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Thread: Star Lube-sizer handle

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy darrondb's Avatar
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    Star Lube-sizer handle

    Greetings All,

    It appears that I can now officially post in this forum as a Star owner! Late last week I picked up a large lot of reloading equipment, including a Star Lube-Sizer marked with the Star Machine Works, San Diego CALIF address. I've always used my trusty Lyman 450 before but lusted after a Star. When I first noticed the photos of the sizer on the Facebook listing, I was a little hesitant as it appeared that it was fairly rusty and may need a bit of work to bring back to glory. But, there was a fair amount of other equipment and molds in the lot so I still felt fairly good about taking a chance on it all. This included another project (heavy emphasis on "project") that I've been on the lookout for a long time, a RCBS Green Machine in 38 special (more on that in a separate thread).

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    Once I picked it all up and got it home, I nearly stroked out over my good fortune. The sizer was not only in better condition than it seemed in pictures (only minor surface rust on the unpainted parts) and included four dies and punches, it had never even had lube in it before. It was brand new!! Which brings me to the post title. The only thing missing that I can see so far is the handle. The gentleman that sold it to me was cleaning out his fathers estate and didn't know where any other pieces may be. I know I can buy a replacement handle from Magma, but Im a bit frugal so was wondering if someone could provide me some measurements and I'll build one. I believe that the original handle was simply 3/8" diameter rolled steel with a slight bend. Could someone measure the length for me?

    Alternatively, if someone happens to have an extra handle laying around that they would be willing to part with, please contact me. I know that lathesmith makes a roller handle but I think I would prefer to stay with the original design at this point.

    Thanks!!

    Dd

  2. #2
    Boolit Mold
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    Congrats on your score! I can only offer an interim solution. You are correct on the 3/8" diameter, but the exact length is not that critical. I was also in need of a handle and someone on one of the forums I frequent suggested I pick up a Craftsman #4 Phillips Screwdriver which has a 3/8" shank. I found a used one on eBay for $6 and it works just fine after sanding down the forming burrs at the tip.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy darrondb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noshow View Post
    Congrats on your score! I can only offer an interim solution. You are correct on the 3/8" diameter, but the exact length is not that critical. I was also in need of a handle and someone on one of the forums I frequent suggested I pick up a Craftsman #4 Phillips Screwdriver which has a 3/8" shank. I found a used one on eBay for $6 and it works just fine after sanding down the forming burrs at the tip.
    That is a great idea....I probably even have the right screwdriver hanging around in the shop. There's a reason I don't throw away broken tools!

  4. #4
    Vendor Sponsor D Crockett's Avatar
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    I made a roller handle for my star but I did not like it if you want it just pay the postage on it and it is yours now it is a simple matter of cutting the top part off and putting a regular handle on it made out of wood anyway if you want it you can have it send me a pm if you do Marry Christmas D Crockett

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    It appears that the Star handle is designed to bend before you break something in the press I would be careful about using anything that is much harder than the factory handle.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    I have one I don't use if you like . It's off of a magma .
    Last edited by toallmy; 12-19-2017 at 08:47 AM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy darrondb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toallmy View Post
    I have one I don't use if you like . It's off of a magma .
    PM me with your info.

    Thanks!

    DdB

  8. #8
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darrondb View Post
    SNIP...

    I know that lathesmith makes a roller handle but I think I would prefer to stay with the original design at this point.
    Thanks!!
    Dd
    Dd,
    I really like the roller handle I bought from him...others make a roller handle as well.

    If I wanted to be thrifty, I'd make some sort of "T" handle if I wasn't able to make my own roller handle. I just don't like the position my wrist is in with a Stock style handle for the Star.
    good luck...and Great find

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy darrondb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Crockett View Post
    I made a roller handle for my star but I did not like it if you want it just pay the postage on it and it is yours now it is a simple matter of cutting the top part off and putting a regular handle on it made out of wood anyway if you want it you can have it send me a pm if you do Marry Christmas D Crockett
    Thanks for the offer! I have some 3/8 mild steel rod and wooden knobs that I'll use to try to fabricate one. Seems pretty simple.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy darrondb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oger View Post
    It appears that the Star handle is designed to bend before you break something in the press I would be careful about using anything that is much harder than the factory handle.
    I have seen that mentioned before as well. I would think I would be fine with mild steel rod as long as I don't really lean on it.

  11. #11
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    As long as you don't muscle it, as in trying to size something that's just plain too big, the handle won't bend. I've got 9 Star machines and I've never bent a handle on any of them.

    A hint, though. When you size your first bullet in a clean die, spread some lube on the bearing surface of the bullet. Bare lead and bare steel produce a lot of friction, and some lube will alleviate that. That's why we lube bullets in the first place.

    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.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    I took the handle out of my Magma Star and took it to work and had a guy in the shop bend it slightly with a bout a 5 degree angle to keep the handle in the up position.
    The guy put it in a press break and just gave it a bit of a nudge. Works like a champ.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy darrondb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LenH View Post
    I took the handle out of my Magma Star and took it to work and had a guy in the shop bend it slightly with a bout a 5 degree angle to keep the handle in the up position.
    The guy put it in a press break and just gave it a bit of a nudge. Works like a champ.
    That was my plan as well...slight bend.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy darrondb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReloaderFred View Post
    As long as you don't muscle it, as in trying to size something that's just plain too big, the handle won't bend. I've got 9 Star machines and I've never bent a handle on any of them.

    A hint, though. When you size your first bullet in a clean die, spread some lube on the bearing surface of the bullet. Bare lead and bare steel produce a lot of friction, and some lube will alleviate that. That's why we lube bullets in the first place.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
    Thanks for the tip! I've used almost all the other types of lube sizers, just never had a Star.

  15. #15
    Banned

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    when you get tired of it taking all day to size a couple hundred bullets.
    the heater,feeder, and shovel handle will be your friends.

    the older [san diego] presses take a larger diameter handle then the newer ones.
    your appears to have the bolt head set screw and would take the smaller diameter handle.
    the old ones take a hex key internal set screw.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master



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    When I experience difficulty sizing due to bullets being a little tight I just spray a little Hornady One Shot on them. That is of course, with coated bullets but it should work with lubed bullets as well. It works great.
    At one with the gun.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    The overall length of of my handle is 9 3/4 inches. The rod I would guess is around 8" and the rest is wood handle. The force applied to size the bullet is around 8". Both mine are held on with cap screws with washer and lock washer.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    I made a heater on the cheap, I bought a small oil pan heater for about $14 off Amazon and got a lamp dimmer chord from Home depot for about $10.
    There is a thread below that talks about adding air cylinders to the star. I got mine all rigged up for about $40. The air cylinder and the heater really help.

    I mainly use mine for pistol bullets and can run through a pile in short order. Getting the thing set up can be a pain but not impossible but a set of the
    punch nuts with a set screw really keeps things in a set and forget deal. See Laithsmith in the vendor section. He makes top quality dies and other items
    for the Star.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy darrondb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv109323 View Post
    The overall length of of my handle is 9 3/4 inches. The rod I would guess is around 8" and the rest is wood handle. The force applied to size the bullet is around 8". Both mine are held on with cap screws with washer and lock washer.
    Thanks sir! I actually received a handle from member Toallmy. Fantastic fellow!

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy darrondb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LenH View Post
    I made a heater on the cheap, I bought a small oil pan heater for about $14 off Amazon and got a lamp dimmer chord from Home depot for about $10.
    There is a thread below that talks about adding air cylinders to the star. I got mine all rigged up for about $40. The air cylinder and the heater really help.

    I mainly use mine for pistol bullets and can run through a pile in short order. Getting the thing set up can be a pain but not impossible but a set of the
    punch nuts with a set screw really keeps things in a set and forget deal. See Laithsmith in the vendor section. He makes top quality dies and other items
    for the Star.

    Thanks for the info! I actually had built a heater for my Lyman 450 using an aluminum block, mold heater element, and electronic thermostat so I spent this weekend making a new base block that the Star mounts to and switching the rest of the parts over. I'll run it for a while this way and then decide if I want the air feed.

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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