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Nice lil' Star Firestar in .40S&W

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by gsbuickman, Jul 8, 2018.

  1. gsbuickman

    gsbuickman Member

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    Hiya Guys :) ...

    I ran across this sweet lil' Modelo Star Firestar in .40S&W a week or so ago on the local gun grapevine. A guy over in Twin Falls had it up for trade for something different for concealed carry. We ended up working out a trade deal for my .380 Bersa Thunder . Rather than trying to get together over the holiday weekend we decided to wait because he had to come to town anyway for a company golf outing this morning. Well, he finally made it into town late yesterday evening and we were able to get together and square the deal :) ...

    This was imported by Sam Cummings company, Interarms of Alexandria VA and will go nicely with my Star Super B & I really like the Browning Hi-Power style handguns but one of the really interesting points of this Firestar is that it has a CZ style slide that rides on the inside of the frame rails & it has a really low bore axis. It came with 2 mag's , 1 flush mount and the other with a +1 button that doubles as a nice pinky rest and it feels really good and points naturally in the hand. I don't plan on shooting this one a lot as I don't want to wear out the extractor because they're hard to find and stupid expensive these days. I'm not sure exactly how they classify this one but it's bigger than a Bersa Thunder but it's smaller than my compact Commander 1911 and I primarily plan on using it for concealed carry in one of my Bulldog holsters. With it's all steel Construction and a full magazine it has some noticeable heft to it for it's size, but I like that & it should soak up the .40's muzzle flip nicely :) ...

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    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
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  2. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    I think you will like it.

    I have one also. Mine is accurate. Recoil isn’t bad due to the weight. The only time I have ever had any issues with mine was with cheap Remington/UMC ammo.

    I like the Firestars so much that I have the M40 and M43 (9mm). I wouldn’t mind getting the M45 to complete the collection
     
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  3. gsbuickman

    gsbuickman Member

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    Ha ha, it actually came with two boxes of the Remington UMC ammo. It's not on the list of my preferred ammo Brands but on the few times that I've used it I haven't had an issue with it. The guy I got this from was afraid to put many rounds through it because of all the threads he's been reading on different gunboards about people breaking the extractors on these . Idk if there's any truth to that or not but I don't plan on shooting this regularly with the rest of my range toys anyway.
     
  4. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    I bought mine in 1997 and it was my only center fire pistol for about 9 years and I have shot it quite a bit without any failures. Even after getting other pistols, the Firestar M40 is still one of my favorite and most used pistols. I shoot mostly mild reloads for the past 12 years. Don’t be afraid of shooting yours.
     
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  5. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Firestar pistols are known to break firing pins. You need to remove the rear sight to replace the firing pin. I repaired one for a friend- I believe I got the firing pin from Jack First.
     
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  6. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    I bought one of these back in '94 or '95 ... mine was the "Starvel" finish (factory nickel, great looking pistol) ... traded it off a few years back during a bout of temporary stupidity (when I decided to get out of .40 S&W completely). Heavy for its size, yes, but managed the recoil so well. Good ergonomics, excellent trigger, decent sights, splendid accuracy and total reliability. Never had a malfunction. Was able to procure some extra magazines for it, found holsters that fit, and it was a great concealed carry piece.

    Only issue I ever had with it was the safety lever was a tad loose for my preference and on a couple occasions came off while I was carry cocked-and-locked IWB. Have been looking for years for another one in mint condition just because I realized that I was pretty fond of this pistol.
     
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  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Great little guns. My buddy has one. Do not let the slide slam home on a round, always let them feed from the mag. If the extractor breaks, and they have been known to break, a replacement extractor is nowhere to be found.
     
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  8. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    I have the M43 in Starvel finish and a Sparks EX Companion iwb holster. I think it is great little 1911 style pistol abet on the heavy side.

    Shoot the dang thing and be happy. Like most things on the Internet I think the breakage problem is way blown out of proportion.

    That said I keep meaning to order a extra firing pin for mine but since I have not had any problems with the gun why worry.
     
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  9. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    There is some truth to .40 Star Firestars having extractor problems and I've talked with more than one shooter who now uses his .40 as a paperweight. Check with some of the other forums, as there may be ways to get a replacement extractor from Spain, where a number of small shops have been known to build some Star replacement parts.

    I've had several Stars, one like yours, a similar one in 9mm, and 3+ of the Firestar Plus models, which have alloy frames and use double-stack mags.The Plus models have what is the same (or very similar slide) design, are more compact, are lighter, and hold more rounds.

    Except for extractors on the .40 Star models, all of the Stars seem to be pretty trouble-free.

    There may be help, if you need it, here: http://forums.gunboards.com/forumdisplay.php?40-The-Spanish-Pistol-Board&s=&daysprune=
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  10. gsbuickman

    gsbuickman Member

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    Thanks :) . To prolong the life of the firing pin and the extractor as it's been mentioned I think the game plan will be to never dry fire it which I make it a point to never dry fire any of my weapons anyway and to never let the slide slam home on a full magazine and to rack the slide after inserting a full magazine and letting it pick up a round and feed from the magazine
     
  11. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    Note: I slightly modified my earlier response, above -- expanding a bit.

    I've not heard of firing pin problems, and I suspect that most gunsmiths could fabricate a replacement firing pin if one was needed and you had enough parts to show him. Extractors are different.

    As for dry firing -- snap caps can be used when dry-firing and can reduce the chance of damage (i.e., just like shooting a live round), but with most center-fire designs it's not an issue. Using a snap cap can't really hurt.

    NOT letting the slide slam home (with a full or empty magazine) seems to be a concern mostly with 1911-style guns that has to do with the potentially delicate nature of a well-tuned hammer/sear interface getting messed with with slides slamming shut when a round wasn't being chambered. Your Star has little in common with a 1911.

    Keep in mind that that when firing, that slide is slamming home with a full slide that is almost empty before you quit...
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  12. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    The joke at the range where I shot mine was that if , while using the gun in home or self defense, I missed the attacker, had a jam, or just ran out of ammo, I should just drop the gun on his foot -- as that would certainly take him out of the fight.

    The gun is HEAVY. :)
     
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  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep, a new firing pin would be easier than an extractor.
     
  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Extractors like the 1911 that were designed to have the round slip up behind it don't like to be forced snap over the rim. Now, I did it more than once in my youth before I knew it wasn't a good idea and it didn't break, and the 1911 extractor is much less prone to it that some people let on, or in this case, the Star .40, with numerous documented cases of extractors breaking. Start searching for an extractor on the web and you'll see all the stories.

    Great guns full of good features.
     
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  15. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    I purchased my M43 Firestar in 1992. Other then my own screw-ups it has been flawless. No firing pin or extractor breakage in all those years. It has thousands of rounds through it both mild and hot. I carry it on occasion. Heavy? Why yes, but I prefer a heavy handgun. Because of it's weight and low barrel position recoil is quite manageable. Hell! Even the ladies enjoy shooting it.
     
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  16. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    Nearly ALL semi-autos use the same basic approach to extractor function.-- the case rim is fed UP under the extractor as the round is raised from the magazine.

    There are exceptions -- some of the older H&K models (like the P7) have extractors but will extract/eject a fired shell if the extractor is broken or missing.. Many (nearly all) fixed-barrel semi-autos will function without an extractor, because pressure pushes the casing rearward almost immediately during the firing cycle; indeed, that's how they are designed to work . When any of these guns have an extractor, it's there as much to hold the round against the breech face until the case hits the ejector as to extract the casing from the chamber. The small Beretta and Taurus semi-autos immediately come to mind -- in both rim fire and center-fire models. (The Beretta Tomcat I once owned extracted and ejected beautifully without an extractor.)

    The Beretta 92/M9 is one of the FEW guns designed to allow the extractor to slip OVER the rim, when needed, but in normal usage he Beretta M92/M9 extractor works like all the rest. (Beretta has made their extractor design a selling point/feature in their promotion of that line of handguns.)

    I've never heard anyone who seemed technically knowledgeable (a gunsmith, gun designer, etc.) claim that Star Firestart extractor damage was caused by the slide slamming shut with or without rounds in the chamber or mag -- but maybe you've read more horror stories than I have, or you have better access to experts. .I'm a bit skeptical, because I've found that a lot of people use flawed logic when diagnosing problems and solutions -- and assume that because B happened after A occurred, A is what caused B, That isn't always the case, but it may be the only one that comes to mind. (I would expect slide-caused damage to be a problem with the 9mm versions of the gun if it were a true extractor issue, and that doesn't seem to be the case.)

    Get an extractor if you can, ditto a firing pin, but with any luck, you'll not need them.. I don't think you really have to "BABY" your gun.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I hear you, and have made the same argument in the past, but while I do not know about all the others, that is how we broke my buddies Firestar, slamming the slide home on a chambered round. Or was it a one in a million coincidence it happened when we did that, could have been. But it sounds like I did not make myself clear before how we broke his and what I was trying to convey. No slamming the slide home on an empty chamber, but slamming it home on a chambered round. I am sure the miscommunication is my fault.
     
  18. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    Note: I bolded "full magazine" in the following citation...
    re: extractor damage
    Since I started working on this reply, I see that you responded again and told us that your buddy broke the extractor on his gun by letting the slide slam home on a chambered round. That wasn't the case when I first responded. It was hinted at, but not stated.

    In responding this time and reading through earlier and subsequent comments as I worked on this reply, I saw what might have happened on both of our parts. We both wrote things we didn't really mean. That said, I think we agree that empty extractors don't like being dropped on loaded chambers

    In my earlier reply I compounded an error above by combining chamber and mag in the same sentence. I agree that letting a slide slam shut on a chambered round could cause damage. I meant to say that doing so with an empty chamber (and a full or empty magazine) wasn't a problem -- I was still focusing on your earlier "full magazine" (and not a " loaded chamber" which was what you probably meant); I then added to the confusing by remaining focused on "loaded magazine" and "firing pin damage," etc., etc., etc. My error.

    I spent over a decade working as a technical writer and learned (the hard way) that it's easy to write stuff that most people can understand, but it's much harder to write stuff that can't be misunderstood. Guess I need a refresher course. (Sigh.).

    Closing the slide over a chambered round is NOT an OK thing to do with a Star or any extractor-equipped gun (except, perhaps, a Beretta M92/M9). That said, I've seen broken extractors and chipped extractors, and I'm pretty sure there weren't all damaged only by dropping a slide on a chambered round. Closing a slide on a chambered round is something that many shooters would never do. Sometimes extractors JUST BREAK.

    I wonder why it's a problem with some .40 S&W Firestars but doesn't seem to be a problem with the 9mm versions. The guns are hard to tell apart at a glance and some parts are interchangeable. Maybe the metal used in the extractors are different? Or maybe some batches of .40 extractors were just badly made?​

    re: firing pin damage


    Have you heard about Star firing pins breaking? Or is it just concern about a lack of replacement parts? Dry firing MIGHT cause a problem with a few semi-autos (and older revolvers), and I suppose it's possible that your Star could be damaged by dry-firing. Using a snap cap would greatly minimize or avoid any such damage.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  19. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    None (Where did that quote from "me" come from?)
    No, I wasn't clear.
    Yes.
    You are likely correct, I just don't know. At that point he had given the gun to his step son (Who may have done it plenty, or not). I felt bad for him and gave him a revolver of mine he liked.

    I had intended to try to make an extractor by taking some spring steel and filing/grinding/sandpapering one, but he hauled the gun off out of state when they moved, and he wanted to take it and let a gunsmith look at it.

    I have no idea what kind of luck I would have had. :)
     
  20. gsbuickman

    gsbuickman Member

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    You might be surprised at what a little fluorescent orange fingernail polish can do to brighten up a front site on a set of 3 Dots. It doesn't show up as bright as what it really is but I got it right in the dimple on the front site on the white background so it lights up real bright :) ...

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  21. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Is that a Star Wars motif I spot in the background? Sweet ...
     
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  22. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    I wish I had the same results with the one I got when they first came out. Mine went back 4 times due to horrible accuracy. It fired every round, never jammed, and carried very well, but at 5 yards took just over 100 rounds to hit the x. Traded it off and felt bad for the guy that got it. I tried to like it, I really did. My gunsmith had one he shot in competition and he felt so bad each time he sent it back, he even test fired it and said it was horrible. I really wanted to like that gun. ):
     
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  23. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    Horrible accuracy suggests that the barrel isn't locking up consistently. Star (or the folks doing the warranty work) should have been able to identify the problem. Sounds as though they were focused on function and not accuracy. Sorry that you had such a bad experience.

    The only gun I had that gave me that sort of experience was a milsurp Inglis (which had been greatly abused, refinished [badly] and tinkered with before I got it. My gunsmith -- who is pretty good -- spent some time with it but never got any meaningful improvements. It shot patterns.
     
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  24. gsbuickman

    gsbuickman Member

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    Agreed, I'm no gunsmith but I am a damn good mechanic and I know enough about guns that the first three things I would have checked is the lock up , slug the bore to see how much wear there is on it and check the crown on the barrel.
     
  25. RA40

    RA40 Member

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    Haven't tried a 40, in 9 my abilities with this are accurate enough out to 12 yards. The Trijicons also helped ease sight acquisition over the tiny dots of the stock sights.

    star-firestar-trijicon-bright-tough-January 19, 2017-1479.JPG star-firestar-trijicon-bright-tough-January 19, 2017-1496.JPG
     
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