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What are the top five tools to keep on hand for general 'smithing?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Kadetklapp, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. Kadetklapp

    Kadetklapp Methberry PD

    Jan 2, 2007
    I'm getting more and more confident in my home gunsmithing. I'd like to get a good set of tools instead of making due with ordinary mechanics tools. I see lots of expensive (and inexpensive) sets on the net and in CTD, but what do I really need to do basic stripping/parts replacement on most semi-autos, revolvers, and shotguns? I also own a Mini and an AR, which I know the AR requires some of it's own stuff.
  2. I picked up a Wheeler screwdriver set, rubber mallet, Allen wrenches, and punches. The 3/32 punch gets the most use, but wasn't in the locally available sets.

    I went inexpensive. Most inexpensive tools will get the job done and I upgrade to high quality when necessary.

  3. Japle

    Japle John, Viera, Fl

    Feb 26, 2000
    Viera, Florida
    1. A padded vice. A pretty big one.

    2. A set of punches, pin and roll pin and drifts, steel, Nylon and brass.

    3. A set of hammers and mallets.

    4. A set of high-quality files.

    5. A set of high-quality screwdrivers.

    6. A set of good stones.

    7. (If you have some spare cash) A small to medium high-quality lathe, milling machine and drill press combination.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
  4. Grey Goblin

    Grey Goblin

    Jun 4, 2008
    In addition to what others have suggested, a high-resolution digital camera.

    Taking pictures along the way can help you see how things are supposed go back together, and, if you need help from others on the web, a picture really can be worth a thousand words.
  5. MrSypher


    Feb 5, 2008
    Also a good quality strap wrench & a set of "Starter" Roll Pin Punches (the ends are hollowed out so it's a breeze to get any Roll Pin in place)
  6. I like the sets of small precision metal files that come with around 10 files with all different angles and curves. Harbor Freight less than $10.00.

    Correct screwdriver set. This is a must have and must be gunsmith specific.
    Small punch set.
    Small brass hammer.
    Small file set.

    With this you can do anything. That is until you start looking at specialty items like sight pusher tools etc.
  7. JBaird22


    Nov 18, 2005
    I agree with a gunsmith specific screwdriver set. Just don't get brownells. While the handle is great, I have broken two bits while barely turning them. I'm just not a fan.

    Ball peen hammer, roll pin and regular punches, a small pliers and patience.
  8. Japle

    Japle John, Viera, Fl

    Feb 26, 2000
    Viera, Florida
    Remember the three basic rules of gunsmithing:

    1. If it doesn’t fit, force it.
    2. Fit is a function of velocity.
    3. Force = Mass times Acceleration.
  9. Bushflyr

    Bushflyr ʇno uıƃuɐɥ ʇsnɾ Millennium Member

    Mar 17, 1999
    Western WA
  10. VN350X10


    Apr 13, 2001
    McHenry, IL
    Just remember.....
    Dremel Moto-Tools & WD-40 have enabled more gunsmith's children to go to college than any other items.....

    When dad had to fix a customer's screw-ups !

    Screwdrivers : Brownell's, the new larger set. The Wheeler set is a hobby tool at best.
    Punches : Starrett is tops. For brass punches, various sizes of brazing rod are hard to beat & inexpensive. DO get special roll-pin punches. Saves aggrivation.
    Hammers : Get on a lathe & make your own, good practice.
    Files : Nichloson and/or Grobet, most other are junk.
    Vise : Wilton is tops, buy the American made ones thou.
    Small vise : Time for milling machine practice here !
    Torque Wrench : The Wheeler "Fat Wrench" is a best buy, needed for scope mounting & tightening actions into stocks for best accuracy.
    Pliers : Bite the bullet, find a dealer & get Snap-On, their quality is worth the inflated price....(damn)
    Add/Make other special tools as needed, when you make it yourself, you appreciate it more & it adds satisfaction to the job !
    Never get frustrated, if it was built, it can be repaired. A bigger hammer ISN'T the answer (in most cases).

    uncle albert