Lathe Advice

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Thread: Lathe Advice

  1. #1
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    Default Lathe Advice

    Hi Forum,

    I need some advice. I’m a new gunsmith starting out and I’m looking for a lathe to turn barrels. I’d prefer a CNC lathe for better control, stock diameter won’t be larger than 1.5” and 30” in length. I’ve watched videos and read forums and there’s so much advice out there it’s hard to determine what’s real and what’s BS. Basically, I want to accurately and repeatably turn barrel threads and ream chambers rather than keep paying someone else to do it for me. I don’t have a budget just yet because I don’t know what I need or what suggestions the group may have. I want to go as inexpensive as possible, but I also want to have a quality finished product that is repeatable.

    So, I’m looking for you people in the know to school me on what good options are, how much I should expect to have to spend and what experience anyone may have in this area...

    Thanks in advance!

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  2. #2
    Member Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lathe Advice

    I have never heard of gunsmiths using CNC lathes. I suppose it's possible, but have never seen it. For gunsmithing I think I would want a 13x40 or 14x40 manual lathe. An older Taiwan made Jet gearhead would be a good choice. Many gunsmiths use the old 10x30 Clausing lathes. But if you want a 1 1/2 spindle bore you are going to have to go with at least a 13x40 with a D1-4 or larger spindle. Grizzly sells a ''gunsmithing'' lathe, but having used one I don't think much of them.

    A friend of mine picked up a Jet 13x40 last year for about $1500.

    If you really want a CNC lathe, then a CNC/manual machine something like this would be my choice. https://www.ebay.com/itm/16-5-x-40-U...UAAOSwQN1bCECb

    In either case the accuracy is built into the machinist, not the machine. My old Jet 13x40 is repeatable to +/- 0.0001'', because I am. It's all about learning how and caring enough to do it.

    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Lathe Advice

    I just converted my lathe to CNC and plan to use it to do some gunsmithing. https://www.cnczone.com/forums/verti...-software.html

    If you are thinking that you might get a manual lathe and then convert it, simple is better. Converting to CNC will require ripping out all the gears and controls to be replaced by motors.

    https://www.precisionmatthews.com/shop/pm-1228vf-lb/



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