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BrentD, Prof
Total Likes: 3
Original Post (Thread Starter)
by BrentD, Prof
BrentD, Prof
For the last couple of days, I have been making a sight box for my Henry-styled long range muzzleloader. I am not copying an original per se, but approximating the style to fit my needs. The rifle has front and rear sight staffs, 12 aperture inserts for the front and two eyecups for the rear. The details are irrelevant, but I could do this and many other small jobs a lot better if I had a small milling machine, instead of pushing wood through my drill press with an 1/2" end mill. I'm sure I could find many other things to do with it as well, including some minor metal work eventually. But I'm not going to become a gunsmith either, so I'm not looking for industrial grade. Just a nice quality hobby tool.

I have neither the space nor the skills to justify a full-sized, mill but a small, bench-top model might be perfect, depending on costs. Is there a consensus on new or used machines that are better than others? Is there a best place to look for these (especially used ones)? And finally, besides a bunch of end mills and taps, what sort of tooling is involved to make these things useful?
Liked Replies
by Woodreaux
I found a benchmaster on FB Marketplace. Can't remember how much I paid, but it was less than $500 I think. A Hardinge BB2V just sold in my area for $400 (looks like a better machine than the benchmaster). I also watch proxibid for local auctions, but depending on where you live, those will almost all be industrial/full sized machines.

I am interested in the answers you get regarding the optimal mill. I haven't gotten my benchmaster restored yet... and don't have the skills to properly assess its utility anyway... but they seem to be well regarded among the machinist community. With the caveat that everyone feels obligated to tell you that a small / benchtop machine is not going to have the capabilities of a Bridgeport.
1 member likes this
by mc
You can cut thread chamber at the chuck as long as the barrel will go through the head the lathe dosent have to be really long i have a.benchmaster vertical mill I have use for a lot of projects I have a fixture for drilling also used for cutting dovetails and beads
1 member likes this
by Der Ami
Der Ami
If you had a lathe you would be surprised what else you would use it for. I made a new handle for my wife's cheese straw press in the middle of the night, the night before a baby shower. No chance to buy a new one, it got her out of a "bind" and won a me lot of brownie points. She is still using it 20 years later.
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