I am looking to buy the best lathe I can for gunsithing with a decent price. I have been looking at 13x40 models by Jet, Birmgington, Grizzly, and KENT. The Birmingham 13 x 40 is the best price new at $2800 delivered. From what I understand the jet grizzly and Birmingham are all basically the same machine. I think the 13 x 40 is the right size? I want to get a good lathe on the first try I will be using it for around 10 barrel jobs a year. Any info would be helpful. Thanks Reed
All of those are cheap poorly made machines.
Look at Sharp, Legun, Mori Seki, or Nardini....
Oops, I re-read your post- those might be a bit pricy for ten barrel jobs a year....out of the ones you mentioned I would go with Jet. Widely available and easy to get parts for.
The Birmingham's are complete junk. Not real fond of the Grizz's either....
Thanks chris. I almost bought a jet last week. Like I said I might do 10 barrel and muzzle break jobs a year. The Jet seemed okay for the money. I know you get what you pay for I am just trying to get the best for the money for the limited use I am going to put it through. Thanks you been very helpful Reed
I have been using my father-in-law’s grizzly lathe to build my rifles. It leaves a lot to be desired, but it didn’t cost me anything [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]. You can get good results if you know the machine well and take your time setting them up. All of the cheaper imported lathes that I have played with vibrate uncontrollably at higher RPM’s (over 700) and you have to bend over about 6” to reach the hand wheels, Im only 5’10”……some lathes will limit your abilities so you will need to look closely at them. Are you chambering through the headstock or using a steady rest? If through the headstock make sure the spindle bore is large enough. The grizzly is a fair lathe, but I would agree with Chris and buy a jet over any other import. I would recommend looking for a higher quality used lathe first.
Good luck, Glen
If you are not thuroughly familiar with what to look for in a lathe's condition etc, I would not buy a used lathe, period, unless someone that does, and you trust 100% checks it out for you, THUROUGHLY.
I have always looked for older laths because for the most part they have more rigidity then the new ones. This also means they are heaver. I have found that if you contact a machine shop or put an ad in the paper you can find something in good shape for your price range, many older machines will come with extras like tool holders, taper attachments, spare chucks, and often an assortment of face plates and other handy thing-a-ma-bobs. Have you contacted a local community college to see if they have a machinist program, many offer night classes and you can use their machines and tooling. I think you will find yourself doing more then 10 barrels if you have a good machine.