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GioaJack
07-16-2009, 12:42
All the older guys around here are more than familiar with the legendary Star loaders and Star sizer / lubricators, (since the advent of Dillon, Hornady LNL and other progressive machines the Star loaders have fallen out of favor... even if you can find one), but many of our newer loaders many not be familiar with the sizer / lubricator.

For those of you who size and lube your bullets, (cast lead), and are using either a pan lube system or a Lyman or Saeco sizer, look into, look for, and if you find one... buy, borrow or steal a Star sizer.

The original Star machine is no longer being made but the company was bought out by Magma Enterprises and an almost exact duplicate machine is still in production.

Original star machines can still be found at auctions, gun shows, Ebay, garage sales and like places for a reasonable price... they hold their value very well and can always be resold although I don't know why you would want to.

Sizing dies and nose punches are still readily available for most calibers with the newest twist being to size the bullets upside down which requires only two size 'top' punches... small or large. Only two top (nose) punches will cover all of the calibers you load. Not a bad system to keep costs down.

If you cast and size, consider a Star... it makes life a lot easier.

Jack

fredj338
07-16-2009, 12:47
+1 Jack. I started on a Lyman then bought a Star. Best way to size & lube bullets quickly. For serious casters, it is THE only way to fly.

Beware Owner
07-16-2009, 13:01
I want one, but a new one is at least $250 without the top punches.

GioaJack
07-16-2009, 13:40
I want one, but a new one is at least $250 without the top punches.


Beware:

I would imagine that you're probably pretty close on the price but based on my experience I'd say it's worth every dollar... and then some.

If you don't cast a lot then it's not worth the expenditure but if you do cast... well, it's the same as a single stage press compared to a high quality progressive.

My understanding is you no longer need top punches, you size and lube the bullet nose first and use one of two punches to push it through. I've been using my machine for well over 30 years and have all the top punches I need, (except for the new RN mould I just bought) so I've never done the nose down sizing. Fred may know more about that than I do.

If you ever happen upon one at a decent price you might want to give it serious consideration.

Jack

Beware Owner
07-16-2009, 14:06
Beware:

I would imagine that you're probably pretty close on the price but based on my experience I'd say it's worth every dollar... and then some.

If you don't cast a lot then it's not worth the expenditure but if you do cast... well, it's the same as a single stage press compared to a high quality progressive.

My understanding is you no longer need top punches, you size and lube the bullet nose first and use one of two punches to push it through. I've been using my machine for well over 30 years and have all the top punches I need, (except for the new RN mould I just bought) so I've never done the nose down sizing. Fred may know more about that than I do.

If you ever happen upon one at a decent price you might want to give it serious consideration.

Jack

Oh, yes, I want one, definitely. Just that, at that price, I might as well keep using the Lee sizing system till I can cough up the moolah.

fredj338
07-16-2009, 15:12
Beware:

IMy understanding is you no longer need top punches, you size and lube the bullet nose first and use one of two punches to push it through. I've been using my machine for well over 30 years and have all the top punches I need, (except for the new RN mould I just bought) so I've never done the nose down sizing. Fred may know more about that than I do.

If you ever happen upon one at a decent price you might want to give it serious consideration.

Jack
Yep, mine is an original Star as well. I have top punches, but you can size base first using a blank top punch. They say use one for all, but I use a .350" for 9mm-41 & a .425" for 44-458. I prefer base first for my LHP, the nose punches always distort them. Getting them setup is the hardest part, but 1000/hr sized & lubed is possible. Worth every penny of $275 you'll spend for a new one.

freakshow10mm
07-16-2009, 15:16
I want one, but a new one is at least $250 without the top punches.
One punch for over .32 caliber. Smaller needs a second punch. Worth every penny. Guy counted at my pace I could do almost 2,400 bullets an hour.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCtLi8i7tMg

Beware Owner
07-16-2009, 15:20
One punch for over .32 caliber. Smaller needs a second punch. Worth every penny. Guy counted at my pace I could do almost 2,400 bullets an hour.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCtLi8i7tMg

Hey, I have dreams about one. Still, if I can find one on Ebay or Craiglist, I'd be happy.

fredj338
07-16-2009, 17:06
One punch for over .32 caliber. Smaller needs a second punch. Worth every penny. Guy counted at my pace I could do almost 2,400 bullets an hour.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCtLi8i7tMg
WOW, that's hauling ***, that's 1 pull every 1.5sec. That would workup a sweat.:whistling:

freakshow10mm
07-16-2009, 17:12
Get the shovel handle. Saves the arm. Shown in video is the normal handle. The shovel (D shaped roller) is $30 or $36 ballpark.

I had some pics hosted online that showed my setup once. I had the Star hanging over the bench and a Dillon 550 chute on the second shelf wedged between the shelf and the stringer. Boolits dropped out of the press, down the chute, into a 5 gallon bucket. Also can hang a small 550 case bin for small runs to keep a small run separate from a large one. Remove the bin and they go in the bucket.

fredj338
07-16-2009, 18:39
Get the shovel handle. Saves the arm. Shown in video is the normal handle. The shovel (D shaped roller) is $30 or $36 ballpark.

I had some pics hosted online that showed my setup once. I had the Star hanging over the bench and a Dillon 550 chute on the second shelf wedged between the shelf and the stringer. Boolits dropped out of the press, down the chute, into a 5 gallon bucket. Also can hang a small 550 case bin for small runs to keep a small run separate from a large one. Remove the bin and they go in the bucket.

+1 I made a Dillon style roller handle for mine. Simple, bent piece of CR rod, drilled wooden dowel & some E-clips or you could drill & pin the ends. Makes doing 1000/hr+ very comfortable.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v703/fredj338/starsizer-1.jpg

FlyBoy007
07-16-2009, 20:50
Good thread

Thanks for the info, guys, learned stuff


:thumbsup:

Beware Owner
07-17-2009, 09:28
So, whenever I do get one, do I need to go ahead and get both punches?

GioaJack
07-17-2009, 09:54
So, whenever I do get one, do I need to go ahead and get both punches?


Beware:

I still use separate punches for each caliber and nose design but I just got a RN .45 cal. mould and I don't have a nose punch for that bullet. I'm going to try a different punch and if that doesn't work I'll try sizing nose down and see it I can push them through with a SWC punch... If that doesn't work I'll order the large and small size punches and that should work with all the calibers.

Going to cast some bullet with the new mould today and try sizing them this weekend so I'll let you know how it goes.

Jack

Beware Owner
07-17-2009, 09:57
Beware:

I still use separate punches for each caliber and nose design but I just got a RN .45 cal. mould and I don't have a nose punch for that bullet. I'm going to try a different punch and if that doesn't work I'll try sizing nose down and see it I can push them through with a SWC punch... If that doesn't work I'll order the large and small size punches and that should work with all the calibers.

Going to cast some bullet with the new mould today and try sizing them this weekend so I'll let you know how it goes.

Jack

Cool. I just did some sizing with my Lee sizer, that was some hard pushing! Maybe I didn't lube the bullets well enough, I was testing how that moly spray worked, won't do that again! I tried loading mine without sizing, not going to happen.

byf43
02-20-2010, 21:17
Gentlemen:

My wife's former manager recently gave me in excess of 300 lbs of hardcast bullets. Probably closer to 400 lbs of bullets.
There's .45 acp (RN) and .38 Spec. (BBWC), along with some .45/70 (LFN).

One of his friends, that used to cast/load with him, passed away, and he cleaned out their loading materials and he asked if I wanted the bullets.


My question is this . . . .
Other than the Star machine, which sizer/lubricator would you recommend??

Lyman???
RCBS???

Other???

Should I get a 'heater'??

And why?


Thank you in advance.

PBKing
02-21-2010, 07:35
Niether
If I couldnt get a Star I would keep TL till I found/ could afford one.
An Iron works super as a heater.

GioaJack
02-21-2010, 12:15
Gentlemen:

My wife's former manager recently gave me in excess of 300 lbs of hardcast bullets. Probably closer to 400 lbs of bullets.
There's .45 acp (RN) and .38 Spec. (BBWC), along with some .45/70 (LFN).

One of his friends, that used to cast/load with him, passed away, and he cleaned out their loading materials and he asked if I wanted the bullets.


My question is this . . . .
Other than the Star machine, which sizer/lubricator would you recommend??

Lyman???
RCBS???

Other???

Should I get a 'heater'??

And why?


Thank you in advance.



As with almost any other piece of loading equipment the difference between sizers basically comes down to convenience, rate of production and personal preference.

As you know, you can produce quality ammunition with an old set of Ideal tong tools but a Dillon 1050 makes the job considerably faster and more enjoyable. Sizer/lubricators are no different.

In reality an actual sizing and lubricating machine is not even needed. You and make your own lube with basically beeswax although many more elaborate recipes are readily available on the net.

You don't have to have a machine to apply lube, simply soften the lube in a double boiler then press it into the grease grooves with your fingers. Not the most ideal method but it has been done for decades by black powder shooters shooting conical rounds.

Technically you don't even need a machine for sizing the bullets, you just need the appropriate size die, (the style with a flange on the top. Cut a hole in a piece of hardwood or sturdy piece of metal. slip the die into the hole, place a bullet on top of the die, nose down and tap the bullet through with a wooden dowel. Works easier if the bullet is lubed first.

Again, not an ideal method but it certainly gets the job done and it's better than not be able to shoot.

(Alright, before you all jump on me about tumble lube and Lee sizing dies... first, I've never used either method, they came out long after I started casting and second that method is not all that different than what I just described. I'm sure Lee make a fine product for sizing and lubricating I'm just not familiar with them.

As to your question about Lyman and RCBS, they are basically the same machine in both operation and design. I do believe, although not positively sure anymore, that they even use the same dies. Been many, many years since I've bought dies for my old Lyman so maybe someone else can elaborate on die interchangeability.

The need for a heater is dictated by several factors, the climate you will be sizing in and your choice of lube.

I sized with both a Lyman sizer and a Star sizer from many years in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami without once ever needing a heater on either machine. The mountains of Colorado are a whole other animal. It tens to get a bit nippy.

The other factor to consider is the type of lube you prefer to use. They range from very soft to very hard with corresponding flow rates at different temperatures.

I prefer a very hard lube with a flow temperature of 125 degrees which necessitates a heating source of some type... even in the middle of the summer. Several different methods can be used to keep the lube flowing, as already pointed out, a simple household iron laying on a piece of aluminum that the sizer is attached to or even a 100 watt lightbulb aimed next to the sizer. I used to use the light bulb method but quickly changed to a Midway heater. Doesn't get in the way, machine attaches to it, can be use with almost any machine and is thermostat controlled, plus the price is reasonable. A man of normal mechanical inclination could easily build on for very little money... unfortunately I do not fall into that category.

So, the long and short of it is, any of the machines you mentioned will do the job very nicely... it just depends on what your needs, wants and desires are.

Think of it this way, a horse and buggy will get you to work everyday... your car or truck just does the same job with more speed and more convenience.

Jack

fredj338
02-21-2010, 13:05
Niether
If I couldnt get a Star I would keep TL till I found/ could afford one.
An Iron works super as a heater.

IMO, if you can afford a new RCBS or Lyman, you can pony up another $100 & get the best sizer. Besides, after you pay for all the top punches you need for the others, the price of the Star/Magma w/ one or two punches looks better. If pushed, I would go RCBS, I just like the handle system better. As noted, I like using two diff size punches in the Star as I sometimes cast a softer bullet & a 32cal punch in the middle of a 452" bullet kind of puts a dent in it.:dunno:

roundgun
02-21-2010, 19:17
It all started with a lee hand loader back in 1982, I was 17 years old and it was all I could afford. It took me about an hour to make 50 good handloaded rounds of 38spl. Nothing like hammering a primer into the case with the occasional primer detonation! Thank goodness I discovered the Dillon 550. Now I could make about 400 good rounds per hour. TIME SAVER! I also weighed the pros and cons of all bullet sizers. And as always happens, started off on bare bones inexpensive, Lee push through sizers, which are still real good push through sizers, they aslo seat gas checks, but you can only use it with liquid alox type lubes. I ended up making the investment with a Star sizer, bought from magma engineering. One heck of a machine! The punches I purchased from a gentleman who makes them to your exact tolerances from the Cast Boolits web sight. Awesome sizing dies. As I get older, I see my time as more of a precious commodity, to be spent with the people I love and doing the things that bring me joy. Like shooting, lots! Save yourself the headache, invest in the best you can, SAVE THE TIME for the more important things.

fredj338
02-21-2010, 22:06
Lee push through sizers, which are still real good push through sizers, they aslo seat gas checks, but you can only use it with liquid alox type lubes. I ended up making the investment with a Star sizer, bought from magma engineering. One heck of a machine!
You can always pan lube w/ the Lee sizer, but PITA. The Star/Magma just makes the whole lead bullet shooting thing work better.

Beware Owner
02-22-2010, 07:44
I have wet dreams about a Star lube/sizer, they're just so expensive!

fredj338
02-22-2010, 12:13
I have wet dreams about a Star lube/sizer, they're just so expensive!

Not really. A new Lyman is $150, the Star $250. You need one top punch for the Star, Lyman needs one for each bulet style @ $10 each. THe sizing dies are about the same if you order the Star sizers from a Lathesmith on the cast bullet forum. So depending on how many bullet styles you want to size, the Star isn't that much more money, maybe $70, well worth it in time saved.:dunno:

byf43
02-22-2010, 21:00
Thanks for the input and insight, guys!

While I've been loading my own ammo since '79, I have never cast my own bullets. (Or sized/lubricated. Duh.)
I don't know for certain, but, I'll possibly be casting and sizing more bullets.
Maybe. That's the 'key' to which sizer/lubricator I'll buy.

I mean, 300 to 400 lbs of bullets is a LOT of bullets, for a start!

One more question, if you don't mind.

Will the Star machine put gas checks on the bullets??

Again, thanks!

fredj338
02-22-2010, 21:30
Will the Star machine put gas checks on the bullets??

Again, thanks!
If you are careful. It is not as easy as the base first/nose punch designs, but I manage w/ mine.

Colorado4Wheel
02-23-2010, 08:38
Whats a good bench height for a Star. Seems like it needs to be about 36" vs a press which needs to be a lot higher.