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pulling trigger on a lathe

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Unread 04-16-2008, 11:11 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: MS
Posts: 1,652
pulling trigger on a lathe

I am holding my nose and taking the plunge, but wanted some reccomendations from the smiths here before I make a three thousand pound mistake.

Here is what I am thinking about,the Jet 14x40 3 1/8 spindle bore or the larger grizzly gunsmithing lathe.

There is a big price difference between them, but I have seen the types of work that can be turned out on the Jet.

I admittedly do not know much about the grizzly other than I fondled Mickey Coleman's and reccomendations from the internet.

I know the jet has a huge headstock and you cannot indicate the muzzle with a spider, but am stil leaning that way. My smith built some bushings that fit tight on the muzzle and slide into the big lathe head bore. He then indicates the barrel in on the lands where the throat will be, threads, drills and bores, and then pushes the reamer using a dead center rather than a floating holder. Every chamber he has done for me will indicate to .0002 or usually better. The inability to indicate in the muzzle when chambering through the headstock seems to be the only drawback of having such a big lathe.

I do not ever plan to do work for the public but want to learn to true remington actions, chamber my own benchrest rifles and hunting rifles, turn parts to make a few rests, and any general needs my old shoptask will not handle.

Are there any other lathes I should be considering? Any input between these two? Any recomendations as to a source for the lathe that also carries milling machines, just figure I will get it all over with at one time.
I admit that I know just enough to be dangerous.....but dangerous at ever extending distances.
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Unread 04-16-2008, 05:20 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,061

The jet will work fine !

As for indicating the muzzel I built myself a spider with 4- 1/4-20
socket head screws that is a slip fit on the spindle and it works great.

Look at the end of the spindle and see if the inside or outside has been
turned and use that surface to fit the spider to, Mine fits on the outside
and with 4 screws it is easy to true the barrel .

You will be good to go
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Unread 04-16-2008, 06:11 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2,855
Eddybo , either way you will be able to do a great job with either. I have never used the JET like Mr.Don's but it is a precision tool that JET markets as their high end model and it is certainly top of the food chain for the lower end tools , but the extra large headstock won't allow you to setup barrels in a spider but the bushing thing seems to work pretty damn good doesen't it. . I have gotten to play with a Grizzly's 16"x40" "Profesional Gunsmith's Lathe" and it is a very well made machine with a few extras that make life a little easier when they are needes like roler tips on both the stready and follow rest , neither of which get used often but when they are needed the roller tips are nice. and the narrow headstock that already setup for indexing barrels if thats somthing that you think you need to do.

For around $7000 the Grizzly is a good buy and the little extra money will allow you to buy some better tools to upgrade it , like a Precision 6 jaw or precision set true 3 jaw "Buck" chuck which is gonna run you around $1000-$1200 , some quality cutting tools , setting up the lathe for a muzzel flush system and so on. Either way you will be able to do about any job that you can runn accross with either one and seeing the limited use either one will last for years..

The samew thing goes for the Mill , but with that I highly suggest spending a little more a getting the best you can.

PS , my mom came through her surgery great this AM , thanks for your thoughts.
Si Vis Pacem Parabellum
Molon Labe
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Unread 04-16-2008, 08:34 PM
TMR TMR is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Elma, WA
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I have the smaller grizzly gunsmith lathe and really like it. It comes with some nice feature we can use. So far, the rifles I have built on it shoot extremely well, so I can't complain.
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Unread 04-16-2008, 10:23 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Nebraska
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Originally Posted by TMR View Post
I have the smaller grizzly gunsmith lathe and really like it. It comes with some nice feature we can use. So far, the rifles I have built on it shoot extremely well, so I can't complain.
I also have the smaller Grizzly Gunsmith lathe and have also been happy with it.
If you don't already know, the President of Grizzly, Shiraz Balolia, shoots competition F-class and personally uses the larger Grizzly Gunsmith lathe.
I personally think that if you have a choice and it is a close decision you may as well support the business that is supportive of shooting sports. Shiraz adds some special features on the gunsmith lathes that make them superior to the near equivalent lathe you would get from Jet. Customer service has also been excellent.
This is just my opinion and you can take it for what you paid for it.

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Unread 04-16-2008, 11:30 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Texas
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Eddybo, one thing that would be a tie-breaker for me would be the length of the spindle. My lathe only has a 1 1/2" bore diameter, but is 25 inches from the back end of the spindle to the face of the chuck jaws. I can't recrown anything with a barrel less than 25" without stripping the receiver off or removing the reversible jaw inserts and chucking on the inner teeth of the main part of the chuck jaws. I can crown a 24" barrel by doing that, but I don't like messing around with the chuck.

Assuming equal accuracy for either lathe, I would choose the one with the shortest spindle.

Whatever you decide, it is good to have your own machine.

Texas State Rifle Association Life Member
NRA Endowment Life Member

A big fast bullet will beat a little fast bullet every time
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Unread 04-17-2008, 05:43 AM
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As for action blue printing , you can make your own jig and I highly recomend that you do rather than buy one , I built one for a fella out of 6" 7075 aluminum with 2.25" bore ,with the larger diameter it allows a larger hole and you can use larger screws for a steadier hold on the action if needed. The guy (Nathen) took his and mounted it to a face plate so when he wants to true actions all that needed is to un bolt the cam locks and stick the face plate in their , no worry about dialing in the jig first.
If the headstock is to thick you can use the jig as the holding chuck and run the barrel in a steady rest to recrown or thread the muzzel , rather than pull the barrel off.
Si Vis Pacem Parabellum
Molon Labe
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