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Thread: Random half fill lube groove

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Random half fill lube groove

    I've had a star sizer for a couple months now, and it has been quite frustrating. One day it will crank out bullets, and the next it will become the fastest mess. I've tried two lubes, and 3 bullets on it. The first lube I don't know what it is. I assume it is Magma lube, and the next is Canaruba Red. For the most part, the .452" die works ok with the one bullet I've ran through it. Today I was trying the .314" die, same as last time, same bullet, no changes, and it will not fill a lube groove. Neither die is clogged, and I don't think it is die specific as both have done it. The .314" die does seem more temperamental though. I'll post a picture below of the best I could do today. That is with the pressure turned all the way to 95 PSI, and heat is higher than I like. With the temp that high I get some lube in the crimp groove, and nose, as well as some often falls out when the bullet drops. With the temp set the same place it was Monday, I get half the groove filled. I've tried adjusting the punch up and down with no change. For all the time I've put into trying to troubleshoot this thing, I could have just slowly been sizing on the old Lyman 450 the whole time.

    I only have one idea, and that is air. I've tried the bleeder screw, and I've tried running lube out the die without a bullet. I sometimes get pops like there is air in the lube. I have been using a hollow stick of lube, is that causing the air I am getting, or is there another problem? I am fully stroking the handle, and have tried holding it at the bottom to let the lube go longer.

    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 04-11-2019 at 10:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Sorry Photobucket covers the lube groove. Just note that there are random pockets most of the way around, and that is one of the better ones from the bunch today.

  3. #3
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    I'm going to assume you have the Operator's Manual for the Star, but just in case you don't, here's the link: http://www.magmaengineering.com/PDF/Star_Sizer.pdf

    On page 4 of the manual, it shows how to adjust the top punch for each bullet.

    It appears that the lube groove on the example bullet isn't perfectly aligned with the lube hole in the die. I see that the lube is distributed more heavily towards the base of the bullet, which may indicate the punch is adjusted too far into the die.

    If you're getting "pops", then there's air in the reservoir. Hollow tubes will sometimes cause that, but I don't generally have a problem using them, though it's been a long time since I've put one into one of my Star machines.

    I like to use the rule of thumb that less temperature, and more pressure works best. If the lube runs, then the temperature is too hot. When the lube becomes liquid, it's hard to control the flow through this type of machine.

    You did say you're using 95 psi pressure, and I've never had to use that much, even on my Lube Master. I usually run the Lube Master at about 45 psi, and 135 degrees F with Magma commercial lube.

    When you make adjustments to the top punch, make very small movements, as it doesn't take much to miss the holes in the die. Also, when you make adjustments to the temperature, it takes about 20 to 30 minutes for the temperature to stabilize, especially if you're lowering the temperature.

    I can't help you with the Caranuba Red lube, since all I use are Magma and Rooster Labs lubes in my Star machines. I've used it in one of my Saeco machines, and it worked OK, but I don't remember what temperature I used it at.

    Read the manual again on how to adjust the top punch, and maybe you'll see what you're missing. Once you get the Star set up correctly, you'll breeze through the bullets and wonder how you ever did without it. It takes a little finesse to get it right, but once it's done, it's good.

    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.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    It's definitely not the punch. I thought that too, but have been playing with minute adjustments for a long time. I do have a manual, and have watched every video I could find. Your numbers would be right for that Magma lube, that stuff seems like a rebranded bearing grease. Canaruba red is harder, which is a good thing for me. Zero problems in the Lyman. The only reason I'm turning the pressure and temp up so high is to get it to flow. When the Star works, it can be turned down. I'm right on the edge of it turning to near liquid, and it's not helping. I'm thinking of heating it WAY up tonight, and melting it on purpose. Hopefully any air in there will work out that way.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use carnubra red and heat it to about 100F. Lower than that I have trouble getting good fill.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I think you are headed in the wrong direction, temp should be way down and you should concentrate on filling holes not needed and esp. top punch depth. I've used Stars so much that I can tell which way to adjust top punch and how much just by looking at lube on bullet. If you don't have all the holes blocked except at the grooves, you will be a long time at it.

  7. #7
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    I believe it's an alignment problem. Either that, or something is interfering with the flow of the lube.

    I'd take the sizing die out of the machine, heat it up a little, and squirt some of that lube out into the void where the sizing die goes by working the handle all the way down to activate the pump. That will tell you whether or not you're getting good flow, but don't heat the lube up too high or you'll have a mess. You can always put the lube you squirt out back into the reservoir, but you need to pinpoint where your problem is. If you got some debris in the reservoir, it can clog the squirt holes in the sizing die, so you need to eliminate anything else that could be the problem.

    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.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Ok, I tried and lube comes out both into the die, and with the die removed. It's definitely not a blockage. I cleaned up the die, even melted the shot out, and put in new #8 lead shot. I am blocking the top and bottom rows, and leaving the middle. I think it was three holes per row. Still no go. As for temp, I'm definitely over 100F. I don't have an IR gun, but I'd guess 120-130 ish is where the stuff really begins to move. Much below that, and you can see it gets a white hue to it, like a fractured wax. I don't get any leaking until I turn the heat way up.

    I'll get back to it later, I'll try adjusting the punch some more. I took measurements with the die out to get dead center of the hole, and it doesn't seem to have helped. I am not out of lube either, I put in a new stick today, which is the one and only change I made from Monday's perfect run. Are you guys sure I don't have air bubbles in the lube?

  9. #9
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    OK, you've eliminated at least one thing that could be wrong.

    Air bubbles usually work out at one time, at least in my experience. I'd get a pop, and then it would be done, but no problems after that. You can normally tell when air is a problem because the handle will be "spongy", rather than firm, when operating it. I know immediately if there's air in the lube because of it, and it's when the trapped air works it's way to the lube pump.

    I wouldn't melt the lead shot from the die, since the die is hardened. If you get it too hot, it will anneal the area around where you heated and create soft spots. Just drill them out by hand like the instructions say, to avoid damaging the die.

    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.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    The video I watched by Magma showed melting the shot out. It took less than 5 seconds with the torch.

    I definitely know the feeling you describe, where with air there is nothing there. I am not getting that feeling now, it feels firm. I tried pumping the handle a couple times. Running bullets through twice works, but what a PITA.

    I think I have the manual lube handle that I haven't tried before. If this was a Lyman, I would use more pressure, and the problem would go away. My air compressor only goes to 95 PSI, so I can't get any more out of the air cylinder.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    As a last ditch effort, I changed to the .452" die, and it too is not filling lube grooves like it was Monday. I did not change the punch at all on that one either! I pulled the brass screw on the side of the press and ran some lube out. There is no air at all, the lube is smooth like clay.

    I am at a complete loss. All I can figure is that the air cylinder is not strong enough. I just spent an hour adjusting the punch in about 1/16 turn increments with not even a hint of improvement either way. I don't remember if it had this problem with the goopy Magna lube. I wonder if it wouldn't be worth it to try Canaruba blue.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    FINALLY, I confirmed what the problem is. The air cylinder is too weak. I dug out the hand operated setup, and it works like a charm. I don't even have to crank on it hard at all. I was working with lube that was quite cold, and I still got full lube groove fill no problem. I've been pulling my hair out for many weeks trying to get this.

    I'm guessing this isn't a Magma supplied unit, the air cylinder has nothing on it but what may be a part number, 250 psi max pressure, and made in china. I'm going to be looking for a better air cylinder.

  13. #13
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    The hand operated setup puts more force.
    I suspect that if you turned up the air pressure that you would get the same effect.
    Are there any part #s on your air cylinder?

    I ran magma lube. It is a hard commercial lube.
    I canít remember my settings but I never had any issues.
    I am using a non-magma air setup. It also has the Chinese air cylinder.
    It was very repeatable.
    I ran a PID on my heater.
    I knew that 30 mins after I turned on the power I was ready to lube.
    Depending on your ambient temperature it may take longer then that to stabilize the temp thru out the entire unit.

    Unless your running a PID on your heater, I suspect that your lube temp is varying causing inconsistent lube flow.

    Temp and pressure is a funny thing.
    Generally speaking higher lube temp means lower pressure as the lube is softer.
    I know with magma lube it would be tacky or slightly sticky. I didnít want it too soft as I didnít want the boolits to stick together

    Charles
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    FINALLY, I confirmed what the problem is. The air cylinder is too weak. I dug out the hand operated setup, and it works like a charm. I don't even have to crank on it hard at all. I was working with lube that was quite cold, and I still got full lube groove fill no problem. I've been pulling my hair out for many weeks trying to get this.

    I'm guessing this isn't a Magma supplied unit, the air cylinder has nothing on it but what may be a part number, 250 psi max pressure, and made in china. I'm going to be looking for a better air cylinder.
    I don't use an air cylinder on any of my Star machines, but a friend uses one on the machine I've loaned him. I don't find it difficult to use the manual system at all. I just know that after every 15 or so bullets, I have to reach up and give the pump a turn or so. The frequency depends on the size of the lube groove.

    The basic machine works great as is, and I read of a lot of frustration with some of the upgrades, so the only upgrades I've made are the bullet feeders on three of my machines. Some bullets are faster to feed by hand, and some are faster to load into tubes and feed that way.

    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.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by HATCH View Post
    The hand operated setup puts more force.
    I suspect that if you turned up the air pressure that you would get the same effect.
    Are there any part #s on your air cylinder?

    I ran magma lube. It is a hard commercial lube.
    I can’t remember my settings but I never had any issues.
    I am using a non-magma air setup. It also has the Chinese air cylinder.
    It was very repeatable.
    I ran a PID on my heater.
    I knew that 30 mins after I turned on the power I was ready to lube.
    Depending on your ambient temperature it may take longer then that to stabilize the temp thru out the entire unit.

    Unless your running a PID on your heater, I suspect that your lube temp is varying causing inconsistent lube flow.

    Temp and pressure is a funny thing.
    Generally speaking higher lube temp means lower pressure as the lube is softer.
    I know with magma lube it would be tacky or slightly sticky. I didn’t want it too soft as I didn’t want the boolits to stick together

    Charles
    Well my air compressor stops at 95 psi, and that isn't enough. With the handle, I am BARELY putting any pressure on at all and getting good fill. The air cylinder isn't up to the task, simple as that. I'll pull it apart later and see what it is. If it's a 3/4" bore, well there you go. It looks like Magma uses 1 1/16" bore for their cylinder.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Part number came up as SMC brand with 1 1/16" bore. The seals are good, but at 95 psi, I can compress the rod by hand with just a moderate force.

    Maybe I should try pumping up an air tank by hand to a higher pressure and try that.

  17. #17
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    It's been many years since I used my Star sizer luber. I always used Tamarack 50-50 alox and beeswax and never sized anything but .452". and never drove them faster than 900 fps, and usually, 800 fps, I had mixed up literally a ton of Lyman number 2 alloy and loaded hercules Bullseye, before they added the bulk-up ingrediant to beat you out of more of your money. 4.5 grs of it, 800 fps with the 230 gr H & G bullet. Never had to scrub the bores of my 1911's. You dont need the lube groove full of lube, at least, not at 1000 fps or less. It all melts instantly when you fire. If your bullets are not causing bore- fouling, there's no reason to be concerned about the gaps in the lube.

  18. #18
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    A "good lube" will not "melt instantly when you fire". If it did that, there wouldn't be enough lube to last the entire trip down the barrel, especially in rifle barrels. While 50/50 lube may be ok for slow moving .45 acp bullets, it may also not by ok for other bullets which demand more from the lube. I quit using 50/50 many years ago, due to the volume of cast bullets I go through per year. I bulk box my bullets in 1,000 round boxes, and 50/50 lube just makes a gooey mess when you do that, and stacking them in neat little rows for the volume I go through is out of the question.

    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.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by majik View Post
    It's been many years since I used my Star sizer luber. I always used Tamarack 50-50 alox and beeswax and never sized anything but .452". and never drove them faster than 900 fps, and usually, 800 fps, I had mixed up literally a ton of Lyman number 2 alloy and loaded hercules Bullseye, before they added the bulk-up ingrediant to beat you out of more of your money. 4.5 grs of it, 800 fps with the 230 gr H & G bullet. Never had to scrub the bores of my 1911's. You dont need the lube groove full of lube, at least, not at 1000 fps or less. It all melts instantly when you fire. If your bullets are not causing bore- fouling, there's no reason to be concerned about the gaps in the lube.
    That pictured bullet sees use in 327 federal at a full power 45,000 psi and 1350 fps. It needs good quality bullets, and a strong lube like Canaruba red. For 45 acp, I've seriously considered going back to Lee Alox tumble lube, which has worked perfectly for me, which I load to about 725 fps. I'd rather just figure out the Star sizer, which should be the cats meow in theory. It hasn't quite panned out that way for me yet, but I did buy it used.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    If you are doing high volume sizing, 60 psi @130 degrees as measured with a PID in the heated base hole works great for Magma lubes. I usually do 2000 ata time. If you ate getting milky lube, you have air in the system and your temp is about 10-20 degrees low.(by experimentation). Reset your punch per the instructions so the punch just touches the bullet at the bottom of the stroke, before the lube pump operates.

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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
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