We first saw the Forster Co-Ax XL at SHOT Show 2023. Now we’re getting hands-on!
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About the Forster Co-Ax XL
The Co-Ax XL is made to accept 1″ 1/4″ Dies as well as 7/8″ dies (adaptor lock ring required (2) included with the press). The Press was designed with ELR Shooters in mind and is built with the same float advantage, quick die change and precision of the standard Co-Ax.
What is different:
- Accepts both 1 1/4″ and 7/8″ Dies
- Made from a steel weldment as opposed to Cast Iron
- Accepts a wider range of calibers
- No priming system
- A light has been added
- Ball bearings in the handle-frame connection
What is the same:
- Spent primer catch system
- Quick die change
- Floating jaw system
- Mechanical advantage.
The steel weldment and 13″ handle give it unrivaled rigidity and leverage. The addition of ball bearings to the handle improves operation and makes for one of the smoothest reloading experiences ever. If doing something that does not require as much leverage, our Short Handle will adapt into this press.
Note Forster is in the process of having .50 BMG Dies available (along with 375 CheyTac, 408 CheyTac, and 375 EnABELR Dies). Our standard shell holder is machined to be .125″ thick (same as all standard shell holders). Most .50 BMG Dies are made to work with thicker shell holders and if used in the press will need to be adjusted accordingly.
What’s in the Box
The press comes with the large jaw set installed. Also included is the jaw set for ⅞” dies with smaller case rims, Allen keys, die lock rings (2 for 1 ¼”, 2 for ⅞”), press handle, primer drop tube, primer catch cup, Streamlight stylus reach, sticker, and written instructions.
I drilled and tapped some holes in one of my steel mounting plates for the Ultimate Reloader Bench System to more easily mount the press.
I also laser engraved the Cerakoted plate which fits both the Forster Co-Ax and Co-Ax XL. (If you have any existing Co-Ax mounting hardware —it should also fit the XL!)
This press is especially hefty with a welded frame. The handle slides neatly into the top (secured with set screw) and the resulting height of the press on the plate and bench was about perfect.
The primer catcher screws into the bottom of the press under the shellholder.
Press instructions say to install the light last, but I wanted to use them for the shellplate demo. Twisting the base turns the light on and off. I placed the lightbulb down the front of the press while the flexible cable ran the backside until clipping to the bottom.
The press has two sets of jaws – one for big cartridges like .50 BMG and one for ⅞” dies. These are interchangeable with a 5/32” Allen key. Removing one set of jaws reveals the springs and plate which work for both jaw sets.
I decided to seat .223 on the press and size .50 BMG. My first step was to replace the original ⅞” die lock ring with one of Forster’s included die lock rings. This allows more more die travel.
I then popped in the die, put an empty case in the shellplate/shellholder, moved the case to the top, and then the die down until it almost contacted the shell plate. I locked the lock ring when I was content with this setup. Without a dummy round on hand, I had to estimate the bullet seating depth.
The Co-Ax press is different from most presses in that you bring the case to the die, not the die to the case. I did note that this press required more handle movement than the original Co-Ax, but as a bigger unit, it made sense. The carriage rides on ball bearings and other than the size, still retains the feel of the traditional Co-Ax.
Switching back to the big jaws, I set up a Forster .50 BMG sizing die, letting it contact the shellplate before slightly backing it off and tightening the lock ring.
I resized some of my fired brass with no issue, though I’m still desperately searching for .50 BMG primers. It did seem to take less force to size .50 BMG than it has on other presses.
This press is ideal if you are looking for a press that can pull double-duty, loading traditional calibers while retaining the ability to load things like .50 BMG. Coming soon is a .375 CheyTac build, which this press will be perfect for!
Get the Gear
I’m considering selling the mounting plates as part of the Ultimate Reloader Bench System. Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in!
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