Bullet Puller FAQs (1)

Avoiding crushed case necks

Q. When using one of your collet style bullet pullers, I occasionally end up with a crushed case neck. Any idea what would be causing this?

A. We suggest that you pre-tension the collet when you set up the tool so that the collet is slightly larger than the bullet diameter. This will allow you to stop the upward stroke of the press before the neck of the case enters the collet.

Case Neck Graphiter FAQs (1)

Case Neck Graphiter & Mica

Q. In the Case Neck graphiter instructional video it states to wipe motor mica off the outside of the case neck as it is abrasive. So then what does it do to the expander ball over time in repeated contact with the mica?

A. The surface finish on the inside diameter of the die is a mirror finish, whereas the finish on the expander ball (E-10) is not nearly as smooth. The abrasive nature of the very finely granulated mica has a more damaging effect on the inside of the die then it has on the expander ball.

Case Trimmers & Accessories FAQs (15)

Case Trimmer Collets or Pilots

Q. How do I find out what size Case Trimmer Collet or Pilot I need for a specific cartridge case?

A. We have built a tool for you on our website. Just click on the “Search” icon and then search for “Forster Case Trimmers, Collets, Pilots & Trimmer Accessories for your cartridge” to find the correct Collet or Pilot for your specific need.

The search results page you receive will provide the proper size collet to hold the rim of your case, the proper pilot to support the case mouth, the proper neck reamer, and the correct sizes and availability of Outside Neck Turner Pilots for your cartridge case.

A useful “Notes” section on the search results page provides other advice on case conditioning related to your specific cartridge.

Case Trimmer Clearance Adjustments

Q. How do I adjust my Case Trimmer when there is not enough clearance to Outside Neck Turn, 3-in-1 Case Mouth Cut or Hollow Point longer cases and cartridges?

A. There are a couple of remedies.

There is 1/2″ of adjustment (in 1/4″ increments) built into the Original and the Classic Trimmer, allowing the trimmer’s capacity to be widened before it becomes necessary to use a longer base. To adjust, use the outer set of holes on the Collet Housing and Bearing to mount them to the gold Case Trimmer Base.

We also stock a Long Case Trimmer Base (6 1/2″) compared to our standard (5 3/8″) Base which comes with our Original Trimmer. It is part #CT1010-CTB103 for ordering.

Cutter Shaft Sharpening

Q. I purchased another Forster Case Trimmer and noticed it was a lot sharper than my old trimmer. Can your factory re-sharpen my old cutter shaft?

A. Yes, the cutting blades on the Forster Case Trimmer can be sharpened. Please return the cutter shaft only, not the entire trimmer. The sharpening fee is $9.00, which covers return postage.

Case Length and Case Trimming

Q. How does case length and Case Trimming affect reloading accuracy and chamber pressure?

A. The case’s neck should be trimmed to length for the first loading and for each loading thereafter. Factory cases are not trimmed, therefor are not square, nor are they of consistent length. Each time a case is fired, the brass flows in the neck area, getting longer with each firing. With extremely soft brass, one shot may stretch the neck all the way to the barrel throat. Normally brass may be fired several times before trimming is absolutely necessary. If the case neck is allowed to get long enough to touch the barrel throat, closing the bolt will drive it forward, wedging the case between the throat and the bullet. It may even crimp the case into the bullet. When the cartridge is fired, the pressure has to build high enough to free the crimped bullet out of the case. Loss of accuracy is a given at the point. A more important question in this situation is raised with the safety of the round in the chamber. We want the bullet to leave the rifling and find a tight group; we certainly don’t want to build pressure to the point that the bolt will be leaving the rifle!!

Case Trimmers and Accessories

Q. I would like to know all of the components you recommend to have a “complete” set of Forster tools for case preparation. I reload for a few different rifles (220 Swift, 30-06, 300 Win Mag and 300 Wby Mag). Would I need your Classic or Original Case Trimmer? Any long/short bases? Which collets, pilots, Outside Neck Turners, etc…?

A. Please click on the button on our home page called “search”. Then click on “Search by cartridge for Forster Case Trimmer, Collets, Pilots & Trimmer Accessories and Jaws for the Co-Ax Press”. On this page you can enter each caliber of rifle you load for; the website will show a customized page showing the Forster Case Trimmer and accessories that you will need along with their part ordering numbers. You can also click onto the “Overview of the Forster Case Trimming System” to choose which tools you need.

Forster Case Trimmer Pilots

Q. Will any other brand of pilots fit the Forster Case Trimmer?

A. The shanks of our Case Trimmer Pilots are made to .186”. This should help you assess the compatibility of pilots to your Forster Case Trimmer. Naturally we recommend that you utilize genuine Forster quality parts.

Bonanza Case Trimmer Pilots

Q. Will your Case Trimmer Pilots fit my old Model 66 Bonanza trimmer?

A. No, the current pilots will not work with the old Model 66 Case Trimmer.

Model 80,000 Bonanza Case Trimmer

Q. If I have an old red Model 80,000 Bonanza Trimmer, will collets and pilots from the Forster Original Trimmer be interchangeable?

A. Yes, Forster Original Trimmer collets and pilots can be used with the red Model 80,000 Bonanza Trimmer. Please visit the “Search” area of our website to determine which collet and pilot is right for your caliber. It should be noted, however, that the smaller Bonanza Trimmer with a cast-iron base is not compatible with Forster collets and pilots.

Herter’s Case Trimmer

Q. I have a Herter’s trimmer; somebody told me that Forster accessories fit on the Herter’s equipment. Is that true?

A. Herter’s did do a good job of copying the Forster Trimmer. (Imitation is the highest form of flattery, right!) Most of our Forster collets, pilots, replacement cutter shafts and other parts fit the old Herters Trimmer tools. We obviously cannot give you a 100% “will fit” guarantee, since we did not make their tool or have any control over their tolerances or quality.

Forster Case Trimming System with the Power Case Trimmer

Q. Can I use all the Trimming accessories with your Power Case Trimmer?

A. Yes, the Neck Reamer, Outside Neck Turner, Hollow Pointer, 3-in-1 Case Mouth Cutter and Primer Pocket Tools work well on the Power Case Trimmer which works in conjunction with your power drill press.

.50 BMG & Classic Case Trimmers, Pilots and Collets

Q. Will the Classic Case Trimmer collets and pilots fit in the .50 BMG trimmer?

A. The pilots are interchangeable between the two trimmers, but the collet systems are completely different and are not interchangeable.

Original Case Trimmer manufactured before June 2010 & the #4 Collet

Q. I have an older Forster Original Case Trimmer. In order to use the #4 collet, what size does the Case Trimmer Collet Housing need to be opened up to? Will my trimmer still work properly with collets #1, 2 and 3?

A. The Collet Housing must be opened to .610” in order to accept the #4 Case Trimmer collet. We will do this at the factory at no charge or you may do it on a lathe. Yes, the modification (opening to .610”) of the Case Trimmer Housing will not affect the use of collets #1, 2 and 3.

Please note that Original Case Trimmers manufactured before June 2010, require the Collet Housing enlarged to accept the #4 collet; those manufactured after this date already have this modification.

3-in-1 Case Mouth Cutter—Collets and Pilots

Q. I have read the instructions for both your Original Case Trimmer and the 3-in-1 Case Mouth Cutter, but want to make sure I understand things correctly. If I get the 3-in-1 Cutter to use on my trimmer, will I still have to install a pilot for each caliber? In my case, the two calibers I will be trimming are 30 Carbine and 30-06 Springfield. For both of these I can use the 308 cutter and will need the collets for each caliber, but will I also need the pilots?

A. The #1 Collet will work for both the 30 Carbine and 30-06 Springfield. You will not have to install a pilot, as the pilot is already included with the 3-in-1 Carbide Cutter tool.

3-in-1 Case Mouth Cutter Trim Length

Q. I’m using the 223 3-in-1 Case Mouth Cutter on the Original Case Trimmer. Some of the cases are 20-30 thousandth’s over the trim length. I’m finding it makes the cutting much easier if there is a drop of light oil on the cutter head. Does this sound right?

A. Actually, we are surprised that .020” to .030” is being removed with the 3-in-1 as easily as it sounds. The tool is really designed to correct cases that have stretched from firing. This is usually just .003” to .006” of trimming.

Custom Pilots

Q. I recently purchased Case Trimmer Pilots. After looking at your site I purchased several pilots for pistol calibers. Most work well and slip into the case mouths. However, the #35 Pilot for 38 Special or 357 Mag and a #351 pilot for 9mm are too large to fit my cases. I have used your case trimmer for years without problems on rifle cases.

A. We currently make the hardened steel #35 pilot to a size of .353” to .354” and the #351 pilot to a size of .351” to .352”. These pilots will work well for much of the 38/357 brass and for 9mm brass on the market. If , however, your brass is thicker than normal our pilots may be too tight.

There are several ways to skin the cat here.

First, you could just use the expander of your pistol die to expand the cases before trimming.

Or if you prefer we can turn our standard sized pilots down to an undersized dimension to fit your cases with carbide (there is a $7 cost per pilot to custom fit them to your cases). We would need your pilots and a sampling of your cases.

Or perhaps (if they are very close to fitting) you could use polishing cloth and a high speed lathe to fit them to your cases. Another option is that you could use the expanding die on the pistol cases before trimming.

Co-Ax® case and cartridge inspector FAQs (1)

Difference between the Co-Ax® Case & Cartridge Inspector & others

Q. Please tell me the difference between the Forster Co-Ax® Case and Cartridge Inspector and the RCBS case master tool. Will your product do something extra or provide a higher level of accuracy than the RCBS product?

A. There are two main differences. First, our Co-Ax® Case Inspector tool checks in relation to the concentricity of the entire loaded cartridge. The case master checks the concentricity in relation to the case only. If you are seating to the lands of the rifling it could be argued that our Forster concept is superior. Second, the case master has an extra “arm” which allows you to check the case wall thickness up into the case body. Our Co-Ax® Case Inspector does not have this attachment. Please see the Co-Ax® Case and Cartridge Inspector page for a detailed description of the tool.

Co-Ax® Press FAQs (16)

Cross Bolt Die Lock Rings with RCBS & Lee dies

Q. I form wildcat cases for my custom XP-100; it is a 7 Laser, which is basically a longer 7 BR (1.605” OAL) with a 40 degree shoulder. I use Winchester 308 brass as the parent. My problem- After forming and trimming, I need to outside neck turn as the necks are too thick to work properly in the tight chamber. I turn to .012”. I noticed a small hump of brass inside the case at the neck/shoulder junction. This small hump causes my outside trimmer pilot to rub and interfere during this initial outside neck turning operation. I have some success removing this hump with a small round file but it is rough and time consuming. This hump (or “donut” as some call it) causes tough extraction of the case out of the sizing die when the expander contacts the hump. A Forster reamer could smooth up this sizing problem. If I had a reamer specially ground to .2815”, I could ream the sized case neck with my Case Trimmer and eliminate this hump before the outside turn operation. Do you offer this special size Neck Reamer and what is the cost?

A. Thank you for the complete and accurate analysis of your problem with the brass. A donut on the inside of the case neck can do terrible things to accuracy. We can make the special reamer that you desire. There is just a $10 special grinding fee in addition to the standard price of an Inside Neck reamer. Shipping and handling is additional. Please allow 3-4 weeks for production of special reamers.

What does “Co-Ax” stand for?

Q. I have heard so much about the accuracy of the Co-Ax® Reloading Press. What does the term “Co-Ax” stand for?

A. “Co-Ax” is short for common axis. Our reloading press uses a system in which the shellholder floats with the die. This unique feature permits the cartridge case to find a common axis (true alignment) with the die.

Model B-1, B-2 & B-3 Co-Ax® Presses

Q. I’ve been hand loading on your Co-Ax® Press for 6 years. I bought it from a retired fella, who used it for lord knows how many years and my problem is I can’t find a Bonanza shellholder anywhere. I tried a RCBS shellholder but it won’t work in the priming station of my old Co-Ax Press.

A. Your old Co-Ax® Press is a Model B-1 Press. That older model used removable shellholders at the primer seating station. Sorry, but there are no shellholders available to fit that old model. There is some good news though. We do make an upgrade kit (part # 028000) that will allow you to change the entire priming system to the Model B-2 style. The B-2 does not require separate shellholders for priming.

Should I readjust dies for next usage?

Q. When changing dies with your Co-Ax® Press snap-in snap-out system, would it be necessary to readjust the dies for their next use?

A. No sir, the die lock ring should be left locked in place. The dies will be ready to go!

Shellholder Adapter Plate with the Co-Ax® Press

Q. I use a Co-Ax® Press and recently acquired a .577 caliber Snider-Enfield and most of the equipment to permit loading. I have found, however, that the rimmed case at approximately a .746” diameter head doesn’t fit in the optional “LS” Jaws. Will the Co-Ax® Press accommodate this case and if so, what is needed to do so?

A. Our Shellholder Adapter Plate (part # AP1000) enables the Co-Ax® Press user to remove the standard, spring-loaded, universal jaws and replace them with any slide in shellholder. This enables Co-Ax® Press users to reload with standard shellholders. This adapter is sometimes needed for non-standard cartridges like the 56-50, 50-70, etc…..which do not fit the “S” or “LS” jaws of the press.

Use of Forster’s Co-Ax® Press with Redding reloading dies

Q. I am getting into the finer aspects of reloading and find that your Co-Ax® Press meets my needs perfectly. Unfortunately, I had purchased a couple of Redding Competition seater dies before I knew that you made Benchrest Seating Dies. I have heard that some of Redding’s Seaters are too tall to be used in the Co-Ax® Press.

A. Sounds as though your Press is the Model B-2 Co-Ax® Press. Some of the very longest of Redding’s seater dies, when adjusted out to a deep seating depth, do not fit under the Model B-2 handle casting. They are only the very longest dies though. We set up a 300 Win Mag Redding seater die with no problem fitting in the Model B-2 Co-Ax® Press. In 2010, we improved the Model B-2 Co-Ax® Press and now offer the Model B-3 Co-Ax® press, which has a new taller handle casting. If you send your press to 310 E Lanark Ave Lanark, IL 61046, we have a service available which will upgrade your Model B-2 to the Model B-3. The cost of the upgrade service is $79 plus actual shipping costs to return the press to you. The cost includes labor, new fork handle casting and all related parts needed to changeover. When you send in your Press, please include your contact information so that we may call you to get your credit card information for payment.

Forster & Bonanza Co-Ax® Presses

Q. I am restarting my reloading hobby. I have not reloaded ammunition for over 15 years when I used a Bonanza Co-Ax® Press and Bonanza dies. My question is: Are all of the Forster/Bonanza products compatible with my “old” Bonanza dies and Press? I would like to stick with the Bonanza product line, now known as Forster Products.

A. Yes, all new Forster parts are compatible with the old Bonanza line of reloading tools.

Use Forster’s Co-Ax® Press with Lee sizing dies

Q. I am very interested in the Co-Ax® Press, but have a question about compatibility of Co-Ax® Press with Lee collet neck sizing dies. The top of the shellholder activates the collet. On the Co-Ax Press, this would have to be accomplished with the top of the jaws which should work if the jaws are close to the same thickness as a conventional shell holder. Will they work on your Co-Ax Press?

A. We incorporate the industry standard .125” dimension into our shellholder jaw arrangement in our Co-Ax® Press. There will be no problem with compatibility.

Use of Forster’s Co-Ax® Press with RCBS seating dies

Q. I have just purchased your Co-Ax® Press and my question is this: Can I use my RCBS competition seating die which has an extended shell holder? Is there an adapter for a regular shellholder? I am very impressed with your press. I have checked concentricity and have gained 3 to 4 thousands, checked with your Co-Ax Press and Case and Cartridge Inspector. I am looking forward to using the Co-Ax® Press with my RCBS competition die set.

A. Yes, you can use it with standard shellholders. You need to purchase our Shellholder Adapter Plate (part # AP1000). This accessory allows you to remove the automatic, self-acting jaws and allow you to use any standard shellholder in the Co-Ax® Press.

Length of ram stroke on the Co-Ax® Press

Q. On your Co-Ax® Press: 1. What is the length of the ram stroke? 2. What is the size of the bench footprint and how many holes hold it down? 3. How far below the mounting table does the press hang?

A. The ram stroke on the Co-Ax® Press is 4 inches. The bench footprint measures 4 inches deep and 3 inches wide. The press is attached to your bench or table with (4) screws. The (2) guide rods on the Co-Ax Press are 4 inches below the table or bench top when the operation handle is in the “up” position.

Use of Lee crimp dies with the Co-Ax® Press

Q. Will the Lee Factory Crimp Die operate in the Forster Co-Ax® Press?

A. Yes, the Lee Factory Crimp Die will work in the Co-Ax® Press with use of our Cross Bolt Die Lock Ring.

Shellholder Adapter Plate

Q. I purchased a Co-Ax Press from someone and they had the Forster Shellholder Adapter Plate attached. They could not find the jaws configuration. Can you tell me what parts I would need to buy to get it back to the jaws configuration?

A. Yes, We wholeheartedly agree that the Shellholder Adapter Plate is something only to be used when you have exhausted other avenues.

You will need to have one set of S Jaws (part # 001231), one Shellholder Jaw Housing (part # 028271-037), two Jaw Pressure Springs (part # 028271-039), one Wear Plate (part # 028271-046) and possibly one Jaw Opening Screw (028271-044).

Pressure required when Sizing

Q. I own a Co-Ax Press that I have been very happy with, and recently picked up a Lee collet-style neck sizing die. I understand that some people have some concerns with using this type of die with the floating shell plate of the Co-Ax. I set it up by running the press to the top, hand-tightening the die, then lowering the press and tightening one-half turn more. When sizing a case, I pull the lever down until it stops contact the linkage arms, which doesn’t require more than about 10 pounds of pressure. Should I have any concerns about this method?

A. No, you should not have any concerns. You may use the Co-Ax Press as you would any other press.

Very Large Calibers on the Co-Ax® Press

Q. I tried to reload the 10.3x60R with my Co-Ax Press. This shell is based on the old .450/400 English Express. The shellholder jaws do not fit this shell. Do you have a Co-Ax press that will do larger caliber rounds like the 10.3x60R, 408 Cheytac and 50 BMG?

A. Sorry, but the Co-Ax Press is not large enough to handle these large cases. The largest case head Outside Diameter the Co-Ax B-3 Press can handle is .580”.

“Camming Over” to Bump Case Shoulders during Full Length Sizing

Q. The Co-Ax® Press instructions say to adjust the FL Die down to touch shell holder. Other manufacturers say adjust down to touch shell holder, then go another partial turn. Then the press “cams over”, even without a shell. I’m having issues with tight bolt lift on 243 WSSM. Lowering the die helps some, but I am concerned about excessive wear on the shell holder. Is your shell holder assembly strong enough to handle lowering the die till it ‘cams over’?

A. Yes, it is strong enough. Our shell holder system is certainly designed to accommodate the “camming over” of the die against it. Many times it may be necessary to pre-stress the sizing setup to adequately “set back” the shoulder of fired rifle cases.

Instructions for oiling the Press

Q. There is a noise coming from the top section of my Co-Ax Press. Do I need to oil the press?

A. Thank you for contacting us about the noise emanating from the top section of the Co-Ax press. I would definitely suggest you use a good quality (like Remington oil) lubricant on the guide rods* and at the pivot points of the Co-Ax. Depending on your environment it is something you may want to do every six months or so. A bit too much lubricant is usually better than not enough on machines like the Co-Ax.

*The guide rods at the point the guide block rides up and down on them, and also at the very top of the frame of the press where the guide rods come up and through.

Custom Machining Services FAQs (1)

Reloading Dies

Q. Can you make a .416 Weatherby Magnum Die Set?

A. Sorry, we cannot make the .416 Weatherby Magnum Die Set due to the .416” bullet diameter. At this time we do not make expander balls (E-10) and seating stems (J-30) for that caliber. We max out at .375” bullet diameter for both those crucial components.

Headspace Gages FAQs (8)

Excessive Headspace

Q. Are “extruded” primers a sign of excess pressure? I’ve been told that if you notice primers backed out of the flash hole on your fired cases that the cause was excessive headspace in your rifle’s chamber. I had the rifle’s headspace checked and it was well within tolerance. Where else could the problem lie?

A. You are correct that excessive headspace is one of the possible factors which could cause primers to “back out” of the flash hole after firing.

  • Other causes could be hot loads which are pushing the envelope on pressures which should be approached with a particular rifle, bullet, case and powder. Carefully check your loading data to be certain that you are in a safe range.
  • Another thing to check is whether the press fit of the bullet in the case neck is excessive. If your case necks have thickened from forward brass flow, you may need to check neck wall thickness and outside neck turn as necessary. Please proceed with caution. Safety at any cost is worthwhile.

Headspace Gages

Q. I have an old set of Headspace Gages in 30-06. The Go length is marked 1.940” in length. Why are your new Headspace Gages for 30-06 marked with a different dimension?

A. In 1990 we started marking the 30-06 Headspace Gages with the new SAAMI specified national standard markings. For example, the Go length is 2.0487”. We did away with the former Army ordnance markings to be consistent with all our other gages. The pre-1990 and post-1990 gages are identical in all ways, only the markings have changed in order to be consistent with National Standards.

Measuring Headspace

Q. Is it really necessary to strip the bolt when checking headspace with your gages? I have been told this by many people. However, I have been able to use your gage just fine by feeding them through the magazine on my Mauser and by slipping the gage under the extractor of my Lee Enfield. They work as they should and no damage occurs by using them in this fashion.

A. Although it is not always necessary to strip the bolt when checking headspace of your rifle, it is the safest way to know that you are getting a true headspace reading. If an extractor is left in place, there is always a chance that the gage is not being supported at only the base of the gage and at the datum point of the gage. These two surfaces of the gage must be the only points of contact with the inside of your gun’s chamber. As long as you know that these are the only two points of contact, it does not matter if you have stripped the bolt of not.

Custom Headspace Gages

Q. I’m a gunsmith who has ordered several of your headspace gages with great satisfaction. I’m need of several custom headspace gages: Go, No-Go and Field for the 7.7mm Jap and the 6.5mm Jap.

A. Thank you for the request for custom Headspace Gages. Unfortunately, we cannot make special gages for calibers that are not covered by S.A.A.M.I or C.I.P. drawings. These Standards Organizations provide drawings which define the basis for tolerances we use to precisely manufacture our gages. In the absence of these “international standards”, we are unable to have a baseline to manufacture from.

Headspace Gage Measurements

Q. I bought a headspace micrometer gauge from another manufacturer (not Forster) and then purchased a set of Forster Headspace Gages. I then measured the Forster Headspace gages in the micrometer gage and it consistently showed the set of Forster gages as .0035 inches shorter than the nominated size in 308 Winchester caliber. Am I doing something wrong? How do I resolve this issue as I now have two devices which will give me different results? I have not contact the other company as of yet.

A. The micrometer gauge to measure headspace of a cartridge case is very useful to obtain relative measurements of the headspace of any brass case. However, it is not an accurate gage to give a certified exact measurement. In other words, one may use a Forster gage to set the micrometer gage “to zero” but the relative measurement gage may not be used to measure the Forster calibrated, known dimension gage.

Go Gage Measurements

Q. : I just purchased a Forster “go” gauge for my 223. The dimension stamped on it shows significant digits to +/- .0001”. What concerns me is that when I measure the gauge using my Hornady cartridge headspace gauges, the measurement is more than .005” different than the value on the gauge. Why is that?

A. The chamber headspace gage you purchased from us (our part# HG0223G) is made to the dimension etched on the tool. There actually is a + .0003” tolerance on our manufacturing process for GO gages. Hence, the gage may be anywhere between 1.4636” to 1.4639”. That is not a very big spread at all, but we use very exacting tooling and measurement instruments that are traceable back to NIST certified measuring blocks.

The cartridge headspace gage you attempted to “measure” our chamber gage with, is really designed to make accurate relative measurements for comparison only. It is not a precision tool that is capable of calibrating headspace gages exact lengths. For example, the cartridge headspace tool is very good for measuring a large sized sample of fired cases from rifle. The results of these measurements can then be recorded and an average length calculated. Then, after full length sizing the cases with your sizing die, you can re-measure the same sample of cases to see how much shorter they are after full length sizing. The relative difference in your measurements of fired vs. sized cases should be very accurate. This information can be very useful in setting up your sizing die to better fit ammunition to your rifle’s chamber.

Custom Headspace Gages

Q. What is the cost and delivery time for custom headspace gauges?

A. These must be quoted on an individual basis. We do not have a set price due to tooling and grinding complexities.

Go and NoGo Gages for AR 15

Q. How can one determine if their AR 15 rifle has a NATO chamber or a 223 Rem chamber when it is not stamped on the barrel? I have your headspace gages including the NATO 556 Max gage. The bolt will close easily on the Go gage and will close on the NoGo gage, however the bolt is tight. It will not close on the NATO Max gage.

A. Checking the headspace of your rifle will not give you the information necessary to determine if your rifle’s maker intended it to be a 223 or a 5.56 Nato chambering.

Please note that the 223 and 5.56 chambers have identical headspace lengths of their chambers. This is in contrast to the 308 and 7.62 chambers that do have different minimum and different maximum lengths for headspace of their chambers.

It sounds as if the checks you have done on the chamber of the rifle confirm that the rifle will definitely accept ammo of maximum size (the Go Gage closes). It sounds as if the headspace dimension is just about .0035 or .004” (three and a half to four thousandths) longer than minimum acceptable headspace (the NoGo check). That is why the bolt was tight when it did close on the NoGo gage. Finally, it has checked out as having a safe condition with the 5.56 Max gage. The 5.56 Maximum gage definitely should not close in your rifle and it did not. The headspace of your rifle is in tolerance.

You could get an 11 gage set from us to more closely determine the actual headspace of your rifle. The extravagance of owning an 11 gage set is probably is not necessary as you have all three gages you should need to monitor safe usage of your rifle.

Hollow Pointers FAQs (1)

Hollow Pointers

Q. I am interested in your Hollow Pointers. Are they compatible with case trimmers other than Forster’s? I own several case trimmers, none of which are Forster tools. If the hollow pointers are compatible with one of my trimmers, that would minimize my setup costs.

A. The only dimension that must be compatible for the Forster Universal Hollow Pointer to be utilized is the shank diameter of the drill which is held by the trimmer’s cutter shaft. The Forster shank diameter is .186”. If your trimmer will accept the .186” dimension of the drill shank with very little “slop”, then it will be compatible.

Misc. FAQs (1)

Where Can I Buy Forster Tools?

Q. Do you sell to individual consumers? If so, how can I obtain a catalog and get a price list/order blank?

A. For best prices and good service please contact your Forster Dealer. Experienced dealers and wholesale jobbers are an integral component of the shooting sports knowledge and support base. We encourage you to make frequent use of their knowledge and support them. However, if your local dealer cannot supply you, please contact Forster direct.

Neck Reamers FAQs (2)

Reaming and Sizing

Q. I purchased a 308 Neck Reamer (part # NR1308). Does the reaming take place after the case is resized or before?

A. Always ream after firing and before sizing, unless it is a special undersized reamer. Please view NECK REAMERS (Ream after firing) for further information.

“Donut” on the Case Neck

Q. I purchased a 308 Neck Reamer (part # NR1308). Does the reaming take place after the case is resized or before?

A. Always ream after firing and before sizing, unless it is a special undersized reamer. Please view NECK REAMERS (Ream after firing) for further information.

Outside Neck Turner FAQs (9)

Hand Held Outside Neck Turner Carbide Cutter

Q. I have one of your carbide Hand Held Outside Neck Turners (HOT100). It kind of looks as if the carbide cutter is backwards for blending the cut into the shoulder of the case.

A. The carbide cutter is correct. The leading edge of the carbide has a 20 degree angle to enable you to get right up to the point the shoulder starts. The amount of “blending” will vary depending on the angle of the cartridge you are turning. It may blend more on one caliber than another depending on the shoulder angle. Always be cautious when turning. We recommend that you do not cut into the shoulder of the brass. Turn only the outside diameter of the neck.

Outside Neck Turners Comparisons (HOT100 & ONT)

Q. Besides the obvious physical differences in your two Outside Neck Turners, what are the differences in the results I will see on my brass cases?

A. The Case Trimmer mounted Outside Neck Turner (OT1010) will do a better job of trueing up case necks that are not in line with the axis of the entire cartridge case. The reason for this is that the case is supported in our trimmer (a miniature lathe). This trimmer mounted operation will do a better job of trueing necks to the case’s axis. The Hand Held Outside Neck Turner (HOT100) is quicker to set up than the trimmer mounted tool. It will do an excellent job of uniforming case necks that are already in excellent alignment with the cartridge case. The Hand Held Outside Neck Turner will also do a better job of turning right up to the intersection of the case neck and the point where the shoulder angle starts. Both models use carbide cutters which is critical to clean, consistent neck turning. Both use precision ground pilots (mandrels) that are a “slip” fit into sized cases. Specially ground pilots for the Outside Neck Turner and Hand Held Outside Neck Turner are also available.

Carbide Cutter Replacement

Q. How do I replace my carbide cutter? I recently ordered a new carbide cutter (OT1010-012 REG) for my Outside Neck Turner. In the plastic bag with the new carbide cutter, is a small piece of lead shot. I don’t remember seeing a ball like this when I received the new Outside Neck Turner. What is the ball for and where does it go?

A. The small piece of lead shot should be put in the hole of your Outside Neck Turner head before you re-insert the set screw which locks the carbide cutter screw in proper position. This lead shot will protect the outside threads of the carbide cutter screw.

Case Trimmer Mounted Outside Neck Turner

Q. When using the Case Trimmer mounted Outside Neck Turner (OT1010), how does it move so it won’t skip turning sections of the neck?

A. Place your left hand on the cam and engage the cam with the small, spring steel, cam follower which you should have already positioned between the trimmer bearing and the gold trimmer base. Use your right hand to provide the “RPM’s” for the turner, while the left hand allows the carbide cutter to feed in smoothly and then out smoothly. In other words, your right hand controls how fast the cutter turns around and around while your left hand controls the critical infeed and outfeed. Please view our Outside Neck Turning: Proper Cutting Control video for further information.

Outside Neck Turning Pilot

Q. I resized my .308 brass with RCBS full length dies, trimmed to length and deburred. Next, when I try to use the .308 pilot for outside neck turning, it will not go in. Even when I lube it, it is too tight to use. Any suggestions?

A. Our goal is a slip fit of the sized case and Outside Neck Turning pilot. The Forster .308 Outside Neck Turning pilot should measure .3055″-.3060″ and the expander should measure .3070″.

There are two solutions; you may buy a special undersized ONT pilot (price of the pilot plus a grinding fee) or buy an oversized expander. Your brass may also be work hardened and may need to be annealed. Please view our Outside Neck Turner Accessory for Original Case Trimmer for further information.

HOT 100 & OT1010 Pilots

Q. Are the neck turning pilots used in your Hand Held Outside Neck Turner (part # HOT100) the same pilots that fit your Outside Neck Turner (part # OT1010) which fit on the Case Trimmer?

A. No, the pilots for the Hand Held Outside Neck Turner are longer and have a step on them. The step is used to control the length of cut.

Case Preparation for Outside Neck Turning

Q. At what point during case preparation is it optimal to Outside Neck Turn?

A. New cases should be loaded and fireformed once in your rifle before an outside neck turner ever touches the case necks. After the cases have been fired, they should be sized in your sizer die then Outside Neck Turned. When cases are fired in your chamber the first time, gas pressure expands to fill the chamber completely. This structural conformation produces a case that is fireformed to your chamber. The natural elasticity of the brass allows enough “springback” to make extraction possible. The stretching that occurs in fireforming produces irregularities that must be dealt with. Forster’s Outside Neck Turner (part# OT1010) is a Trimmer mounted tool which is very good at truing up case necks to the axis of the centerline of the case. It is held on the centerline or “axis” of the entire case. The Outside Neck Turner also has a carbide cutter and is very accurate. The Hand Held Outside Turner (part # HOT100) has a carbide cutter and a micrometer adjustment. It should be used when the necks of the cases are not out of misalignment with the body of the case. It locates off of the inside diameter of the neck of your sized case. Any way you look at it…Outside Neck Turning yields some of the best M.O.A. accuracy improvement that is possible. It pays off at the firing line!

When Should I Outside Neck Turn?

Q. How often should I Outside Neck Turn? Should I only turn periodically?

A. Periodically, otherwise the life of your brass may be greatly reduced. It is also best to fireform before you ever Outside Neck Turn. Turning brand new brass is not the best use of your time or resources.

Neck Turning Preparation

Q. If I buy your outside neck turner, what do I do to prepare my necks prior to turning them? Do I just neck size them?

A. The Outside Neck Turning pilots are designed to be used after using a neck sizer or a full length sizer that has an expander ball. Here is our plan: One sizes with an expander ball that is .001” smaller than bullet diameter, for example a 308 Win die would have an expander of .307”. After spring back, the case necks should be .3060” – .3065”. We make our Outside Neck Turning pilots .0020” – .0025” smaller than bullet diameter or .3055” – .3060”. That should leave a slip fit between sized cases and our pilot.

Reloading Dies FAQs (16)

Bonanza & Forster Reloading Dies

Q. I see where it’s referred to as “the old Bonanza dies”. I have a Bonanza FL set for 7mm-08 that is only a couple of years old. Just what is the difference between Forster dies and Bonanza dies?
A. In 1983 we purchased all tooling, machines, inventory, blueprints, patents, trademarks and rights to manufacture the Bonanza tool line. I presume that any die produced before that time (1983) would be an “old Bonanza Die”. There is a letter code which tells us what year the dies were manufactured. We have affected multiple improvements to the manufacturing processes and to the design of the dies over the years. Please email us if you would like to have more exact information about when your dies were manufactured. Our sizer dies are now all Bench Rest quality and our Seater dies are either standard Bench Rest or Ultra Micrometer style.

Stuck Case Removal Service

Q. I have a 7mm Rem Mag Bench Rest Neck Sizer Die that I’ve always liked because it seems to be true. I was sizing some cases for a friend and even though I lubed the necks, the case came apart at the expansion ring leaving the base in the shellholder and the case stuck in the die. I was thinking that since it should only be making contact at the neck, it should pull out easily. It won’t and I boogered the case trying to get hold of it. Is it possible to send this die back to Forster Products and have the case removed?

A. Yes, we do have a “stuck case removal” service. It is probably best that way anyway, since we will have the chance to check out the entire die for any other damage. The service costs $9.00 plus shipping charges. We will notify you if you will need additional replacement parts. Please include a note with your return address, phone number and credit card information when you return the die.

308 Win & 308 Nat Match Reloading Dies

Q. I will be purchasing Forster reloading dies and a Co-Ax® Press for ammo to be used in my M1 Garand service rifle. It is chambered for 308 Win. I would like to know the difference between your 308 Win dies and your 308 National Match dies.

A. The 308 National Match Sizing die engineered by Forster is only used by rifle shooters who have a tight headspace (length) dimension in their rifle chamber. Many of the rifles chambered by gunsmiths at Ft. Benning, GA and Quantico, VA are headspaced on the short side of the headspace length tolerance. Our 308 National Match sizing die will size the headspace dimension of the brass .002″ shorter than our standard 308 dies will size. Please note that this has nothing to do with the outside diameter of the cases.

Reloading Dies recommendations

Q. I have purchased a sub ½” M.O.A. 308 Win accurized rifle (based on a 700 BDL). I’ve decided to reload for the cost savings as well as the ability to tailor my loads. I’ve also decided to invest in your reloading equipment because of its reputation, specifically the accuracy and strength of your Co-Ax Press. I have an extensive background in reloading straight wall pistol ammunition, but have never reloaded rifle cartridges. What equipment do I need? Do I Full Length Resize or Neck Resize? Should I invest in the Standard Bench Rest Dies or the Ultra Micrometer? I don’t plan on competing; however, I’d like to make sure the ammo is up to the ability of the rifle.

A. Thanks for the inquiry. Sounds as if you have quite an enjoyable task in front of you – reloading for and shooting that accurized rifle out at the range! We recommend that you have all three basic reloading dies in your repertoire…namely the 308 neck sizing die (part # 006621), the 308 Full Length Sizer (part# 005591) and the Standard Bench Rest Seating Die (part#006251). The neck sizing die will be your die of choice for sizing. It will eliminate overworking of the brass. After a few firings you will find that it is necessary to full length size to allow the reloads to chamber properly. Please see the “fine tuning” tips in our instructions. As far as the seating die choice goes, we usually recommend the Standard Bench Rest rather that the Ultra Micrometer if you are only loading for one rifle and one type of bullet. The Ultra Seater is very nice when adjusting the Seater to put the bullets out close to engagement of the rifling. It is also handy for repeatability when you use various bullets for different loads. A good case trimmer will also be necessary, try our Original Trimmer Kit (part# CTK100). Keep in mind that Outside Neck Turning provides one of the best accuracy returns on your reloading time. We have two types of Neck Turner systems available, the Outside Neck Turner (part# OT1010) and the Hand Held Outside Neck Turner (part# HOT100). See the Forster catalog or website for the relative merits of these Neck Turner systems.

Using Forster Reloading Dies with other presses

Q. Will Forster dies fit the RCBS Rockchucker Press or other manufacturer’s presses?

A. Yes, our dies have a standard 7/8″-14 thread size. As long as a press accomodates that thread size, it should fit. Please view FULL LENGTH SIZING DIES for further information.

Seating Die Spring System

Q. What is the purpose of the spring system in the Bench Rest Seating Die? How do I set up the Bench Rest seating die with the spring system?

A. The purpose of the spring system is to allow all three critical components of the seating process to come into perfect alignment in the P-30 sliding die chamber before anything else happens. Our P-30 sliding die chambers are machined on very accurate machines with one piece reamers. Machining with a one piece reamer insures concentricity between the critical diameters! The tolerances are very tight to make certain that the case will come up over the bullet true and straight as the bullet is supported by the seating stem. The P-30 should begin to compress 1/8” to ¼” before bullet seating starts.

Forster Bench Rest Seater Dies Accuracy

Q. Why is your Bench Rest Bullet Seating system so accurate?
A. The bullet, seating stem and the case are held in the same close fitting channel. This tight fitting channel is machined with a one piece reamer and is all part of the P-30 sliding die chamber of the Bench Rest Seater Die. Machining with a one piece reamer insures concentricity between the critical diameters!

Difference Between Forster Bench Rest Seater & Ultra Micrometer Seater Dies

Q. I am going to start reloading soon by buying your Co-Ax Press. As a beginner, would I be better off purchasing the Bench Rest Seater or the Ultra Micrometer Bench Rest Seater Die?

A. If you will be experimenting extensively with different bullets, loads and rifles I would definitely recommend the Ultra Micrometer Seater Die. If not, just purchase the standard Bench Rest Seater die. It is just as deadly accurate as the Ultra die, but it is not as easy to experiment with when changing variables.

Forster Seating Dies – Non-Crimping

Q. Why are your seating dies non-crimping? I have heard that crimping hunting ammo provides assurance that the bullet will not fall back into the case due to handling and recoil.

A. You are correct that crimping is preferred for hunting rounds, but our Bench Rest Seater dies are designed and manufacture for maximum accuracy. The crimping operation does introduce variation in bullet release which can be detrimental to accuracy.

Seating Compressed Loads

Q. I’m interested in the Forster Ultra Micrometer Seater Die, but before buying it I want to know if it can seat bullets over compressed loads without damaging the die.

A. We cannot tell you with certainty that seating a compressed load in the Forster seater die will not damage the J-30 seating stem.

The die will work fine for slightly compressed loads, but as one puts more powder in the case, there will be a threshold of pressure at which a flare or split of the wall of the seating stem will probably occur. It should be noted that the J-30 seating stems must have relatively thin walls as the newer, longer bullets have necessitated a long tapered inside diameter to prevent the bullets from seating “off the tip”.

The J-30 stems are readily available if you would like to purchase a couple of “spares”. It is also quite easy to know if damage has occurred to the die as the J-30 stem should always move freely through the inside diameter of the P-30 die chamber.

Full Length Sizing Dies and Expander Balls

Q. I just bought your Full Length Sizing Die and also ordered a different size expander ball. Using 260 Remington, the expander ball that comes with the die, sizes my Lapua brass to .292. I purchased the .295 expander ball to run a little less neck tension. How do I change out the expander ball and ensure that it is set properly? From what I can tell the expander balls are threaded. To remove it, do I need to unscrew the decapping pin holder (H-10) first?

A. Yes, take the H-10 locknut off first. It is threaded and will unscrew from the D-10 Spindle. The E-10 Expander ball threads off of the D-10 Spindle counter clockwise. When you reassemble it, please be sure to run it all the way back to the end of the threads.

Please refer to our Full Length Sizing Die Instructions for further information.

Newer Expander Balls

Q. I am a long range shooter and have used Forster Benchrest Dies for about 30 years. In your latest user instructions the Expander Ball (E-10) seems to have a slightly different shape compared with former expander balls. Does it make any difference to me (gain of precision), when I substitute the older expander balls in my dies for newer ones? Also, is it profitable to precision equip my present dies with your new Co-Ax washer (W-10)?

A. Both the newer expander ball (E-10) and the washer (W-10) would be good additions to your dies. The newer expander balls are made on a higher speed turning center with carbide cutting tools. This enables us to provide a better surface finish which in turn gives you an easier inside neck expansion. The washer allows the expander ball to better center itself.

308 Dies for 307 Winchester Cases

Q. Would either the Forster 308 Winchester FL Die Set (part # 004501) or the Forster 308 Winchester Small Base FL Die Set (part # 018335) function adequately for reloading the 307 Winchester?

A. Yes, the 308 Winchester dies will size 307 Winchester cases perfectly.

Brass Thicker at Base with many Makes

Q. I have your 223 Rem Ultra Micrometer die. I full length sized new Lake City 5.56 brass and noticed that about ¼ inch of the brass in not being resized. The area I’m referring to is just above the case head where the case body starts. Is this normal? I’m new at reloading so I want to be sure that I have the sizing die set up correctly. I did set the die according to the directions.

A. Yes, this is normal for many makes of brass. The brass is thicker at the base. It does not expand like the rest of the case.

Full Length Sizing Die Vent Hole

Q. I purchased a Forster 300 AAC Blackout Full Length Sizing die to use in my Forster Co-Ax press. After adjusting the die to contact the shellholder, I observed that the vent hole in the die is covered by the lock ring. Is this a problem?

A. This should not cause a problem. The lock ring should still allow enough pressure to escape for proper functioning of the die.

Pre-stressing Full Length Sizing Dies

Q. I own a set of your 300 AAC, 223, and 6mm dies. I recently bought three new Full Length Sizers in those calibers. Side by side, the newer dies are longer than the older sizing dies. Can you tell me why the change in length?

A. All our dies that used to have a 2 ½” blank for the die body are now made to 2 5/8”. There are several other calibers that now have a longer die body. This improvement allows for more thread engagement with the lock ring on certain reloading presses. It is especially useful for Dillon’s 650 Reloading Press and Whidden aftermarket shell plates.

Screwdrivers FAQs (1)

Screwdriver Replacements

Q. I have a set of your gunsmithing screwdrivers. One tip has become twisted on a stubborn screw. Please advise on how I can obtain a replacement.

A. Thank you for contacting us, our screwdriver steel is tough and hardened, but some of the screwdrivers are designed to fit very narrow slots. Consider this example; a 1/8” wide bit which is only .023” thick has a working strength of about 15-inch pounds of torque and a breaking point of about 17-inch pounds. The maximum working strength our smallest screwdrivers can be reached with the thumb and first two fingers. One must always keep the working strength of both the screw and screwdriver in mind. For tightening screws with fine width slots, use only the thumb and first two fingers. Use normal full hand pressure on larger screws. Full hand pressure is usually needed for scope mounting and action screws. Loosening screws can be a bigger headache. Special problems occur when the combination of moisture and time adds rusty corrosion which fuses the screw to the firearm. Two or three applications of fine penetrating oil will help in removal of rusted screws. Screw locking compounds (i.e. Loc-tite) also create a formidable task of removal. Several setting blows to “Loc-tited” screws will sometimes break them loose. In the worst situations, the screw can be drilled out by holding the gun in Forster’s Universal Sight Fixture. Remember to choose the screwdriver which fits the slot both in width and thickness. Your screwdriver set instructions do list recommended uses and all blade dimensions. If you used only hand pressure and feel that the screwdriver should be replaced, please send the driver and a short note to our Customer Service Department at Forster Products Inc. 310 E Lanark Ave, Lanark, IL 61046.

Stock Inletting Guide Screws FAQs (1)

Stock Inletting Guide Screws Usage

Q. How are Stock Inletting Guide Screws used?

A. When inletting actions only, start by screwing Forster Stock Inletting Guide Screws into the guard screw holes of the action. The Screws will extend beyond the lower magazine area of the stock.

Next, remove the trigger group with the help of the Forster Universal Drift Punch. Removal of this allows you to concentrate exclusively on the “action to stock” fit. At this point check to see that the guide screws remain parallel. The guard screw holes may have to be slightly enlarged to keep the guide screws straight and parallel. A round, fine cutting file can be used for this.

After this the action can be lowered into the action stock mortise, and you are ready to coat with inletting paint and seat the action to get bottoming readings. Remember that the recoil lug area must be matted firmly into the stock. This is crucial for proper transmission of the recoil shock to the stock. A bedding error or this type can result in bending of the guard screws and tang. Use sharp chisels to carefully remove high spots from the wood. If the action and trigger guard do not screw together properly it will be difficult to get the action to seat to the proper depth. Inlet so that you have 1/32” to 1/16” space at metal to wood surfaces.

Use Forster Stockmakers Hand Screws for the final cinch up of action to stock. Some excellent inletting instructions are available in the multitude of gunsmithing books, available at your dealer, library, or bookstore.