Originally Posted by Damascus
Exactly what I wanted to know, and exactly why I posted my question here and here only
Well, looks like I am going to have to put in 3K+... I am only intending to chamber/build perhaps 15 rifles per year - if that number goes up, I can also sell the cheap chinese lathe and get a tool room quality unit.
Out of these 2 models, which would be YOUR choice? Both seem to be gearhead, both have adequate spindle diameters, and the Grizzly comes with a 4 jaw chuck, however I would obviously purchase one for the Smithy as well. As far as tooling goes, I already have a Manson floating reamer holder, as well as several PTG facing and crowning cutters... I also have finishing reamers in .243, .308, .300 Win Mag, and traded someone out of a new .338 Lapua rough, so additional tooling hopefully won't be too
MI-1237L Gear Drive Lathe | smithy.com
Buy whatever lathe that suits your needs. I'd look for a gear head lathe if it were me, that's about 10" x 40". This will give you a few more options to make some more money. I would also look for a lathe with hardened ways, unless you know how to scrape.
I personally like Buck Chucks, and there's a distance between them and the other hand chucks. Still they are expensive. Buy one that uses a master jaw set up. This will pay for itself over the years.
Barrel steel can be somewhat tough to cut, and also the opposite. I personally would rather cut the threads with high speed rather than a carbide insert. Others may also think differently, but I've threaded some pretty tough stuff in my lifetime.
Tooling will end up costing you almost as much as the lathe when it's all said and done. I like the Alorus stuff, but there some other good ones. Just make sure you can get a good supply of tool blocks over the years.
Now I'm not going to bother to say what lathe to buy, as I only know of one good hand lathe still being manufactured. The better lathes will almost always be wired for three phase electricity, and that's a major factor for many.