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Thread: Star buying tips

  1. #1
    Boolit Master metricmonkeywrench's Avatar
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    Star buying tips

    I have an opportunity to buy a Star lube sizer and I have a couple questions

    1. What’s the going price for a used Star these days. Comes with a heater and a few dies
    2. What do I need to look for as far as condition?
    3. What are the premium bits that I need to look for?

    I have a half dozen Lyman’s so sizers are not new to me but this would be my first look at a Star

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Greetings,

    Look for plier marks.

    Check to see if the lower housing is cracked.

    The spring at the rear will sometimes break in half.

    Check the 1/2" brass plug on the left side to see if the screwdriver slot is "buggered". Indicated someone removed it for some reason or another.

    Ask if the three piece tool to remove the dies is present. It will be a knurled threaded nut, a short piece of 1/4" threaded rod to push the old bullet out, and the 3/4" diameter puller.


    If it is clean odds are the owner took care of it.

    Cheers,

    Dave

  3. #3
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    Often times the shaft of the handle will be bent. That doesn't bother me, since I replace the original handle with roller handles, anyway. If you have it available for inspection, sometimes the lever arm will be worn, especially if it's been used a lot. Most of the moving parts are available from Magma, even for the original Star machines. The Hycar washer inside the lube reservoir may have to be replaced, but that's also available from Magma.

    If the screw cap on the lube reservoir is ribbed, then it's an older machine, but if it's knurled, then it's a newer one. That's where you'll usually find plier marks from someone who is ham handed.

    You can figure the dies at about $50.00+/- each, and top punches at about $15.00 each. If it comes with flat top punches, then it's set up for nose first sizing, but the original Star machine was designed for nose up sizing, so the top punches were cut to fit the nose of the individual bullet.

    The die puller is nice to have, but you can get by without it. It's a little more hassle to pull the dies without it, but it can be done.

    For additional dies and top punches, member Lathesmith on this forum is your best bet. He makes custom dies, does great work and is fast.

    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 metricmonkeywrench's Avatar
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    By the pix he sent it appears to be a newer model in excellent condition with the die remover tool, 7 dies, some punches and a Lyman heating plate

    Asking price is $450 which would make this the single biggest casting tool buy for me…is the price worth the investment?

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by metricmonkeywrench View Post
    By the pix he sent it appears to be a newer model in excellent condition with the die remover tool, 7 dies, some punches and a Lyman heating plate

    Asking price is $450 which would make this the single biggest casting tool buy for me…is the price worth the investment?
    How many bullets do you cast?; if is over a 1000 a month then it's a go investment but if you only cast two or three hundred a month then maybe not.

  6. #6
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    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by metricmonkeywrench View Post
    By the pix he sent it appears to be a newer model in excellent condition with the die remover tool, 7 dies, some punches and a Lyman heating plate

    Asking price is $450 which would make this the single biggest casting tool buy for me…is the price worth the investment?
    If you can use all the dies that's $350 right there, I'm thinking the price is a little less than half of new.

    Maybe a Lot Less, I went to check Magma prices and you have to call for a price. LOL I think I paid $350 a few years ago.
    Last edited by Mal Paso; 05-23-2022 at 08:37 PM.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  7. #7
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    That is a sweet deal, because of the dies and punches.
    Before the PC craze took hold, used Stars were going for same or "MORE" than new ones. Now used Stars are down a bit in price, because there isn't the same demand, all the newbies to the hobby are doing PC and don't need a fancy lubesizer.
    Current price? I have seen a few used Stars sell in the last 2 years for under $250 with no dies...I know, cuz I bought one.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
    ― The Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 2001

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    Considering everything included, it is a good deal. There is a bit of a learning curve to using it, but I would not want to go back to using a different one.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by metricmonkeywrench View Post
    By the pix he sent it appears to be a newer model in excellent condition with the die remover tool, 7 dies, some punches and a Lyman heating plate

    Asking price is $450 which would make this the single biggest casting tool buy for me…is the price worth the investment?
    I think thats a fair price if you can use most of the dies. Even if you can't use all of them they usually sell pretty quickly.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master metricmonkeywrench's Avatar
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    thanks guys, I'm still wavering but feeling a bit better about potentially laying out that kind of cash based on your input. I don't do 1000's of bullets at a sitting but do want to up my game where i can and upgrade when possible. I tried looking up a price but most of the info on the net is 4~5+ years old.

    The dies are: .310, .356, .357, .358, .401, .429, .452, I load for 30 cal, 9mm, .38/357 and .45 to feed my own guns. The only one that may not be useful (for now) is the .429, i dont have anything for that one. With the .401 i don't own anything in that caliber or have a mould but my son has one that I occasionally load for when he gets the bullets and the .356 may be useful as i have a .380 mould but no dies or gun.

    Should i grab this I may just have to let go of some of my duplicative Lyman 450/4500/s. One of the things i find appealing is the nose first potential, I have had a bit of an issue with deforming some bullets with the Lyman's when using soft range scrap lead, and i am not really after looking to get into the Lee system though the new setup may be cheaper and i would have to buy a new press.

  11. #11
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    The first time I used a star I realized I had to have one. I now have 4 with different lubes. They can be a bit contrary to set up at times but the inconvenience is worth the trouble. I still have my Lyman 450 for odd sizes.
    It’s still a personal choice some people like the Star and some don’t

    Gmsharps

  12. #12
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    I couldn't live without the Star.
    I shoot cast in all my pistol caliber subguns and cast/size/lube 2000 (or more) at a time.
    Same with revolver bullets.
    I used a Lyman for a number of years until i discovered the Star.
    Yes, they can make you crazy at times but once set up, they are worth every penny.
    Think about this - the design is virtually UNCHANGED since they were created - something like the 1930's as i recall.
    That must say something about how well they work.
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master AnthonyB's Avatar
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    Buy it, keep the Lyman sizers, and eat Ramen noodles for a while.
    Tony

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I have one as well as recently purchased Lyman 450 and two Lyman 45's.

    IMO, the Star is at its best for long runs. I would not bother changing out dies and setting it up to run 200 bullets. Just easier to run one of the Lyman sizers. Like others, I would not sell my Star.

    As to the price, you are getting a good deal. If you cannot use some of the dies, you can sell them and reduce your totally investment.
    Don Verna


  15. #15
    Boolit Master metricmonkeywrench's Avatar
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    Well, I returned home Starless, I had contacted the seller mid last week via CL to confirm the meet and wanted to set up a time Saturday to meet while I was in town. He replied with a Sunday time and wouldn’t give me a contact number or direct email. I replied back with the need to meet Saturday and received no further replies.

    Guess it wasn’t meant to be…

  16. #16
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    Doesn't take any longer to change dies in the Star than The Lyman/RCBS sizer. Top punch must be set at the correct depth but you can avoid that by purchasing the locknut option from Lathesmith. Myself, I just record the number of threads that are exposed........too many different bullet styles in my calibers, to warrant a separate top punch and locknut. Easy peasy.

    Winelover

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    This has made me think i should sell my star sizer...

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by winelover View Post
    Doesn't take any longer to change dies in the Star than The Lyman/RCBS sizer. Top punch must be set at the correct depth but you can avoid that by purchasing the locknut option from Lathesmith. Myself, I just record the number of threads that are exposed........too many different bullet styles in my calibers, to warrant a separate top punch and locknut. Easy peasy.

    Winelover
    This ^.

    Document your settings, put it back the same the next time.

    From scratch it takes me maybe 15 minutes to find the setting. There’s just one, how much clearance between the top of the die and the punch. Follow Magma’s instructions. They really do understand the equipment they manufacture and know the easiest way to set it up. You’ll need a dial or digital micrometer. Once you know the baseline you can get back in just a few minutes. It really isn’t difficult.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by swOhioMatt; 06-07-2022 at 06:03 PM. Reason: Added Magma’s instructions
    Matt

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