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Thread: Few questions on new to me star

  1. #1
    Boolit Master lablover's Avatar
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    Few questions on new to me star

    Well, package came and I'm pretty happy. Got .452 die as well as top punch but I have a few questions.

    First, should I be able to put in one bullet and have it size then come all the way out the bottom of the sizer? If so, thats where my problem starts. Seems I can't get the top punch down enough to send the bullet all the way thru the press. I didn't tr base first to see if that would work.

    What happens is I adjust the top bunch down so far the threads on the top punch hit the edge of the die before the bullet comes all the way out. Could be it's the wrong top punch?

    Or, another bullet needs to go on top before the first bullet comes out? This is the only way I get get the handle to go it's full motion and activate the plunger for the lube.

    I fear I have the wrong top punch but any help would be great. Other than that this thing is the cats meow for sure.

    I'm gonna run out and see if that punch is bade for base first sizing.

    Also, my die has 4 rows of holes so I used the 2nd crown from the top..all others I plugged.

    Thanks Gents

  2. #2
    Boolit Master bosterr's Avatar
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    Push a bullet in and give the handle that extra push to push the lube into the groove in the boolit. Insert another boolit and do the same thing and it will push the one ahead out the bottom. I have an Accro bin mounted under the sizer to catch my boolits. I use Carnuba Red, so I don't have to worry about lube coming out of the grooves.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master lablover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bosterr View Post
    Push a bullet in and give the handle that extra push to push the lube into the groove in the boolit. Insert another boolit and do the same thing and it will push the one ahead out the bottom. I have an Accro bin mounted under the sizer to catch my boolits. I use Carnuba Red, so I don't have to worry about lube coming out of the grooves.
    That part I understand..However, before I can give it that extra push to activate the fulcrum lever the threads on the top punch hit the top of the die not allowing me to do that.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master bosterr's Avatar
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    I mostly size one lube groove pistol boolits which requires the use of the top row of holes. To line up the lube groove with that top row of holes, I hold the die in my hand with a boolit laying right beside it. I can pretty much eye-ball where the punch needs to be in the press once installed.
    Last edited by bosterr; 09-09-2017 at 06:40 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Man
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    You're pushing that boolet waaay too far down the die if the threads of the punch are hitting. Take the die back out and like bosterr says, lay your boolet agains the die and see where the lube holes line up -- that gives you a real close guestimate of where you want the punch to end at the bottom of your stroke. On short pistol bullets you may have 2 boolets in the die before the next one pushes the bottom boolet out into your handy container you have placed to catch 'em.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master bosterr's Avatar
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    I only buy dies and punches from Lathesmith on this site. The dies are hardened and the punches are not. He makes the punches just a few thousands smaller than the dies and if there is contact, the die won't get damaged. I only run the punch up into the press until it just bumps to a stop against the punch nut. I also buy the punch nuts from him with set screws so I can set my punches and forget it.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master lablover's Avatar
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    I think I got it..It had what I think is carnauba red in it and never turned on the heater..After adding heat all adjustments seemed to have needed a change. Next ting I know I'm lubing these what seem to be AWESOME BOOLITS!! I can see where a little finesse is needed to set this up. I may unplug the top row of holes and use those for the right hole set. Right now I'm using the second from the top, so that little bit may give me more top punch...I will say the way it is now the threads no longer hit the top of the die. I'm not sure why adding heat changed things but maybe the little lever for the lube came out more..Dunno..

    Today is my Wife Birthday and the kids came over so I had to abandon my new toy. You can be sure it will be a late night after the kids leave and the Honey goes to sleep.

    I will say I could not believe how easy it was to size compared to my LAM2. Night and day for sure! I'm anxious to get the bullet feeder set up now. Almost had it but think I'm missing that special nut that is used on the top punch when using a bullet feeder.....Will know more later.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    You get to where you can tell what adj. is needed of the top punch, by where the lube is going on the bullet (if its not right).

  9. #9
    Boolit Master bosterr's Avatar
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    In my 68 degree basement, I run the heater for 10 minutes and then unplug it. Much longer than that, I get lube on boolit noses. There is a slight learning curve to a Star, but you'll love it very soon.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master lablover's Avatar
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    You got that right. I will say the bullet feeder makes it pretty quick. Time for some tubes

  11. #11
    Boolit Master lablover's Avatar
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    New question...Got everything set up correctly but ran into another issue. When mounting the bullet feeder, the nut that now hols the top punch is hitting the die where I almost have to came over the handle. If the nut was thinner no issue. I tried it without the bullet feeder and it does not hit the die. The reason it's hitting with the bullet feeder is because you have to add that spacer with the bolt in it to activate the bullet feeder...Ughhhhhh

    I'm going to bed. Try again tomorrow

    I thought I read someplace that lath smith makes a special top punch nut for those with bullet feeders..I think

  12. #12
    Boolit Master lablover's Avatar
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    Aghhhhh, what am I missing here..That top punch nut hits the die no matter what I do...Its a nut with a little lock screw in it. I almost feel like it's too think when using the bullet feeder adaptor thingie...AF190

  13. #13
    Boolit Master bosterr's Avatar
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    Have you plugged all but the top row of holes yet? I assume you're sizing 45 ACP boolits? One lube groove or two? I probably have 1/8" between the top of the die and the threads on the punch. I don't have a boolit feeder on mine so I can't help you there. All my punches measure around 1.6 inches in length EXCEPT a few that I got with my old Star that were made to fit a boolit nose as in base first sizing. I've since ground them down flat to use in nose first sizing. Measure the length of your punch to see if it was modified.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    The lock nut should not hit the die. You'll eventually break the unit. My boolit feeder is a left hand of boolits and the thumb and index fingers free to orient and feed the boolits. It keeps up with my right arm and the return of the lube pump when using Carnuba Red. The boolit's lube groove needs to be aligned with the die's lube holes so the tail end of the handle stroke that operates the lube pump can do it's work. The next boolit you feed into the top of the die will push the previous boolit out the bottom of the die.
    Last edited by jsizemore; 09-10-2017 at 09:48 AM.

  15. #15
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    You're going to drive yourself nuts, or break something, so you need to download the manual for the Star Sizer from Magma:

    http://www.magmaengineering.com/PDF/Star_Sizer.pdf

    This page will also help you: http://www.magmaengineering.com/PDF/...h_settings.pdf

    The arm for the bullet feeder can be rotated so it doesn't hit the base of the feeder. It's a little tricky, but you need to do that or you'll break the arm.

    Do some reading and then try it all again.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred

    PS: If you haven't done so, you need to go to Swappin' and Sellin' and close out your Want to Buy ad.
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master lablover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReloaderFred View Post
    You're going to drive yourself nuts, or break something, so you need to download the manual for the Star Sizer from Magma:

    http://www.magmaengineering.com/PDF/Star_Sizer.pdf

    This page will also help you: http://www.magmaengineering.com/PDF/...h_settings.pdf

    The arm for the bullet feeder can be rotated so it doesn't hit the base of the feeder. It's a little tricky, but you need to do that or you'll break the arm.

    Do some reading and then try it all again.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred

    PS: If you haven't done so, you need to go to Swappin' and Sellin' and close out your Want to Buy ad.
    Thanks Fred for the reminder on the SS stuff.

    I have read the manual several times. I think I found the issue with the top punch nut hitting the die. In the Manual it shows that the bullet feeder comes with "SPECIAL" top punch nut AF197. The nut I have is for the top punch with no bullet feeder. If you look at AF197 it has a little step to fit inside of the bracket...I'm pretty sure that's why I'm having the issue.

    The arm for the bullet feeder is fine and found you have to be careful with where it's rotated. Without that bullet feeder AF109 I can get it to size and lube perfect. Once I add AF109 to the mix is where the nut starts hitting the die. That thing is like 3/16 thick and adding that just makes the top punch nut 3/16 lower! Can't get around it. I'll give Magna a buzz Monday and see if I can get that nut AF197, as well as maybe order a new AF109. I did a search and found a few fellas that had the same issue.

    Honestly I'm not sure the bullet feeder is that important to me right now as I'm not loading massive amounts of ammo at this time.

    This I will say, the setting of the top punch is super finite for sure. Half a turn either way and no lube. I'm also finding that pressure and heat are a different animal all together. I was putting out some pretty Boolits for sure after awhile. I can see where separate Top Punches are gonna be a must for different boolits for sure.

  17. #17
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    I have so many Stars that I just leave some of them set up for bullets that I use the most of, so I don't have to adjust them. A couple machines are for small lots, or special bullets for one reason or another. Lathesmith makes the nuts you're looking for, and also makes them with a set screw, so once the punch is set for your specific bullet, you just tighten the set screw and that punch is always set for that bullet.

    Different punches for different bullets is more a convenience than a necessity. As I get older, convenience overrules necessity most of the time. The punches and nuts are relatively cheap, so if I were you, I'd just give Lathesmith a shout and get several combinations for the bullets you think you'll be sizing the most of.

    As for the bullet feeders, I've got them set up on three of my machines. Depending on the bullet, it's about six to one and half dozen to the other which is fastest. I've got close to 100 tubes for .38 bullets that hold about 60 each. The time it takes to fill the tubes, versus feeding each bullet into the Star by hand, is probably a draw. Sometimes it just depends on my mood which method I'll use.

    Some small bullets that are hard to pick up benefit from tube feeding, as do some of the fatter, shorter bullets. I make a 200 gr. .45 caliber RNFP bullet that is like picking up marbles, and I go through thousands of them per year. It's hard to get them oriented quickly feeding them directly into the machine, so for those I prefer to tube feed them. Once loaded into the tubes, usually while watching the news on TV, then the actual sizing/lubing goes really fast, but the overall time is again probably a draw between the two methods.

    In your case, since you're just learning the machine, I'd probably remove the bullet feeder until you get used to how the machine works and how it has to be adjusted. And for lube flow, I normally use the lowest heat setting that will allow the lube to flow (I use Magma Lubes, and don't have any leading), and use a little more pressure to get good lube groove fillout.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master lablover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReloaderFred View Post
    I have so many Stars that I just leave some of them set up for bullets that I use the most of, so I don't have to adjust them. A couple machines are for small lots, or special bullets for one reason or another. Lathesmith makes the nuts you're looking for, and also makes them with a set screw, so once the punch is set for your specific bullet, you just tighten the set screw and that punch is always set for that bullet.

    Different punches for different bullets is more a convenience than a necessity. As I get older, convenience overrules necessity most of the time. The punches and nuts are relatively cheap, so if I were you, I'd just give Lathesmith a shout and get several combinations for the bullets you think you'll be sizing the most of.

    As for the bullet feeders, I've got them set up on three of my machines. Depending on the bullet, it's about six to one and half dozen to the other which is fastest. I've got close to 100 tubes for .38 bullets that hold about 60 each. The time it takes to fill the tubes, versus feeding each bullet into the Star by hand, is probably a draw. Sometimes it just depends on my mood which method I'll use.

    Some small bullets that are hard to pick up benefit from tube feeding, as do some of the fatter, shorter bullets. I make a 200 gr. .45 caliber RNFP bullet that is like picking up marbles, and I go through thousands of them per year. It's hard to get them oriented quickly feeding them directly into the machine, so for those I prefer to tube feed them. Once loaded into the tubes, usually while watching the news on TV, then the actual sizing/lubing goes really fast, but the overall time is again probably a draw between the two methods.

    In your case, since you're just learning the machine, I'd probably remove the bullet feeder until you get used to how the machine works and how it has to be adjusted. And for lube flow, I normally use the lowest heat setting that will allow the lube to flow (I use Magma Lubes, and don't have any leading), and use a little more pressure to get good lube groove fillout.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
    Can't say Thank You enough Fred. I will take your advice and set her up for the NON bullet feeding for now till I have a good handle on how she purrs. It has Carnauba Red in it right now and I would like to try my Carnauba Blue in it. I really like that lube as it's less tacky as the red. It came with a few tubes of red and figured use that until I get it all figured out. Not sure what was in it before the red but it was like a dark green and I really liked it. Not sure what it was however. Almost a emerald green. Flowed awesome!

    The good thing during my testing is I used all my Culls to play with..That way I can just throw them in the pot and melt em all and have the lube give me some flux...LOL

    She should be going on my full-time bench today or later this week. Gotta spend some of the weekend with the Wife.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Though I was thoroughly perturbed in the first go around, I'll let that go for a tip. Though I think bosterr mentioned it, make sure you don't have only the bottom most lube holes open in the Die. When you referenced it lubing fine until you installed the bullet feeder And then you felt everything was off, it was likely due to the distance between the bottom of the punch and lube groove. Because that bullet feeder af109 and nut takes a bit of space, the best way is to measure your distance. Then you can apply the value, regardless You use the auto feeder or not.
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    Last edited by chloe123; 09-10-2017 at 05:56 PM.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master lablover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chloe123 View Post
    Though I was thoroughly perturbed in the first go around, I'll let that go for a tip. Though I think bosterr mentioned it, make sure you don't have only the bottom most lube holes open in the Die. When you referenced it lubing fine until you installed the bullet feeder And then you felt everything was off, it was likely due to the distance between the bottom of the punch and lube groove. Because that bullet feeder af109 and nut takes a bit of space, the best way is to measure your distance. Then you can apply the value, regardless You use the auto feeder or not.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Well thank you for the tip. Bosterr suggested using the upper most set of holes which I did after his advice. As soon as I did that is when everything started going good. I then added the bullet feeder and that one piece AF190 and with that spacer and the top punch nut it takes up too much room and strikes the sizing die. When I say strikes the sizing die I mean very little, but it's enough to make the press to have to came over to get the fulcrum to press enough on the plunger to pump the lube. When I moved to the top holes I was able to raise the top punch but the top punch nut now barely has room on the top punch threads to hold itself and the AF190 on.

    I know it sounds confusing but raising or lowering the top punch still has no affect on the space that the nut and AF190 take up. I think thats why they have that special nut for the top punch when using AF190.

    Could I have missed something..For sure I could have! But I'm looking at this and saying it's all put together right. I've gone thru the manual and see no place I could have gone wrong. The only thing that is wrong is I do not have that special top punch nut to hold AF190 to the top punch. Just a regular nut to hold it on right now.

    Again, I could be wrong and will look at it again. I will say again that moving the open holes on the die to the top holes make a bug difference with my first problem.

    Heck, I even considered moving the nuts out on the S114 Fulcrum push rod assembly to give more push to the lube....

    Thanks again for the tip and glad you're not cranky anymore.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check