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Tell me about the Star 30M.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by firestar, Feb 16, 2003.

  1. firestar

    firestar member

    I have been so impressed with Star's guns that I was thinking the 30M may be a good choice for my next gun. Is it surprisingly accurate like the Star Firestar is?

    My M43 Firestar will do 2" groups at 75'! That is shocking to me.:what: It shoots as good as ANY auto I own or have owned (with the exception of a couple of semi custom 1911s I had).

    I think the 30M may be a sleeper but not alot of people have them.
  2. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    This is About the M28, but it applies to the 30M...

    Hello. These were only made for a few years in the '80s before being replaced by the Star Model 30M, after the Model 28 was tested for use by the Spanish military, an obvious change being the 30M's use of the pivoting extractor as opposed to the long "self-sprung" extractor on the M28. (FWIW, these are simple, but difficult to replace and I'm told some have complained of breakage. I've not seen it, but I've not fired this pistol over about 2500 rnds the entire time I've had it.)

    The Model 28 used in this report is not stock; it's had some custom work done.


    As it comes from the box, the gun's got a matte blued finish and fixed sights with the front being a serrated ramp integral to the slide. The rear sight is click adjustable for windage only. I've own three or four of the Model 28 Stars and all hit very high with the factory sight arrangement. (I've noted that this was addressed on the Model 30 M and 31PK as the rear sight blade's considerably lower.)

    When I first shot the Model 28s, I was very favorably impressed with its fit, accuracy, reliability, and smooth, light trigger pulls in both double and single-action. The only obvious fly in the ointment was that the POI was about a foot high at 25 yards!

    Changes: Lou Williamson of Williamson Precision Gunsmithing in Hurst, TX did the following:

    1. Installed Millett adjustable revolver sights. These were chosen over the S&W in an attempt to get more of a "Bomar-like" rear sight, but one that was still low.


    (The discoloration visible is due to a different steel silversoldered into the original sight's dovetail and was not expected.) This also resulted in removal of the loaded chamber indicator, not a great loss.

    2. The barrel, internal parts, slide stop lever, trigger, rear (removeable) backstrap, hammer, and magazine release were all hardchromed by Armalloy of Ft. Worth, TX.

    3. The trigger was reduced in width to that of the CZ75 as the original trigger's rather too wide for me.

    4. The gun was reblued with the slide flats being brightly polished.

    There was no "accuracy" work done. The bbl's received no extra fitting with its only change being that it was hardchromed.

    Test & Ammo: Ammunition used today was Magtech 115 gr FMJ and Corbon 124 gr +P JHP. The Corbon load was with the old Speer Gold Dot Hollow Point rather than the Sierra bullet currently used in this load; that's what I had.

    Shooting was done standing and w/2-hand hold at 15 and 25 yards with the 50 yard group being fired from a sitting position.
    All groups consisted of 15 shots or one full magazine.

    Here are the results:


    This gun is heavy and has an especially light single-action pull. All shots were fired single-action as I was trying to squeeze out all the accuracy I could. Whether or not its reversed slide rail system ala SIG P210 & CZ75 contribute to accuracy or not, I don't know. I don't recall the weight exactly, but think it's similar to that of a Gov't Model 1911.

    This group was fired in the manner described above using the Corbon ammo. Distance = 15 yards. It is a 10 shot group.

    Primer strikes were solid* and well-centered. Ejected cases with the standard pressure ammunition landed about 5' to the right while the Corbon cases landed 8 to 10' away.


    Results: No surprises in the lack of any failures to feed, fire, or extract. These things have always been very reliable in my experiences with them.

    Being heavy, with an excellent & light trigger, along with decent sights made this thing very easy to get decent groups with. Recoil was minimal and couldn't be called "bad" by any stretch of the imagination. This gun does come with a magazine disconnect, but it does not affect the trigger and since I don't use this pistol for "serious" purposes, I've left it in. Also, when removed, it leaves a hollow that's bounded by a very thin piece of steel.

    Mercifully, it does not have an internal firing pin safety and does use the customary firing pin retaining plate to contain its traditional firing pin and spring. It is an inertial firing pin.

    Unusual Traits: I believe that this pistol was made as Star's effort to compete with the very popular, but then hard-to-get CZ75s. (Remember that there's some thought that Star did some of the actual casting of the CZ75 Pre-Bs' frames and with no patent on the CZ, it is a possibility.) However, there are some characteristics of this DA/SA pistol that differ favorably from the CZ75 and imitate the SIG P210:

    1. Not characteristic of the SIG P210 as it's not DA, the Model 28 does NOT cam the hammer back before releasing it as do all of my CZs.

    2. The P210 allows for lifting the firing mechanism, hammer and all, out of the frame by removing a screw under the tang. The Star Model 28 allows for the very same thing, but the backstrap comes out with it. It's accomplished by pressing a spring-loaded button below the surface of the backstrap and lifting straight upward on the uncocked hammer. The grips then drop off as there held on with a dovetail type arrangement on the stocks. (More on this, later.)

    3. The magazine release is not like the CZ75, but is located in the same place and is just like that on the Browning HP or Colt 1911. The release spring is also significantly stronger than that of the CZ75 Pre-B guns.

    4. The barrel is very "long-throated;" it could be called "free bored" similar to the Weatherby rifles in Weatherby calibers. This hurts one's attempts at cast bullet handloads unless sized to .357 or .358" depending upon that particular gun's bore diameter. When this is done, or you use bullets for .38s/.357s, you can get good accuracy with the Model 28 and cast bullets.

    Likes: For piddling around at the range, this pistol's hard to beat. It is more accurate than its price would indicate and it is reliable with everything I've ever fired in it. Its heavy-for-caliber weight is an add in accurate shooting as well.

    Fit is quite good, not like an STI, but then this pistol cost quite a bit less. However, there is zero play in the bbl-to-slide fit.


    1. *The mainspring in this pistol is not all that strong. Strikes were plenty good and deep on the factory ammunition used as well as on handloaded rounds I've fired in the past. It works fine with Federal, Winchester, and Remington small pistol primers. It's also not missed a lick on the harder CCI/Speer primers. I have had failures to fire in double-action with some Egyptian 9mm ammo and other foreign ammo. No failures to fire have ever been encountered when firing from the SA mode.

    2. The recoil spring is captive on the full-length, steel guide rod. Therefore, it is not easily changed and I think that this gun truly needs a stronger recoil spring for even modest amounts (a few hundred) of heavy handloads or +P ammunition.

    3. Steel in this gun is "soft." Before refinishing, you could see the heat-treated areas on the slide. I do NOT recommend this gun for "hotrodding" 9x19mm. I DO think one could test with the +P ammunition of choice and load it with such for defensive needs or popping small game or varmints with little concern.

    4. While the slide-mounted ambidextrous thumb safety does allow for Condition One carry, there's little point as the safety's too difficult (for me, anyway) to hit quickly. There is no decocking capability on this pistol and the hammer will drop with the safety engaged and trigger pulled. The gun will not fire due to the safety's camming the firing pin forward and slightly below the firing pin retaining plate such that the hammer cannot smack it. I have tried to fire the gun with the safety engaged and it does prevent it.

    5. Spare parts are difficult to find for this gun as it wasn't manufactured for all that long of a time and the company's now defunct. The excellent 15 round magazine can be pricey.

    6. Stocks can be problematic. The original Model 28 stocks were all plastic and would break during disassembly if the stocks were removed incorrectly. Good luck finding any new ones. Star recognized this problem and the stocks shown on the Model 28 in this test are checkered rubber over steel inserts.

    Millett vs. S&W Sights: The sights used were specified for the reason stated above, but also they were slightly wider and longer than the S&Ws which was needed to cover where the loaded chamber indicator had been. These sights' steel is softer than the S&W, so the adjustment screws can be so easily buggered if one slips with the correct size screwdriver or uses the wrong size one.

    Finally, the gun's slide can be difficult to grasp if pulling back to release and chamber a round. Not nearly so much of it is above the frame as either the CZ or P210, but the safety levers do come in handy for this.

    If you get the chance at one of these "right," you can get a real shooter, but it will likely hit high. This can be corrected with a file on the rear sight blade and you still have a plenty deep enough sight notch for a decent sight picture. You will also have a pistol than can be tough to get any spare parts for.


  3. firestar

    firestar member

    WOW! Thanks for the reply. I now know all I need to know about that gun. I think I will give it a pass because of the parts issue and it doesn't look as accurate as I thought it was going to be. You are probably a better shooter than me and I want tighter groups than that at 25yards. I can get those types of groups with a few guns I allready have. It looks like the search for a target 9mm continues.
  4. greg531mi

    greg531mi Well-Known Member

    Did Star go out of business, or did their importer? I thought it was Interarms, the importer. By the way, my Model 30, shoots one hole groups, at 25 yards, at rest, using a AA #7 hot load. The 30 is the offical sidearm of the Spanish Military, so I bet someone has parts out there.
  5. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Hello. Star was imported by Interarms, which is now gone. I believe that Star and Astra have merged into another company, but one that's not imported here or not in the same degree as the Star/Interarms days.


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