Perfect Entry Level Lathe???

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by RoyB, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. RoyB

    RoyB Well-Known Member

    Sep 29, 2003
    This might be the nicest entry level lathe I've seen to date......

    Coming Soon a Large Bore PM1127VF Lathe. Comes standard
    with a 1-1/2" spindle bore and 6" Chuck. PM1127VF-LB Lathe
    $2249.00. Free Shipping!


    Page Title

    Main Features:

    * Made in an ISO 9002 Certified Factory
    * High Quality Electronics Used Throughout Machine for long term reliability
    * Super Smooth and Quiet running machine
    * Large Spindle Bore 1-1/16"
    * HEAVY Welded Steel Machine Base for extremely rigid cutting
    * Heavy Duty Bed Width 7"
    * Variable Speed 120 Volt Single Phase Main Motor, 1hp
    * Variable Spindle Speeds From 50-1800 rpm
    * Inch Threads and Metric Threading, Right and Left Hand
    * Spindle is Dynamically Balanced, Hardened and Precision Ground
    * Spindle is Supported by High Precision Tapered Roller Bearings
    * All Gears and Shafts are Hardened and Precision Ground
    * Guideways Induction Hardened and Precision Ground for long life
    * 2 Year Warranty for Parts
    * INCH LEADSCREW AND FEED SCREWS for Even, Easy Measurements
    * Digital Speed Readout on Face of Machine

    Main Specifications:

    * Distance Between Centers 27"
    * Max. Swing over Bed 11"
    * Max Swing is Gap No Gap
    * Width of Bed 7"
    * Spindle Mount/Bore DIN 55021
    * Spindle Speeds, Infinitely Variable 50-1800 RPM
    * Leadscrew Pitch (Main) 8 TPI
    * Longitudinal Feeds 0.0025-.012 IPR
    * Cross Feeds 0.001-.0056 IPR
    * I nch Threads 52 Threads 8 to 56 TPI
    * Metric Threads 45 Threads 3mm to .5mm Pitch
    * Travel of Cross Slide 5-1/2"
    * Travel of Compound 2"
    * Tailstock Quill Travel 3-1/2"
    * Tailstock Taper MT#2
    * Main Motor 1HP Variable
    * Machine Weight 650 Pounds
    * Power Requirements 120 Volt 1 phase

    Standard Equipment:

    * 40 Position Quick Change Toolpost
    Set with Holders
    * Live Center
    * 5" 3 jaw chuck
    * 5" 4 jaw chuck
    * 9" Face Plate
    * Thread Chasing Dial
    * Steady Rest
    * Follow Rest
    * Complete Stand/Base for Machine
    with Cabinet Doors
    * High Quality Electronics
  2. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004

    It is a nice lathe with a lot of features but there are a few things that you should

    The 27" Between centers will be troublesome. I had one that had a 36" bed and It was
    not enough at times (It was 28" between centers). I bought a 42'' bed and it is just barely
    long enough.

    Also the spindle dia is on the small size. with any tooling on/in the spindle will be to small,
    even for a 1.250 barrel.

    I would recommend a 2" spindle as Minimum for gun work.

    I am not slamming the lathe,it is very nice . But if you are going to do gun work it is a little
    small and with such a large investment IMO it would be better to buy a larger one.

    I am speaking from experience. I bought 3 different lathes before I got one that will do the
    job on re-barreling.

    Other than those two items I see nothing else wrong with it , And the price "IS" Great.

    Don't get me wrong. IT will work a lot of the time, but it will not do all of the things you
    will need to do especially the longer/larger barrels.

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  3. RoyB

    RoyB Well-Known Member

    Sep 29, 2003
    JE....I have a 12X36BD converted to DC drive with a Shooting Star DRO.........I'm not looking for a lathe.

    I suggest this is a GREAT lathe for someone that will be turning a few barrels a year, making a few widgets and what not.............

    First off...It has a 1.5" spindle bore. More than enough for any rebarrel other than some +1.5" straight taper. 99.9% of all barrels that will be threaded and chambered in the headstock will fit with plenty of room to spare.

    Most folks will never put ANY barrel between centers. All crowning and chamber work will be done in the headstock. The only time you would need to put a barrel between centers is to contour it (and this lathe simply ain't going to do that) or to polish it (and you shouldn't do this on a lathe anyways.. the grit can damage the ways). 100% of the barrels a home gunsmith is going to buy are going to be contoured and polished/sanded from the barrel maker.......

    Build a spider for the outboard side of the headstock, and you're good to go.

    We tend to get all gooie when it comes to lathe discussions. And the poor new guy gets a real dose of "you need a 10,000 pound lathe with a 3ph 15HP motor and a 48" bed that costs over 10 large to chamber a barrel. Nonsense..........hundreds of winning BR rifles were and are being built with South Bend 9 or Sears/Atlas lathes and they have terrible limitations........I suggest this might be a much better choice for a starting smith.
  4. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    No doubt it would be a good buy, and I was not trying to offend you just point out that it would not
    do everything that is needed.

    I totally agree with you about the price and size of the lathe. (Mine is the minimum needed
    that I could afford). I could not spend $10,000+ dollars ether.

    You posted the spindle size as 1 1/16 that is to small, but if it is 1 1/2 that will do most jobs.

    I agree it would be a good entry level lathe but if the person became serious it wouldn't work
    that is why I recommend the larger spindle size and the longer bed to start with.

    My second lathe had a 1 1/2" spindle that was threaded inside and with any tooling in it It
    limited barrel size.

    As I said I ended up buying 3 lathes before I found one that could do 99% of all barrel jobs
    and I wished someone had enlightened me, I could have saved a lot of money.

    Most people can afford a more expensive lathe than I have (Just over $5,000 ) but it will do
    everything except the barrels over 32" without special setups.

    Again sorry if I offended you. That was not the intent, just wanted to help those that are
    considering getting into gunsmithing with some recommendations.


  5. RoyB

    RoyB Well-Known Member

    Sep 29, 2003
    No offense taken..........


    "I agree it would be a good entry level lathe but if the person became serious it wouldn't work
    that is why I recommend the larger spindle size and the longer bed to start with. "

    What would be considered "serious" that this lathe couldn't accomplish. A larger lathe can certainly cut faster and deeper, adding all kinds of stress to the barrel. But other than that, as long as this lathe can hold under .001" I bet you could build some nice rifles with it. Rifles...yes

    Thanks for the conversation, it's good for the sport.........
  6. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    Thanks for posting that up!! I was all set to get a PM-1440BV but got my clock cleaned financially, I may be able to swing a deal on something like this by the end of the year and get back into the game. At that price a guy could upgrade down the road and leave it set up for smaller projects, bolt work and nut truing come to mind being a Savage kinda guy :D
  7. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2010
    before making the plunge on a small lathe like that, besure to check the actuall I.D. of the chuck! I've seen six inch chucks that had I.D.'s small than an inch, and have seen them with 2" bores in them. Also the lathe has a one horse power motor, and this is really getting on the minimal side. One and a half or even two would be much nicer. The feed rates seemed a little slow to me, but for a lot of folks they'll work. Those light feed rates will help keep the heat in the part your cutting, and be pretty hard on inserts at times. Most everybody I know that's ran out and bought a lathe has in the end wished they'd gone ahead and bought the collet and taper options.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  8. blackbrush

    blackbrush Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2008
    Not to rub salt in your wounds after "experimenting" on 3 lathes, but if you shared how much money you spent just to get each unit up to your specs to do what you wished could possibly drive home the importance of buying once.

    That number times 3 would give me the heebie-geebies...

    I am NOT trying to get into a "who's got the best lathe" discussion...they all look great to me...and I would want to own this one...if I had somewhere to put it...and more money than Carlos Slim...

    Nevertheless, thinking back when I was tooling up my ______ lathe, I spend gobs and gobs of money on eBay, MSC, McMaster's, ENCO, Travers, Techni-Tool, probably a horrible drug habit would have been less costly (including rehab w/out health insurance)...but IT WAS REALLY FUN!!!!!
  9. Moman

    Moman Well-Known Member

    Feb 7, 2008
  10. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    No problem , Like most I started doing it as a hobby and it grew and grew as I learned more.

    The first lathe was a great little South bend with a 30 " bed and a 1 1/4" spindle and It was to
    small to get a barrel tenon in it without turning it down .060 . (No big deal but I hated to take
    any material off just to make it fit in my spindle). Also I could not place a normal length barrel
    In it and work the hole length without setting up to work on each end separately Twice the setup
    time and twice the chance of making an error. ( This lathe was a great little and cost me $450.00
    at the time, Used.

    The next lathe was a Lam with a 36" bed and a 1 5/8" spindle and worked better but like the
    South Bend was a little light and still to short to work a full blank (28") without two setups.
    this one cost $1700.oo dollars and was better, except the threading leavers/setting was the
    old style calipers just like the south bend.They were both under powered and even light cuts
    slowed them down.

    So after using a much larger lathe from another member. I realized that I was spending to
    much time working within the limits of my Lam, I decided to look for a lathe with all the
    features that I needed at a cost I could afford. Some of the features that I decided not to
    compromise on was a = larger spindle (2"), at least 3 Horse Power, 42 to 48" bed and a gear
    head threading feature that would cut Standard Inch threads and Metric . with a taper bar for
    cutting tapers/contours. and at least a 10" chuck. they ranged any where from $4000.oo
    up. and I found one that was what I felt I needed at the time for $5400.oo and killed the
    lathe account I had saved.

    I found several that were $8000.oo that were recomended and I lusted after them but I had to come down to reality and bought one I could afford at the time ( 7 or 8 years ago).

    I tried to make do with a small inexpensive lath and if I had known then what I know now
    I would have gotten an even better lathe than I have now (They were much cheaper 20 to
    25 years ago) and spent my money on tooling (The realy expensive stuff).

    I would have loved to have the lathe that RoyB posted on back when I started but Now I
    know that I would eventually decide to go larger for a all round machine.

    Everyone's needs are different and I recommend that anyone thinking about getting into gunsmithing
    think about what they need depending what they want to do and and do it one time.

    You can't buy a lathe to big but you can buy one to small and make it hard on your self.

    This is just my opinion for what it's worth.

  11. RoyB

    RoyB Well-Known Member

    Sep 29, 2003
    "You can't buy a lathe to big"

    I disagree completely. I've tried working barrels on huge lathes with headstocks that were over 30" long. VERY difficult to chamber through the headstock. I nearly sold my JET to replace with a "much better lathe" and then at the last moment I realized that any barrel under 26" would not span the six jaw chuck and the spider........Deal Breaker for me. I hate dealing with a steady rest for chambering.

    And many of these "BIG" lathes have 3ph 440V motors. Requires a small fortune in rewiring your small home shop or getting involved in phase converters, VFDs etc. Way more than most home smiths bargained for.

    The big machines are completely none forgiving for operator errors. Run a gear driven, 5hp lathe's carriage into the headstock under power feed or bite off more than you should have with that parting tool and see what happens. They don't simply stall or have the belts slip. They break things........ sometimes in spectacular fashion.