Author Topic: Star Price History  (Read 37057 times)

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rbwillnj

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Star Price History
« on: March 01, 2005, 11:26:25 AM »
I recently aquired a December 1958 catalog/price list for Star Machine Works.  It shows the price of a Star Universal with Lifetyme Carbide Die to be $190.   An Extra Tool Head with Carbide die was $70.  The Lubricator Sizer was $40.

What I really found interesting was the inclusion of prices for 4, 6, and 10 cavity Hensley Gibbs bullet molds.  Does anyone know the relationship between Hensley Gibbs and Star?
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Kenneth L. Walters

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Star/H&G
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2005, 12:25:44 AM »
Bought my first star in probably 1975.  Bought numerous other Star's from them over the next several decades.  One day they suggested that if I wanted the best reloading presses (theirs) why didn't I also buy the best moulds (H&G's).  Up until then I had never heard of them.

In any event, I took their advice and for the next twenty years (almost exactly) I bought H&G moulds as well.

I think that Star just appreciated the quality of H&G's mould but I ask Wayne Gibbs if there was anything more to it than that.
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Kenneth L. Walters

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Connection between Star and H&G
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2005, 05:50:11 PM »
Well Wayne Gibbs answered that question.  Now let's see if I can get this right.

When both Hensley and Star were in San Diego, Wayne's father knew Ellard Mott.  The two were very good friends.  Because of that friendship, H&G recommended Star progressives and Star progressives recommended H&G moulds.  Also both thought very highly of the other's work so it was as simply as recommending a friend.  They were both recommending what they thought was the best equipment around.

Ellard, of course, hand build every Star progressive made during his lifetime.  Every single one.  For a long time he also assembled the lubricator/sizers though that task was eventually handed off.

The claim that Star had very few orders in its final days is probably true but it is also probably true because once Ellard died no one else had ever put a machine together.  Thus whomever tried undoubtedly had a very hard time.

I don't remember the name of that person.  It was, I'm pretty sure, an American Indian but I just don't remember who.  Of course they had a nearly impossible job.  Building a Star was as much an art as anything else and when Ellard died all that skill died with him.

I think that it is sad that someone like Magma didn't buy the Star Progressives because whomever has it now certainly isn't up to the task and because of that this grand old machine is facing certain death.
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TDO'NEILL

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Star Price History
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2005, 08:28:54 PM »
Mr. Walters
And where would the Star Progressive be today if the present owner didn't buy the company? There was probably a good reason why no one else bought it.
I am very thankful that the current owner has tried to keep the business going. At least we have some place to get parts if needed.
How many Star presses do you think could be sold in a months time? Is a high quality $1000+ reloading press in that much of a demand today?
With the cost of health ins. ,OSHA regulations, taxes, materials etc. do you  really think that someone could make a living today selling Star Loaders?
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Kenneth L. Walters

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Star Price History
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2005, 08:45:46 PM »
Star raised prices twice that I know of, from $250 to $450 and then from $450 to $950.  Might be slightly off but close.  They did that to slow down business, not because the cost of manufacturer had gone up.  I'm absolutely certain about that because I talked to them about it.

So could you make a Star today for $250.  Almost certainly not.  But could you make one for less than $950.  I suspect so.

The top of the line dillon is $1500.  Mike is famous for his comment that you need one third to cover costs, one third for advertising and one third for profit.  Do the math.  A Star could be made for less BECAUSE if it were a quality product as the old machine were you wouldn't have to do much advertising.

Sure Star's quality at the end of their run was bad.  Ellard was dead.  But Star has a reputation that is unequalled.  Who else has 50 year old machines that are still in working order.

Star deserved better than it got and I am NO (ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, NO) fan of the current "manufacturer!"
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rbwillnj

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Star Price History
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2005, 10:44:33 PM »
Actually, I have two price lists, one from 1958 and one from 1979.

As mentioned above, in 1958, a Universal with Lifetyme Carbide die was $190.00.  In 1979, the same press was $710.  

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.
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Kenneth L. Walters

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Star Price History
« Reply #6 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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bummer7

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Thanks!
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2005, 11:11:04 PM »
Ken,
I read your posts and find the Star history very interesting. Its fills in many of the blanks I have about the company and product.  Thanks very much for sharing.  
FYI - I chekced my invoice from 1976 and see I paid $575 plus tax and SH for a new Star Universal Loader.  Price includes 1 set of dies and a  powder charge bar.  
Regards,
Steve

rbwillnj

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Re: Star Price History
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2006, 09:46:33 PM »
Recently I was able to pick up a few more original Star price lists.

For a Universal Reloader, I can share the following price history;

December 1, 1945? ? ?$ 120.00? ?(no mention of carbide sizing dies)
December 1, 1958? ? ?$ 190.00? ?(with carbide sizing die option)
March 1, 1968? ? ? ? ? ?$ 248.00? ?(with carbide sizing die option)
Dec 1, 1968? ? ? ? ? ? ? $ 262.50? ?(with carbide sizing die option. data from Jet22)
July 15, 1970? ? ? ? ? ? $ 287.50? ?(with carbide sizing die option.? data from Jet22)
May 15, 1975? ? ? ? ? ? $ 450.00? ?(invoice from Kenneth L. Walters)
February 1, 1977? ? ? ?$ 525.00? ?(from Kenneth L. Walters)
March 1, 1979? ? ? ? ? ?$ 760.00? ?(carbide sizing dies are standard)
March 1, 1980? ? ? ? ? ?$ 925.00? ?(from Kenneth L. Walters
April 1, 1981? ? ? ? ? ? ?$1110.00? ?(pricing for "Progressive" Reloader no longer given)

I would be iterested in hearing from anyone who has an orginal price list with different dates and/or prices.

Above list has been edited to include information from Kenneth Walters and Jet22.? ?Any additional data would be appreciated.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2006, 04:55:45 PM by rbwillnj »
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Kenneth L. Walters

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Re: Star Price History
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2006, 12:12:08 AM »
May 15, 1975 (from invoice) $450
February 1, 1977 (from price sheet) $575  - came with long cover letter explaining increase
March 1, 1980 (from price sheet) $925

Also found invoices for a 32 ACP tool head and another in 475 Wildey.
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rbwillnj

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Re: Star Price History
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2006, 05:10:40 PM »
Thanks Ken,

I edited my list to include your data.
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Jet22

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Re: Star Price History
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2006, 04:22:44 PM »
Dec 1, 1968           $ 262.50   (with carbide sizing die option)
July 15, 1970           $ 287.50   (with carbide sizing die option)
Jet22 in Mid Michigan

rbwillnj

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Re: Star Price History
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2006, 04:29:14 PM »
Jet22,

What is the source of your data.  Is it a "Star" price list or invoice?   The December 68 price doesn't seem consistant with other data.
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Jet22

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Re: Star Price History
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2006, 04:42:18 PM »
They are both Star dated price lists. I have both the March 1 and December 1, 1968 price lists and the March is the same price as your March price list. I also have January 1, 1952 and July 22, 1963 price lists but they do not include complete loaders. The tool heads were $34.50 with dies and shell plate (not carbide) in the 1952 list and $60.00 in 1963. A carbide die tool head with shell plate was $77.50 in 1963. I have a few more catalogs but I will have to locate them. I believe I have them filed away with other loader instruction manuals. I do not remember them being dated but I have not looked at them in some time so I guess I should find them.
Jet22 in Mid Michigan

rbwillnj

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Re: Star Price History
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2006, 04:52:19 PM »
Thanks Jet22,

I edited the list to include your data.
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