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bpctcb

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#1
I will be buying a new lathe for hobby gunsmithing; specifically precision rifle work. I have a budget of $12k to buy 1 lathe. Here is what I'm looking at so far for a new lathe:

PM1340 GT, spindle has 1.5625" bore & 13.75" length, 40" between centers, D1-4 camlock, 1350#, made in Taiwan, 5 year warranty

PM1440GT, spindle has 2" bore and 15.5" length, 40" between centers, D1-5 camlock, 1750#, made in Taiwan, 5 year warranty, has foot brake.

SB Heavy 10, spindle has 1.358" bore & 13.625" length, 30" between centers, D1-4 camlock, 543#, made in Taiwan, 1 year warranty

SB Heavy 13, spindle has 1.57" bore & 20.875" length, 30" between centers, D1-5 camlock, VFD appears to be factory installed, 1870#, made in Taiwan, 1 year warranty, has foot brake.

Grizzly G0740, spindle has 1.57" bore & 20.875" length, 40" between centers, D1-5 camlock, 2420#, made in Taiwan, 1 year warranty, has foot brake.

I've also looked at Kent, Sharp and Eisen lathes.

I'm leaning towards the PM1440GT with PM1340GT as second choice.

Is there anything I'm missing here? Any other lathes I should be considering?

Thanks,
BP
 
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pontiac428

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#2
Not knowing anything about you or your expectations, my first thought is divvying up your budget: $4k for a lathe, $4k for a mill, and $4k for tooling to get you going. The lathes you list are all beyond adequate for barrel and action work. It is not necessary to mount a barrel through the spindle for any reason, but people like to because it's quick. I prefer to work between centers as much as possible and do chambers and crowns in a steady. So you could get away with a smaller workhorse, maybe one made in USA if Asian foundry work tickles your gag reflex. Bigger lathes with bigger spindles cost much, much more to buy chucks for than smaller, equally-suited lathes. Do you have measuring tools and a mill? You'll want a mill, especially for those Mauser type actions (ahem, Winchester). Remmys and Savages can be dressed to the nines using only a lathe. And I wouldn't recommend buying China measuring tools to anyone who wants to do "precision" work. HF calipers are not the same as top shelf micrometers, etc., so budget accordingly. And welcome to the site!
 

bpctcb

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"So you could get away with a smaller workhorse, maybe one made in USA if Asian foundry work tickles your gag reflex."

What made in USA options are available?
My $12k budget is for a lathe only.

Thanks,
BP
 

fradish

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#4
I don’t know if this matters to you, but D1-4 seems to be much more common than D1-5.
 

Eddyde

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#5
What made in USA options are available?
My $12k budget is for a lathe only.
BP
There are no, new made in USA, options are available for manual lathes, of that size, that I am aware of.
That's a nice budget, Personally I'd go with the PM 1440GT, I don't own one, but it has gotten lots of positive reviews and PM gets lots of praise here on HM. You'll have enough cash left over to tool up nicely.
New SB lates have nothing to do with the former company, they are made by Grizzly who bought the SB name.
 

mksj

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#6
I owned the 1340GT, very fine lathe, but if you have the budget my recommendation would be the 1440GT. Go with 3 phase and do a basic VFD conversion that I have previously outlined. I feel there is a lot added by going to 3 phase, and the basic VFD conversion is fairly straight forward and won't cost a lot more. The directions below use the Hitachi WJ200-022SF, which you can purchased with the lathe. There is a list of other components you will need.
https://www.hobby-machinist.com/thr...he-contactors-to-switch-the-vfd-inputs.64965/

D1-5 is required for a 2" spindle bore, which is a big plus in my book. Really doesn't matter D1-4 or D1-5, as chucks/backing plates are available for both. If you go that route, then I would look into the Bison/TMX chucks as a consideration which is also sold by Precision Mathews/QMT. My personal preference is for a 4 Jaw 8" combination chuck which gives you a scroll plus independent jaws. You can look it up in this forum. The next step up lathe will probably be beyond your budget. The SB is not what it was in the past, you also want a more modern machine and short headstock. I would buy a Taiwanese machine if your budget permits, there is a very qualitative difference. Grizzly/SB does sell some higher end Taiwanese machine, but they are beyond the budget mentioned. The other option would be an Eisen 1440EV. It is not the machine that makes the machinist, but a nice machine makes it that much more enjoyable. Most people that go to a 2" spindle, will never go back to something smaller.
 
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bpctcb

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#7
This is good info. I have a Hitachi WJ200-015SF on hand but not a WJ200-022sf.
Do you have any idea what the spindle length is on the Eisen 1440EV?

BP
 

derf

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#8
I'd pick "none of the above" and go with a Jet 1340 BDB. If you can't find some good ol' american iron like a SB heavy 10 or 13".
I've been gunsmithing for a living for over 30 yrs, and trust me , you want a belt drive lathe for gunsmithing.
The Jet belt drive has a shorter headsock than the others, meaning that barrels go through the headstock easier without having to remove the chuck. Belt drive is so much more smoother than a gear head for finishes and lot quieter.

I've owned one since 2000, and haven't had any issues what so ever, and it's a daily driver.
 

mksj

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#9
I have built many VFD systems for gunsmith's lathes and helped a lot more with their VFD conversions. All types of lathes, including the PM-1236 and 1340GT/1440GT and a couble of Jets and SB. Many of these were for professional gunsmiths where they depended on the lathe for their career/income. I have yet to hear any of them have any issues with surface finish issues or have any problems using these lathes for gunsmithing. The 1340GT has a very short headstock, I would be surprised if the Jet was any shorter. If anything, at this point I have found that many newer gunsmiths are using gear head lathes, and 3 phase is definitely preferred. I just sold my 1340GT to a full time gunsmith, his other lathe is a larger 1440 gear head.

A VFD adds flexibility, speed stability and braking. So as I mentioned, yes you want to start with a good lathe that fits your needs and performs well, but my experience with numerous other gunsmiths does not support not using a gearhead, if you have any evidence otherwise please share it. I had a 1340GT for 4+ years, it was very quiet and smooth and I never had any surface finishes issues using a 3 phase motor with the VFD running sensorless vector. The speed stability was +/- 1 RPM under any load. Many of the complaints referring to chatter/finish issues also stems from the motor type/location, pulsations of single phase motors, for which a belt drive does a better job of dampening the pulsations. There are many factors to consider, not to mention weight, size, castings/base, quality of the drive, etc.
 

wrmiller

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#10
I have no issues with surface finish or patterning on my 1340GT w/VFD. Works like a charm. Even on barrels. :)
 

bpctcb

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#11
Thanks for everyone's input.
I ordered a PM1440GT today.

BP
 
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