Good Stuff: Becigneul Case Turning Motor
by Germán A. Salazar
Turning case necks to uniform thickness is one of those tasks that can materially aid accuracy by ensuring that each piece of brass has nearly equal neck tension to its mates. I won't go so far as to say that neck turning will result in perfectly equal neck tension, because the brass itself isn't that uniform, nor is each piece's reaction to the cycling effect of firing and resizing equal. However, turned necks will be a lot closer to each other in their grip on the bullet than unturned necks.
As much as I appreciate the benefits of case neck turning, and actually enjoy the process of turning them, the limited charge capacity of the various cordless screwdrivers I've used over the years to add a bit of speed to the process (and avoid carpal tunnel syndrome) has been frustrating. Most recently, I was using a Lithium battery powered model; although it provided good torque, the battery was all gone after turning 15 to 18 cases and required a 12 hour recharge. Unfortunately, that simply isn't enough, because I turn the necks on all the brass I shoot and I would like to be able to turn out a full set of 72 pieces in one session rather than spread over a week of evenings.
Paul Becigneul's case turning motor is just what I was looking for - a well-built, heavy-duty unit that plugs into the wall and will allow me to extend my neck turning sessions to the limit of my patience or eyesight! Although there have been a variety of similar devices and "case lathes" offered for sale in the past, they've been priced fairly high; Paul's unit is reasonably priced and built like a tank. I became aware of Paul's work through the forum on http://www.accurateshooter.com/ . In addition to the motor, Paul makes action wrenches and barrel vises of excellent quality; I've had an opportunity to see them in action at a friend's shop. After dithering over the purchase for a few months, I bit the bullet and placed my order. Fortunately, Paul had a unit ready to ship and it arrived on my doorstep two days later.
The unit's design is fairly straight-forward: a surplus electric motor turns a Forster case-holding collet. Paul makes a nice knurled collar to open and close the collet and power is controlled by a household type wall switch; the whole assembly is mounted on a hardwood base and has a usefully long power cable.
In operation, it works very well, the collet has enough clamping power to hold the case after a quick hand tightening, no wrench is needed (although you can use one if you are so inclined). A quarter turn of the collar opens the collet and a quick turn of the wrist tightens it back up. There are flats on the shaft for a 13/16" wrench, but you won't need to use one. The motor turns at about 180 rpm which is just right for neck turning. What's really nice is that the motor has enough torque to hold its speed throughout the whole operation and a/c power to keep it going all day long!
As with any powered case neck turning device, the case wobbles a bit as it turns. This doesn't matter a bit as the turning cutter is held in your hand (which is free to move) and the cutter's arbor is the actual alignment device. The wobble is the same or less than what I had using the power screwdriver with a K&M holder. I check each case neck at three points on a Mitutoyo digital tubing micrometer and am getting equally good results with this unit as I did before.
Contact Paul firstname.lastname@example.org for specific pricing and ordering information. The basic unit is currently priced at $220, each collet is $10 and shipping is $20 to most U.S. locations. Paul ships to Canada, I don't know if he also ships other countries.
Paul is a great guy to deal with, he is really dedicated to making high quality, affordable tools for the precision shooter. All I can say in conclusion about this device is: "Where have you been all my life!"
Paul has a video on YouTube that demonstrates the unit in action, just click the image below to run it.