View Full Version : Question about Star Sizer
08-29-2010, 05:45 PM
New member here. Great forum with lots of info. Pleased to meet you all. I have cast boolits years ago and am starting up again. I have recently acquired a Star Sizer again and I saw some youtube videos where they size boolits nose first. Is this standard practice now? The Star I have is from the late 70's and the top punches are shaped for different nose profiles. Is there a specific technique to running bullets nose first? Do you need to plug the size die differently or something? I ask because I tried this method and noticed that my boolits are really hard to crank resulting in two bent handles already. Any help much appreciated.
Welcome to the board. The effort required to push the bullet through the die should be no different reguardless of which end goes first. At least it's like that with all my Stars......Creeker
08-29-2010, 06:38 PM
I own a Star. I've never sized base first, but the only problem I can forsee is that it would change the relative position of the die's lube holes to the boolit grooves. It may not be a problem, only a test will tell.
How much are you reducing the diameter, and what alloy?
Trying to size a pure linotype boolit more than a few thousandths gets tough.
08-29-2010, 07:10 PM
Be sure to lube the first few when starting a batch, then run a lubed/sized bullet every ten bullets or so.
I slightly bent my homemade roller handle because I forgot to lube the first few. I just use a few drops of RCBS Case Lube2 on my fingers to spread it around the bullet. My first one I got completely stuck in the die and then stupidly overpressured the handle. Good thing I stopped as it was a brand new Star :oops:. No damage but bent my handle (common round steel) and felt like a moron afterwards...
08-29-2010, 09:18 PM
It's also a good idea to see where your handle is in relation to the Bearing area of the boolit being sized.
I have found that if I adjust the pin that push's the boolit through the die to high I change the leverage point and bend handles. This is why I try to use dies that only have one row of lube holes drilled low on the sizer die
A lot of this will depend on how long a boolit is that your tying to size, and how much your trying to take off in one pass as well.
08-30-2010, 05:14 AM
Hi Gents, thank you all for the warm welcome. I think I may have found the problem to my dilemma it seems my over eager (dumb) self may not have inspected the sizer dies as well as I should have. I got the dies from a friend and after pulling the .356 and .401 dies out for inspection there is rust pitting on the inside of the dies. Said friend also gave me the Star sizer we used before but it seems to have evolved into a rust frozen creature of some sort.....oh the shame....I have the option of trying to clean and polish the dies out or get new ones. These dies have been around for about 15 years and I have no idea where they were kept since I last used them. I am worried that trying to clean them out may open them up more or polishing may not remove what's inside. I think I may have to give Lathesmith a pm for new ones LOL!
As for alloy, I am just using WW's. I casted some .45 before I tried the other dies and these came out just fine with minimal effort on a .452 sizer die from another friend who takes care of his equipment and who is going to try and bring the other Star back to life. He's a tool guy and hopefully I'll wind up with another Star or at least parts for the one I am using now.
Lastly, when sizing nose first, I am assuming that your top punches are basically flat squared rams then? Any input welcome. Now off to the hardware store to find me a 3/8" shafted phillips screwdriver for a new handle.
08-30-2010, 09:27 AM
If the dies were mine I would try polishing them. Make a mandrel to spin sandpaper with a drill by slotting a piece of 1/4" wood dowel or steel rod. Polish with strips of wet-or-dry sandpaper with a little oil starting at 400 grit, then 500 and 600. You don't want to remove metal; just want to make sure the high spots are removed and the surface is polished. YOu could certainly go to finer grits if you want. Since the boolit is sized as it goes all the way through the die, maybe it will still give a good sizing job.
The standard punches for the Star are square.
If you polish the dies let us know how the worked afterward.
08-30-2010, 09:58 AM
I agree with David2011. Star dies are VERY hard, and it takes a deliberate effort to enlarge them. Some fine grade emory cloth and crocus cloth will clean them up without changing the inside diameter.
08-30-2010, 03:43 PM
Thanks for the advice all, I will go ahead and give them a thorough cleaning and polishing. I have some Kroil around here and will use that with some emery cloth on a mandrel. I can get some Flitz afterward to do a final polish on them. Hopefully that will bring them back to life.
08-31-2010, 06:51 AM
You really only need one or two punches for your Star unless you seat GC's. One small flat and one large flat = finished business. If seating GC's then you want the punch close to base diameter.
08-31-2010, 10:59 AM
BTW guys, don't put Kroil on a boolit and try to run it through the sizer. I thought it would leave the die super slick. It didn't work out like I expected. It siezed up and I was afraid I was going to break something in the sizer before I got the boolit though the die. I won't be doing that again.
08-31-2010, 06:41 PM
I have tried cleaning and polishing, and my results are mixed, its seems the lube holes are now getting clogged with lead shavings and feeding back in to the die body and sealing the lube ports. I figured this is what is happening since I pulled out the die and noticed the lead deposits were filling the lube ports in the die. The sized bullets are showing score marks on them and after maybe sizing 20 of them the ports get clogged and no lube flows into them. I'm pretty sure the lube ports have burrs in them catching the bullets as they pass through. I think I'll PM Lathesmith and see if he can work up some dies for me along with some flat top punches. Well as soon as I can get some funds going...
08-31-2010, 06:59 PM
In case you didn't know, Star dies have a two diameter lube hole. Viewed from the outside, the hole is large, then steps down to a much smaller hole.
I suggest you do a thorough inspection of each lube hole and make sure there is no debris or metal flakes causing the scoring you've described. I use a dental pick to clean these holes.
+1 on Lathesmith dies for the Star. First class items.
My .452 die for the Star had a small chunk of lead that would scratch boolits. I found two solutions to the problem.
Check the lube holes with a small awl (ice pick) that will go into the bore of the die...a tiny bit of lead would stick in the hole and portrude when the lube pressurized around it. Clean the die waaay beyond clean and you might see the problem.
They bought an assortment of ball hones at work but we don't do much with holes under 1/2 inch. I got one of the small ones, chucked the die in a lathe and fired it up, using plenty of cutting/honing oil. It made the die interior less than half a thousandth per inch larger and even smoother. (NOTE: Original Star and Magma dies are harder than wood pecker lips. No occasion to mess with the ones from Lathesmith, but I'm sure he heat treats them similarly.)
The Star is a good unit, but you have to tinker with a bit...and then it's mass production time. Run a lubed boolit through it every ten or so as advised. Doing a search here and reading everything you can about the Star will keep you from having to "re-invent the wheel." It seems like I learn something new with every thread on the Star.
09-08-2010, 03:42 AM
Thanks for the advice all, a little low on funding so I hope to send Lathesmith a PM soon.
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