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Thread: Star lube die question...

  1. #1
    Boolit Master mattw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    East Central Illinois

    Star lube die question...

    I have a Star .400 die that I really need to open up just a tiny bit, would like .4015 or so. I do not have a lathe, but could chuck fine paper up and hone it out. But, would removing that much take forever and would I have a chance of having a true die afterwords? I am also concerned about removing the hardened layer of steel... I have papers from 400 grit to around 4000 grit to work with.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master bosterr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Western Pa.
    A lot of guys use wood dowels. I much prefer steel round stock of different diameters for different calibers. I cut 400 or 600 wet/dry into 1" strips and wrap in the direction that will tighten rather than unwind. Start wrapping with tape to the rod and wind until you push it into the die with resistance. The end will wear quickly. Cut some of that end off and insert a short piece under the end of the wrapped enough so it will stay wrapped. Increase the length of the new piece each time to lap out to the diameter you need. Go slowly and try sizing a boolit after every round of lapping. Boolits that are cast long ago with antimony and have had time to harden will spring back, so pure lead is better to size and measure. When you start getting close to the target size switch to 600 or 1000 paper. A word of caution: every time you lap and want to try sizing a boolit to check your progress, lube to boolit first with lube of some kind. I always stick the boolit in the die then have to beat it out with a punch and hammer if I don't lube it first.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I just did this last week.
    I honed out my .401 die to .4022

    I used 400 grit wet/dry cut into 1 1/2" strips cut to 4".
    I used a hardwood pencil that I had sitting around.
    I taped the wet/dry on to the pencil with a strip of packing tape and rolled the die back on a piece of plywood on my lap.
    It takes awhile, I think I went through 4 pieces of wet/dry.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Carmel, Ca
    The die is tapered so keep that in mind. The one I lapped went fast, split dowel/600 wet or dry. I used pin gauges to check. Hard bullet alloy will spring back after sizing, how much depends...

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    St. Louis
    I did this a couple of months ago to open up a .278 die to .2795. Took about an hour or so with wet/dry 600 grit wrapped around a screwdriver shaft. Don't worry about the hardness layer, won't make one bit of difference in my experience.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Lenore, WV
    I opened up a .358 die. I used a drill with a wood dowel. It took longer than I expected but turned out ok. I used dry paper but the wet may be the ticket.
    I checked my progress several times by sizing a bullet then miking diameter.

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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