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Old January 26, 2012, 09:17 AM   #1
KMAX
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Star Pistols Quality

Last night I was asked if Star pistols were any good. I have zero experience with them, but would like to give the guy some kind of answer. Are they any good? Are they still made? Is there any support for them? Any semi-specific problems? Etc. Give me some info, guys. Thanks.

Last edited by KMAX; January 27, 2012 at 03:23 PM.
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Old January 26, 2012, 09:54 AM   #2
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Good, solid guns. Any model in particular? They are heavy, old school guns. Real workhorses. My best friends dad carries a Firestar. I want a nickle model B like Sam Jackson.
For some reason I love certain movie guns.
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Old January 26, 2012, 09:56 AM   #3
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They were made in Spain fwiw. No longer in production iirc. I think they stopped producing guns in the early 90's.
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Old January 26, 2012, 10:05 AM   #4
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Had a Star Firestar 9mm at one time. It was G&A gun of the year at one time. Good little gun, albeit heavy. Star is out of business and has been for some time. Parts would be hard to find, but unnecessary for the most part.
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Old January 26, 2012, 10:07 AM   #5
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Good solid guns, getting hard to fine parts for certain models. If the guns are in good shape and priced right I wouldn't hesitate to buy one.
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Old January 26, 2012, 10:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
No longer in production iirc. I think they stopped producing guns in the early 90's.
I believe this is correct. The bankrupt remnants of Star and Astra were purchased in the late 90s by the Spanish government and merged together into a corporation called ASTAR, but the new entity exists on paper only, and is effectively just a holding company for what remains of its predecessors' physical assets; AFAIK it has yet to export a meaningful number of new guns to the USA.

Both companies fell victim to the problem that nearly wiped out Walther- they came into the 1980s producing dressed-up versions of designs with roots in the 1940s, the "...But We Already Have The Tooling" syndrome. Unfortunately, unlike Walther, they were unable to come up with the investment capital to retool and introduce modern (read: striker-fired polymer-frame) pistols.

Other than mags, AFAIK parts for Stars have not been produced for several years, but so many of the pistols are in circulation that parts availability is reportedly not yet a problem for recent-production guns like the B-series, P-series, Firestar, and Ultrastar. However, as with any discontinued gun from a defunct maker, this is NOT something you should purchase if you don't ever want to tinker with it.
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Last edited by carguychris; January 26, 2012 at 11:30 AM. Reason: Manufacture --> export
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Old January 26, 2012, 12:49 PM   #7
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Thanks guys. This was pretty much what I thought, but was not quite sure. Will pass this info along to my buddy.
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Old January 26, 2012, 12:58 PM   #8
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Early Stars were pretty good. Later model Stars left a lot to be desired.
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Old January 26, 2012, 01:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Good, solid guns. Any model in particular? They are heavy, old school guns. Real workhorses.
I would amend that a bit.

Good yes, solid yes, but also ahead of their time and you could hammer out the aluminum frame PD. Some people kept two, one to shoot a lot and one to carry and shoot just enough to have confidence in it.

Buffer in the PD needs to be replaced every 1000 rounds (also gives you a good idea of how many rounds it had through it as most never knew it was there or replaced it, so a used one has some easily assessed condition based on how good the buffer looks)

Heavy? Guess that depends, but my Start PD 45 weights the same as my Sig SP2022.

The PD of course only carries 8 rounds (cocked and locked) and the Sig has 16.

Sig maybe weights more than most Polymer guns.

Star PD was ahead of its time and I have never had a problem with it that was not induced (I neglected it and did not lube it and I had some hang ups, a clean up and lube and back to its normal slick operation). So solid in the sense it was well done and reliable but not a range gun to be shot a whole lot in the PD.

I was always surprised when people questioned the semi auto reliability, the Stat had spoiled me apparently. Again so much so that I took it for granted and failed the maintenance end.

Great gun, if I could see as good as I needed to I would still carry it. Sights on the PD were adjustable but small by todays standards (and I like todays sights which are a lot closer to target sights even if not as easily adjusted for windage and elevation is nada in most)
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Old January 26, 2012, 03:38 PM   #10
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Are they any good? Are they still made? Is there any support for them? Any semi-specific problems? Etc. Give me some info, guys. Thanks.
Yes.

No.

Various parts vendors. There's a guy (this guy) in Spain with a good stock, so I hear, of parts.

Some few firing pins are reputed to be breakable.

See also this informational site.
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Old January 26, 2012, 03:46 PM   #11
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I have a Star 9 Modelo B-Super in 9mm Luger. I really like this pistol. I don't have a lot of rounds through it but Stars have a good reputation.

For just about everything you ever wanted to know about Star firearms, go here: http://www.star-firearms.com/index.html
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Old January 26, 2012, 05:02 PM   #12
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Mixed bag. I was amateur pistolsmith by necessity on my dad's Star Super in 9mm largo

Nice pistol, great trigger. Overall well made. But the small parts are not that great in terms of quality and are prone to breakage, and the design of the pistol is such that some of those small parts have to be hand-fit, when you find a replacement
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Old January 26, 2012, 05:09 PM   #13
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A friend of mine has a 9mm Star Firestar M43 that he still carries from time to time. It has been very reliable for him. I have shot it a number of times, and it's quite a nice shooter - accurate with a very nice trigger. It's well-made and surprisingly small (interesting, since it came along well before the trend of subcompact nines), but heavy. Sizewise, it's between a Glock 19 and 26, but being a single-stack, it feels quite a bit thinner. My biggest complaint is ergonomics - the trigger guard is TINY.
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Old January 26, 2012, 05:38 PM   #14
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My best friend bought a Star 9mm in 1975 and it was a decent pistol for the few rounds we put through it.

We were very young and good pistol choices were few. You either bought Colt, BHP, Star or LLama.

I bought a BHP, he had less funding and bought the Star.

It's not a pistol I'd rely on now. I want something with good customer service and readily available parts.

I've still got that T Series BHP, BTW.
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Old January 26, 2012, 09:19 PM   #15
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KMAX - What model Star is it and how much? If you don't mind me asking? I own a Star Model BS and it has been great. Everyone before me is correct, Star is out of business but parts can be had. I shoot mine occasionally and it fires everytime.
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Old January 26, 2012, 10:06 PM   #16
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I have a lot of history with the Star's.

I carried a PD in Law Enforcment for years. Wore it out, sold it and bought another that I carry today. Accurate, reliable, safety locks the hammer (1911 it only locks the sear).
I also have a LaFrance NOVA, built on the BKM but cut down smaller than a PPK. I also carried that 'on the job', and still carry it in the summer in a pants pocket.
LaFrance bought so many BKMs (alloy frame 9mm), Star sent two guys over who looked at what he did, and bought two. About 2 years later they came out with the Firestar, but had to use a steel frame which makes it a tad too heavy (I have one of these as well).

Too bad they went under, they were high quality guns in their day.
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Old January 26, 2012, 10:09 PM   #17
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Pretty much all has been said. If you happen to stumble across one, and its priced right and in decent shape, go ahead. It's worth it.

It's sad we lost all our gun industry, or most of it. Several reasons for that, including politics. Way too sad.

Quote:
Early Stars were pretty good. Later model Stars left a lot to be desired
I respectfully disagree. The M43 Firestar has a somehow poor reputation over here, but some others, like the Star 30M really deserves its reputation of being built like a tank (it has to, at 40 oz). A joy to shoot, reliable and accurate, with a superb trigger. I had one issued for quite a few years and loved it that much, that I have now ordered one for my personal use, out of those that survived and made it to the hands of Mr. (or "Don", as we say for respect) José Carrillo, the owner of Iparguns, which is a small business that is still supplying parts and pistols. The STAR person mentioned and linked above gives him a hand with that. I don't know that gentleman (though I know his name is Jorge) but I do know he helps out Don José with the international parts sales.


Hope to get her next week. Expect a few pics and a range report .
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Old January 26, 2012, 10:44 PM   #18
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Sigh,

I collect and shoot Spanish steel. Great guns mostly, it's sad to see the same generalizations repeated over and over. Parts? Yeah, just like many parts for American made guns the only parts come from scavenging. The original manufacturer's out of business long ago or no longer supporting those models.

Really massively produced guns like 1911's will always have new parts available. More obscure models will always be scavenged as they are "retired". I have a 1907 Dreyse I can still find a few newly made grips for. Most parts for almost any mass produced guns are available in the parts section of Gun Broker.

I really don't believe that Astra's and Star's have any more problems than US made guns. (Llama's, a bit different story, but I really like my .380 Llama's.)
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Old January 27, 2012, 08:44 AM   #19
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Sleuth;

Glad to see these pistols were used in the US, even in Law Enforcement . The BKM, as you know, was the lightframe version of the venerable BM. I carried a BM for a good number of years, too. It was actually the first pistol I got issued at work, some twenty years ago. Had her for something like twelve years until the 30M came to replace her. Never had a problem with the BM, and she was just a few years younger than me.

Star didn't play in the same league as others, like, say, Sig, Walther, etc... but they were good quality guns at reasonable prices. And some models, like the above mentioned 30M, really shined, quality wise. Lacked a decocker and a firing pin safety, but overall, I'd pick it over my 92FS any day.
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Old January 27, 2012, 09:46 AM   #20
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Clarification on my opinion of later model Stars. I bought a Firestar in 9mm and other than being very heavy for it's size, I liked it. Until I began carrying it. It rusted daily. I'd clean the rust off it at night and the next evening it would be a mass of rust again on the side next to my body. Couldn't stop it. It even ruined some of my clothes.
Never had this happen with any sidearm before or since. Star simply chose the wrong steel IMO.
Sold it, cheap, with most of the finish missing from the left side of the pistol.
Shot reasonably well though.
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Old January 27, 2012, 10:05 AM   #21
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erob3

erob3, No particular model. Just asking about Star in general. Thanks for your response anyway.
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Old January 27, 2012, 01:20 PM   #22
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BTW, the only general issue with the later Stars (PD, BKM, etc.) is that they should not be dry fired without a snap cap. It has to do with the way the firing pin is retained.
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Old January 27, 2012, 02:37 PM   #23
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I've got a Star Megastar .45 - it's built like a tank and will probably be around and functional for the next 2,000 years....at least. If anyone has figured out how to break one of these, let me know - personally, I don't think its possible.

The only issue I have with Star is that they are not finely finished. They are still good guns, though.
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Old January 27, 2012, 02:59 PM   #24
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I love the Star BM. SOME of these pistols, not all, have a "long" firing pin and if you carry a round in the chamber hammer down a blow to the hammer can and will fire the round.

If you own one of these you had best look closely at your gun before you ever try to carry it hammer down on a live round.

It is strange because you can look at a number of these guns and only some will have the "long" firing pin.
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Old January 27, 2012, 04:28 PM   #25
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Respectfully, my experience is not hearsay or speculation. Small parts that need to be hand fit and are prone to breakage are not positives in my book. YMMV of course with the quality of small parts with any manufacturer and I have not gone through hundreds of small parts on multiple Stars, only a handful on one Star. However that does not mean making a pistol in such a way that parts need to be hand-fit is good, nor does it mean that undocumented changes to design (such as Star made on at least one model) are desirable. I like Stars. I will however earnestly assert that they can have flaws that make them finicky
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