Basically, this is all the stuff that doesn't fit in another section. Most of all, while the rest of the site is more of a reference work, this is about actually owning and using a Star firearm. Not entirely, but mostly. Because of this vague definition, expect things to move in and out of this section.
The following is a list of all the magazine tricks and tips I know about (and one or two revoked tips). If you have any information (a new tip, a reliability issue or confirmation, etc.) please email me.
There are small dimensional differences between the magazines on some of the B-series pistols. Some readers have had problems getting B or B-super magazines to work in BM and BKM pistols. Try to get magazines intended for your pistol until you are sure what else fits.
Despite the apparent similarities (and my previous claims) Colt 1911 magazines are not the same size as P and PD magazines. Some people have made them work, but they will wobble around and may not function correctly.
The Iver Johnson and FI versions of this pistol use a new style of floorplate, with large grooves on the side. It fits into cutouts in the frame and grip panels. However, the magazine body is the same size on all guns. Star magazines with the short floorplate will work in the Iver Johnson and FI guns, but to use the thick baseplate magazines in the Star pistols would require reverting to the original floorplates, if you could find some.
When Interarms imported the 10 mm pistols to the US, they usually (possibly always) welded a strip of steel to the inside of the magazine tube, inexplicably limiting the capacity to 12 shots. Though reliabity may be compromised, .45 caliber magazines appear to work in 10 mm guns, and do yield the full 14-shot capacity.
While many Star firearms have small, annoying changes between series, it seems that the Models 1920, 21 and 22 all use the same magazine.
The 28/30/31 series can use Smith & Wesson 59xx (eg: 5906, 5946) magazines with no modification. Note that this only applies to magazines of exact factory configuration. Many aftermarket magazines are somewhat squarer on the front, so will not fit in the Star pistols.
If you have a .40 caliber M31P, Smith & Wesson .40 caliber magazines for the 40xx series of pistols will work the same way. The Smith mags do have a hump at the front to prevent their insertion in their 9 mm pistols, but this could presumably be pushed in or filed away (I have never done so myself). For either one, the floorplate mates with the bottom of the grip in a way that some find slightly ugly, but it does work just fine.
Neither of these work if you left the magazine safety in. In that case, the mag sorta-kinda shoves the mag safety up, and will cause trigger pull inconsistency and trouble. I would remove it, but you could probably cut and punch out the little mag safety shelf into the magazine body also, if you wanted to.
The 9 mm and .40 caliber Firestar single-stack pistols (the M43 and M40) appear to have entirely interchangeable magazines. Some testing by readers proves they do not just fit, but seem to feed just fine. If you have trouble finding one caliber, or have both guns and find it annoying to keep the mags separate, you can stop. Of course, don't mix up ammo as that can cause issues; one suggestion is to make all starvel mags one caliber, all blued mags the other.
Mec-Gar sells a 10-round magazine for the .40S&W version of the Firestar Plus. Though I am not positive the gun exists, this magazine will function in the 9 mm Firestar Plus, and carries the usual 13 rounds. Apparently, this was illegal to do until recently, so that's why no one else said this. Despite ban lifting, Star is out of business, so there are still to be no new mags. Snap up some of these while you can. They are the primary mags for my personal 9 mm Firestar Plus, and work flawlessly.
The Firestar Plus series use magazines of essentially the same geometry as Smith & Wesson 69xx (eg: 6906) pistols, with the same caveats as for the 28/30/31 series above. They fit, but will not latch. You will need to cut or file a new locking notch higher in the mag body. If you don't know for sure how to do this, don't try. The floorplates are somewhat silly to me, but some people like the extra finger support, so may even prefer them. If you want a more slick-looking mag, reader Patrick Beckman reminds us that the normal S&W floorplates will fit on there also. Those floorplates should be available from any of the usual big parts places, or ask at the local gun shop or smith.
If you just want to buy a magazine for your Star pistol, lots are still available at the usual markets: gun shops, gun shows and various dealers in the Shotgun News. Here is a small list of known dealers of magazines for Star pistols. Many of those listed on the Parts & Accessories page also carry magazines.
Ammoclip.com stocks a large variety of magazines for pretty much all guns. The Star section includes hard to find mags for Megastars, for old guns like the 1920, '21 and '22, and even for the model 110 .22 rifle! Visit the website to see the products and order, or if you have questions, email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Lowe Clips & Mags carries a wide selection of magazines, including a whole section for Star pistols. The day I put this up he had mags for the Firestar and Firestar Plus (13-round!), 45 Megastar, 9 Ultrstar and PD among others. Also interesting was a selection of the +1 mags for Firestars. I think they are all used, but in good shape. Email at: JLoweClips@aol.com, call 972-986-8158 or just visit the website.
Bob's gun parts has a LOT of weird mags for Stars. They also bought a large selection of spares from Interarms once, so might even have your spares. Try him out. He carries an extensive selection of all sorts of small parts for many of the older Star pistols. A particular specialty is the S and a full selection of parts for all of the minor variants is usually in stock. Contact him at: 501-767-1970
High Standard Manufacturing listed a section of Interarms magazines in a recent Shotgun News, including a wide selection of mags for Star pistols. And there's not a single "Star model SA," "Star .45" or anything else suitably wrong or inappropriate. All real model numbers, so they either know what they are talking about, or just have them in original boxes and can read the labels. These are not listed on the website, so you'll have to email them at email@example.com or call them at 1-800-272-7816 to see what's in stock.
Bits of Pieces is a British Columbia based dealer of all sorts of odd things. He has a source for rare and odd Star mags, though they are not listed. Again, contact him and ask.
K-Mag is a South African manufacturer and distributor of magazines, including several for Star pistols. Their inventory is listed on the site.
Pro-Mag is a large manufacturer with direct sales of some products. They have some Star products, including good prices mags for the elusive Megastar. However, I have heard several times they are absolutely terrible. Not just unreliable, but dimensionally wrong so they don't even fit in the gun well. Hence, I have not even provided a link. I cannot suggest these.
Most modern Star pistols come equipped with a magazine safety device. This is a lever inside the gun that disconnects the trigger from the firing assembly when there is no magazine in the pistol. This is a feature originally implemented to ease the transition, particularly for police, from revolvers where it is easy to see if the gun is empty. The thinking is that once the magazine is removed, and the bullets from inside the gun are outside, then it must be empty. The magazine safety is supposed to solve any problems with this by preventing the gun from firing even if a round is still in the chamber. Most guns do not have these, but several makers, notably Smith & Wesson, put thm in standard. The Browning High Power is also equipped with a magazine safety. All of these operate in a totally different way from each other.
Many military and law enforcement agencies still prefer and specify such an arrangement, many others do not and many individuals are angered by them. The arguments against run in three basic veins. One is that very simply noone wants an extra function. It could fail in battle, preventing the gun from functioning, it is another piece to maintain or break, and anyway why can't the user be trusted to do the right thing? The second argument is a tactical consideration, what if a bad guy comes around the corner when you are reloading? even if you are carefully doing a tactical reload before the gun is empty, it is effectively empty whenever you are reloading. You have to put a magazine in to shoot the bad guy. The third reason is that an automatic is not a revolver. At some point people will need to know how they work, and be able to correctly use the gun. The mag safety is a piece of equipment that teaches bad habits, and if the shooter uses a gun without one, it could cause an accident.
I cannot tell you which way to go, but if you want to remove the magazine safety on a Star, this can be done fairly easily. I am going to provide instructions below for each model, but keep aware that I in no way condone this, and accept no liablity for anything that may go wrong, be it damage to your gun or any personal property, injury or loss of life or any legal proceedings of any sort as a result of these or any other actions.
Also be aware that you may be exposing yourself to enhanced liability or negligence depending our your country, locality or individual circumstance. Due to these constraints, no gunsmith will assist you, and you may void any manufacturer's warranty if something goes wrong. Always work carefully! Unload your gun before starting any work, be careful to point it in a safe direction and check that its not loaded even if you are reassembling it after a complete detail strip. Be sure to check the gun for functionality and safety after peforming ANY mechanical change.
On a Star 9mm model BKS Starlight Imported by Garcia Sporting Arms Corp. A notice was included for removing the magazine safety. I believe this will only apply to BS and BKS guns, but if your pistol has a mag safety, it should be of the same configuration as the others. Instructions included were as follows:
As an additional safety precaution, this Star Pistol is equipped with a device which blocks the firing mechanism when the magazine is removed. This device ("magazine safety") bears on the magazine and requires it to be withdrawn manually after depression of the magazine catch. If a magazine safety is not wanted, and if it is desired that (after catch depression) the magazine fall from the grip by its own weight, the magazine safety can easily be removed by:
The Super pistols also have an easily removable magazine safety, but it leaves an odd hole in the frame which you may find unacceptable. The key shaped hole partly under the disassembly lever on the right will be removed. Removal is very much like that for the similarly-shaped magazine release. There is a screw, which is turned 90° counter-clockwise when you get the latch into the correct position from inside. Do not force it; when positioned correctly it will rotate freely. Then the entire piece can be pulled out of the gun. Since it is composed of sub-components that can fall apart when not instaleld, be sure to stick it into a small bag for future use.
The M28, 30 and 31, and Megastar all have similar magazine safeties. They are levers in the right side of the magazine well that are spring down and push the drawbar (trigger transfer bar) down and out of engagement of the trigger system. When a magazine is inserted, a stamped lump on the right side of the magazine engages the safety lever and pushes it back up, reengaging the safety. This action requires some extra push to run a magazine fully home, but the lever also acts as an ejector, assuring the magazine comes completely free of the gun. This effect is particularly pronounced on the Megastars. The M28 series uses a single piece of spring steel, shaped to perform the function. the Mega has a similar piece, but it is cast and machined, and uses a separate coil spring to perform its function. Both are held in by the trigger pin. To remove them, remove the slide as for a field strip, and simply push the trigger pin to the left about half way (it is not necessary or suggested that the trigger be removed). The safety is now free to be removed. Note that on the M28 series particularly, the lever can become quite wedged. Make sure that the trigger pin is fully clear, then try pushing up thru the mag well, or pulling with a pick, as close as possible to the attachment point. On the Megastar, be sure to remove the spring also.
The Firestar series pushes the transfer bar to the side instead of up or down. It accomplishes this very simply via a long strip of spring steel under the right grip panel, riveted to a large pin that runs left/right underneath the mainspring. To remove it, pull off both grip panels (or the one unit if you have an M243), be careful not to dislodge the safety lever. Dislodge the spring strip from behind the shiny transfer bar on the right side of the frame. Then, using a large punch, simply hammer the large blued pin at the bottom of the rounded mainspring housing out of the gun from left to right. You may, if you are adventurous, disassemble the entire gun to take pressure off the mainspring, but this is not really necessary. This will reduce the force the mainspring exerts on the hammer, so may affect ignition reliability. Be sure to test fire the gun with any ammunition you are likely to use immediately after this procedure.
Ultrastars have no magazine safety at all. If you have grown to rely on a magazine safety in another of your Star firearms and obtain an Ultrastar, be sure to use additional caution and follow the rules of safe gun handling.