Press for hydro-forming?

Discussion in 'Reloading Forum (All Calibers)' started by Shinbone, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. Shinbone

    Shinbone

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    I want to hydro-form cases for a 25-06AI. My current reloading press is a Forster Co-Ax, which, due to the guide rods extending above the top of the press, isn't so good for hydro-forming.

    Can anyone recommend a press that works well for hydro-forming? I am thinking a press dedicated to hydro-forming can be simple and inexpensive. Probably don't need high precision, but something that won't be hurt by the pounding and water leaking everywhere. Maybe an inexpensive used press from Ebay would be a good option?

    Or, maybe this is a good opportunity to add a different but fully capable second reloading press to compliment the Co-Ax? If so, which one?
     
  2. Gene Beggs

    Gene Beggs

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    RCBS Rockchucker
     
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  3. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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    Lee classic cast
     
  4. Raythemanroe

    Raythemanroe Bullet Whisperer Silver $$ Contributor

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    Lol


    Ray
     
  5. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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  6. mikeinct

    mikeinct

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    shinbone , Have you bought the forming dies yet ? Is this your first 25-06 ?
     
  7. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    +1. The old Rock Chucker is built like a tank.

    Heres a video I made for hydroforming cases to give folks some tips.

     
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  8. Boyd L.

    Boyd L. Witty comment under development Gold $$ Contributor

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    Thanks.
    I always enjoy seeing (and learning about) processes I’m not familiar with.
     
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  9. Joe Salt

    Joe Salt Silver $$ Contributor

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    Build a Fire Form gun sure makes it easier!

    Joe Salt
     
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  10. Shinbone

    Shinbone

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    Thanks for the input and videos.

    I am totally new to hydro-forming. In fact, the 25-06AI will be the first non-factory caliber I have ever worked with in any way, let alone hydro-forming cases. The gun is still at the 'smith being rebarreled from 25-06 to 25-06AI. The finished gun will be a Kimber Montana in 25-06AI on Kimber's 84L action with a 26", 1:8 twist, sporter contour Broughton barrel. The goal is a light weight gun shooting a 100 gn antelope/deer bullet at high speed. I thought about a Weatherby 257, but I am just not a fan of the Weatherby case design with its rounded shoulder and belt.

    The gun is still a few months out, but I figured now is a good time to start researching the details for forming 25-06AI cases and acquiring the gear to do so. In other words, my 25-06AI project is pretty much still a blank slate, at this stage, and all options are open to me.

    My first plan was to fire-form cases, because that is all I ever heard of people doing, and that is the beauty of the AI design anyway - easily fire-formed. I've watched a few videos on fire forming, so I am familiar with the process. But, just recently I learned about hydro-forming, and that sounds easier to do, so it has caught my attention.

    I read on another thread that the RCBS Summit was a good press for hydro-forming due to its stationary-base design. Because the Summit design moves the die down to the case, and the case remains stationary on the press base, the press linkage is not subject to any of the hammer forces during the forming step. Sounds logical, but not sure if there are any benefits in actual application?

    And, please educate me on what is a "fire form gun"? Maybe that is easier, still?
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  11. PatMiles

    PatMiles Gold $$ Contributor

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    Buy a cheap press at a garage sale or flea market. If you are going to beat on it with a hammer I wouldn't use a good press. Yeah I know, the hydro-form die plunger takes the beating and is somewhat cushioned by the H2O.
     
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  12. natdscott

    natdscott P100, HM, DR, experienced beginner. Gold $$ Contributor

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    I read and read, and came to the conclusion for my Bro-in-Law that a Classic Cast was the right press for him to start with...after getting it in the mail prior to Christmas, I of course looked it over.

    Pretty impressed.
     
  13. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    You dont really need to hydro form unless you blew out the body taper in the case or moved the shoulder forward. With my 300 Norma Improved case in the video, I have actually done a little of both in my case design.

    If just changing the angle of the shoulder, you can fireform if that's what you would prefer. Fireforming will always give you a truer formed case than hydro forming.

    When firing the cases for the first time, even after hydro forming, you should use identical bullets, primers, and powder/charge weight to help give the most uniform case stretch possible.

    But again, after having beaten the hell out of my RCBS for the last 13 years I've owned it while using it for the toughest reloading tasks (hydro forming, extreme case forming, removing stuck cases, etc) I can fully attest to its toughness. The only other single stage press that can rival the strength and durability of the Rock Chucker (in my opinion) is the Redding BOSS press.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  14. Shinbone

    Shinbone

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    With your exprience pounding/hydroforming on a press, what do you think about the design of the RCBS Summit where the linkage is not subject to the pounding forces? Good design for hydroforming? Bad design? Something else?
     
  15. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    I honestly have never used or even seen a Summit press in person so I cannot comment with any certainty on toughness or reliability of the design.
     
  16. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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    The summit is not a good hydroforming press for just the reason you listed. Besides the die being down inside of 2 ram arms and behind the big ram guide you wouldnt want to beat on the moving part- youd want to beat on the solid frame. I have a summit and its pretty much useless. I use it for bulk decapping. You can see in this pic how hard it would be to whack the die. D501C6BB-FEDC-4940-B31C-ED4C73EF40C4.jpeg
     
  17. mikeinct

    mikeinct

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    Shinbone, Save your cash, & less mess & grief. Use your old fav load from the reg 25-06 . That is the beauty of the AI design. If you are not going with all new cases, you will want to anneal the brass before fireforming. Just load, shoot & enjoy. mike in ct
     
  18. Daddymac

    Daddymac Gold $$ Contributor

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    This is the first I have ever heard of hydroforming brass, I live a sheltered life, after watching some videos and reading the post I get the concept, but it looks like "too much sugar for a dime" to me. They said it would save the cost of components over fire forming, but I thought fire formed brass was what we wanted?!? I guess it would save time, money, and barrel wear if you were doing hundreds of rounds at the time, I gotta get out more.
     
  19. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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    Its the berries as some say
     
  20. Shinbone

    Shinbone

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    I've never made an AI cartdidge, but it seems to me that hydro-forming a cartridge is easier than loading up (i.e., priming, weighing a powder charge, stuffing inert material into the cartridge mouth, going someplace to shoot it) rounds for fire forming. And, once hydro-formed, the first time you fire the cartridge you can be generating useful load information, which is not the case when fire-forming.

    Like I said, I've never done it, but that is what it looks like to this newbie.
     
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