"Star" brand dies for Star sizer (Hardness?)

JonB

Central Minnesota
I plan on adding a die to my collection.
I have a used one in my sights, that is .0005 to .001 undersized.
While I have honed/polished a few Lee bullet size dies and a "Lyman" brand sizer die, I have never tried to do that with a "star' brand die. Did they harden them? or use a Hard steel alloy that would make it more difficult for me, than it's worth?
I just use a battery drill with fine sandpaper and such...I don't have a lathe, nor the skills to use one.
Thanks for any advice.
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
Hard steel will still lap out with emery and oil. Mike be a bit slower but you can open them up. Opening one .001 isn’t too bad.
 

Paul Gauthier

Active Member
It will lap out just fine, same as a lee or any other. I don't harden the ones I make for my Star, don't see any need for it.
 
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Dusty Bannister

Active Member
A problem some might have with lapping out the Star Dies is the depth of the lube holes. They are drilled in two diameters so a "step" remains which does not permit the correct size shot to pass fully through the die. They start with a larger diameter to allow easy flow of lube, and the final passage is reduced to prevent the shot from passing through. Only .001 should not be an issue, but you may find that going to an excessively larger size diameter will also remove the step which might get complicated if you need to block off some of the ports.
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
I can't imagine that .001 lapping will effect the holes. If you were really boring to a much larger diameter,
this is a legitimate worry, but not at 0.001" diam change.

Bill
 

JonB

Central Minnesota
Years ago, when I first got into casting, I bought a used Star and it came with a bunch of Dies. Before I ever though of attempting to hone/polish a die myself, I had Lathesmith hone a 429 to 432...no issue with lube port holes. But I remember him telling me it was so hard, that he couldn't mark this enlarged "Star" brand die (Made by Star in the 1980s) with the new size of 432.

So, back to my original question, does anyone know if that hardness of the "Star" Brand die is gonna be troublesome for me to Hone/polish with my battery drill and sandpaper/emerycloth?
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
I have some original Star dies too they almost seem chrome finished.
I know they ain't, but I wouldn't rule out shot peening like they use to harden crank shafts and the like.

I never tried opening one, but if I were gonna try for .001 I'd do the drill thing.
more honing/polishing it than lapping it,, and measure,, using very small grit paper or even no grit printer paper and some flitz.
 

JonB

Central Minnesota
well, I bought the used die. It is a .4505
It's likely it will work "as is" in my 625JM
but if not, honing/polishing .0005
...hopefully won't be a big challenge?
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
I think your bigger challenge will be not over doing it.
that's why I advised the bright white printer paper.
 

JonB

Central Minnesota
Well, I had a nice surprise today.
The 4505 die and punch arrived today in it's original old timey box.
I tested it with some unsized Ideal 452374 bullets cast with 97-1.5-1.5 a year ago or so. They measured just under .453 before sizing, and exactly .451 after sizing.
...All that worrying about honing/polishing for nothing, LOL o_O
 
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