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Grizzly Gunsmithing Lathes... Any Good?

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  • Grizzly Gunsmithing Lathes... Any Good?

    As far as Chicom stuff, is there any better? What would you guys recommend for American iron? The only chinese lathe I ever had was a Jet 9x20, and it as a real POS. Any advice at this point would be good advice, because if it were me I would save my pennies and just buy a Monarch or a SB Heavy 10 maybe. Is there any lathe that is considered the gold standard for g'smiths?
    Sometimes the professional is hidebound by tradition while the skilled amateur, not knowing it can't be done blazes a new trail. -JCHannum

  • #2
    Gunsmith Lathe

    Judging from the Grizzly lathes I've seen, you would be well equipped with their Gunsmith Lathe. They seem to have some of the best quality of Chinese tools of anyone I know of.
    Kansas City area

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    • #3
      I think Emco is very good. the V13 would be good for gun smithing.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by the4thseal
        I think Emco is very good. the V13 would be good for gun smithing.
        I havent found a reliable place to look into those in the USA. Got any links?
        Sometimes the professional is hidebound by tradition while the skilled amateur, not knowing it can't be done blazes a new trail. -JCHannum

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        • #5
          go with the Grizzly

          Kibby,
          I've looked at the smaller Grizzly GS lathe close up & it has all the features I want. Also you have to consider the great service that Grizzly gives. Perhaps I'll get the smaller lathe as a "retirement" gift to replace may old Atlas.

          Regards, Ron

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          • #6
            I know quite a few smiths that use Grizzly lathes, and do good work. I also know one fellow that bought one and it had bad bearings, and he couldn't get decent warranty service, so he returned it. He bought a Victor from MSC and loves it.

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            • #7
              You might look at Jet. They are importers, too but have a wide selection of lathes. They will likely be able to provide parts support long term since they are quite a large company. I have had a 13x36 Jet since 1988 and it has performed very well. However, it was made in Taiwan. I heard somewhere that Jet still sources some tools in Taiwan but I don't know which ones.

              RWO

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              • #8
                I have its little brother the G4003 for the past 5 years and it has caused me zero trouble. I have a collet set up (Grizzly) for it, I use it the most.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by RWO
                  You might look at Jet. They are importers, too but have a wide selection of lathes. They will likely be able to provide parts support long term since they are quite a large company. I have had a 13x36 Jet since 1988 and it has performed very well. However, it was made in Taiwan. I heard somewhere that Jet still sources some tools in Taiwan but I don't know which ones.

                  RWO
                  Are any machines still made in Taiwan? If so, which ones? I remember when Taiwanese machines and everything else they made there was crap, then all of a sudden they seemed to become pretty decent. Then as soon as they were practically awesome machines for the price, they were darn hard to get and they seems to be practically nonexistent now. Is there a resource for Tai machines still available?
                  Sometimes the professional is hidebound by tradition while the skilled amateur, not knowing it can't be done blazes a new trail. -JCHannum

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                  • #10
                    Why's that a gunsmithing lathe? Sounds more like sales buzzing. Or maybe it means "Not rigid enough for serious cuts"

                    ->
                    US Sales droid: "Gunsmithing" sells good!
                    German sales droid: "Toolroom" sells good!

                    Nick

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                    • #11
                      Grizzly has three lathes it calls gunsmith lathes. They have a couple of added features for gunsmithing. The owner of Grizzly is active in benchrest shooting, so he does have some experience in what would be appreciated. While they are typical chicom machines, the combination of features and an attractive price make them appealing for gunsmithing.

                      This is the 13" machine, there are also 14" & 16" machines;

                      http://www.grizzly.com/products/13-x...or-Lathe/G9036

                      Just myself, but I would prefer a belt drive machine for the better finish provided. The main things to look for are enough room through the headstock for a barrel to pass full length and 5C capability so that you have 1-3/8" through the headstock.

                      A Heavy 10 is an excellent machine for gunsmithing as are most 13" machine. I have a 13" Sheldon which will do anything I need. I think anything over 13" would prove too large for most, a smaller lathe would be needed for small work, and most gunsmithing beyond barrel work is small work.
                      Last edited by JCHannum; 04-27-2010, 08:01 AM.
                      Jim H.

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                      • #12
                        Exactly that lathe (except the smal settop cabinet for switches) was sold to me (= idiot) as a "toolroom lathe". It's a POS-lathe. I discussed that in a thread about two months ago.


                        Nick

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                        • #13
                          I bought the G0554 about 6 years ago, they upped the price about $1000 and now call it the G0554Z.

                          Used strictly for smithing

                          The best that I can say about it is that it’s not a bad lathe (notice I didn’t say it was a good lathe). After only 6 years of use…it’s getting worn, I’ve had to shim the cross feed gib, yes wore that quickly, Had to modify the cross slide nut, the nut was only held in by a little metric screw, which quickly wallowed out. Now I have a problem with the tailstock, won’t stay put when clamped.

                          All bearing surfaces (besides the ways) looked like they were hand scraped with a brick…felt that way too.

                          Screws were cheap Chinese junk, soft as butter.

                          Headstock bearings have held up though, runout is still less than I can measure, ways show little to no wear..so I guess that they are hardened as advertised.

                          Would I buy another Grizzly lathe…simple answer is no, too many issues. My next lathe would be a lightly used Nardini…. Anybody out there selling one?

                          Mike Hunter
                          Hunter Restorations
                          Mike Hunter

                          www.mikehunterrestorations.com

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                          • #14
                            Grizzly lathes are built from the same Chinese parts as other Chinese lathes.
                            It is just like Chinese riflescopes.

                            You want your own brand of Chinese lathes?
                            You fly to China.
                            You meet with these people:
                            http://www.made-in-china.com/manufac...t/Lathe-1.html
                            You pick the features from the catalog.
                            You make up some model numbers.
                            You pick some colors.
                            You tell them the name of your brand.
                            You hire a local QA man in China to represent you.
                            You fly back to the US.
                            You set up here in the USA, a sales, receiving & inspection, and customer service facility where you install DRO or other add ons.


                            Here are some names already taken in China: Jet, BSA, Grizzly, Mueller, Birmingham, Burris, GMC, Millet, Precision Matthews, Sightron, Sharp, Redfield, Enco, Bushnell, Turn-Pro, Simmons, Clausing, Pentax, South Bend, Weaver, etc.

                            Any name you pick, it will still have parts interchangeable with a Grizzly lathe.
                            There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. -Ernest Hemingway
                            The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.-- Edward John Phelps

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CLARKMAG
                              Grizzly lathes are built from the same Chinese parts as other Chinese lathes.
                              It is just like Chinese riflescopes.

                              You want your own brand of Chinese lathes?
                              You fly to China.
                              You meet with these people:
                              http://www.made-in-china.com/manufac...t/Lathe-1.html
                              You pick the features from the catalog.
                              You make up some model numbers.
                              You pick some colors.
                              You tell them the name of your brand.
                              You hire a local QA man in China to represent you.
                              You fly back to the US.
                              You set up here in the USA, a sales, receiving & inspection, and customer service facility where you install DRO or other add ons.


                              Here are some names already taken in China: Jet, BSA, Grizzly, Mueller, Birmingham, Burris, GMC, Millet, Precision Matthews, Sightron, Sharp, Redfield, Enco, Bushnell, Turn-Pro, Simmons, Clausing, Pentax, South Bend, Weaver, etc.

                              Any name you pick, it will still have parts interchangeable with a Grizzly lathe.



                              I was not going to say anything this time but I wanted to respond to your reply, I have found what you are saying to be exactly the case! I had a few things to say about HF lathes (the 14x40" in particular) and basically that several of these brands are the same machine except for color and price. First I owned a POS Jet 9x20 which was EXACTLY the same machine as the Grizzly, Enco, HF and a number of other brands, I know from "hands-on" experience with both the Jet and HF that they are indeed the very same. I paid nearly twice as much for the Jet as the HF machine cost because everybody said HF machines were just rejects and complete junk, that may be so but the Jet was junk also! There was not any difference between the two in quality or anything else except color and price and I am finding that the same is apparently true for the larger 14x40 machines. I have the HF 14x40 and have access to an Enco 14x40, they are the same stinkin thing!! The Enco cost a heck of a lot more than the HF but after a year around both machines I KNOW that one is no better than the other which was exactly the same experience I had with the little 9x20, this time however I didn't fall for the "name" and saved a bunch of money. I posted links to pics of the HF 14x40, the Enco 14x40 and the Birmingham YCL14x40 and outwardly they all appear to be exactly the same, I have only gotten to look at the Birmingham without running it but I am sure the parts are interchangeable with my HF and maybe I am wrong but they damn sure don't look to be any better quality. Some may argue that Grizzly or Enco has a lot better service than HF and that may be true but HF does offer parts replacement and the thousands a person will save by buying form them will sure ease the frustration of lesser service if it is required. Others have told me that HF machines are just rejects that other companies turn away but I have seen no evidence of that and the people who told me were talking only from hear-say or opinion and had no proof of any kind. I joined a Yahoo group of HF lathe owners and those guys convinced me to buy from HF, it did not take much convincing after the Jet 9x20 fiasco! These guys are owners of these machines and they too are convinced that the HF lathes are the same as some other more expensive brands, are we wrong about that? Maybe but then maybe not and after over a year of searching for a good used "name brand" lathe and researching the ChiCom selections I honestly see no reason to spend the extra money for a supposedly better name if a person is going to buy Chinese. Certainly a good used American or European machine is going to be a lot better but if buying Chinese don't expect a brand name to be synonymous with quality, you could very well be paying a lot more money for a catchy paint job. I have been running my HF 14x40 for over a year now and I couldn't be happier with it.

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