Ever have something that’s been on your list for years, and you finally get to it? I’ve been asked numerous times to show the FORSTER Co-Ax press on Ultimate Reloader, and finally it’s time to get hands-on with this press! Ed and Steve from the 6.5 Guys have talked about the Co-Ax, and I know they like the press- now we can compare notes! In this post I’ll cover everything from unboxing, to press setup, and also show my first operation with the press: sizing some 6.5 Creedmoor brass. Let’s get to it!
What’s In the Box
The Forster Co-Ax press kit comes with everything shown here: (Forster Co-Ax Press with S Jaws setup)
Here’s what you see above:
- Press assembly
- Press handle
- Primer catch tube and cup
- Primer punch locator (for priming system setup)
- Small primer punch (large primer punch installed on press from factory)
- Allen keys
- FORSTER locking die rings (2)
- Instruction booklet (not pictured)
This press setup covers all of the basic equipment requirements to load ammunition with small or large primers with the exception of dies and other related tools (see THIS ARTICLE here on Ultimate Reloader for a list of what you need to load rifle ammunition).
FORSTER Co-Ax Features
With the FORSTER Co-Ax, you don’t have to buy individual shellholders because of the innovative and unique universal shellholder system that comes with this press kit:
This universal shellholder clamping system opens and shuts as the press approaches the bottom of the stroke. You can adjust the jaws, and flip them (rotate each jaw 180 degrees) to grip cases of various diameters. When properly setup, these jaws also center the case as the ram is raised (when the jaws close). This prevents the phenomenon you may have experienced with traditional shellholders where cases can “back out” if your hand sticks to the lube or you catch the case with your finger when moving your hand away. That can lead to a crushed case since the die won’t be aligned as the case moves towards the die (don’t ask me how I know this). Since these shellholder jaws are open at the bottom of the stroke, that means you can’t prime at the bottom of the stroke like on some other presses. The FORSTER engineers thought of that- there’s a priming station on the top of the press (see below) that features adjustable jaws, so you guessed it- no shellholders are needed for priming. I’ll show the FORSTER Co-Ax priming system in-depth when we get into precision reloading with this press.
Perhaps one of the most interesting features of the FORSTER Co-Ax is the die mounting arrangement- you don’t have to screw dies into your press *or* use quick change bushings- the die and die ring slip right into a slot on the press:
Changing primer sizes is only a matter of swapping out the punch, and adjusting the jaws for the case rim per the cartridge you want to load.
The Co-Ax also features a unique linkage system that has TREMENDOUS mechanical advantage- this means much less force is required for heavy-lifting tasks like sizing bottleneck rifle cartridges. Here you can see how the linkage is oriented on the FORSTER Co-Ax:
This linkage system and the “dual rod” system the Co-Ax has in place of the “traditional single ram” make this press stand alone in terms of design features. I think I found my solution for sizing stubborn .308 military machine gun brass in small base dies- you need as much help (mechanical advantage) with that kind of operation as you can get!
Mounting the FORSTER Co-Ax
For my presses, I use the Inline Fabrication Ultramount system with quick change. For the Co-Ax, all I needed was a #8 quick change top plate to use the Co-Ax with my Ultramounts. These top plates come with all of the mounting hardware you’ll need, and as shown in the video, it was quick to install. If you are mounting the FORSTER Co-Ax directly to a bench, you’ll need to utilize four 1/4″ bolts or lag screws (a template is included in the owner’s manual). This Inline Fabrication Micro Ultramount setup worked great with the Ultimate Reloader Bench System (details coming soon) including my own design for quick clamps. Here you can see the back of the press, and the particulars of the mounting system:
The FORSTER Co-Ax is a very unique press, and has quite a few amazing features. I can’t wait to get more in-depth with this press here on Ultimate Reloader (make sure you’re subscribed!). So far I really like how this press operates: it made quick and effortless work of sizing 6.5 Creedmoor brass! In this content series we’ll be loading ammunition (small and large primer varieties) – and that’s where I’ll cover all of the other details we didn’t cover here.
I just looked, and as usual there’s great deals on the FORSTER Co-Ax Press at Midsouth Shooters Supply if you are interested in picking one up! Do you have a FORSTER Co-Ax? I’d love to hear about your experiences with this press, please leave a comment!