Best Neck Turning Tool

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by jeffwhip, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. jeffwhip

    jeffwhip Well-Known Member

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    I am new to all of this stuff. I am having two guns built. In two weeks I will take possession of my 280 AI being built by a local gunsmith. I have decided to buy some Lapua 30-06 brass, turn the necks, resize & then fire-form to my gun.

    I've never turned necks before in my life, so can someone post what is the best neck turning tool for me to get? My two biggest requirements are quality and ease of use. I've read that the K&M has some sort of gauge that makes it easier to use but am not sure what that means.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I use a Sinclair that has a dial indicator on it. It works pretty good, but is a pain when you want to shift the cutter because they built the body out of aluminum, and the cutter assembly is steel. Steel and aluminum do not work well together, and will sieze over time. I made another just like it, but made the body out of a piece of O-1 gauge stock with a much better quality cutter. Like an idiot I gave it to a buddy of mine thinking I'd build another! Of course I never did.

    If you go with the Sinclair, buy the one that mounts to a plate, but get a better indicator. Also buy the 40 degree cutter even if you don't need it right away. The K&M is a very good one as well (I don't own one, but have used one in the past). Still the one that peaks my interest is the Wilson. It turns the necks concentric with the case body instead of following a mandrel.
    gary
     

  3. Derek M.

    Derek M. Well-Known Member

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    I use the Forster and have had good luck with it.
     
  4. X3MHunter

    X3MHunter Well-Known Member

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    You just described the Nielson Pumpkin Neck Turner my friend!

    Kelbly's and Bruno's both carry the Pumpkin, give them a call and they will get you set up!
     
  5. woods

    woods Well-Known Member

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    I have the Forster Hot 100 hand turner and have limited experience with a friend's K & M. The Forster is simpler and much less expensive. Also the blade is much wider on the Forster which makes for a smoother cut
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The Forster reamers will also work with the hand turner
    [​IMG]

    but you have to get your inside neck diameter to .003" over caliber someway.

    Whichever one you use you need to make arrangements to expand your neck to fit the turning mandrel. I use Lee Collet neck sizers and they work perfect with the Forster.
     
  6. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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  7. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    Best? Likely the Pumpkin. More expensive than I would spend on a non-BR rifle tho. Precision turning to .0001" is neither required or even helpful for non-BR rifles in game cartridges shooting hunting bullets/ammo.

    Good enough? Forster's HOT-100 (see Wood's photos) is hard to beat. Modest cost, a (sorta) micrometer adjustment knob (dial in 1st photo), the carbide cutter blade has a notched corner to reduce cutting into the shoulder (2nd photo). I don't care much for the plastic shell holder (1st photo, black and yellow device) but it works. Doesn't matter tho, I usually chuck my cases base down in a 1/2" battery powered drill and slowly turn them into the cutter for easy, fast working. Mine is good enough for groups well under 1" with my factory rifles shooting common hunting bullets in several rifles. I've had no trouble with my cutter galling in the anodized aluminum body when the cutter friction screw is correctly adjusted (the hex screw/washer in 3rd photo) IF the cutter's slot is lightly oiled.

    How much neck turning is needed depends a lot on the actual diameter of the chamber and your case necks. Factory chamber dimensions, even when on the tight side, are largish. Thus, turning very much just makes a sloppy fit sloppier. Most of us skim turn maybe 3/4 of the neck circumference and call that good enough to help obtain straighter necks and reduce bullet run-out. That method avoids any real need for a true neck thickness measurement but, IF you want that I'd suggest a ball micrometer instead of a dial indicator mounted on the turning device.
     
  8. flashhole

    flashhole Well-Known Member

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    I do a bit of neck turning, not for benchrest, but when I reform cases. I do a lot of 223 to 221 Fireball and I like to use military brass. The K&M tool works really well but you have to get all the parts, including the sizing device they call an expandiron. The expandiron sizes the neck to the proper size to allow the mandrel to fit. It also has a dual threaded mechanism that lets you do fine
    adjustments. If you go the K&M route get the carbide butter mandrel. It inside neck reams at the same time it outside neck turns. Also good advice to get a micrometer similar to what is shown in the link. The attached link shows what I do to make the reformed case and has a good breakout of the neck tool.

    I finally got around to it - 223 to 221 Fireball (pic heavy) - Shooters Forum
     
  9. jeffwhip

    jeffwhip Well-Known Member

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    Mike,

    I appreciate all of the Sinclair hyperlinks. What I don't understand, is that if I were to get the Sinclair NT-4000 Premium Neck Turning Tool Kit w/Storage Case in this link:

    SINCLAIR INTERNATIONAL : Sinclair NT-4000 Premium Neck Turning Tool Kit w/Storage Case -

    Then what other tools do I need? Are any of the additional Sinclair tools shown in the hyperlinks, included with the Sinclair kit? I plan on turning necks in a 280 AI, 7 MM Weatherby, 300 Weatherby & a 257 Weatherby. Thanks for all the help guys! I won't understand most of this until I get the right tools and try this on my own.
     
  10. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    With that kit you get one set of mandrels(for one cal -like 25cal). You buy seperate mandrel sets for each additional cal(28cal, & 30cal). The mandrels are all a standard fit in the expander die, and turner.
    What's not in the kit(yet), is a caseholder/driver for powered turning.
    The tool cutter will be standard 30deg, and Sinclair also offers 40deg cutters for improved cases.

    You'll need a neck mic(not an indicator). I linked the best, but Sinclair also has a less expensive neck mic that is very good: SINCLAIR INTERNATIONAL : Sinclair/Starret Case Neck Micrometer -
    With any neck mic, ensure you install a stop so that you're measuring the same depth in your necks.
    Like this:
    [​IMG]
    Or this:
    [​IMG]

    I would highly recommend powered turning with a 'case lathe' instead of trying to hold a drill/powered screwdriver in one hand, with the turner in the other. I think mine is a nielson, but honestly it ain't worth squat(wobbles alot). I'm probably going to upgrade to one of these soon:
    Tools : Benchrite Neck Turning Cast Lathe

    People who try the NT4000 won't be recommending any other for a while. It actually is -the best.
    And Sinclair's expander system is very useful for other things, as the mandrels are better sized for reloading than others.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  11. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    that is similar to the Sinclair, but it allows you to shift the cutter in as small an increment as you want. The problem with these are that they cannot account for any neck runout compaired to the case body, so if you have .0003" TIR runout, you have .0006 when your done. On the otherhand if you locate off the case body itself, and then cut the neck you should come up with a more concentric case. An even better way would be to ream the necks, and then shave the necks. All off of a case holder mimicing the chamber itself.

    A pin mic is much better than a ball mic because the ball only measures a small area, while a pin measures a much larger area of the neck. I built and gave them away ten years before Fred stole the design, and they know it. If you have a drill press and a band saw you can build your own without too much trouble. You can buy the micrometer heads from ENCO as well as a .218" gauge pin and .218" reamer. The micrometer heads come threaded or press fit. I used the press fit version as I had a couple laying around (I used 1" travel heads, but they also make 1/2" travel heads as well)

    The only real inovators I ever saw in the shooting world was Homer Culver & Ferris Pendel. The rest are simply followers
    gary
     
  12. jeffwhip

    jeffwhip Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I'm looking at the Sinclair website and am not sure which shell holders I should get along with it? Why aren't they labeled?
     
  13. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    You've got some pretty weird notions Gary..
    For one, neck turning has nothing to do with adjusting either concentricity or runout.
    It's purpose is soley to produce necks at a desired thickness. Fireforming takes care of the rest.
    Neck turning is a floating operation with the turner in hand. So even though wobbly cases are less fun to turn, thickness results hold well.

    Pin anvils will not work so well for items of tapered thickness, or irregular form. This is often what you have with new brass.
    A ball provides a precise point contact, which is all we desire to read -at each point.

    I don't think I could stand the Pumpkin because it looks to obscure observation of the cut. And I really dont see a 'system' there.
    Just a turning tool. Don't know about mandrel/expander or cutter options, and everybody knows indicators don't work for measuring neck thickness..
    Now all turning tools have complete adjustability with their cutters. I'm sure the Pumpkin does as well. But it doesn't matter if you commision NASA to provide 1/2thou cutter clicks. You still have to turn a case or two to determine that needed adjustment. It's trial & error because results vary by the amount taken in the pass.
    Within 4 culled cases I can adjust ANY turner to the correct results using feeler gauges and the cutter set screw to lock it down.


    But it's my understanding that the Pumpkin uses an eccentric mandrel for adjustment. So does Sinclair's NT4000 in a sense(eccentric mandrel collar).
    But Sinclair still retains a round mandrel, which is useful elsewhere. Sinclair is large enough for cooling and to hold steady, and it's unobstructed which aids in controlling the feed rate.


    I Don't like the K&M because their mandrels are too big for use beyond turning, and the expandiron is nothing but a button(the first thing to remove from a die, and throw away) which wipes shoulder brass into necks and pulls necks all outta whack. It's body was too small for me. The inside reamer is not needed or desired for turning. It's purpose is specifically to grind out doughnuts(if you have that issue). But beyond my nit-picks, it does work well. Just no better than Sinclair's more useful system.

    You know,, everyone supports what they have.
    And this is one subject I need to start steering clear of.........
     
  14. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    You're right, their lacking in info and popular cartridges are in backorder at the moment..
    But I believe this would get it:
    For your 280; Driver Style Caseholders, 220 (05-260 ) -
    For your Weatherbys; Driver Style Caseholders, BELT (05-240 ) -
    Another route(still in backorder):
    Case Drive and Holder Combo (05-290 ) -
    Or available: Universal Caseholder (05-280 ) -
    +
    Sinclair Caseholder Driver -

    It's universal in that it uses standard Lee Auto-Prime shell holders.
    Which for 06 based cases(your 280 proj) is #2
    For all your Weatherbys(same casehead) #5