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Serious Gunsmithing, Mill & Lathe choices?

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  • Serious Gunsmithing, Mill & Lathe choices?

    For really serious gunsmithing I'm considering picking up a Lathe and Verticle Mill. Since $$$$ is a factor I'm looking at the line.

    G9972 11" x 26" Light duty Lathe for $1320 shipped.

    G1006 1-1/2hp Mill with a table slide range of 6-3/4" x 21-1/2" travel $1270 shipped.

    The real questions are:

    Is the Lathe bed long enough at 26" or should I be looking at maybe a 36"?

    Does the 1-1/2hp Mill have the power and enough travel for receiver work?

    Any hints, tips out there?
    Be polite, be courteous, be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
    If you had it to do all over again with what you know now. You'd just make different mistakes.

  • #2

    If you are working on "normal" stuff, then those machines are more than enough. You will lose a lot of functional workpiece length on the lathe when you have a tailstock on it that can handle gun barrels, so that lathe is more realistically work on 18" barrels if you are cutting them from scratch. The smaller lathe is probably good for everything but sniper rifle work. lathe operations on large sniper barrels are best done on the largest lathe you can get your hands on. IE, the little ones won't do much for you if you are trying to make something out of a .50 cal barrel.

    That mill will work for making and modifying parts, but hogging recievers out of raw steel requires a lot of serious cutting power. It should be sufficient for anything realisticly done in aluminum.
    Life, Liberty and the pursuit of those who threaten them.


    • #3
      I can't speak directly about Grizzly's metalworking tools as I have never had the opportunity to own or use one. I can however speak to the quality of their woodworking machinery as I own some. Finish is never the best but adequate for the purpose(hey, your not buying a Mercedes here!). Critical finish areas such as work tables and such will more than adequately meet your needs. Critical fit is excellent. If you take the time to assemble and setup the machinery correctly and gauge and square all critical parts you will achieve superb accuracy. It WILL function as advertised and better.

      To judge what level of performance you can expect from a Grizzly machine, simply compare features and specs to more well known American-made models.

      Do take their motors with a grain of salt, power-rating wise and be sure of your supply current. Hopefully you have 3ph. If not, be very careful of single to 3ph. converters as some are known to have serious current loss in conversion which will "starve" your motor of needed power for heavier cuts. If you do not have 3ph. available most of their single phase motors will operate on 110/220v.

      In the event of difficulties, Grizzly's customer service is generally very good and they do stand behind their products. They also maintain a stock of replacement parts.

      I know that this is dangerous but, I am going to go out on a limb here and assume (OH NO!) that their metalworking machines will be similar in the categories of fit, finish and accurate function. Again, my experience has only been with their woodworking machines.

      Hope this helps,



      • #4
        You need a min. of 36" bet centers for the Lathe if you plan on doing any rifle barrel work.
        The mill is probably adequate for light duty