seeking mill recommendations for hobby gunsmithing
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  1. #1
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    I would like to have a small bench-top mill to make some small parts occasionally for my hobby in vintage shotguns. No barrel work, just replicate hammers and other small parts.

    Would like to gather some recommendations on specific machines that are adequate for this purpose. What size of machine would I need to do this...as economically as possible.

    Thanks in advance for any assistance.


  2. #2
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    I think the amount ofgarage space, and the thickness of your wallet will come into play in that question. Plus your location in the world will also play heavily on that, since excess machinery is more or less located in certain areas of the U.S. Unfortunately, Florida isn't known to be one of the hotspots, so I get what I can, when I can...
    David from Jax

  3. #3
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    In the late 60's I had a Clausing Vertical mill that was mounted on a cabinet base, table size approx. 6x24. It was a real knee mill as opposed to the round column mill/drills that are common today. There's all the difference being able to lower your table, change tool and come back up exactly to the same spot.

  4. #4
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    LOTS of gunsmiths use the import bench tops for their work and many make due with the round column models. Grizzly, Jet, Enco and Wholesale Tool models are what I see most. Likely because they are cheap, especially used, available, don't take up much room and are good enough. Finding a Rockwell or Clausing that isn't well worn or torn-up for the same money can be a long search, more so depending on where you live. Where I'm at those mills are like Bigfoot, we've heard about them but we haven't seen one.

    I won't argue that US made smaller mills are of better quality. But a used import in good condition is much less scarce and usually cheaper and given your intended use I'd go the used import route. Also my own past experiences have soured me on the mill/drills that have a round column like a drill press.

    Any of the following models would likey serve you well.
    www.grizzly.com G8689, G0519, G3102
    www.use-enco.com 208-8111, 100-5201, 100-5100




    [This message has been edited by caltom (edited 11-25-2003).]

  5. #5
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    Dec 2003
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    Merlin, Oregon,USA
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    Hello
    I have a small mill that Harbor Freight sells for 199.00. I installed a power feed on the x-feed that I bought from "little Machine Shop" for 149.00 It required making a aluminum adapter for the left end of the table and drilling and tapping the leadscrew for a coupling for the motor. Works great, I make all kinds of small things with it.Last week I made a scope mount for a TAU 7 air pistol and installed
    a Tasco red dot on it for air pistol silhouette.It uses 3/8"shank bits.I broke a gear (my fault) the cost for the gears one dollar each.Its variable speed and will suprise you as to whatyou can do with it.
    It has a square post with a dovetail mount.
    Before this I had a uni-mat and this allows
    me to do far more.Its called a micro-mill.


  6. #6
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    I have a Jet JMD-18 mill/drill that I use for home hobby smithing. Used it for all of the machining for a semi 1919 build and am about 50% finished with a Maddi-Griffin 50 cal as well as many smaller jobs.


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