August 4th, 2018

Power to the People — 21st Century Powered Neck-Turning Lathe

21st Century Shooting neck turn neck-turning power lathe powered cutting tool arbor case neck brass cartridge

Do you neck-turn hundreds of cases annually? Then you deserve this outstanding tool. This innovative neck-turning system is truly a game-changer. The 21st Century Shooting Powered Neck-Turning Lathe is quite simply the best system ever created for quickly and precisely uniforming (and reducing) the neckwall thickness of cartridge brass. We have the original manual 21st Century neck-turning lathe, and can attest that it works great. But with the new powered system you can turn necks faster and more efficiently, with less effort. This is like going from a stick shift to an automatic transmission. The cases feed very smoothly and the results are beautiful. Once you’ve tried the Powered Neck-Turning Lathe you won’t want to use anything else. Watch this video to see how it works:

Power is activated by the red button on the end of the blue, horizontal feed handle:

Click the Speaker Button on video frame to play with sound (audio).

The Powered Neck-Turning lathe is a modular system. Swing the bar from right to left to feed the case. The power head (with case holder) glides on stainless steel rails for smooth movement. This allows very precise feed rate. Power is supplied via a button that is built into the end of the feed handle. Push the red button to make the case spin. It’s as simple as that.

21st Century Shooting neck turn neck-turning power lathe powered cutting tool arbor case neck brass cartridge

The folks at 21st Century Shooting explain why the system works so well: “The floating design of our Neck Turner and Case Driver allows the case mouth (bore) to run on the arbor absolutely concentric. This, therefore, allows the outside diameter to be turned concentric with the inside diameter.”

Here is another video that shows how the lathe system operates:

Click the Speaker Button on video frame to play with sound (audio).

Complete Powered Neck-Turning Lathe System
The powered neck-turning system comes with everything you need, starting at $679.00. This includes: Motor Assembly, Lathe Base, “L” bracket, Neck-Turning Tool, Cutter, Case Holder, Driver, Turning Arbor, Expander Die Body, and Expander Mandrel. 21st Century currently offers a choice of nine popular calibers: .17, .20, .22, .243 (6mm), .264 (6.5mm), .270, .284 (7mm), .30, and .33. The case holders are appropriately sized for the common rim sizes in that caliber. Choose either stainless arbor and mandrel or Titanium Nitride-coated arbor and mandrel (for $20 more). Some of the larger calibers cost a bit more.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading No Comments »
January 4th, 2016

Why Carbide Mandrels Work Better for Neck-Turning

If you have ever turned a large quantity of case-necks using power assist, you know that a carbide mandrel can make the job go easier, with better end results. In our experience, when using carbide mandrels (as opposed to ordinary steel), the cases move more smoothly with less heat build-up. Pat Reagin of PMA Tool explains why carbide neck-turning mandrels work better:

Carbide offers several advantages over conventional steel and stainless steel when making any tooling, specifically neck-turning mandrels:

Dimensional Stability — Carbide maintains its dimensions indefinitely during heating and cooling. This eliminates the need to allow the mandrel time to cool every few cases.

Coefficient of Friction and Wear-Resistance — Carbide exhibits a low coefficient of friction value as compared to all steels and wears up to 100 times longer. This reduces (but does not eliminate) the amount of lubricant required.

Galling Resistance — Carbide has exceptional resistance to galling and welding at the surface. This basically eliminates the chance of getting a case stuck on a mandrel due to insufficient lubrication.

Given the benefits of carbide neck-turner mandrels, you may be asking “where can I get one?” Sinclair Int’l offers carbide mandrels for Sinclair neck-turners for $49.99, in a full range of calibers: 17, 20, 22, 6mm, 25, 6.5mm, 270, 30, and 338.

PMA Tools Carbide neck turning mandrel neck turner$49.95 Carbide Mandrels from PMA Tool
PMA Tools now also offers carbide mandrels in a full variety of sizes. At $49.95 each, PMA’s carbide mandrels are priced competitively with Sinclair’s mandrels. PMA offers carbide mandrels in .17, .20, .22, 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm and .30-caliber. These will work with Sinclair Int’l and 21st Century neck-turners, as well as PMA neck-turners. PMA tells us: “We now have carbide neck-turning mandrels in stock. These mandrels are made with high-tech CNC grinding-machinery, and should give you excellent results. We hope to be add other larger-caliber carbide mandrels to our lineup in the future.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 7 Comments »
March 26th, 2014

ABCs of Neck Turning — Salazar Shows How It’s Done

On our main AccurateShooter.com site, you’ll find an excellent article by German Salazar on the Basics of Neck Turning. If you’re new to the neck-turning game, or are just looking for good tips on improving your neck-turning procedures, you should read German’s article. Below we offer some highlights and photos from the article, but you’ll need to read the whole story to view all the illustrations and follow all the procedures step by step.

Why Should You Consider Neck Turning?
Let’s assume that your rifle doesn’t have a tight neck chamber that requires neck turning; if you have a tight neck chamber, of course, the answer to the question is “because you have to”. For the rest of us, and that includes the vast majority of Highpower shooters, neck turning isn’t a requirement, but it can be a useful way to bring your ammunition a small but meaningful step closer to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: perfection. I’m not talking about a theoretical improvement, but a real one, an improvement that lies in equalizing and optimizing the neck tension of your loaded rounds. Inconsistent neck tension is a real contributor to increased muzzle velocity variance which itself is a significant factor in increased elevation dispersion at long range. So there’s our basic reason for neck turning: to equalize and optimize neck tension in order to reduce elevation dispersion.

neck-turning basics reloading salazar

The Tools of the Trade
Here you see everything I use and a bit more. The press, a cordless screwdriver (always plugged in, turning is tough on the old battery), a couple of K&M neck turners (one set up for 6mm, the other for .30 caliber) an expander for each size, some Imperial lube, an old toothbrush or two to keep the cutter clean, a handle with a caseholder (for those emergencies when the screwdriver dies and there’s just one more case to go!), steel wool and a tubing micrometer finish the list of tools. Hey, I left the dial calipers out of the picture! They’re always handy, keep them around, but they are useless for measuring neck thickness, so don’t try. I usually use an Optivisor magnifier while I turn necks, very handy for a clear view of what’s happening on the neck.

neck-turning basics reloading salazar

Expanding the Neck
Put some lube on the inside of the case neck and run it into the expander. Really, this isn’t hard. I prefer to expand each case immediately before turning it as opposed to expanding all the cases and then turning them. Brass is somewhat springy and will tend to go back toward its original size; therefore, by expanding and turning immediately, you are more likely to have all cases fit the mandrel with the same degree of tightness and to get a more consistent depth of cut.

Cutter Adjustment for Cut Depth and Length
All the tools I’ve seen have pretty good adjustment instructions. The only thing they don’t tell you is that you should have five to ten spare cases to get it right initially. Anything of the right diameter will do while you learn, for instance, just use that cheap surplus .308 brass to do initial setup and save the precious .30-06 for when you know what you’re doing. Be patient and make your adjustments slowly; you’ll need to set the cutter for thickness as well as length of cut (just into the shoulder). The depth of cut (brass thickness) takes a bit of fiddling, the length of the cut is generally easy to set.

The Finished Product — A Perfectly Uniform Neck
If you read the whole article, and follow the procedures using quality tools, you should get very good results — with a little practice. To demonstrate, here’s an example of my finished, neck-turned brass. You’ll see there is a perfect, 0.0125″ thick neck. It’s very uniform around the circumference, usually I only see 1 or 2 ten-thousandths variance. Now, with the necks uniformed like this, we can select the bushing size that will give us our preferred neck tension and experiment with various levels of tension, secure in the knowledge that all of the cases will actually have the desired neck tension.

neck-turning basics reloading salazar

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
May 2nd, 2011

Gear Review: PMA Neck Turning Tool

The PMA Neck Turning Tool, review by Danny Reever
PMA Tool was founded by Matt Harris and Pat Reagin, two former employees of Fred Sinclair. They both worked their way through college working for and designing tools for Sinclair Int’l. They now have branched out on their own and are offering some unique tools for the reloader.

PMA Neckturner Neck Turning Tool

I, like many other shooters out there, would sooner take a beating than change the settings of my neck turner. Many shooters even go out and buy a separate neck turner for every caliber — just so they don’t have to adjust the settings. Most of you know what it’s like, you ruin half dozen cases (or more) getting your neck turner just right, and if you change it the chances of getting it back to where it was are practically nil. Let me be the first to tell you those days are over! Like many of you, I first saw the PMA Neck Turning Tool in an advertisement on this website’s home page. It’s hard to miss, blue anodized finish with the large PMA logo on the body.

PMA Tool Moves the Mandrel, Not the Cutter Tip
From PMA’s website I learned that this turner does NOT use a coarse or fine drive screw to move the cutter towards or away from the mandrel. Nor does the PMA tool move the mandrel on an eccentric (another method of cutting depth control). The PMA tool does something very different. PMA’s Model A Neck Turning Tool simply adjusts by moving the mandrel toward or away from the stationary cutter with an 80 TPI drive screw with 60 indicating marks. Each mark moves the mandrel .0002″ (two ten-thousandths). I found, if you stop between the marks, .0001″ isn’t out of the question. It’s such a smart arrangement, I wondered “why didn’t anyone think of that before?”

Use PMA, 21st Century, or Sinclair Int’l Mandrels
My interest now piqued, I contacted Pat Reagin for one of the PMA tools. Pat suggested that I also use PMA’s stainless expander and turning mandrels since they have put a lot of effort to get them exactly right. I might mention that the 3/8 shank stainless or carbide mandrels from 21st Century or Sinclair Int’l will work also. PMA does have carbide turning mandrels in the works — a nice upgrade for those of you who turn lots of cases at one sitting. I personally didn’t encounter any unnecessary heat build-up with the stainless mandrels only turning 10-20 cases at a time. Considering that carbide mandrels run about $40.00 compared to $7.95 for stainless, it’s nice to save a couple of bucks when you can.

Cut-Depth Settings Can Be Dialed “Dead-On” (Even after Caliber Changes)
Upon receiving the PMA tool I immediately went to my reloading room to set it up for turning some culled .308 Lapua brass — to clean it up 75% for a no-turn chamber. I followed the directions included with the turner and it was a snap to set up. After turning a few of the .308s I made note of my setting and changed both mandrels to 6MM to turn some Lapua 6BR brass for my .269″-neck chamber. Again the change went smooth as silk and I was turning the 6BRs in no time for my preferred loaded neck diameter of .26730″. I then decided to take the leap of faith and change back to turning the .308s after making note of the 6BR setting. That worked, so I then again switched back again to the 6BR setting — again with success. I have gone back and forth (between calibers) numerous times in the last couple of weeks. Each time I easily returned to my caliber-specific settings and I did not ruin a single case in the process. Without sounding like I’m gushing here I must say this is the nicest neck turner that I have ever used. The adjustments are so easy and repeatable “Even a cave man can do it”!

If, like me, you absolutely hate setting up neck turners, for fear of losing your settings, you owe it to yourself to give the PMA Model A neck turner a try. I think you’ll be impressed. The PMA Neck Turning Tool costs $95.95, complete with one carbide cutter with your choice of 30° or 40° shoulder angle.

Disclosure: Danny Reever is a Forum Member. He received no “freebies” or compensation. PMA Tools advertises on AccurateShooter.com.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »
June 18th, 2009

Advanced K&M Arbor Press at Precision Reloading

The full line of K&M reloading tools and accessories is now offered by PrecisionReloading.com. The popular K&M Arbor press (with optional seating force measurement gauge) is in stock. The K&M arbor costs $78.00, or $115.00 with the force measurement system. This clever design uses a Belleville washer stack and linkage to show the force required to seat your bullet on a standard dial indicator mounted on the top (dial indicator is $22 extra.) In addition, Precision Reloading offers K&M neck-turning tools, primer seaters, expanders, neck reamers, and flash-hole uniformers.

This editor has tried out many different arbor presses. The K&M is my favorite. For me, the force measurement system acts like a warning light, telling me if something is way off in the bullet seating process. If you see the dial indicator needle jumping around wildly, or spiking too soon, you know that case has excessive neck tension, or perhaps the bullet is oversize in diameter (it happens). Currently, the K&M is the only arbor press with a seating-force gauge. The only down-side to the K&M arbor is that you must adjust multiple bolts to set the ram height. By contrast, the Sinclair Int’l Arbor and some other arbors feature a quick-release lever that lets you adjust ram height quickly and easily.

Based in Mitchell, South Dakota, Precision Reloading is run by active, knowledgeable shooters. In addition to centerfire reloading supplies and tools, Precision Reloading offers a full line of shotshell components and shotgun reloading equipment, plus optics, cleaning supplies, gun cases, and hunting gear. This month Precision Reloading is running an optics sale on Bushnell, Sightron, and Vortex scopes, binoculars, and spotting scopes.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »