What is the following quote from:

“Put a big spider on this to get things perfectly true.”

A.)  line of dialog from a sci-fi disaster movie where the mad inventor places a giant radioactive arachnid on a bazooka to launch at enemy aliens that have overtaken the Earth

B.) A throw-away comment from a weird gameshow host who has a fetish for hairy-legged creatures and can’t help but mention them when a contestant answers a question correctly

C.) An observation from an arachnologist and part-time philosopher when deducing something with 100% veracity

D.) A comment from a machinist and YouTube video maker when describing gunsmithing on a lathe where a brass-tipped four-screw chuck is placed on the outboard end of the headstock while chambering a gun barrel

Folks, your spidey sense if ringing true if you answered D. This is the second post about gunsmithing on a lathe like LeBlond’s RKL-1332G/E. Check out the first post here.

spider chuck gunsmithing on a latheSpider Chucks Are Essential for Gunsmithing on a Lathe

The brass-tipped wear pads hold the gun barrel and prevent indents in the finish while chambering.

When using a spider when gunsmithing on a lathe, you use the jam nuts to lock the spider in position. If you only tighten the spider bolts against the barrel and leave the jam nuts loose, they can loosen and dislodge while chambering and crash into the end gear cover of your lathe.

Do You Get My Vibe?

Be careful with vibration when using a spider. You want to make a collar with a spider chuck, so the gun barrel can be centered and held rigid when cutting at a high speed, causing potential vibrations on the barrel sticking out the outboard size of the headstock.

Tailstock Features When Gunsmithing on a Lathe

There are other essential tools on a gunsmithing lathe like the tailstock used to support long workpieces by means of a live or dead center to hold a drill or chuck.

You want to use a tailstock ½” square-drive lockdown with a lockdown lever to allow a machinist to achieve a precise alignment of centers by securing the tailstock position along the bedway of the lathe.


dead center on a leblond lathe

A dead center is useful when gunsmithing on a lathe like LeBlond’s RKL-1332G/E.

A machinist gunsmithing on a lathe may use a center on the tailstock.

A dead center or a one-piece center with carbide tips that does not rotate with the workpiece and is used to support long slender workpieces like a gun barrel. A live center has bearings that allow the center tips and part to rotate together and can be installed in the tailstock quill when cutting at higher speeds.

Customized Steady Rests

LeBlond can customize steady rests, a useful feature when gunsmithing on a lathe.

You would use a steady rest to support the barrel when not running it through the headstock. A steady rest with roller tips supports long small-diameter shafts and barrels and can be aligned anywhere along the length of the bedway.

Every steady rest has a certain range from large between 1” – 8” or small diameter between ½” – 6.” For custom applications, LeBlond can create custom steady rests for small or large diameters.

Customization is not limited to gunsmithing on a lathe.

We, for example, outfitted a RKL lathe for an automotive parts supplier with a pneumatic tailstock and chuck to semi-automate the loading and setup of the machine effectively and giving it CNC-like capability.

Customized Additional Coolant Ports

LeBlond can also customize coolant packages. When gunsmithing on a lathe, a machinist may want more coolant outlets along the length of the barrel to keep it from overheating. We can add more ports than the custom one that is standard with most manual lathes.

From custom steady rests and coolant packages to essential chucks like a spider, LeBlond’s lathes like the RKL-1332G/E have all the bells and whistles to effectively gunsmith on a lathe.

How Do I Get In Touch?

If you’re interested in new LeBlond manual lathe ideal for gunsmithing, check out our RKL-1332 educational model. If you’re interested in other LeBlond RKL models or mills or K.O. Lee grinders, fills out a Request for Quote form here.

If you require OEM parts for your LeBlond, K.O. Lee, Standard Modern, Johnson Press, Deka Drill or W.F. & John Barnes equipment, fill out this form. If you have an interest in LeBlond or K.O. Lee accessories like a Newall Digital Readout, see this form. You can always call LeBlond at +1 (888) 532-5663 with any questions.