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Messages - Ross Chesley

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Star Reloaders / StarMachine Works Of Pioneer, CA
« on: January 18, 2005, 01:15:50 pm »
With respect to many points of view, I must agree that the original company was better run.

I sure have something to say about SMW-Pioneer and the way it operates! As a potential customer, and one that wanted to order parts, I could not reach anyone.

This website and forum were created nearing 18 months ago. I went to,, and every other search engine looking for information. What did I find? A reference to a private, heavily moderated Topica forum run by Paul Jones. A few machines sold on Ebay. A few people talking about Star Lubricator-Resizers. Nobody talks about Star Machine Works.

18 months ago there was no website with information about Star Machine Works or Star Reloaders. I was referred to someone that knew Bill Cunningham so I requested more information and a price list. Bill Cunningham printed them on an inkjet printer and sent them snail mail. It was much appreciated, but lacked professionalism associated with a company producing the finest reloaders available.

Shortly after came online I decided that it would be great to support anyone that provides parts, information, and assistance to Star owners and recommended this approach for our website. One positive thing we did was to scan the original price list and publish it to the web so people could see it online and contact SMW. I received a call from Bill Cunningham asking about and saying he'd been getting more business as the result of our referrals. He wanted me to know they had a website "under construction". It seemed we offered him a positive improvement and also helped everyone.

Within a few weeks had a price list in PDF format published to their website. We heard big talk about lots of information and plans that included duplication of the Hulme case feeder and other parts. We were very encouraged and directed inquiries to his website, wrote about him in the forum, and heard back from members that tried in frustration to reach Bill Cunningham. Our follow-ups got no replies via e-mail and we only reached him after many attempts. Not good. Whenever we have made efforts to find out more information on what's happening, we get no replies or updates.  

We have had two reports from customers saying they placed an order and never received the item and had no response or communications. We tried to follow up on them and received no reply or comment.  It seems to me that a reputable company concerned about customers and intent on making a name in the market would be eager to rectify the situation and leave a positive indicator for future customers. To date we have not received any communications from SMW-Pioneer, received any acknowledgements or thanks for our numerous referrals, and never had a concern over lack of communication addressed. Their website is still "under construction" another year later -- how long does a serious company take to put up a few pages and stop construction?

When I look back at Star Machine Works of San Diego, their primary business was not reloading equipment, but they produced many reloaders and of high quality. They printed price lists, advertised in trade magazines, and were reviewed and considered relevant by print publications including Handloader Magazine, American Rifleman, and others. They had a dealer network and were sold by reputable companies such as Gil Hebard. They had confidence from other companies that made accessories including Hulme case feeders and bullet feeders, Shockey dies, Hoag adjustable power bars, Chevron case feeders, and many others. Star even had copycat companies like Phelps and Berdon getting into the business. Of course they made some mistakes in marketing. Turning away customers is no way to success, and not planning for the succession and future of the business was their biggest failure. It is sad to say that the company would have been better off sold to someone that could devote the business sense and resources to market and support customers rather than produce a few parts in a hobby business.

We'd like nothing better than to see a "new" Star. Before anyone suggests someone else get one, why not you TDO'NEILL? Surely you do not find the $1200 price tag too high, and you are convinced they are good quality. How about you get one and do a full review including Rockwell hardness tests on various components, full details on the new dies, and run about 250K cases through it to break it in. Then we'd have the first person I have ever heard of with a new one and something really impressive to talk about.

I was hopeful that in over a year, Mr. Cunningham would join this discussion form and become a helpful person choosing to market his products to over a hundred members and many more that find this website or choose to lurk as guests. Bill Cunningham does nothing to promote his product, website, or assist customers to learn about him or get to know him. It is unfortunate because he is a nice person and I sense there is a real interest in making things work. We could overlook some of the issues as growing pains or understand that he has two jobs. At a point, it is time to choose a master and set priorities and goals to make things work. What is the goal for SMW-Pioneer?

Before we label the new company as a failure, or consider the old one impossibly doomed we should look at the track record. SMW-SD was in business a long time, long enough to get a good reputation for quality and lots of customers. SMW-Pioneer still has their own reputation to build because there are few people that really associate the name with the new company -- Elard Mock and the original company are separate and finished with their work. The new company, and the name Bill Cunningham are just owners of the name and still need to prove to customers and themselves that they have what it takes to be successful. Let's hope at some point they wake up and start taking this seriously. What kind of production is happening? How many new reloaders are produced each week, month, year? Anybody?

An entertaining idea that many hold out for is that a company such as Magma Engineering should have purchased the reloaders. They do a few things right in their customer service and marketing, and would no doubt be more successful in selling complete reloaders.

Success is not always assured, but failure is inevitable if we do not communicate, stick together as Star owners, and expect any company that wants our business to put quality and service first.

Star Lubricator & Resizers / Which end and what size?
« on: October 11, 2004, 11:08:02 am »
The base of a bullet is most important for accuracy so I like to size them the way I plan to shoot them -- nose first.

Bevel base bullet designs are easy to feed into the sizing die and I use a flat punch to assure I put even pressure over a large surface area on the bullet base. If you select a top punch you can often use one punch for many different calibers because the base is flat and the punch is flat too. For seriously hard alloys I select a punch a few thousandths smaller than the die size.

Top punches for base-first seating should be designed to conform to a specific bullet nose contour. Pushing bullets with an incorrectly matched nose punch can slightly deform the nose. The best results with nose punches means you need a custom nose punch for each bullet style -- it gets expensive compared to nose first seating where one punch can be used to cover say 9mm to 45acp no matter what the nose shape is.

To address the question of sizing die selection: measure your barrel's bore diameter for a good starting place. Another general guide is to remember a cast lead bullet is sized .001 larger than a jacketed bullet for the same caliber. It is meaningless to claim authority on selection for your barrel unless you measure the bore diameter specifically and select best bullet and diameter for that barrel.

Here are common sizes recommended by caliber and sizing die:

22cal - .225die
432cal - .244die
25cal - .258die
6.5mm - .265die
270cal - .278die
7mm - .285die
30cal - .309die
31cal - .311die
32cal - .313die
8mm - .323/.324die
9mm - .356die
38super - .356/.357die
9.2mm - .365die
38/357/35cal - .358die
375cal - .376die
40cal - .401die
10mm - .401die
41cal - .411die
44cal - .430die
45cal - .452die

If you do not already have a good book on cast lead bullets I recommend one such as the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook.

Star Reloaders / Star's Day Is Over?
« on: June 11, 2004, 06:57:48 pm »
I am not sure what to make of this point of view...

If what is meant is Star Machine Works of San Diego is no longer in business, there is no backlog of orders from a healthy vibrant company, and there are other reloading companies selling presses, then I guess their day is over.

On the other hand, when we see how long a Star product lasts, that it still provides consistency, high value, and has a strong market among collectors and users that simply want the best construction no matter the age of the machine, then Star is alive and well and will continue into the future in a support and maintenance mode. The current Star Machine Works of Pioneer is definitely not the original company. At best, they are a hobby business without any noteworth efforts to market, encourage, or support Star users and the community of interest -- those that are able to get through or are aware of them will support the company, but do not expect SMW-Pioneer to venture out to meet the public or make any efforts to assist or encourage business. Many people are not aware that there is a company producing new parts and building machines. Some members have been mis-informing users as they have their own original parts to sell and see that there is nothing welcoming about SMW-Pioneer that will assure them of quality. Other users have reported great quality and been very happy. I tend to recommend all resources that will support a Star user. I certainly do not wish to suggest I am negative regarding any company or effort currently underway, I do not sense energy or commitment in any of the Star parts or providers to compare with that offered by Magma Engineering to support the Star Lubricator Resizer. Magma is helpful, friendly, responsive, and advertises. No company will gain the limelight without advertising, reviews, demonstration testing, and participation and interaction with users.

Regarding the value of a Star, condition is the key factor, and if all the parts are present and in working order. Few are able to judge this from a picture and there are plenty of documents on this site to cover maintenance and examinations for wear. The average price for a Star Universal is about $450 to $550 in good condition including dies and primer pickup tubes so it can be setup and put to use immediately. Some calibers are worth more, some less, and accessories do add value.

I must take exception to the claim that the Hulme is not desired or useful. It is the most useful additional accessory hardware one can add to the Star. It allows feeding of cases without need to handle each one individually. A Star Reloader with a Hulme will sell for about $100 more than one without. By itself, the Hulme averages $80 to $100 if all the parts are present. Usually the plastic tubes are not present, and will cost the user to purchase them. Be sure it has a top piece that will work for the caliber you want to load too. An alternative is to contact member TDO'NEILL as he makes new feeders, indexers, etc.

At some point in time, Star could return as a major manufacturer if the company was to re-organize around a good marketing plan, establish distributors and dealers, and gain positive advertising to point out the merits of the design that include being overbuilt -- it truely is lifetime quality. A Dillon will not last a lifetime, but you can be assured of replacement parts and wait for them. Nothing wrong with choosing what you want, but there are at least 120 people that have Stars because they are great machines that have already served at least one or two previous owners and are still working! There certainly was no effort to adapt or expand to meet demand of the market, or to find ways to offer levels of quality to compete with other brands, but I can find no way to criticize Star for making something overbuilt, or having such quality that they were able to have a waiting list.

Others have copied it, some improved on it, but few could equal it. I could buy 10 cheap presses and wear them out and still never get the consistency offered by my Stars.

Star Reloaders / Dies Options for the Last Star Reloader Station
« on: June 06, 2004, 11:51:47 am »
Bummer7 is right, the last station can be setup for use in several ways. I can add that there are taper crimp options for tool heads without the threaded last station hole.

Early models have a 3/8" diameter smooth bore hole and accept taper crimp dies made just for this setup. I am not aware of anyone currently producing these dies but many people have made their own or turned down a standard die and installed a 3/8" shaft. If you seek original taper crimp dies try Paul Jones, James Haverfield. Quite possibly another member may have an extra they'll sell you if you post your request.  

If you are not upset at modifications to your Star tool head, you can drill and tap to use either 11/16-24 threads for Star dies or 7/8-14 threads for standard dies. Many users have done this themselves or gotten a skilled machinist to do it for them.

Star Reloaders / Some traditions continue
« on: April 02, 2004, 09:03:20 am »
Hi John,

Sounds like you experience what some have called "hard to reach".

Looking back over the years and years of brochures, I note that almost all the SMW-San Diego catalogs had a place to note the delays for various major items such as complete reloading tools, tool heads, etc. Some were as long as 18 months!

Most everyone would like to see the communication easier or better and e-mail works so fast to let people know what's going on, when it shipped, when it should arrive.

I will be curious about the reply to this from other people that ordered items. Is this a typical turnaround, typical communication gap that is just part of doing business or a worst case scenario?

Hopefully we will all know.


How are the parts? Do they fit? Are they working as expected and of the quality you expected, better, worse?

Star Reloaders / WOW!
« on: March 29, 2004, 04:52:08 am »
That's some fine work on the handle bend and blue job. Nice furniture you put on it too.

Great ideas.

Star Reloaders / Star Lubrication, Factory Specifications, Recommendations
« on: February 08, 2004, 07:55:27 pm »
Hi everyone,

I would like to share instructions from two resources. If you do not have an original instruction booklet for your Star, please ask.

UPDATE: The website Manuals page has the instructions for viewing and downloading.
-- Starrel[/b]

1. Star Machine Works of San Diego booklet instructions [excerpt]:[/b]

"DO NOT use gasoline or solvent on your shells. It makes them so dry that they may stick to the die and cause scratches. After your shells are clean and free of grit just before starting to reload, dip the tips of your fingers in hydrous lanolin and stir the shells. A very little lubrication will keep them from sticking.

Care of Star Progressive Loader

Keep all parts subject to wear, including cam that operates angle lever, slightly lubricated (except the powder carrier). Lubricate primer slide with small amount of dry graphite only. (Keep tubes clean and dry.)"

2. Handloader Magazine, Sept. - Oct. 1992, Trust Your Star

In 1992, Don Krout Jr. of Handloader Magazine interviewed Elard Mock Star Machine Works partner and head honcho at the final assembly bench for 57 years at that time. Elard was nephew of C. R. Peterson, inventor and Star company owner. There is no other authority with more direct experience on setup or maintenance. The article is available so please contact me. We don't have permission to reprint it here, but I will be happy to e-mail it... The article covers armoring the primer tube in addition to the excerpted maintenance recommendations portion I am sharing here:

[excerpt from the article]

"Maintain the Star progressive reloader properly, especially the primer slide and storage mechanism, and follow the rest of the operational and safety procedures outlined in the booklet accompanying the Star reloading machine.

In summary, almost the entire maintenance take-down sequence has the cleanup of the primer slide and punch as the final objective. The reciprocating motion of the primer slide tends to pack debris at the end of its slot next to the column shaft. If allowed to accumulate, it will restrict the primer slide travel; tend to bind up the mechanism; and worse yet, cause misalignment between the primer slide and primer, the awaiting brass cartridge case and the primer punch. A heavy-handed operator who ignores the binding resistance could cause damage to himself and his machine. Mr. Mock indicated there was a known case where a primer exploded at this station. Fortunately the explosion did not transfer its energy to the nearby column of primers in the primer tube. No injury resulted to the operator. The inherent design of the primer slide makes the adjacent magazine well shielded from the punch station, but the example makes an argument for good housekeeping of any powder spills at the next station. There's a two barreled moral here: keep the primer slot end and slide free of debris by regular inspection and maintenance, and when the machine tends to bind, stop and investigate the cause. Be gentle, never complacent that an overly sensitive primer couldn't happen to you.

Another important cleaning area is the hole in the steel base where the primer punch is housed. The mating cylindrical surface between the large diameter of the punch base and the floor base hole does wear if not kept reasonably clean and greased, but no grease is to be on the actual punch (upper end) and its bushing. Grease must remain out of the proximity of the primer slide and its slot. Use dry graphite lube on the primer slide, slot, punch and bushing interfaces. Also, put a match-head-sized glob of grease under the large diameter base of the primer punch where it mates with the rocker arm. Aside from the underside of the thrust nut and the inner race of the shell plate, the only other location for grease is a small dab in the keyway slot at the top (left side) of the column shaft, before re-assembly of the tool head thereon.

There should be no oil or grease on the steel floor base or the steel ball detent, only graphite. The steel ball can be cleaned with a rag dampened in Shooter's Choice and well dried, do not soak it in solvent, just dampened. I tend to shy away from Hoppe's No. 9 for this job because of its oily base and residue. The powder slide tends to lube itself with graphite from the powder. Never allow solvent or oil around the powder slide area or the powder reservoir.

Keep an eye on the rocker arm screw. This tends to loosen up with use, causing wear on the rocker arm and poor primer seating. Late models (within the last four years) have a set screw to keep it tight. The simple remedy is to tighten it every once in a while.

The Hulme auto case feeder tends to get gummed up after long usage. I clean mine with Birchwood Casey's Gun Scrubber (off the machine), blow dry and relube with graphite.

Run a dry patch several times through the primer magazine tube and primer pick-up tube using the primer follower rod. This will keep the inner surfaces of the tubes clean, bright, and slick for friction free movement of the primers down the column.

That is all Mr. Mock has to say about maintenance. It seems complex, but is made simple when you understand why you are doing it."

3. Several additional maintenance suggestions...

One member reminded me that graphite should be applied sparingly to provide a thin film and not a thick carpet. The "Trust Your Star" article did not provide guidance amounts. It is desired to have sufficient application to provide lubrication without excessive amounts interfering with the mechanism. One person recommends applying it generously and then puffing it lightly with compressed air to remove the excess. I use a soft makeup type brush to apply just enough without getting it on too thick. The brush allows the excess to be removed easily without making clouds of graphite dust.

A careful drop or two of 3-in-1 or similar oil in a few places helps before each reloading session. I place a drop in each lubrication hole (either side of the #57 Spring Anchor) on the #60 Crankshaft Bearing, on the left side of the tool head.

Dies are often overlooked in maintenance. It is important to clean and inspect the dies regularly. Once you set and adjust them, you will be tempted to leave them alone, don't. It is not necessary to remove the dies from the tool head to inspect or clean them. Remove the tool head and you will have all the access needed to look directly into the dies witha good light and magnifying glass if needed. The dies should be inspected after every 5K to 10K of use or more frequently if your particular bullet lube is very soft. The sizing/decapping die should be inspected and cleaned to assure the pin is not bent and there are no other signs of wear or scratches. The bullet seating die will collect lube and it should be cleaned regularly to avoid a build-up. The soft lubes tend to require more frequent cleaning. I use a cotton swab with mineral spirits to check for and remove accumulations. It is also a good idea to remove and inspect the seater plug and taper crimp dies collect an assortment of similar materials.

The brass parts on the Star are easy to clean with most commercial cleaners like Brasso (my favorite for serious tarnish), but the most gentle is all that should be required for maintenance and I do not recommend commercial cleaners for regular maintenance. If you have serious tarnish at your regular maintenance sessions, increase the frequency of maintenance. I recommend a non-toxic and easy to use solution of 1:1 white vinegar and water. [White Vinegar Caution]  Bring to a boil, then pour into a pan and soak the parts for a few minutes. An old tooth brush will help to scrub too. Be sure the parts are completely dry, then apply a small amount of car wax. Let dry and buff. Use the tooth brush to remove any wax in recesses or knurling. The wax leaves a great finish and helps prevent tarnish.

The blued and external exposed steel parts we handle while operating the press can benefit from a light application of silicone to remove oil, and fingerprints. A lint-free gun cloth or cotton t-shirt sprayed lightly with silicone spray also works great. I do not apply silicone to any parts directly in contact with primers or powders.

The wooden handle can dry out and should have some attention so I dampen a cloth in white vinegar [White Vinegar Caution] and add a drop of lemon oil. The vinegar works as a cleaner and the lemon oil leaves a nice finish and smell behind. It does not take much to do the job and you don't want a slippery handle, although it will soak in when left overnight.

The powder magazine tube should never be left with powder stored in it. There are more than a few reasons, but safety is primary. Powder left in the magazine is not in an approved container and can absorb moisture and be subject to unintended spills when you are setting up the press for use. The second concern is that most powders attack the plastic tube materials, causing them to darken and stain. I remove the powder and clean off the plastic between uses.

When storing the press, I cover the press with an old pillow case. It prevents serious dust or debris from getting into the works, and allows for air circulation to prevent rust or corrosion.

A HELPFUL NOTE: White vinegar is acidic and removes blue from steel parts in a few minutes. If you plan to use white vinegar please do so only after removing parts from the press.-- Starrel[/b]

Star Reloaders / M-A Systems is still going strong!!!!
« on: January 29, 2004, 10:42:54 am »
I called M-A Systems today, they are still in business.  :D  You might have thought they were gone because they moved a couple years ago. I spoke with a very nice person who is sending me their current catalog. They do not have a website.

 :arrow: Starrel, how about contacting M-A to ask if they'd let you post the current catalog info on the site? :?:

Here's how you can reach them for a catalog and more information on their products for Star reloaders:

M-A Systems
PO Box 894
Pryor, OK 74362

(918) 824-3705 Phone
(918) 824-3710 Fax

Star Reloaders / Universal and Progresssive are Both Great
« on: January 18, 2004, 01:23:36 pm »
Hi Duane,

They are both great Star reloading tools. The very first Star I purchased was sold as a Progressive and turned out to be a Universal -- if you are to be surprised, this is the best way, but it is better to be informed.

One other issue I should have mentioned is that a Progressive will accept the "OO" powder slides and housing needed to load .357's larger charges of powder. Star reports not making "O" slides so most of the remaining supply is from people with old ones to share or that make their own from blanks, or switch to the "OO" housing and use "OO" slides.

If you would be so kind, could you please photograph your Progressive's  Steel Floor Base in a view similar to the one in the picture of my last post? If your camera does not get that close, just send the highest quality you camera will do (largest image size) so that the base is focused clearly. I would like to include your Progressive's base pictured along side a Universal for comparison. If you could send it to the forum admin, I am sure he will add it for us.



Star Reloaders / Best way to visually tell a Universal from a Progressive
« on: January 18, 2004, 01:06:39 am »
There is only one thing wrong with using the powder charge bar/housing as an indicator... The Universal can use these same parts!

The Progressive model does not have one feature that is critically important and easy to identify visually: There are no shell plate locating straps to adjust for different calibers and shell plates. Shell plate locating straps are the very best and completely reliable visual indicator of the Universal model and the part is always on the reloading tool even without a tool head installed. Nearly any photo of a Steel floor base will show you instantly whether it is Universal or Progressive.

Look at and you will be able to see the location for the part in the the right hand diagram. #79U is the part to look for. There are three of them on the steel floor base.

Another helpful item is a picture of this part so you can see exactly what to look for:

This is the picture of one #79U shell plate locating strap (lower left hand of the picture).

There have been instances of Universals setup with "O" powder slides and housings. The configuration limits the loading capability of the Universal but it does not make them Progressive models... Progressive models do not have the locating straps -- this is 100% reliable and a visual confirmation is all that is needed.

I hope this helps,


Star Reloaders / Pictures for Comparison
« on: January 15, 2004, 04:08:08 am »
The following link contains the pictures in a side-by-side for comparison.

Tom, I know Star changed things over 60 years of production. Thanks for giving me this opportunity to say that the comparison is based on details from my known Star Universals and the Phelps listed on eBay plus their sales materials in the forum's Photo Album Archive.

I have several two-piece aluminum bases and one single casting base. Most of my tool heads have a radius cut on the front of the lower link pin lug above the #15/#21 Shell Resizing Die/De-capping Pin Assembly station, and the top where the Star decal lives is fully machined. One Tool Head does not have the extra machining or the radius cut. These variations in production and manufacturing -- appear to have occurred over time and may have been due to changes in tooling, manufacturing/materials , or a combination of these or other factors.

I recommend looking at more than one detail before making an identification. Pictures and observations are to help with recognition and too many differences make me suspicious. If an original owner with original paperwork will stand by the machine as a Star, will demonstrate and support a buyer, then there is less concern. A typical auction sale's validation consists of asking the seller questions they may not be able to answer and asking them to take more pictures. :wink:

I am not critical of Phelps to make the comparison between a Phelps on eBay and known Star Universals. It would be great to have a library of Star images that include details of parts and the date of the purchase direct from Star or a Star dealer to see the changes. Star did not provide serial numbers or date references so only original owners will have the details to document this.

If someone is decided to purchase a Phelps there is no need for me to say anything about it -- the decision is formed. If someone was told a Phelps is the same thing as a Star or was made by Star, I have some things for them to consider. If they value the Phelps thinking it is a Star and believing parts will be completely interchangeable, this could be of assistance in their decision.  :)


Star Reloaders / Follow up on How to Tell the Difference
« on: January 12, 2004, 10:14:20 pm »
Hi everyone,

A similar question appeared on the Bullseye listserv over the weekend. Someone asked if there was a difference between the Star and Phelps machines as someone has a Phelps for sale and the suggestion was floated that it was a "Star Made by Phelps".

Considering the replies, it is safe to conclude that there are people happy with their Phelps, and many that do not know the difference between a Star and a Phelps. Hopefully we can shed some light on the differences in this topic.

I first did a search on eBay to locate the item for sale. I usually receive notifications of all eBay items Star related and this one is eBay item # 3651383020. The post has quite a few pictures to show wear and other factors. Note it does not specify the brand of dies. I believe Phelps claimed Carboloy for their dies but there is no detail to specify it in the auction info. The seller incorrectly calls it a Star Progressive made by Phelps. If it was a Star it would be a Universal because of the #79U locating straps. Phelps called this a Deluxe. All in the details, a Phelps does not smell as sweet because it is not a Star!

The differences are not obvious unless you spend countless hours Star-gazing. A side by side photo comparison would be helpful , so I am going to do it as soon as I have a moment to take apart my Star Universal and snap similar pics to the ones on the auction.

Diff #1: Star Machine Works stamped Star Machine Works into the tool head steel right above where the cases enter the shell plate. If it does not have this stamp, it is definitely not a Star tool head. The Phelps does not have any name stamped, but there appear to be some numbers and letters stamped instead. Any info on what they represent would be helpful.

Diff #2: The Phelps pictures on the eBay item show that the tool head does not have an extended rim on the underside where it rides the column shaft. I will post pictures for comparison. The extra steel Star put in this area provides a greater surface area on the column shaft.

Diff #3: The #79U Shell Base Locating Straps on the Phelps unit are rounded at the top edge. The Star has a nice tight edge to match the steel floor base.

Diff #4: The notches where #79U attach are wider at the top on the Phelps. Star has the notches in the Steel Floor Base tight to the Locating Straps.

Diff #5: The #14 Shell Plate Thrust Nut is a narrow knurled band on the Phelps. On Stars, the knurling is completed to the full thickness of the nut.

Diff #6: The #62 Crank Shaft Assembly end on the Phelps is extended on the handle side and contains a hex set screw internal to the threaded hole to lock the lever handle in place. Star has a threaded hole that contains an external nut (square head) to fix the handle.

Diff #7: Not fully shown in the auction, the lever hande is different between Star and Phelps. Phelps has a blue steel handle that is straight and ends in a black plastic ball. Star handles are bare polished steel, have a specific outward bend/offset and a tapered wooden handle with chrome ferrule.

More posts will follow as more information is available on this subject. I will copy the auction pictures to post and use for the comparison after the auction closes.  Hopefully we'll learn to identify more about the copies so we can spot them for what they are and not mistake them for a Star-made reloader.

The design of the Phelps is very similar to the Star since it was copied from Star. On close inspection there are changes that appear subtle until you put them side-by-side and compare. Some owners claim the parts work fine and are interchanged with a Star, others say they do not interchange. Advice: Do not purchase a Phelps with plans to have interchange of parts and you will not be disappointed if they do not fit. The market for Phelps and the value of these seems largely dependant on fooling buyers into thinking they are Star reloaders. Star reloaders command higher prices because they are proven to outlast the original owner with proper maintenance. They were made for over 60 years with quality and the reputation that outlasted the original Star Machine Works of San Diego.



Star Reloaders / Hulme case feeders
« on: November 05, 2003, 01:33:37 am »
I spoke to Bill recently and asked about this. He says it will be after the first of the year, but they are in the works. Good news.


Star Reloaders / Hi Ray and Tom
« on: November 05, 2003, 01:31:35 am »
Yes, this is great!!!

I have been looking for an idea on the powder magazines. I need to replace my original plastic and have also wanted to get a shut-off version too.

If you have any designs for these you could share, please at least send me a picture as I would like to see what you did.

According to Bill, he used Lexan (Polycarbonate) for the powder magazines. I am not sure he added any special anti-static feature, but some plastics seem to have this as a natural property to some degree or other. I have also heard of clear rigid PVC as a better alternative since it resists yellowing from the powders. I am looking at that solution right now but the tooling costs to setup are pretty high. One company had the exact product but stopped making it in the needed size to match the original 1.50" OD and 1.375" ID specs to fit the Star brass base, aluminum baffle, and top cap.

Did you run into any clearance issues with standard dies in your modified Star tool heads? What did you do to solve the problems? I would like to pick-up one tool head to do this conversion.

I am surprised a 9mm shell plate would work for 40 cal as it is a shortened 10mm. Maybe 1mm is not much to sweat about huh?

The information on Bill Cunningham and Star is in the Want to Buy/Sell forum at the top.

Thanks guys.


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