March 23, 2022

What size Lathe for gunsmithing

What is a gunsmithing lathe

A gunsmithing lathe is a specialized type of Lathe that is designed for gunsmithing applications. Gunsmithing lathes are typically much heavier and more robust than standard lathes, and they often have more powerful motors to accommodate the more significant, more forceful cuts required in gunsmithing. This allows the workman to operate and produce exactly symmetrical work.

Symmetry is fundamental to gunsmiths because any minor misalignment can cause fatal injury to the consumer. If you check inside the case of a gunsmithing lathe, it is created to be narrow. Despite being narrow, it also needs to have a good level of flexibility. A flexible lathe will allow you diversity regarding the type of weapons you can work on. A gunsmithing lathe should enable you to fabricate new guns or make repairs on them. 

Hand-gunsmithing is not the most popular section of the craft. You will mainly find metal workers performing repairs on their lathes. A relatively small portion of metal workers manufactures guns because major gun manufacturers mass-produce their weapons.

The gunsmithing lathe is effective in locking your gun. While it is solidly locked, you can safely progress the turning. It can handle different cutting tools. The machine needs to be mounted rigidly to keep it in a good working position. Before you begin working, you need to make sure the bench is fully adjustable. An adjustable workbench will help you quickly reposition the barrel and other components.

Gunsmithing equipment needs to follow stringent protocols during design. The dimensions need to be precise. If there are any errors in the measurement of the barrel, then you can have a severe problem. The weapon may lose its ability to fire. Many mechanisms are involved with the gun, and there are many moving parts. The barrel you create from the Lathe will need to be cleaned, oiled, and well maintained to fire accurately. 

You can find Second-hand lathes through many different avenues. You can lease or rent a gunsmithing lathe when operating on a tight budget. It is an excellent option for workers who enjoy doing this as a hobby. Buying a second-hand option will allow you a chance to experiment at a lower initial cost. You will discover the appropriate model and size you prefer with more practice. If you plan to buy one, you will consider your future projected uses.

Gunsmith lathe vs. regular Lathe

When looking at lathes that will work well for gunsmiths, the main standout differences come down to two main features.

  1. A gunsmith lathe will come with a very short headstock. It should be low and significant to allow the diameter of your barrel to fit. The barrel should be able to pass all the way through for you to work on it safely. This feature will provide you with room to operate it on both ends when turning.
  2. Another gunsmith lathe feature is the distance between centers. A full-length rifle barrel should be able to fit in between this space. If you find a lathe that offers these features, it should be suitable for gunsmithing.

What size Lathe do I need for gunsmithing?

6×18 – This option will be small enough to do customizations. It will also operate fine for general repair work on smaller guns.

13×40 – This is the most popular size out there. It is designed for more specialist work. It will still work well for an average home-based workplace.

Lathes can be dimensionally defined by measuring the size of the workpiece you can operate on it. The two main parts will typically offer you the most practical measurements. The first part you need to measure is the center of the spindle. The spindle is the mechanism that spins your workpiece. Measure the diameter of this and multiply it by two to find out the “swing” of your Lathe.

The next part we need to measure is between the headstock and tailstock. You can think of this as the distance between centers if you want to be more accurate. Measure the area where the headstock is mounted, and this will tell you the length of a workpiece that can be worked turned.

When you combine these two, you will find that the swing and distance between centers are ideal for determining your lathe size. If the swing was 18 inches and the distance between centers was 50 inches, the Lathe would be described as an “18×50” lathe.

The swing often isn’t as important; most gun parts are large in diameter. However, gun barrels can be pretty long, so the distance between centers is critical.

Smallest Lathe for gunsmithing

6 × 18″ Lathe is one of the smallest sizes you can operate to perform gunsmithing on a lathe. However, choosing a small lathe of this size will cause you problems regarding stability. Your range of creation will also become very narrow and limited. It would be sensible to buy a bigger size lathe in the long term. This size will work well for amateurs. However, the Lathe will come at a more nominal initial cost.

What kind of Lathe do I need for gunsmithing?

Heavier lathes can offer the consumer more stability. This will help you to achieve the desired accuracy and precision for cutting. A bigger lathe might be more expensive, but they are heftier.

You can use various techniques to mount your barrel. You will need to help ensure that the barrel passes through the tailpiece with a chuck. This should help you get around the issue of size and allow you to work on longer barrels. It is, therefore, best to get one that can be adjusted. 

Always check on available rests for a new lathe – steady rests and follower rests, preferably with ball bearings – to stabilize long, slender workpieces like gun barrels.

Best mini Lathe for gunsmithing

Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe

This Lathe is quite heavy and has a total weight of 74 lbs. This means it will be pretty stable and durable.

It has dimensions of 7″ x 12″, which makes it suitable for gunsmithing, 

The machine can generate a lot of power as it has a 110 volt, single-phase ¾ motor

The adjustable speed mechanism is excellent for creators. This machine can rotate from 0-1100 low range and 0-2500 RPM high range.

It is convenient for the consumer because the machine can turn forward and reverse directions.

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