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Thread: Mec powder bushings for Star sizer dies

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy 15meter's Avatar
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    Mec powder bushings for Star sizer dies

    Picked up a used Star sizer earlier this summer with a bunch of dead guy reloading stuff, I had never fooled with Star's before, barely even paid attention to them. I decided I would like to give it a try but the .457 die that came with it is too small for anything I do.

    Started looking at ordering a die in a size I could use, was surprised by the price, it was more than I paid for the sizer. Before I start ordering sizers I thought I would try coming up with an alternative. Did a fair amount of research here and on the web. Didn't see anything promising.

    Last night it struck me that Mec bushings are same shape, could they fit? Well, almost. They are shorter and smaller diameter. But they do have a shoulder. Did some digging in the Kennedy's and pulled out my plastic shim stock. A single wrap of .030 plastic shim stock is a perfect fit. The #26 bushing I tried measured .400, I had some pure lead .410 slugs left over from slugging a barrel several years back. Gave them a try and they worked, dead soft and way to big and they worked for an initial trial.

    Mec makes bushings starting @ #10 and finishing @ #46. I measured my #12 I have in my .410 Grabber @.2835, #10 and #11 will be smaller yet. I had a #36(probably leftover from boomer 12 loads)on the shelf that measures @ .476 looks like a candidate for 470 Nitro Express boolits.

    Next step is to figure out the height location for the lube holes and see if this brain fart will actually work.

    Yes, I understand the Mec bushings are aluminum, but for low volume sizes I suspect it will take me years to wear one out.

    The lube hole appears to hit the side of the Mec bushing ~ 3/16" above the bottom of the bushing. May be too close to the bottom of the bushing to work.

    The #36 bushing is one I will probably never use again, sacrificial lamb on the altar of research. Or a brutal death on the horns of another dumb idea.

    With the list of "get it done before the snow flies" stuff I've got to do, it may take until Christmas until this cycles back around to continue.

    Any suggestions, comments, heckles?

  2. #2
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    therealhitman's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy 15meter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by therealhitman View Post
    Talk about mixed signals

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    You could coat the bullets with Hi-Tek coating and not mess with lube holes.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    IIRC, those MEC bushings are made of a rather mild (soft) grade of aluminum. I doubt they'll last long enough to be worthwhile when you start using them in a way in which they were not designed. You also have the lack of holes for the lube to get in to the chamber where the bullets go through When you try to drill them, you'll end up with burrs inside to polish out. Normally the lube holes would be drilled before the sizing hole is drilled and reamed. This might work for a while, but misses the reason for having the Star sizer, being able to do a bunch of good sizing and lubing efficiently. Could you use the MEC bushings as a temporary method? Yes. Would it be a good idea to depend on such a method? Probably not. Then again, YMMV.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy 15meter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
    IIRC, those MEC bushings are made of a rather mild (soft) grade of aluminum. I doubt they'll last long enough to be worthwhile when you start using them in a way in which they were not designed. You also have the lack of holes for the lube to get in to the chamber where the bullets go through When you try to drill them, you'll end up with burrs inside to polish out. Normally the lube holes would be drilled before the sizing hole is drilled and reamed. This might work for a while, but misses the reason for having the Star sizer, being able to do a bunch of good sizing and lubing efficiently. Could you use the MEC bushings as a temporary method? Yes. Would it be a good idea to depend on such a method? Probably not. Then again, YMMV.

    Froggie
    My idea is low cost bushing for very low volume rounds, 100 470 N.E./year is probably about right, burr on inside is gone in a second with a dowel and 320 grit. If I like the sizer I'll either foot the bill for commercial dies or come up a plan B for high volume stuff -- 30 caliber that goes down the barrel by the 1000's is not what I see these as being used for.

    I load for a lot of different odd ball/low round count per year. I can't justify $70+ dies/top punch for 100/year round counts.
    From Magma:
    ◾Star Die $52.50
    ◾Star Bullet Punch $18.50

    I already have them for my RCBS. Just brain-storming for a low cost alternative.

    At this point, PC holds no interest for me

    Looking to see I overlooked something completely obvious.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy DonMountain's Avatar
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    I think you are just trying to make something work that is not justified for the result. Since you already have sizer dies for these 100/year sizing jobs, I would invest in the proper dies for the really high use projectiles that you use. It would be more fitting to use the Star for lots of 9mm, 45 ACP, 44 MAG and other stuff the Star works good on in mass volumes. Or even the 30's if you shoot a lot out of an M1-A or something like that.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    You can check out vendor lathesmith and get 'em a little cheaper: that's where I get all mine these days. And if you got your Star for less than $70 you can afford to get a nice batch of dies for it.

    Also if you shoot gas-checked boolits, the Star is so much nicer for checking you may find yourself buying size dies for calibers you really don't produce by the multiple thousands just for the easier gas-check installation.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master






    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    yup theres good reason why star bushings are so hard that its even tough to open them up or drill into them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
    IIRC, those MEC bushings are made of a rather mild (soft) grade of aluminum. I doubt they'll last long enough to be worthwhile when you start using them in a way in which they were not designed. You also have the lack of holes for the lube to get in to the chamber where the bullets go through When you try to drill them, you'll end up with burrs inside to polish out. Normally the lube holes would be drilled before the sizing hole is drilled and reamed. This might work for a while, but misses the reason for having the Star sizer, being able to do a bunch of good sizing and lubing efficiently. Could you use the MEC bushings as a temporary method? Yes. Would it be a good idea to depend on such a method? Probably not. Then again, YMMV.

    Froggie
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Or you could just acquire the appropriate die 1 time and be done with it.

    Seriously, you'll waste more time and money attempting to save a few dollars in the short term than you will if you just do it right the first time.

    Stop being a tightwad and do it right.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by DonMountain View Post
    I think you are just trying to make something work that is not justified for the result. Since you already have sizer dies for these 100/year sizing jobs, I would invest in the proper dies for the really high use projectiles that you use. It would be more fitting to use the Star for lots of 9mm, 45 ACP, 44 MAG and other stuff the Star works good on in mass volumes. Or even the 30's if you shoot a lot out of an M1-A or something like that.
    This is my approach. Having recently acquired a Star sizer I outfitted it with dies for the high volume bullets that I size and stayed with my Lyman 450 for the lower volume calibers. I'll probably eventually add more dies for the Star.

    I'll also second using Lathesmith for dies and punches. He makes a great die for a fair price and has a fast turn-around between your order and shipment.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    +1 what light man said. Use the RCBS for the 100 per year thing. Its not worth the effort to change out the die and the punch and adjust the punch depth for 100 boolits. I bought a half dozen blank dies from Lathesmith (3/16 hole IIRC) for real cheap ($6-8 IIRC) and drilled and reamed them myself. I also made my own top punches.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    If you could rig it up to size bullets on your MEC shotshell reloader you could make shotgun shells while you size bullets.

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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