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Messages - Kenneth L. Walters

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151
Star Reloaders / Re: The Perfect Progressive
« on: December 28, 2005, 11:10:07 pm »
Stories about the relationship between the owners of Star and Mike Dillon vary.  The Star version is that they helped mike quite a bit to get his first product on the market, the super star kit for turning a star into a 223 reloader.  The Dillon version is that Star absolutely refused to help Mike at all.  Who knows.

After the super star kit, the first real Dillon press was the RL1000.  This was meant to be the ultimate star style machine.  I owned one.  REALLY didn't like it.  It was just too complicated.  The automatic indexing was more trouble than it was worth (which is true of most auto indexers) and the primer pocket swage was difficult.

Financially the RL1000 was a flop.  Worse yet Mike was WAY into debt.  He had to think of something or go broke.  His answer, and his salvation, was the RL300, the first successful of what is now the Dillon style of reloader.

Look at an RL1000 if you like but I certainly would not recommend one.  I far prefer the considerably rarer Star rifle machine.

152
Star Reloaders / Re: Magma Engineering's Star Reloader
« on: December 20, 2005, 08:11:10 pm »
Star obviously made both rifle and pistol reloaders.  BUT did they ever make a shotgun press?  Their original patent was for rifle, pistol and shotgun reloading.

153
When Star made these I had maybe eight.

Since Magma took over I've bought two from them.? The first was clearly built with Star made parts and worked perfectly.? The second was clearly made with Magma made parts and, well...? I will not be buying a third from them.? Couldn't get the guts out to add more lubricant.? The screw that goes into the rod to pull the stuff out didn't match.? REAL close but, well...? Took me forever to get that darn thing apart.? AFterward I used pair of vicegrips to force those two parts to work together.? Force over brains but it worked.? Still that unit should never have left the factory and Magma should have known better.

I've been a Magma customer for some considerable time but, well, I would NOT recommend their lubricator/sizer.

******************************

Eventually I got so pissed over the second Magma/Star that I sent it back.  They pointed out to me that the warranty was for 90 days not three years.  True.  But the guts were sticking in the mechanism, the threaded rod did not fit the part it needed to to pull the gutts out and, well, I was annoyed.

They fixed it gratis.  Exactly what was wrong with it I'm not all that clear on so I called.  One of the first with all Magma parts, I think, and they hadn't quite got the bugs worked out when they made this one.  BUT it came back in perfect working order.

So, well, I'm probably going to change my mind about recommending the Magma/Star.  Anyone can have a bad day.

154
Star History / Star Shell Plates and Dies Catalog?
« on: November 01, 2005, 12:17:52 am »
Elord gave me his straightline.  Just as pictured in Phil Sharps book.  Dated I think from the 30's.  It would be VERY interesting to see a digital picture, if that is possible.

Parts for a few more?  Now that should be something that would drive a Star collector nuts!

Elord also told me that he experimented with a bullet casting machine.  Bench mounted somehow.  Had LOTS of cavities.  Not sure but I think that it could make 100 bullets at a time.  Know anything about that?

Elord also told me that he made a number of one of a kind reloading tools.  Things he was thinking about but never quite got off the ground.  Know anything about those?

155
Star History / One other question
« on: October 28, 2005, 09:27:41 pm »
That raised one other questions.  Did Star ever make a shotgun press?  Their patent covered that possibility.  The machines that I know that they made because I owned them include:

straightline
non-universal
universal
universal using modified 7/8x14 dies
pistol/223
rifle press

Going through my old invoiced, I found that I had bought the following tool heads from Star.  Of course I got some others elsewhere

45 ACP
9mm Luger
38 Special
44 magnum (for Star Universal/223 machine)
32 S&W Long
32 ACP
475 Wildey (I had forgotten that one)

I also found Ellard note that came with the straightline that he gave me.  That machine was in 32 S&W long.

156
Star History / Star Shell Plates and Dies Catalog?
« on: October 28, 2005, 09:17:12 pm »
Star's catalogue, which I haven't seen in years, listed, if memory serves, shell plates for nine different cartridges.  Beyond that Star made a few more.  For example there was one for 223 and 30-06.  I'm sure about that because I owned them.

Also Star had several shell plates that they never listed.  Don't remember why that was true but it was.  I had one once, I think, in 30 Mauser for example.

157
Star Reloaders / Star Straightline
« on: September 28, 2005, 09:53:10 pm »
Estimate vary.  Maybe as few as three or as many as 20 were made.  Pictured in Sharps book.  I tend to believe the 20 number because I know for certain that there were three.  I owned one, given to me by Ellord Mott, RCBS has one in their press collection years ago and there was a third.

In any event I sold mine to Ron Peterson of Ron Peterson Guns of Albuquerque in 97.  I understand that he still has it and that it is for sale.  If you are interested you need to talk to Ron, no one else.

158
Star Reloaders / Wilkerson??
« on: September 03, 2005, 12:04:41 pm »
Know where the Wilkerson's are now?

159
Star Reloaders / How does it work?
« on: August 22, 2005, 08:48:51 pm »
Does MA Systems have a web site?

160
Star Reloaders / Manual Advancement
« on: August 19, 2005, 09:34:24 pm »
All star's, even the straightline, required manual shell plate advancement (well the straightline didn't have a shell plate but advancement was manual).  There were non-star made automatic advancers but they introduced considerable wear to the surface right under the shell plate and they didn't gain you much.  Manual advancement worked just fine.  Actually I prefer it to automatic advancement.

161
Star Lubricator & Resizers / Phelps vs Star
« on: June 02, 2005, 06:31:57 pm »
Star L/S were always very well made, as are the current Magma's.  The corresponding Phelps, however, varied depending on who owned the company at the time and whether or not they cared.

That said, from a purely collector's point of view I would think that the Phelps is the rarer machine.  Don't think that they made all that many.  Certainly I don't remember seeing one.

162
Star Reloaders / I've never seen this problem.
« on: April 28, 2005, 06:35:44 pm »
I probably used Stars for twenty years and I didn't have a single problem with the priming system.  You sure you have an original Star primer tube?  The only times I've ever heard of a Star's primer system having trouble was when someone replaced the original primer tube.

163
Star History / CPM
« on: March 23, 2005, 05:43:53 pm »
In my opinion a CPM is virtually worthless.  Sorry about that.  They made very few machines.  Few people know what they are.  There aren't many press collectors.  So there is no market and no spare parts.

To a press collector hot to get one it would be a real find, almost up there with a Star straightline BUT there aren't many press collectors.

There is a site, somewhere, about old reloading presses.  You might post it there (if you can find it) but the traffic there is really low.

164
Star History / CPM
« on: March 18, 2005, 11:59:34 pm »
Clyde Products Manufacturing originally from Clyde and later from Norwalk Ohio made a machine that was Star like but with a considerable number of improvements.  Their problem as a manufacturer was that while they made machines getting parts was almost impossible.

I found the CPM amazingly hard to use.  Took me years to figure out why.  Operationally it was ALMOST star-like.  The key word being almost.  Once you REALLY understood the differences it was easy enough to use but figuring that out took me forever.

The new machine I bought from them was extremely well made.  Not parts interchangable but nice.  I no longer remember all the features that they improved on but they did make a number of important improvements.

It was a nice machine once you got use to it but I don't think that they sold many.  About the only rarer Star variations would be the one made in Australia for awhile or the handbuilt 50 caliber Browning machine gun units.

CPM's real claim to fame, however, at least in my opinion, was their kit that converted a simply single station reloader into a progressive.  This is where the RCBS line of Piggyback progressives actually came from.  Dillon treated a lawsuit against this machine and CPM withdrew it.  Don't know if they ever actually sold a single unit but I'm sure that they advertised their idea.  Today, of course, RCBS is still selling units based at least historically on this design.

165
Star History / Star Price History
« on: March 18, 2005, 11:51:47 pm »
"Interestingly, in 1979, the lead time for a press was 24 months. While that says something about the demand for a Star, it also explains why it was so easy for Dillon to enter the business."

Mike's first product was called the Super Star kit, a set of parts that, when fitted to a Star, would allow it to load 223 rounds.  Ellord actually helped Mike with that.  I'm sure about that because I wrote something about it for a Gun Digest piece at the time.  Don't remember the article but I do remember having that kit on loan.

Actually I believe that Ellard helped Mike get started.  Mike, of course, was a TWA co-pilot at the time and this was his hobby.

I don't think that it was common knowledge at the time that Star had, at the Army's insistence, already made a rifle tool.  Of course that machine was vastly different from their pistol unit.  (Kind of which I had kept my Star collection including that rifle unit and a straightline.)

For all the help Star willingly extended to Mike, something must have gone wrong between them.  What happened I never knew.

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