View Full Version : How do the Star lube/sizers work?
11-02-2005, 11:45 AM
Never used one, and I was wondering since the boolit is pushed base first into the die, how do you control what lube grooves get lubed if you are so inclined to just lube a few?
With my old Lyman 45's of course you can acomplish this by just pushing the bullet (nose first) down in the die at a certain depth to control what get's lubed.
How does the Star do this?
11-02-2005, 05:54 PM
the dies have holes spaced around the die and at various vertical spacings also. You need to have the correct die for the bullet and Magma selects that for you when you tell them what mold number. It's a little tricky the first time but you seat the bullet in the die down to the hole or holes you want lub to flow from and into the groove or grooves. Before you do that you need to plug the holes you don't what with the shot pellets supplied. Then you set the punch to the base of the bullet and tighten down the punch. You must push the punch all the way down to do this.
I use a three lub groove configuration for my 38 wadcutters and it works great. For 45's they are single grooves. I use a H&G 68 and 130 with the same die by just slightly changing the punch distance to the top of the die.
Changing bullets is easy once you have the dies set for the different bullets.You simply measue between the bottom of the punch and the top of the die with your calipers and return to that dimension next time. you would want to have a seperate die for each bullet if the multi-lube groove spacing is different even though the bullets are the same caliber.
Hope that helps, it's kind of hard to discribe the hole spacing.
11-02-2005, 07:00 PM
How does the Star do this?
The Star uses both low and high pressure to do what it does.
The reservoir pressure is about the same as other types of lube sizers. As long as the pressure and viscosity of the lube are matched, the lube does not "run" out onto the noses or into bands where it is not desired because the holes in the size die are very small and they stop the "thick" lube from flowing at the low pressure.
When the boolit is sized and the press is at the bottom of the stroke, a small piston is activated that cuts off the reservoir and pushes the lube into the aligned grooves. The piston is only about 1/4" in diameter and generates high enough pressure to get the lube to flow through the tiny holes.
If you have several different boolit styles (in the same caliber), I think the Star is a pain in the a.. to adjust. You would need several sizing dies pre-plugged for every boolit style.
Or removing the die and rearranging the lead shot in the holes, a very messy operation.
I have a Star, now finally set up for a single-lube-groove boolit and I never want to change it because of all the hassle.
So I'm looking for a used RCBS to simplify life as I have several different boolit styles I want to size/lube.
The Star was given to me so I don't complain, but with my low production rate I wouldn't buy a new one. It's good for bevel based boolits though, as no lube gets on the base. It is also good if you want to size/lube a large amount of boolits.
My experience exactly. I use my Star for large runs of pistol bullets, especially those with gas checks. Nothing seats them firmer or more square. However, set up is a PITA. So, I resort to my RCBS unit for smaller runs. Interestingly, for my BPCR, I also use the Star. It is much more semetrical and much less likely to mess up a bullet base. When shooting 45 cal bullets out to 800-1000 yards, even slight deformations cause grops to open quite a bit. The Star is the only press I've seen with zero run out. I use a .459 die and run the bullets through it. They are cast at .4585 or so and just kiss the sides of the die. The main purpose is to add the lube. The key is to observe the base and the shoulder of the bullet. If it is equally shiney all around, both the mould and the sizer are concentric. I also like the idea of sizing bullets nose first. That way, it's the shoulder that squares the bullet in the die. As the base is sized it can't help but be parallel to the sides and centered on the center axis.
11-03-2005, 01:10 PM
I have two Star sizers and haven't used the Lyman much at all since they arrived. Set-up is not that big a deal to me - I measure the distance from the top of the sizing die to the nose punch and record it for every boolit the first time I set up for a new one. After that going from one to another is very simple, just look at the measurement and adjust the nose punch as required. Drilling out the lead shot and replacing it for different lube groove designs is a five minute job, and I save that much time in lubing even a small batch of boolits.
UTK, would you be interested in a trade for a Lyman 450?
11-03-2005, 04:17 PM
Well He(( , I guess I been doing it wrong for a long time. I send em in my star nose first! I have 5 different sized flat "base punchs", works great.
I seat the Gas Checks by hand and then send em thru
11-03-2005, 05:01 PM
Yeah, I knew nose punch was wrong but used the term most familiar to those not familiar with the star... Tony
11-03-2005, 05:22 PM
What calibers is the "standard size" punch appropriate for? I think I read somewhere that the punch that comes with the press will work for .30 caliber up to .45 caliber. Is this true?
11-03-2005, 05:28 PM
Matt, a "standard" small punch will work for any larger boolit, but the closer the punch is to boolit size the better IMO. I think largest possible punch increases your chance of starting the boolit straight. Still, one base punch can cover several different sizes if required. Tony
11-03-2005, 06:43 PM
I have 3 Stars now. I sold both the Lyman and the RCBS 'cause I didn't use them anymore. It can be a pain to set up perfectly but I find I get better at it with practice. Most of my bullets are large single groove bullets so I just have to adjust the punch length. I do have more than one punch. I have a .355, .401, .452 and a .456. I find I have less deformation of the base with a punch close to bullet diameter, but then I cast very soft BP bullets. I did some 4 groove BPCR bullets for a friend and had to drill out and replug some holes. If I was doing quite a bit of different grooved bullets I would buy another 45-70 die. If you are doing a small amount of sizing anything will do, but I do thousands a month, so a Star is the only way to go for me. Especially with the bullet feeder.
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