STAR headstamp?


#1

Has anyone come across commercial pistol ammo with STAR on the head? I know Star Ammunition Inc has been in business since 1945 and made components as well as reloaded once fired cases from various sources at one time but their own headstamp is new to me. Can anyone enlighten me?


#2

I thought someone else might answer this by now, while I was having computer problems, but here goes.

If you are talking about the Star Reloading Company, of Indianapolis, Indiana, they have load cartridges in .38 Special with two different “in house” headstamps, and .357 Magnum with at least one. In all three instances, the cases were made by Starline. One headstamp was simply “STAR 38 SPL” while the other was “STAR .38 SPECIAL.” I have no time-line for the two, and don’t know which one came first.

The .357 Magnum headstamp was “STAR 357 MAG.”

I am not aware of other calibers with their headstamp, but it certainly is possible that they exist. Perhaps someone who knows more about revolver rounds will no. I have not seen their “STAR” headstamp on any auto pistol calibers.

John Moss


#3

Thanks John. I knew you would have something enlightning to say and wondered where you were! This place would not be the same without John Moss!

I’ve tried email to the company in hopes of trying to put a qty on how many may have been made, or for how long. Don’t appear to be many about and its interesting that they are only in .38/357, or appear to be. The one I have was in a large batch of mixed brass and it had gone halfway thru the reloading process before I saw it. Would love to find an unfired example. I’ll dig about a little more, now that I know Starline made the cases.


#4

This is the STAR AMMUNITION INCORPORATED 5520 Rock Hampton Ct Indianapolis,IN 46268. I tried calling them and the phone is disconnected (both their local and 800 numbers). Looks like they are out of business.

Lew


#5

I sent Starline an email a few days ago but no response yet. Sure am curious.


#6

Star reloading has been out of business for approx. 2yrs. I went to their address twice and read the same note on the door. I understand the owner wished to retire and could not find a buyer. He liquidated assets in some other fashion. Many of us local to the area have relied on star cast lead bullets for some time. Every time I see a Star bullet box or cartridge box I wish someone could have bought the company. Star sold many many boxes of bullets as well as reloaded ammunition.


#7

I know that George Kass writes the “Company Histories” for the IAA Journal, but it would be nice to document the existance of this company; who the owner was, what it made and/or sold, it’s location, etc. Maybe take a couple of photos of the building if/when you ever get by the site again.

This would be a great way to capture and document the history of this company so other generations of collectors will have some historical data, however slight it may be, in case they run into an old case or some other shooting artifact and need info about who made it.

Just a thought. :-)


#8

The Star Reloading Company, Inc. of 5520 Rock Hampton Court, Indianapolis, Indiana 46268 was in business beginning in 1946, according to one source, but more likely in 1945, and moved to the Hampton Court address in 1968. In May of 1984, the company employed 15 people, two of them full-time machinests who built and maintained much of their machinery to make swaged bullet and load .38, .357 and .45 ACP ammunition. The factory had 21,000 square feet of production, shipping and administrative space. The .38 Special and .357 Magnum ammunition were loaded either as “new ammunition” in virgin cases from Starline Corporation, or as reloads. The .45 Auto ammunition were offered only as reloads. Various loads were offered in each caliber.

At least as early as mid-1992 they renamed the company Star Ammunition Inc. There is some conflicting information on minor points in the sources of information available in my own files. The business was family owned, with Jim Russell being the President fo the Corporation in 1992. His father, Charles, was a Police Officer and he, along with five other Indianapolis policemen, co-founded Star in 1945 (the previous paragraph, cited from a different source, says 1946). Russell soon bought out the other partners. The company began reloading .38 Special only, a very popular starting point for small ammunition companies at the time, due to that caliber’s almost universal use as a police cartridge within the United States. In 1967, Star’s facilities consisted of a 2,400 square ft. building on the northwest side of Indianapolis. By 1992, they occupied 11 buildings and 24,000 square feet (not necessarily in conflict with the ealrier statement, from a 1984 source, about having 21,000 square feet, as they probably grew some more during that time interval). In 1992, Star’s head marketing Manager was Jay Grumme. That year, he reported that sales were up again. Up until 1987, their market focus was on state and local law enforcement agencies, but in 1987, they changed their marketing strategy to include public gun ranges and competition shooters, stretching all over the US and into Canada.

As time went on, they increased their line to include .40 S&W, 10 mm Remington, and 9 mm. All of their calibers, by their 1995 catalog, were offered in three versions - reloads with or without brass exchange, reloads in once-fired brass, and new ammunition. We know of no headstamps for Star in the auto pistol calibers, so assume they used brass of various manufacturers with those companies’ own headstamps, not a “STAR” headstamp. If any knows of STAR headstamps in those calibers, please let us know.

Our last price list for STAR is from 1996, and oddly, shows only bullets and some other loading supplies - no ammunition. We are not stating that they did not make any ammunition at that time. We simply don’t know. It is possible that they had a separate catalog sheet for ammunition, that we do not have in our records.

Past 1996, we have no information on this company.

References:

Price Sheets, Star Ammunition Co Inc., April 1, 1994, August 10, 1994, February 15, 1995, May 1, 1996.

Lesmeister, Bob, “A New Star,” Manufacturer’s News, American Firearms Industry magazine,
October 1992, pages 62-63.

Anonymous, “Star Bullets and Ammunition,” The American Rifleman, May 1984, pages 62 and 63.

The repeat of the page numbers in the two cited references is not a typing error. They are, coiincidentally, the same.

Hope this is of some help and interest.

John Moss


#9

Blundered into a couple boxes I thought might be interesting. The 357 Magnum (reloads) box is unambiguously dated Dec 12 1990.


#10

Wow! That made my heart skip a couple of beats. As most of us know, the Shotmeister passed away not too long ago and when I saw this thread i thought for a minute that I had been dreaming it. It took me a few minutes to realize it was a 5 year old thread.

Ray


#11

It’s a loss for this company to have not been sold as a thriving business, and to be sold off piece by piece. The locartion was just a look alike building in an industrial park with no sign, or anything on the exterior that would give any indication of what type of business had resided there. I have several boxes for either .38spl, .357Mag, or both, as well as boxes from several types of the bullets they sold, some still full. I know I also have some brass, and lots of other hard to find headstamps as well, thanks to my sorting brass by headstamp rather religiously. I only wish I had had the financing available to purchase Star, but that’s just wishful thinking. I’m sure business would be booming at this point in time!