PDA

View Full Version : Need your input...lube/sizer



outdoorfan
08-09-2009, 03:24 PM
Between the Star and the Saeco (mainly the Saeco). I know the Star is tops and that it'll lube/size 1000 boolits in an hour or two. What is a realistic production rate for the Saeco? Also, is the Saeco a nose-first or base-first design?

One more: Does the Star tend to leak lube when running boolits through that aren't at least .001 over the diameter being sized to?

moses
08-09-2009, 04:41 PM
What's wrong with a RCBS lube/sizer?
I just got one and by using my left hand to place the bullet while my right hand takes the lubed bullet out of the sizer and places it in the box I can go almost as fast as when using my friends Star sizer.
RCBS is much cheaper as is all the sizer dies and top punches.
If money is no object though, I'd go with the Star.

I haven't heard a lot of praise for a Saeco.

Gunslinger
08-09-2009, 04:52 PM
I'm with Moses on this one....

I have an RCBS and it works really well. It takes me about 5 minutes to size 50 boolits. So an hour of sizing amounts to a lot of shooting.

fredj338
08-09-2009, 04:54 PM
What's wrong with a RCBS lube/sizer?
I just got one and by using my left hand to place the bullet while my right hand takes the lubed bullet out of the sizer and places it in the box I can go almost as fast as when using my friends Star sizer.
RCBS is much cheaper as is all the sizer dies and top punches.
If money is no object though, I'd go with the Star.

I haven't heard a lot of praise for a Saeco.
The fact you have to remove the bullet makes the Lyman or RCBS at least twice as slow. The Star/Magma pushes the bullet straight thru. so one hand feeds, the other works the handle, 1000/hr is easy. The Saeco is much the same style, maybe slightly better executed because of the two ram rods instead of the others single. The best luber/sizer on the market is hands down the Star/Magma. It's only slight down fall is the seating of GC. It can be done, but not as securely/neatly as the others IMO.

jameslovesjammie
08-09-2009, 05:00 PM
I would vote for the Star. Forget about how much faster it sizes, although that is a plus. More importantly is that it sizes nose first. This means that the nose and point of the bullet are unaffected by the sizing operation. You also don't need a different top punch for each bullet. If you get your sizing dies from Lathesmith and your lube from LAR45, your caliber conversions won't cost you any more than a typical Lyman/RCBS.

Gunslinger
08-09-2009, 05:13 PM
This means that the nose and point of the bullet are unaffected by the sizing operation.

And this is important because.......??? It's the base of the bullet that determines accuracy or the lack thereof.... not the point! And besides, if the correct top punch is used the nose doesn't reveal if a bullet has been sized or not! One could also argue that because the Star is a push-though the bullets get dented?! I personally don't think a small dent here or there is going to make much of a difference.

I once sized 300 bullets and threw them in a plastic container. The bullets were totally greasy and so were the cartridges. I recon this could have something to do with the temperature of the lube... I can imagine the same thing would happen with a Star...

I now place sized bullets in those 9mm plastic squares you get from factory ammo. No grease and easy to store....

Echo
08-09-2009, 06:38 PM
I guess a lot depends on what you will be lube/sizing. If mostly rifle boolits, then an RCBS is my recommendation. Makes seating GC's easy, and really can move pretty fast. Yes, you should use the right nose-punch. SO?
On the other hand, if mostly pistol boolits, then the Star is the way to go. And I DO NOT size mine nose-first, although it is recommended. Nose first leaves fins on the base, for me anyway. Again, one needs the correct nose punch.
I have never used a SAECO, but understand they are good rigs. I have two RCBS and one Star, and am a happy man.

softpoint
08-09-2009, 06:49 PM
I cast and load for a number of different calibers, some with gaschecks, some without, and I' ve never felt like the RCBS wasn't good enough. Ihave an older Lyman that works OK too, but it leaks some out the base.

IllinoisCoyoteHunter
08-09-2009, 06:55 PM
+1 on the base of the boolit affecting accuracy. I like my.......Lyman........

Cherokee
08-09-2009, 07:06 PM
Echo - I'm glad to see someone else has that problem with some bullets. The fins don't hurt for my SASS ammo but I would think they would impact accuracy shooting longer range. It is anoying and why I use my 45/450/4500 Lymans for some of my bullets. But, the star is fast when you have alot of bullets to do.

mrbill2
08-09-2009, 07:46 PM
I'm going to have to put a plug in for the Saeco. I have 1 for 35+ years and never had a problem. I just bought another one used for lube that needs heat. Both work great and I like the gas check seater that is built in the Saeco. This is the only sizer I have ever used so can't say anything about others. Just my .02
Mr. Bill2

moses
08-09-2009, 08:21 PM
I also thought the RCBS would be at least twice as slow, However not the case.
As I would be doing nothing with might right hand while my left was putting a boolit in the Star, with the RCBS I take the bullet away with my right hand while my left is putting the bullet in the sizer. I'd say the Star is 25% faster than the RCBS if using my method.

HeavyMetal
08-09-2009, 08:46 PM
I've used Stars, Lymans and Saeco's. never had an RCBS but it's the same basic deal as the Lyman.

This question also seems to get asked a lot, I thought we had a video in the stickies section showing how well a Star worked?

Anyway on with my answer: Buy the Star!

The Seaco is an excellent choice and, if you can get one for the right price, buy it! Other wise the Star is really top of the line.

Having said all that how much sizing are you going to do? If your competing in some form of pistol or rifle match / league the Star is the way to go ,If your just gonna size 40 or 50 every few months buy the sizer that fits your budget!

By the way nose sizing produces a measurablely more accurate boolit than base sizeing useing a nose punch.

For the record have two Stars and an old Lyman #1 for "specialty" boolits!

Leftoverdj
08-09-2009, 09:05 PM
The one hand putting on while the other is taking off sounds wonderful if you happen to have a third hand to work the lever.

Not having such a hand, I run the bullets for the bulk of my shooting through Lee pushthoughs. My guess is that the time spent in tumble lubing is no greater than the time I would have spent loading a lube reservoir and applying pressure. I also benefit from spending little to no time adjusting dies.

There are, of course, times I do not want to use TL, but that's mostly for GC rifle bullets. I shoot far fewer of those and speed is much less of a concern. I don't mind running those through a Lyman or my old Herter's since I am only doing a hundred or two at a time. I run WCs through the Lee dies by the thousand.

finishman2000
08-09-2009, 09:15 PM
well i have the rcbs, lyman star and now the owner of a ballisti-cast (which i will be writing up a review in a week or so) and for speed the star is hard to beat when the magma feeder and air cylinder is used. For gas checks either one of the first two. for low production it really doesn't matter.
the star is a great machine but i find it kinda lightweight for the long haul. Yea i know you've had yours for 40 years and it till works but i still find it lacking in strenght. The ballisti-cast is in a different league but isn't perfect either but is the strongest of them all.

outdoorfan
08-09-2009, 09:31 PM
Thanks for all your input. The reason I was leaning away from the Lyman/RCBS is because they take lube sticks (only?). I make my own lube, and I would like to have the ability to simply melt the stuff and pour it in a reservoir. The Saeco allows this, and I imagine the Star does as well.

I have been hand lubing, and the wasted time is killing me. I tried pan lubing, and I simply haven't found it to be any better when it comes to my pistol boolits (which I shoot the most of). I end up with plenty of lube in the crimp groove that I have to clean out, and then some of the lube grooves need relubing anyway. If I could get a RCBS/Saeco/Star to lube these suckers without having to wipe lube off the nose or out of the crimp groove, then I'll be time ahead.

Most of the stuff I shoot uses gas checks. My .30 cal boolits are the longest ones, being around 1.1 inches. I want the checks to go on straight, of course. The Lee push-thru's that I've been using so far produce quality boolits, but the time factor isn't worth it.

I don't need the Star, as I will probably only need to load a couple hundred rounds per week.

RayinNH
08-09-2009, 09:50 PM
outdoorfan, don't lean away from the Lyman/RCBS sizers because of lube because you certainly can pour you own lube in them. Sticks are not needed...Ray

GabbyM
08-09-2009, 09:51 PM
I use a Star on all my pistol bullets. However for long nosed rifle bullets or rifle bullets with a point that either deforms or dents the gas check under it. I use a Lyman or RCBS. The long bore ride nosed rifle bullets I can't get through a Star without leaving lube blobs on the nose. This is due to the amount of time the die lube holes are uncovered as the nose passes through. So instead of wiping off all the noses I just set up a Lyman which is better at gas checks anyway.

Never used a Saeco sizer but the ergonomics looks like it would work and reviews are good.
The Lyman / RCBS dies won't fit a Saeco so once you get started on one or the other you're fairly grandfathered in.

If you only do a few thousand bullets per year production speed isn't really a big deal. If all you do is pistol bullets the Star is the way to go and you'll never regret it. They just do a better job and you don't need a pint jar full of nose punches. If you like bevel based bullets then a Star can run them with no issue while the push pull sizers will fill the bevel with lube. But yes, to answer your question. If you run an undersized bullet into a Star die it will squirt lube out past the bullet. But then so will a push pull type sizer to a lesser extent. Since undersized bullets don't generally shoot to well it's kind of a moot issue anyway.

geargnasher
08-09-2009, 09:58 PM
I use a buddy's Lyman 450 or tumble lube. This doesn't answer the question, but I wouldn't limit my choices to just a Saeco or Magma Star without taking in some input on other types. I use what I have access to/can afford, but when I buy my own I'll buy a Lyman or RCBS first, because it works well for my needs, then maybe get a Star if need the production.

Love the Lyman, but not the RCBS dies. Stick with Lyman's dies because they generally have more holes and have concave bottom punches which help keep lube off the bases.

Gear

geargnasher
08-09-2009, 10:01 PM
outdoorfan, don't lean away from the Lyman/RCBS sizers because of lube because you certainly can pour you own lube in them. Sticks are not needed...Ray

+1 on that, I melt the sticks and pour them in (1.5 at a time) the Lyman, much better than pushing air bubbles through which is what happens when you just drop in the sticks, plus you don't have to do it as often.

Gear

outdoorfan
08-09-2009, 10:12 PM
Ok, so I can get by with the Lyman or RCBS just fine. I can pour lube in them (no sticks). They size gas-checked boolits well, and seat the checks on fine too. The don't leak (or do they?). I don't use any bevel-based boolits, nor do I plan to. I don't have any bore-riding rifle boolits either.

Will the base-first lubrisizers work just fine with hollow pointed boolits? I've never seen a top punch, and I'm not exactly sure of how it works. I don't think I need a heater with this, but I think both the RCBS and Lyman have them available (separate, right?). Or I've heard of people just using a lamp to create the heat, as long as not too much is needed.

I'll state again that I'm definitely not into big production sizing/lubing, but I'm desperate to get something far more efficient than what I'm doing now.

Sprue
08-09-2009, 10:19 PM
I have two RCBS. I always thought of getting a Star but never did. But as time passed...I'm became content with what I have.

As I have mentioned before I installed a 1/4" socket on my presses and that alone speeds things up. I shoot most every weekend and I'm never in a position where I don't have any boolits available to load. Course, I do have the advantage of having the time to do things in the loading room most every day or evening after work. I'm always doing something and always looking forward to the next upcoming weekend cause I' ll be at the range either Sat or Sun, sometimes both.

At any given time, I always have a couple hundred lubed boolits sized/lubed for that calibers that I shoot most, course, I usually have amble supply of loaded ammo anyway as I love this hobby so needless to say, I stay ahead of the game. I enjoy loading casting whatever, just as must as shooting. Did I mention that I love this hobby ;).

I always melt my lube and poor it into the press, but I do sometimes have a problem hitting the hole so about every other time I go to fill the reservoir I have the need for a few choice words.

Also I find it rather quick and easy to change out the dies to switch calibers. As for Top Punches I find that only a few are needed for the various boolit types in my applications. GC's, they are no problem either, its hardly no difference using them or not, no biggy there.

Now I'm not lightning fast when it comes to lube sizing boolits but as with anything else, you develope a routine and soon it becomes a polished process. In the process I keep both hands active with fairly good speed and yes, the ratchet certainly helps by always having it in a comfortable position where you could nearly do it blind folded. (might pinch the **** outta of one of them digits that way though :).

Like I said, its easy to change calibers, if its thats simple of a process with the Star... I don't know.

But right now, if the time comes when I need a new lube die, 18 bucks ain't bad t'all.

All said, I'll probably get a Star one of these days, but if I wanted one I would order it. In the past and up till now, I usually have other, more desired items to procure.

Finally, yes I do have to clean, or want to wipe off excess lube from the boolit bases. Its one of those quirks and seems to be inherent to the machine in my experience.

Good luck with your choice(s).

geargnasher
08-09-2009, 10:27 PM
Ok, so I can get by with the Lyman or RCBS just fine. I can pour lube in them (no sticks). They size gas-checked boolits well, and seat the checks on fine too. The don't leak (or do they?). I don't use any bevel-based boolits, nor do I plan to. I don't have any bore-riding rifle boolits either.

Will the base-first lubrisizers work just fine with hollow pointed boolits? I've never seen a top punch, and I'm not exactly sure of how it works. I don't think I need a heater with this, but I think both the RCBS and Lyman have them available (separate, right?). Or I've heard of people just using a lamp to create the heat, as long as not too much is needed.

I'll state again that I'm definitely not into big production sizing/lubing, but I'm desperate to get something far more efficient than what I'm doing now.

Then by all means consider the Lyman 4500 or RCBS. The Lyman does leak a little, but who cares. My Lee pot drips on occasion and doesn't bother me a bit.
Works great with hp boolits, especially if you make your own top punches out of rod stock or drill a hole in the end and add a machined spud. I've even made them out of maple dowells before, works fine for boolits that don't need much sizing.

You don't need a heater unless the temps are below 70* with most lubes. I noticed that the Lyman "kit" with heater is only a few dollars more than the sizer by itself, if i were to buy one I would go ahead and get the heater. if my lube won't flow, I just wave a propane torch across the die area a few times and presto!. Many folks here use old hair dryers, depends on lube and climate.

Bevel base boolits are a pain, but if you do ever need to lube them, just use the old meat tray cutout trick (put a disc in under the boolit) and it works pretty well.

Gear

dragonrider
08-09-2009, 10:53 PM
"However for long nosed rifle bullets or rifle bullets with a point that either deforms or dents the gas check under it."
I had this problem with my Star also, solved it by machining a brass rod .010" smaller than boolit dia. and about 1-1/4" long. Size and lube a boolit, lift ram, insert rod on top of boolit, lower ram to push out boolit, rod falls through after boolit. Repeat. Yes it slows the process down but I am not looking for speed. I want accurately sized and concentric boolits with flat gas checks that I can not get from my Lyman.

moses
08-10-2009, 01:45 AM
Leftoverdj, that is why I said 25% faster. The only extra time involved with the RCBS over the Star is the time it takes me to move my right hand from where I place the bullet to be sized to the handle. Which is what about 10"?
If you used only your left hand to place the bullet and take out the bullet and place the bullet etc. while your right hand stayed on the lever, then yes it would be at least twice as slow.

As far as messy, the bullets I did on my friends Star had the same amount of lube if not more on places not wanted.
Like I said before if money is no object get the star!

Recluse
08-10-2009, 02:18 AM
Hell, I use my Lee push-through sizers most of the time to set gas checks. Then the gc'd boolits go into the Lyman for lube only. Extra step, yeah, but my sizing has the boolits going nose first with a good, flat, firm gas-check seating--and for what? $15 bucks?

When I retire and set up a private range out on some country land, I'll probably break down and get a Star simply to leave set up for one caliber (.45) so I can do dumptruck loads at one time. That'll probably be when I also break down and get a Dillon 650 to set up for the same caliber.

Top punches ARE a pain and I despise them--but they're a necessary evil with the Saeco, RCBS and Lyman sizers.

:coffee:

outdoorfan
08-10-2009, 10:57 AM
I don't mind the Lee push-thru's except that they aren't seating the gas checks on like they should. For example, I first size the boolit nose first, then run it back through base first (to get a good even crimp without the check going cock-eyed), and then I run it back through again nose first to flatten out the base of the check (this last step may not be necessary). But the biggest issue is lubing.

I don't believe I've received an answer to this question yet?

Veral says that he designs molds that drop boolits .001 over diameter so that there will be some resistance when going through the Star. He says that if the boolits aren't at least .001 over, then the Star will tend to shoot the lube past the boolit, causing a leak. Has this been the experience of those here that use the Star? If the boolits drop .310 or .3102 out of the mold, and I run them through a .310 sizer on the Star, will it work right or will it leak?

Leftoverdj
08-10-2009, 11:30 AM
I don't mind the Lee push-thru's except that they aren't seating the gas checks on like they should. For example, I first size the boolit nose first, then run it back through base first (to get a good even crimp without the check going cock-eyed), and then I run it back through again nose first to flatten out the base of the check (this last step may not be necessary). But the biggest issue is lubing.

I don't believe I've received an answer to this question yet?

Veral says that he designs molds that drop boolits .001 over diameter so that there will be some resistance when going through the Star. He says that if the boolits aren't at least .001 over, then the Star will tend to shoot the lube past the boolit, causing a leak. Has this been the experience of those here that use the Star? If the boolits drop .310 or .3102 out of the mold, and I run them through a .310 sizer on the Star, will it work right or will it leak?

Outdoor, you are defeating yourself and the reason why is contained in your question. For a pushthrough die to seat a GC, there must be significant resistance. The pressure needed to size the bullet is applied to the GC and will force it against the base. The sizer holds the bullet in position while the ram forces the check straight up. When you size before applying the GC, you remove that resistance and the GC is not forced against the base.

Leakage depends mostly on the viscosity of the lube and the pressure applied. Temperature is relevant as it affects the viscosity. I don't use a Star, but I have lubed bullets over a thou undersized with little to no leakage by reducing the pressure on the lube. A lower temperature would achieve the same effect. Those of us who make our own lubes can also stiffen the lube a bit by adding paraffin.

outdoorfan
08-10-2009, 12:06 PM
So, is can the Star be adjusted, as far as lubing pressure is concerned?

It makes a lot of sense that the Lee push-thru's need resistance, and I've tried seating gas checks when sizing down nothing, or going to .001 or .002. I get the same results every time. Crooked gc's. It's not as issue that I'm really anxious to get resolved at this point because I want to move on to something more efficient.

Recluse
08-10-2009, 01:49 PM
It makes a lot of sense that the Lee push-thru's need resistance, and I've tried seating gas checks when sizing down nothing, or going to .001 or .002. I get the same results every time. Crooked gc's. It's not as issue that I'm really anxious to get resolved at this point because I want to move on to something more efficient.

I haven't found anything as efficient as the Lee push-through system--especially for $15 bucks.

As far as the crooked gas checks, etc, only time I have problems with gas checks is when I have a problem with my boolit (bases) and it doesn't matter which sizer or system I'm using. If the boolit base isn't correct, I'm gonna have problems seating the gas check. That's hardly the fault of a sizing system.

First step is in pouring and casting good, correct boolits. That makes sizing and lubing (and installing gas checks when/where applicable) fall in place.

:coffee:

mroliver77
08-10-2009, 03:19 PM
Those getting leakage or lube where not wanted with a Star must not know how to set one up. There was a learning curve for me but I licked it and now it is very simple top get nice clean boolits with lube ONLY in the groove. The star should only have pressure at the die when the handle is pushed down activating the pump. Some seem to think this is a valve but no it is a pump. I seat gaschecks on different rifle boolits in the Star with no problem. It would be nice if there was more stroke but it is intended as a pistol boolit sizer. I have Lyman, RCBS and Star sizers and prefer the Star.
Jay

grouch
08-10-2009, 08:14 PM
We've all got our superstitions, but it seems to me that nose first sizing should get you better acuracy because the bullet is better centred and the driving bands are more likely to stay concentric with the bullet body.
Grouch

Crash Corrigan
08-11-2009, 01:30 AM
I've had a SEACO for about 10 years. I generally bolt it onto a sturdy wooden tv table and do my lubing/sizing whilst enjoying my favorite TV programs. I bought a heater and do use it sometimes and the process is mindless. Put a boolit under the ram. Right hand depresses the handle and the left hand grabs another boolit.

Drag up the handle and remove the bullet between two fingers and insert another with another pair of fingers. Repeat until the box is empty or you need to turn the top crank to get some more lube into it. It is not brain surgery and it just needs to get done.

When all are lubed I throw them into a plastic bucket with some corn starch and give it about 30 seconds worth or so of swirling to coat each boolit with a nice even layer of CS. This keeps the lube from getting sticky and eases handling and assembling the completed rounds at a later time.

I load quite a number of calibres and the cost of the dies run about $35 per but I buy them one at a time and right now I have all I need. I use Lars Carnuba Red or his BAC and they both get it done for me.

The SAECO is quite well made and will probably outlast me. Simple yet effective.

454PB
08-11-2009, 10:20 PM
I have a Star and two Lyman 450's.

I also use the Lee push through dies for "special" projects.

The way to seat a gas check squarely when using either the Lee or the Star is to position the boolit and gas check for sizing, then give it a light "tap" with the punch before pushing it through the die.

cbrick
08-12-2009, 12:02 AM
The best luber/sizer on the market is hands down the Star/Magma. It's only slight down fall is the seating of GC. It can be done, but not as securely/neatly as the others IMO.

Nonsense!

I have never had the slightest problem seating checks with my Star, flat, square and secure.

Rick

cbrick
08-12-2009, 12:12 AM
We've all got our superstitions, but it seems to me that nose first sizing should get you better acuracy because the bullet is better centred and the driving bands are more likely to stay concentric with the bullet body.
Grouch

grouch, no superstition, I proved it on a machine shop comparator a few years back that the nose first sized boolits from a Star are more concentric than boolits sized on the SAECO or the RCBS, considerably so.

Dunno if with the Lee dies boolits sized nose first would be the same, didn't try it but logic would say they should be the same.

Rick