I agree with Bear. If you sit at 165, the things will never get done. Gradually get to 180.
As for your stuffer, one thing I've learned, and learned quickly, was to bolt the thing to a base. For me, I drilled holes in my deck rail and I bolt it to that. Really eliminates the frustration of trying to crank on sticks. You might think about bolting it to a 1" piece of plywood that's about the size of a tabletop. It will add stability and the thing won't wiggle all over the place.
I prefer LEM, but I don't recommend getting plastic or teflon gears.
I think it moving around definitely added to the problem. It was clamped to the table using the clamps they supply, but it was outside on a patio table that was not very stable and flexing a lot.