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Thread: Learning Curve

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    Learning Curve

    Well I finally made it to the Star Corner. It took 8 weeks to get my Star as Magma had a piece of equipment break. I set it up yesterday, not without a few problems. A fire got my Lyman 4500 and I'm still getting set back up. I had replaced my pin gauges and was able to check the new die. It was stamped .430 but measured .429 so I'm guessing they allow for bullet spring back after sizing. I wanted .431 or just over. I lapped the die with 600 grit until the .430- pin just slid through. My water dropped WW bullets are coming out a perfect .430 and there is still allowance for die wear.

    The trouble I had was the first 2 bullets jammed even though I got the lube started first. Then I couldn't get the die out past the top o-ring. Still can't. I got the top bullet out and drove the bottom one through but could find no reason for the jam and everything is working perfectly now. I was getting lube on the nose of the bullet until I figured out the cam/lube valve relationship and backed off the punch. My die came with 27 lube holes. I left the second hole down in each of 6 rows open and the punch is all the way up. Could have gone lower or just used 3 holes but it's working now and I ain't gonna touch it unless something breaks. I'm 2500 boolits behind on sizing. LOL

    Is there some trick to getting the die past the top o-ring or it might have been a one time fluke like the bullet jam. I could see no reason for either.

    What kind of lube for the lube holes/linkage. Looks like Lubriplate on the sliding pin.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy bosterr's Avatar
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    Did you get a die removal tool with your Star? If not, I regard it as essential equipment. The most holes I have in any of my dies is 3 rows of 3 each. The way I set the punch to the correct lube groove is: lay the die in my hand, with the boolit lined up with the groove to the row of holes I want to use. I make sure there is some of the straight part of the punch exposed between the threads of the punch and the top of the die. I also buy jam nuts with set screws with my new dies so once I have everything adjusted, my punch setting is set for good.

    I get all my Star dies from Lathesmith. I use to check the size of the die with a soft lead plug and measure that with a mic. However, I do run brand new boolits through the die that I just cast and measure with a mic. If by chance, I want to gain a little on diameter, I wait 3 days after casting to get some spring back. It's very rare that I ever need any bigger diameter than that.

  3. #3
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    I tried to keep using O-rings but it's a losing proposition. I get a little ooze around the upper die flange, but it's not that big a deal. If you tried some abrasive to open the die up and it looks like a honed cylinder then it's gonna hang boolits. The lead removed in the sizing clogs up the cross hatching and boolits like to stick. I used MAAS metal polishing cream ( any brand will work) on a mop and polished the inside to a high shine. A bit of Imperial sizing die wax on some boolits will help.

    Oh yeah. I size right after I cast. Much more better.

  4. #4
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    Whenever you start to use a new die, the first couple of bullets through that die have to be smeared with some kind of lubricant, or they're going to stick.

    You state you have 27 lube holes, so it must be for a Loverin design. Most Star dies have 3 rows of holes, like bosterr said, unless you order special dies. I get most of my new ones from Lathesmith, and he'll make them any way you desire.

    Be sure to keep all moving parts and pivot points lubed with a good quality oil, too. I use Machinegunner's Lube from Tactical Springs, LLC, for lubing everything, including my presses and firearms.

    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.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    Yes I got the die removal tool but it won't work with 2 boolits stuck in the die, I was going to remove the die to get the boolits out. LOL

    My Magma die came with 3 rows of 5 holes alternating with 3 rows of 4 offset to split the distance between the 5 holes. Did I get more or less for my money? LOL I used 6 holes which was probably overkill as the boolit moves some while the lube valve is open covering more length than I imagined. There are .01 bearing surfaces on either side of .012 groove on the boolit so it works.

    I lapped the die with a light touch of 600 paper on a dowel in a drill and cleaned the die before installing shot but maybe the microscratches hung the boolit. It looked like a mirror to me but I was not as close as the boolit.

    I'll check out the lube. I had a 50 year old tin of Hoppe's gun oil that was great stuff, not fire proof though. LOL

    Thanks!
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master LAH's Avatar
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    Lube you new dies & the first couple bullets. I use petroleum jelly.
    Joshua 1:9

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    It's like driving in England. I get a little tired and start to put a bullet in nose up. LOL My brain was Lymonized over a number of years.

    I spent the afternoon making a box for finished boolits. I should have bought something in town but didn't think of it. I used to use brownie boxes but have been eating healthier. What food is tasty, good for you and comes in reusable boolit boxes?
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  8. #8
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    Your die puller should be made up of three pieces. There's the part that screws into the ram, where the top punch goes, and the long round part that feeds up through the die and actually pulls the die out. Then there's a 1/4" round rod that is threaded on one end. That screws into the part that screws in where the top punch goes, and it's used to push the last bullet out of the die so you can use the puller.

    I hope that makes sense. And have you watched the videos that Magma has posted on their site for the Star? http://www.magmaengineering.com/magma-star-lube-sizer/

    On page two of the Star Operator's Manual, there's a diagram of the die puller: http://www.magmaengineering.com/PDF/Star_Sizer.pdf

    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.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    I never tried the die puller after I cleared the jam as everything was smooth after the first boolit. Thanks

    I just ordered the Fluidmaster 6101 Air Conversion Kit. LOL
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  10. #10
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    Mal Paso, have been running my Star with air pressure and roller handle from Lathesmith which equals to @ 1,000 bullets every 35-40 minutes no problem. The roller handle sure saves wearing a hole in your palm when making a long run. Also, depending on how big your water dropped bullets are and how much they have to be sized it is best to get them sized as soon as you can or you can put a lot of extra strain on the system. The Star is well worth the money.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    I went out between rain showers and grabbed a Milton air chuck out of the shed. It took a pipe wrench to break the Loctite but it indeed has a 5/8 - 18 thread and a spot for an o-ring. Looks like I'll have regulated air for about $30. Sweet!

    I found a replacement for my Luxo magnifier on ebay. Why is all the stuff I like called Vintage? I never had it next to the sizer before but this works great!
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    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Probably because WE are vintage.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I buy GladWare plastic containers to keep lubed boolits in. They are clear so I can see which type of boolits they are. Be sure to drop an already lubed boolit back through the die every ten or twenty handle pulls to keep the throat slicked up. They Lyman 4500 heater works great for harder lubes. I use a grease on the pivot points now that Ive replaced the ram links and link pins. They are wear items and lasted around 40k for me without any grease. I cannot fathom how I ever did without this machine. They Lyman is great for just a few boolits, but any kind of volume and Star quickly justifies the price of admission.

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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