Neck Turning Tool Survey
I'd like to get a sense of what others are using for neck turning tools and what they like or dislike about their tool or other tools they've used. Some description of what type of shooting you do would also be informative.
To kick it off, I use the K&M tools I'm happy with all aspects of their design and manufacturing quality. I think they give me an accurate, consistent cut, it's easy to make small adjustments, parts for other calibers are readily available, the cost is low enough that I have two, one set up for 6mm, the other for .30 cal. If I lost them, I'd replace them with the very same stuff.
In the past I've used the old Sinclair which wasn't that easy to adjust, but I haven't tried their new too. Long ago the Forster on the neck trimming base which I never got any sort of satisfactory results from (that was about 30 years ago and I mostly remember frustration from that one).
My use is long-range Highpower shooting, mostly 6XC, .308 and .30-06.
Any others? I think we can help some of our newer shooters make a more informed decision this way.
I use a Pumpkin[Don Neilson] for my 6ppc and a Stiller, Pumpkin clone, for my 30BR. I use the K&M for the other sizes that I don't use much. The K&M is not as friendly as the other two for me.
I think that any non-trimmer neck turning tool that features a carbide mandrel can do what you need with minimal fuss. I have a K&M, that has had the doughnut cutter edges and corners dulled, that I like. It stays at one setting for my 6PPC necks. If you need to be able to make accurate changes, to a ten thousandth, without resorting to trial and error, Don Nielson's (now handled by Kelblys) or Stiller's (out of production) make this easy with fine adjustments that involve an eccentric mandrel that is indexed using a large diameter scale. When I needed to re-turn some necks thinner the other day, I took out my Stiller that was already set the same as my K&M made a slight adjustment, using the scale, and was exactly where I wanted to be. I could have done the same thing with Don's.
I have two pumpkins, one for 6ppc the other for 30br I haven't used any other that works as good for me, smooth cut and easy to adjust also easy to hold on to. I had a Stiller for my 30br for awhile, easy to hold on to, easy to adjust but I didn't care for the finish on the neck, it wasn't nearly as smooth as the pumpkin. In all fairness I bought the Stiller used, maybe the cutter was damaged or needed to be sharpened. I also used a number of Sinclair's, they are hard to hold on to, the finish cut was good, was a PITA to get adjusted, couldn't go from neck thickness to neck thickness with any amount of ease. If you wanted to cut a different size neck it was easier for me to get several tools and leave them set once properly adjusted. I still have one Sinclair that I use for the first cut on my 6ppc brass, then finish with my pumpkin.
Last edited by Dan H; 05-13-2010 at 11:32 AM.
pumpkin.....for br guns
i have a couple of sinclair early tools for others, and have also used the forester tool....not a br tool.
mike in co
I have a k&m and my only complaint is the shell holder they use. You have to really tighten it down for the brass to not come loose while turning. Also you no matter how hard you try there is always some wobble when the case is spinning. I haven't found a cure for that yet. Overall, its a good neck turner for the money. I would by another one.
Holder for K&M
I forgot who makes them but I have a holder for my K&M, Makes the process much more confortable. Its a round piece of alum machined out to fit the holder, fits the hand perfectly. I have 4 of their turners with carbide mandrels because I like to set it and forget it. As far as the shell holder I did away with mine and use the one with the cone that centers in the primer pocket. I believe Sinclair sell them. I fireform before turning in .274 nk. chamber and have very little runout while turning.
Ditto to German on K&M
I like the K&M because the mandrel can be cleaned and lubed easily. James
OK, some opinions,
I can only speak for the Time Precision, K&M and Sinclair models..... Of these the Time with it's micrometer adjustment is handiest to set repeatably. I shoot a lot of different things so the old "set it and forget it" thing doesn't work for me.
The newest Sinclair looks to work OK, design is better than mine and having used mine I feel I can comment. Even the cutter looks to be ground right??? I'd definitely try one of these. If nothing else because it uses Sinclair's mandrel sizes..... the difference in size of expander mandrels across the spectrum of makers is a pita.
I've had to regrind the cutting edge on all of mine, because they've all sucked from the mfgr. I grind them such that the cutter stops itself on the shoulder, because all of the various 'stop' methods suck too.
The "donut cutter" on the K&M is a joke.
I do all my work with the neckturner resting in a bowl of room temp water..... Again the Time Precision turner is my favorite here because of it's shape. I can grab it up dry and shake it off. This is the one downside I see to Sinclair's latest design, its shape. I think it borrowed from the Pumpkin in being made symmetric which sells nicely but...... it don't work in the bowl too well.
By keeping my turner in a bowl of water I can also swish it off time to time. I keep an acid brush close to hand.
I think if I used a Pumpkin or the new Sinclair I'd keep an air nozzle at the turning area and make a small leak, keep the tool bathed in a gentle stream of air. Blow it off when it needed it. Messy.
IMO no hand turner is large enough to act as a heat sink. Not when I set out to do 50-200 cases at a time. Big cases too.
A lathe is.
But the hand-held version hasn't been released yet.
IMO the perfect turning tool doesn't exist, yet.
I Don'T Know About That, Al
As most know, I single point necks in a Engine Lathe. That is about as close to a "perfect" neck turning set-up as you can use.
It is fast. One every 30 seconds.
Just as accurate as any hand tool, as long as the Lathe is of the neccessay quality. That being head bearings that will turn to the "tenth".
Is very consistant. You can use a mist cooler, run the cases just like any production run, and be done with what is usually a mundane operation in a miniscule amount of time as compared to hand turning.
The drawback is, of course, you have to have a quality lathe, and the know how to perform precision work.
That being said, if I were to use a hand turner, The Pumpkin would be my choice........jackie
I bought the Pumpkin and never looked back. Get the neck expanding mandrel also.
For Benchrest, and informal F-class we use almost exclusively the K and M units. We shoot a lot of different calibers, from .220 Russian tight neck, to 6 PPC, 6 BR, 6.5 BR, 257 Oban, .30 BR, and .30x 47mm to name a few. for the .30 BR and 6 PPC we have a few dedicated cutters. For the rest we switch the set up as needed. We have a Pumpkin and an older Sinclair tool as well. The Pumpkin is easy to set up and makes a nice cut, but the K and M is easier to have 3 set up for progressive cuts. The Sinclair is tough to get adjusted dead nuts, once there don't touch it, and it works fine.
For 6 PPC for instance we set up three cutters each one cutting progressively less for the cut, the last one takes about .0008 off and leaves a nice finish. We use a mini case lathe that we built (we have built others and can do so again for a fee). We set up the case lathe using the Forester type collets for holding the case. We use the Don Nielson mix(Mobil one and STP) for lube. We put a case in and make all three cuts, then hold 0000 steel wool against the neck to polish it while it is still spinning. The case is then pulled and the next one is inserted. Doing it this way I can expand, turn, full length resize, trim to length, deburr inside and out, and clean in Iosso product 100 cases in an evening.
Below is a picture of one of our case lathes. We use Gear motors that output at 115 RPM.
If anyone knows the source for the K&M tool holder that Jerry mentioned, please pass it along. Thanks!
Originally Posted by German Salazar
A member of this board makes these jewels.....
He is also a world record holder of small group @ 1000 yds.....