January 4th, 2019

Single-Stage Reloading Presses — Product Video Showcase

RCBS Rock Chucker MEC Marksman Lyman Brass smith ideal Frankford co-ax forster Hornady iron Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock Press

Hand-loaders have never had so many great choices in single-stage presses, with many different configurations and features. There are classic O-Frame presses, Coax-style presses, Open-front presses, Pyramid presses, and compact C-Frame presses. Here is our 2019 Single Stage Press Showcase with products from Forster, Frankford Arsenal, Hornady, Lee, Lyman, MEC, and RCBS. We’ve included short videos showing the features of these reloading presses.

If you are shopping for a new press you should look at the various features of each. You may prefer something classic like a Rock Chucker, or the innovative open-front MEC. If you are looking for a compact press to use at the range, the new Lyman C-Frame is very impressive for the price. And the Forster Co-Ax remains a great addition to any loading room.

MEC Marksman Single-Stage Press

If you are looking for a new, full-size single-stage reloading press, definitely consider the MEC Marksman. Created by the makers of the popular MEC shotshell reloading systems, the MEC Marksman combines a sturdy cast-iron frame with a modern open-front design. With a $189.99 street price the Marksman press cost roughly $20 more than an RCBS Rock Chucker, but the MEC offers some distinct advantages — such as an open front plus a floating shell-holder system.

MEC Marksman Press Gavin Gear single stage open front press die caddy accessories

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com got his hands on a MEC Marksman press and put it through its paces. He came away impressed with the product, saying it delivers excellent performance, and has many impressive features. Gavin tells us: “Cast iron tools and machines are a lifetime investment. The made-in-USA MEC Marksman features ductile cast-iron construction, an open-front frame design for easy cartridge access, a new floating shell-holder design with a unique retention system, and ambidextrous handle setup.” MEC also offers a wide selection of accessories for the Marksman press, including a press riser/mount, shell-holder caddy, and die trays.

Frankford Arsenal M-Press Coaxial Reloading Press

Frankford Arsenal M-Press co-ax coaxial new reloading press die caddy accessories

Sorry, this new Frankford Arsenal coaxial M-Press has not started shipping yet so we don’t have a video. But MidwayUSA says it should arrive by mid-February 2019. We think this new M-Press should interest Forster Co-Ax fans. While the operation is similar to the Forster Co-Ax, there are some important differences. The new M-Press mounts on a flat surface, with nothing protruding below. That is significantly different than the Forster Co-Ax. The die block is different. It also appears that the shell-holder system is different. But this still self-aligns like a Forster Co-Ax. “A free-floating design allows the die and shellplate to move on two axis, so the case is always perfectly centered in the die, minimizing bullet runout.” The way the arms move is also different. In the Forster Co-Ax, the rods slide within the press frame and the part that holds the shell is fixed to them. In this design the rods are stationary and the part that holds the shell slides on them. However, the overhead handle certainly does copy the distinctive Forster design. NOTE: According to MidwayUSA, this M-Press does NOT have priming capability, unlike the Forster Co-Ax. Credit Boyd Allen for design analysis.

Forster Co-Ax Press

co-ax forster Hornady reloading single-stage  PressIf you are not yet familiar with the many unique features of the Forster Co-Ax, we recommend you watch the video above, a very thorough video review by Rex Roach. This shows how the press operates and highlights the design elements which set the Co-Ax apart from every other reloading press on the market. This 14-minute video shows the key Co-Ax features, explaining how the floating case-holder jaws work (3:30 time-mark), how the dies are held in place (4:40 time-mark), how spent primers are captured (6:10 time-mark), and how to set the primer seating depth (10:00 time-mark). We’ve used a Co-Ax for years and we still learned a few new things by watching this detailed video. If you are considering purchasing a Co-Ax, definitely watch this video start to finish.

In recent years, Forster Co-Ax® presses have been somewhat hard to find, as demand has out-stripped supply. The Co-Ax has many dedicated fans, given its unique features, such as the floating case-holder jaws, and easy, rapid slide-in/slide-out die placement. We’ve also found that Co-Ax presses load very straight ammo and we like the ability to switch between short handle (good for bullet seating) and long handle (ideal for heavy case-sizing tasks). We also think the Forster Co-Ax has one of the best spent primer capture systems on the market — a straight drop into a removable plastic cup. Simple and it works.

Lyman Brass Smith Victory Single-Stage Press

Lyman Brass Smith Victory Single stage press video

Lyman’s New Victory Single-stage Press competes with the RCBS Rock Chucker Press. With beefy cast iron construction, the Victory’s strength and leverage rivals the Rock Chucker. If you like to prime on a press, this Victory has a priming system that’s much easier to use than the Rock Chucker system. The priming tube is right up front. Simply push the shuttle at the button of the tube to advance the primer into place. The entire primer-loading system can also be removed so it doesn’t interfere with case and bullet-handling operations. We generally prefer to prime cases separately using a dedicated hand- or bench-mounted tool, but the Victory press does the job nicely. Overall, the Victory is a great value in a full-size “O-Frame” press. It’s on sale now for $154.99 at Midsouth.

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Single-Stage Press

RCBS Rockchucker Rock Chucker Supreme Single Stage reloading press Bruno Shooters Nearly every serious hand-loader has owned or used the RCBS Rock Chucker press. This Editor still uses a Rock Chucker passed down by his brother 20 years ago. And yes, it is still going strong. The latest Rock Chucker Supreme single-stage press features an improved “upside-down Y-path” dual-bin spent primer catcher. Otherwise the Rock Chucker Supreme remains big, strong, versatile and sturdy. It has very strong linkages, with a compound leverage system providing plenty of power — FL-sizing is a breeze even with large, magnum cases. The 1″-diameter ram has 12.5 sq. inches of ram-bearing surface.

Some people may not know that the Rock Chucker offers a secondary 1 1/4″ x 12 thread for shotshell reloading dies and Piggyback 3 upgrade. The Rock Chucker Supreme retails for under $180.00 ($167.50 now at Bruno’s). The RCBS Rock Chucker is definitely a quality product that can last a lifetime. For heavy-duty sizing chores this remains one of the best choices in single-stage presses. We do recommend shopping around. You can sometimes get a pretty big discount on Rock Chuckers and RCBS has regular rebate programs.

Lyman Brass Smith Ideal C-Frame Compact Press

The Lyman Brass Smith Ideal Press is a very affordable, cast iron C-Frame reloading press. We think it is the new “class leader” in compact presses. This works great as a secondary press for your reloading room or a small press you can take to the range. The large front opening allows you to access the shell holder without hitting the support bar on other types of presses. Unlike other compact presses made from aluminum, Lyman’s Ideal press is cast iron so it is rigid and strong. The high-quality steel ram is one inch in diameter. The Brass Smith is a true ambidextrous press that can be accessed from either side and mounted the same. This is a great choice for a second, auxiliary press for depriming and bullet seating.

Lyman Ideal C frame iron press midsouth shooters

Hornady Iron Single Stage (Open-front) Press

In this “Reloading with Rosie” video, the attractive female host loads some ammo using the Hornady Iron Press. With a beefy, pyramid-style cast-iron frame with an open front, this press offers some advantages over a traditional “O-Frame” type press. Access is considerably easier, for one thing. And the top of the press includes slots to hold dies and tools — that’s really a very nice feature that saves time. Also an optional “automatic” priming system shuttles primers from a vertical tube in the back to the shell-holder in the front. That’s clever. Over all the Iron Press is a nice piece of engineering — good job Hornady.

Hornady Iron Press video

Lee Classic Cast (Iron) Breech Lock Press

Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock PressThe Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock Press offers excellent value for the money ($112.00 at Midsouth). Based on the proven design of the Classic Cast press, the updated Breech Lock series adds the quick-change die bushing and an improved primer drop system. This press is strong, with cast iron frame, all-steel linkage, and 12 square inches of ram bearing surface.

Lee says this press has the “largest opening and the longest stroke in the industry” among O-frame type presses. The handle can be mounted on either side. We love the fact that the handle angle can be adjusted, as well as the lever arm length — that allows you to adjust travel and leverage to suit your preference. Smart engineering.

The new spent primer drop features a large-diameter hollow ram with clear hose that drops primers straight to a bin — that’s simple and effective. The press is very rigid and the base is wide enough for good stability. We have one of these Classic Cast Breech Lock Presses in our reloading room and it works well.

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January 4th, 2019

10 BEST Bolt-Action Rifles of All Time — What Do YOU Think?

Ten 10 best bolt action rifles shooter

A while back, RifleShooter online magazine published a list of the purported Ten Best Bolt-Action Rifles of All Time. Ten classic rifle designs (including the Remington 700 and Winchester Model 70) were featured with a paragraph or two explaining their notable features.

“Best” Lists Stir Controversy…
These Top 10 lists are always controversial. While most readers might approve of half the entries, there are always some items on the Top 10 list that some readers would challenge. Here is RifleShooter’s Top 10 list. What do you think? Are there some other bolt-actions that are more deserving?

1. Springfield M1903
2. Mauser 98
3. Winchester Model 70
4. Remington Model 700
5. Weatherby V

6. Sako L61/AV
7. Savage Model 110
8. Ruger M77
9. Tikka T3
10. Mannlicher-Schonauer

10bolt1402.

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