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View Full Version : Smallest lathe for chambering, threading and crowning



HopeToBe
05-17-2011, 12:51 PM
OK - I know that the smallest lathes probably isn't the best for the job, however all I want to do is to chamber barrels, crown and re-crown them and of course thread them.

What is the "smallest one" that could do a proper job? I can add that this is for 6ppc barrels only.

What spec do I need to look for in order to find a proper lathe for the job?

Any input or help is greatly appreciated since I consider myself a freshman on the area.

varminthunter1
05-17-2011, 03:05 PM
HopeToBe, I don`t think you would bring a riding lawnmower to the grand prix, so do yourself a favor and buy a real machine. The proper lathe will be the built like a tank, heavy and able to do the job well. To quickly answer you question, you need a spindle bore that has a minimum of 1.3" or so, and have the ability to cut different thread pitches. I have a 12x36 Grizzly G4003, and it will only handle short barrels 20-21" through the headstock with a custom spiderchuck on both ends of the spindle. I recomend finding a rigger (heavy machine mover) in your area. Talk to him about where to find a machine. He will be a good rescorce.
Jeff

alinwa
05-18-2011, 12:46 AM
HopeToBe, I don`t think you would bring a riding lawnmower to the grand prix, so do yourself a favor and buy a real machine. The proper lathe will be the built like a tank, heavy and able to do the job well. To quickly answer you question, you need a spindle bore that has a minimum of 1.3" or so, and have the ability to cut different thread pitches. I have a 12x36 Grizzly G4003, and it will only handle short barrels 20-21" through the headstock with a custom spiderchuck on both ends of the spindle. I recomend finding a rigger (heavy machine mover) in your area. Talk to him about where to find a machine. He will be a good rescorce.
Jeff

Yo Jeff, are you Gordying your stuff?

al

varminthunter1
05-18-2011, 01:24 AM
No, I use PTG indicator rods on breach, check run-out with test mic on short chamber.
Jeff

RoyB
05-18-2011, 02:09 PM
For chambering, threading and crowning you only need a 12" bed as long as you can get the barrel into the headstock. Too bad most "second operation lathes" don't have threading capability, or they would be perfect for 99% of gunsmithing work. I posted thread on this forum a few months ago about a lathe coming out with a large hole in the headstock to accept just about any barrel you will be working on in the gunsmithing trade. And it was relatively inexpensive.

I use a Jet BD (belt drive) 12 X 36.......A couple times I thought about "upgrading" to something nicer, but this lathe is extremely accurate and the headstock is short enough where I can easily work on a 20" barrel with one end in a spider and the other in a huge 6 Jaw Bison Tru-Adjust chuck.

Gunsmithing just doesn't require the absolute precision that some folks convince themselves is necessary. And it certainly doesn't require 5000 pound engine lathes. Lots of records have been made with simple South Bend Model 9 lathes and Grizzly imported machines.

Hope this helps..............Good luck!

kraayenb
06-07-2011, 01:28 PM
HopeToBe
You also might look at the Smithy line. I own a Granite Classic 1324 and can do any gunsmithing operations on it, spindle bore is only 1.125" so the largest barrel I can chamber is a 1.100" to allow adjustment of the spider I made for the rear. Another advantage is you have a mill attached that is also needed many times in gunsmithing. I don't think the cost is much more so you should consider the 1340, a bit bigger. You do have to change belt locations for the three speed ranges but I have not found that to be a problem. The one real advantage that I have found is the Variable Speed Control, the low range goes from 0 to 400 so when running a chamber ream in say 30 to 70 RPM and you here some chatter you can instantly change speed by just a slight turn of the control, something you can't do on a gear driven system. Even though these are smaller machines the low range has plenty of power.
and yes I know it' made in CHINA but remember ( A good machinist can do good work on a crappy machine once he learns the machine.) Good Luck

frwillia
06-07-2011, 02:46 PM
OK - I know that the smallest lathes probably isn't the best for the job, however all I want to do is to chamber barrels, crown and re-crown them and of course thread them.

What is the "smallest one" that could do a proper job? I can add that this is for 6ppc barrels only.

What spec do I need to look for in order to find a proper lathe for the job?

Any input or help is greatly appreciated since I consider myself a freshman on the area.

What you are looking for is a lathe with:

1-1/2" spindle bore
no more than 19" or 20" or so from the back of the spindle to the front of the 4J chuck.
Minimum spindle speed between 35 and 70 rpm. I'd regard 70 rpm as the highest acceptable minimum spindle speed. 35 is much better.
Quick change gear box and change gears to do both inch and metric threads
threading dial for at least inch threads
tail stock
carriage with both cross slide and compound
Aloris type quick change tool holder

I personally prefer at least 36" between centers because that makes it possible to polish a barrel by spinning it between centers.

What does this translate to? South Bend Heavy 10 (which only has 1-3/8" through the spindle) or about any well made 12" x 36" import. Grizzly, Jet, Victor (probably the best of the three) are typical examples.

Fitch

Dennis Sorensen
06-07-2011, 06:23 PM
You can do what you need to with a small lathe with 36 inch centers and a steady rest... I did for many years... but some things are considerably slower and more difficult.

I would recommend a short headstock and at least a 1.375" hole and 36 inch centers. I have an 11 inch Rockwell made in the early 70's and it is great.

http://photoshare.shaw.ca/image/3/b/d/203599/rockwell-0.jpg

Mike Bryant
06-07-2011, 07:52 PM
If you've ever seen a Southbend Heavy 10, they don't come much smaller than that and have probably had more benchrest barrels chambered on them, than just about any other lathe.

HovisKM
06-07-2011, 10:12 PM
Anyone have any experience with the Clausing 11"?

Hovis

abintx
06-07-2011, 11:15 PM
I'm an accounting/financial guy. Let's start with the most important aspect of this project.

What's the top end of your budget?

DSM
06-08-2011, 12:55 AM
You can do what you need to with a small lathe with 36 inch centers and a steady rest... I did for many years... but some things are considerably slower and more difficult.

I would recommend a short headstock and at least a 1.375" hole and 36 inch centers. I have an 11 inch Rockwell made in the early 70's and it is great.

http://photoshare.shaw.ca/image/3/b/d/203599/rockwell-0.jpg
That's the same lathe I used in high school. Wish I could find one locally to buy.

Butch Lambert
06-08-2011, 10:52 AM
The Rockwell is an excellent barreling lathe.
Butch

Cheechako
06-08-2011, 11:38 AM
A slightly contrary opinion - the lathe itself is seconday. Any machine with a long enough bed (42") or a big hole (1 1/2") thru the headstock, that has good bearings and decent ways, will do the job for you. What is most important, IMHO, is 1), your ability and 2), the tooling, which will cost you more than you will pay for most lathes.

Ray

HopeToBe
06-08-2011, 03:43 PM
I'm an accounting/financial guy. Let's start with the most important aspect of this project.

What's the top end of your budget?

Money isn't really the issue here, space is. I could say that my limit is $10000, however I would not hope to go there. And I am not doing this to save money chambering my own barrels, this is for pure interest being a competitive benchrest shooter.

The other thing I have in mind is that if I buy a big lathe that is able to do a lot more than my initial thoughts on this subject I am afraid that this might exaggerate slightly...

martin zuck
06-08-2011, 11:59 PM
HopeToBe, The lathe you described would be a South Bend 9" model A with a 54" bed. If you cannot produce a benchrest quality barrel job it will not be the lathe"s fault. It may take a few more passes to cut your thread because they lack the rigidity of a larger machine but the end result will be as every bit as good. As you will be doing your work down on the tail stock end you will need a steady rest and although not necessary, a taper atachment would be nice to have for the o ccasional barrel turning job. For whatever reason the new "gunsmith lathes" do not even offer as optional a taper atachment. Both of my heavy 10's have intregral taper attachments an I would be lost with out them. Parts are also readily available for these lathes.

skeetlee
06-11-2011, 02:09 PM
The Rockwell is an excellent barreling lathe.
Butch

I know nothing much about these lathes but yes that mahine looks very well made. I would love to own it. Are they still being made? How much would one cost a fella? My sights are set on a Grizzly 4003 at this time. I am awaiting on the finishing up of my new shoot room/indoor bench/ range. We dug the holes this morning for the polls. It wont be long now. Lee

Mike Bryant
06-11-2011, 03:04 PM
Money isn't really the issue here, space is. ... And I am not doing this to save money chambering my own barrels, this is for pure interest being a competitive benchrest shooter.

The other thing I have in mind is that if I buy a big lathe that is able to do a lot more than my initial thoughts on this subject I am afraid that this might exaggerate slightly...

No one buys a lathe to save money on barreling rifles. That won't happen. A competition shooter buys a lathe so that when he decides that he wants a new barrel, he can put it on when he wants it done. As to size of lathes, you can do any barreling you want on a larger lathe that you can do on a smaller one. However, the smaller lathe will be easier to change chucks, move tailstocks and that kind of thing. I have two lathes a 15x56 and a 13x40. I do all my barreling on the 13x40 because it's more convenient. I did one barrel on the 15x56 when I was between lathes on the smaller lathe. It did just as well, but not quite as convenient. I have more money invested in chambering reamers than I do in lathes. Of course, if I was only doing my own work, I wouldn't have near as many reamers.

DSM
06-13-2011, 10:27 PM
How would this lathe work out to chamber with? Spindle bore is 1.4375 http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/tls/2433880331.html

passion4shootin
06-20-2011, 10:20 PM
I use a 4003G (personal use only) works well. Happy with it. Already paid for itself with
all the things I've done with it. Bedsides, with the backlog most of the gunsmiths have,
the match season will be over by the time I get back my rifle.http://benchrest.com/images/smilies/redface.gif

Ed

M.D.Spencer
06-24-2011, 06:40 PM
http://spencerphotos.smugmug.com/SpencerTool/Marks-Machinery/DSCF5413/1244639964_j4HBq-M.jpg

I have a Taper attachment and a Steady rest. I'll bet I use that little lathe Twice as much as my 16" Southbend( the big brother to the Ten inch). Their is no rust on it. Just some rust preventative.

M.D.Spencer
06-24-2011, 06:42 PM
They are also easy to make replacement parts for... http://spencerphotos.smugmug.com/SpencerTool/Marks-Machinery/marksiteicon/1193465240_Uzbct-M.jpg.. Mark PS.. Picked mine up out of Detroit. Dick will deliver anywhere!

M.D.Spencer
06-24-2011, 06:44 PM
Also. they only take 4C collets. http://spencerphotos.smugmug.com/SpencerTool/Marks-Machinery/DSCF5400/1244643899_kYTFM-M.jpg

Ok I'm going over board. But these Rockwells are worth the money.

M.D.Spencer
06-24-2011, 06:46 PM
Steady rest. http://spencerphotos.smugmug.com/SpencerTool/Marks-Machinery/DSCF4850/1244647988_tkuGb-M.jpg

M.D.Spencer
06-24-2011, 06:47 PM
Taper attachment and it works well. http://spencerphotos.smugmug.com/SpencerTool/Marks-Machinery/DSCF4218/914404796_JTQDP-M.jpg

Butch Lambert
06-24-2011, 07:07 PM
I know a lot of smiths and individuals that have the Rockwells. They are just an excellent gunsmith lathe.
Butch

DSM
06-24-2011, 10:58 PM
Spencer, what is the spindle bore diameter on the 10"? Can you chamber a 31" HV barrel using the steady rest? There was one listed on Craigslist a month ago for 1k.

M.D.Spencer
06-25-2011, 10:25 PM
Here's the kicker. It measures 1.056" at the outboard end. But the collets are 4c. The collet holder is built into the spindle. Which has a key. That reduces it to 7/8". I have the longer body lathe 36". You still chamber most anything. You still can hold onto the first 4" of the barrel. I use my Southbend 16" for chambering.

sicero
07-04-2011, 10:38 AM
I have a 9" Monarch Jr. which has a very small footprint. About 2'x4' with a wall hung belt drive.
I do all my barrel work in it as my 14.5 South Bend has too long a headstock.
The headstock thru hole is only 1&1/16" so it rules out BR barrels. Kenny