may cause it to tighten/jam against the press more tightly than it had been by hand, thus requiring a wrench to loosen. The second is when a die is left in a press for an extended period in a garage or other non-climate-controlled environment. Repeated heating and cooling can cause the die to tighten (or sometimes loosen) in a press. Some dies do not have a wrench flat on the body, and I prefer to apply a wrench rather than pliers which often mar the finish of the die or lock ring.
February 12, 2008, 11:10 PM
Some Lee lock rings work on my CoAx. RCBS rings work but are a bit too thin. Redding works and Hornady doesn't.
February 12, 2008, 11:29 PM
I am the proud owner of a Co-AX and I must be doing something very wrong. The only rings that I have found to work are Forester and the old RCBS rings. Not all the old RCBS rings work, I have found that some are too thick to fit in the die ring space.
I have tried the Hornday, and they don't line the die up correctly. If the flat side of the ring is put in first, or towards the back of the press, then the die sits too far backward. The Redding, Lee, and current RCBS rings are too thin and don't hold the die in the holder at all. This is my experience...what the heck am I doing wrong?:cuss:
If you just load a ring ( no die ) into the press-first the Forester, then whatever else, you will see a big difference in the "fit". Let me know what I am doing wrong.....been known to be a monkey with a hammer!:D
February 13, 2008, 08:48 PM
I don't think you are doing anything wrong. Everything you said is correct. I think someone has inhaled way too much primer dust, or is snorting too much smokeless powder. Personally, I wish one of the respondents who claims current production RCBS rings will work in a Co-Ax would post a picture as proof. I would suspect they are refering to the rings RCBS supplied with their dies many moons ago. All I can say is you can ram a .270 winchester round into a .30-06 chambered rifle and it will fire. That doesn't mean it works. C'mon. Let's see some photos of the non-Hornady or non-Forster rings that supposedly work in the Co-Ax.
February 13, 2008, 11:27 PM
Sorry, but I don't have a digital camera handy.
But I just measured the slot (.318), forster ring (.315), hornady ring (.311), and the lock ring I took off my 2 year old rcbs universal decapper (.266), bought new at the Cabella's store in FW TX.
And my co-ax (just over a year old) works fine with Hornady rings, but as someone else mentioned it is sensitive to how the ring goes into the slot. Mine works fine if the flats are fore and aft, but side to side does not let the spring detent hold the die in place. The forster rings are a closer fit, and their round shape doesn't care which end/side goes in where, but I don't like their phillips head clamp screw. One of these days I'm going to replace them with allen head cap screws.
We're talking about the RCBS lock rings with the brass set screw that you're supposed to put a lead shot under, right? That's the one I have. Blued steel, 1.265" across the rounded corners, 1.181 across the flats. The Forster ring is 1.365" OD.
Like I said, the only die I've used it with is a universal decapping die, where precision is not that critical, and I already said it is loose in there. At least on my co-ax, the barrel of the die fits well enough in the press that it positions the die pretty well (except for sliding out when the detent does not hold it in place).
Maybe I didn't make myself clear, but I would NOT recommend RCBS rings with the co-ax, but they will work in a pinch, until you can get something else that works better.
Now, just who's inhalin' or snortin' what?! ;^)
February 14, 2008, 01:03 AM
It sounds like the rings might be a problem. Lyman makes a steel split lock ring. does anyone know what the dimensions are?
February 14, 2008, 08:18 PM
No offense intended. Your last post says it all. You might be able to use a Redding or an RCBS ring in a pinch, but as you stated, neither will center the die properly. I think we would both agree that the Co-Ax is the best single stage press commonly available, whether or not there has been any snortin' or inhalin' going on!
And Bill, the rings are really not a problem. You can buy the rings separately. I have maybe 10 spares in case I buy a new set of dies for some new firearm. They do not cost all that much. Even with the added cost of using the Forster rings, I would tell you that is a small price to pay in order to gain all the benefits the Co-Ax press offers. I think most Co-Ax users would tell you the exact same thing.
February 14, 2008, 10:15 PM
Buy Forster lock rings.
They work much better on any press.
February 14, 2008, 10:33 PM
One of the reviews I read stated the Forster rings were aluminum. I was Looking for a steel replacement lock ring. The Lyman ring is the same shape and steel. Now if I can find out what size they are from one of the members we'll be able to establish if they can be used to replace the proprietary ring.
February 15, 2008, 01:44 AM
To reply to Stubbicat and add my $.02:
The Forster Co-Ax press is excellent. The Forster rings are recommended to optimize one of the great features of the press - its ablity to "float" the die in the x-y or horizontal plane. The die ring "snaps" in to a precisely-milled slot. The die is held securely in the perpendicular axis but floats horizontally in order to improve concentricity. There are two important features of the Forster rings. First, the size matches the milled slot that holds the die ring. Second, the screw holding the ring tight to the die tightens the ring tangentially instead of axially. An axial compression screw could potentially cause an angled offset due to the thread angle of the die's threads.
Once you adjust the die and tighten the ring's compresssion screw, you can quickly remove the die, store it and quickly reinstall it with the assurance that the die is still in adjustment. You have not moved the ring relative to the die. Snap the die in, snap it out - just that quickly. No readjusting the ring is necessary. This makes switching from one die to another very quick and easy. Not quite as fast as a turret press, but close. Plus the alignment of this press is probably better than most turret presses, due to the inherent "slop" required for the rotating turret.
Bottom line on the rings: the Forster rings are used for a good reason. They are not that expensive. Use them - they are worth it.
To respond to Stubbicat's criticism of the locking "shellholder" jaws, I noticed a similar problem. This was easily resolved by disassembling the jaws, cleaning and re-lubing with clean oil. This took about 5 minutes. Now the jaws spring back decisively. I suspect that Forster ships the shellholder jaws with a heavy oil or grease so that rust won't develop in storage/shipping. Cleaning and lubing with a lighter oil makes them work better. Also, there is a pointed adjustment screw in the ram that adjusts the amount of jaw opening to allow loading the case. Foster's directions are quite clear on this.
The spent primer holder cup works great. The drop tube and cup constitute a closed system that works to keep grit and lead-laden dust confined. Good feature.
Forster's customer service is good. If you call, technicians are available to answer questions or walk you through setup or operation. I have called them 3 times - they were quite helpful. If I had read the directions more closely, the calls would not have been needed.
Bottom line - excellent press. Highly recommended. I have measured the runout of .223 rounds using the Forster press and Forster and Redding competition-type seating dies. Virtually all rounds have had total runout of less than .002".
February 15, 2008, 08:49 PM
Again, don't keep using the rockchucker until you are old, and then upgrade to a Co-ax.
Buy the co-ax when you are still young.
Ask me how I know that:(
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