Emmert Wolf once said, “A man is only as good as his tools.”
A carpenter wouldn’t think of building a house using his bare hands. That goes the same for gunsmiths. Before you can hope to produce ballistic masterworks that will impress even the NRA National Firearms Museum, you need the proper set of tools.
Whether you are a hardcore gunsmith or casual hobbyist, you will need to get the right set of gunsmithing tools. These are the tools of the trade for anyone who’s trying to craft their own firearms.
Today, we’ll go over some of the essential gunsmithing tools not just for building firearms but also for keeping them in great shape and make the necessary modifications.
Gundsmithing Tools You Need In Your Kit
Below are the essential gunsmithing tools that you should invest in:
You are probably thinking that a screwdriver set from your local hardware store will do. Well, experienced gunsmiths will recommend that you don’t commit this mistake. With a standard screwdriver, you risk damaging the screws found in your guns.
Gunsmithing screwdrivers are specialized tools with beveled and tapered heads and are designed to fit the various screws that are used in firearms. These screwdrivers are created to avoid scratching the gun’s finish or damaging the slot edges.
Two of the most common screwdrivers used for gunsmithing are the magnetic-tipped and fixed-blade screwdrivers.
As a gunsmith, you will need a hammer or four. Most commonly used is the brass hammer which is used for fitting butt-plates, freeing up choke tubes, driving taper pins, and tapping of frozen screws. Brass hammers will not nick or ding steel and any marks can be easily removed.
Brownells has a pretty great 3/4" Nylon/Brass Hammer which is great for common punching and pin driving.
Many gunsmiths also use ball-peen hammers for their rounded surface. Another type of hammer that you could get is the rawhide hammer for doing direct blows to the gun.
Experienced gunsmiths tend to pad the jaws of the vise with leather so it won’t damage the gun’s finish. Most vises can be secured by clamping it down to a workbench or using a C-clamp for portability.
Pin punches are utilized for removing the different pin sizes found in firearms during repair or assembly.
Punches can be bought separately while pin punches are available in sets. It is important that you pay attention to the size of the punch when removing or setting a pin as it may result in a nick or mar on the firearm’s finish.
Like the vise, a bench block is used to keep the gun in place while there’s work being done on it.
Bench blocks are available in different sizes and have holes in them where you can easily drop pins. There are also blocks that are contoured to a specific model of the gun. The best blocks are the ones that are made from a dense polymer which provide good protection to the gun’s finish.
Again, the focus of this tool is to help you perform the required work without causing any damage to the firearm.
Files are used to make adjustments or shape parts to ensure a smooth and secure fit. Needle files work like files but are very short since they are designed for getting into tight places and setting small parts. Stones are used when a finer cut is needed in order to reduce friction damage and prevent scratches.
When using metal files, be sure you only go in one direction instead of doing a sawing motion.
These are the other useful tools that you can get but not necessarily a must-have.
- Dremel type tool - Used for polishing, grinding, buffing, and many more.
- Firing pin protrusion gauge - Used for measuring the amount of the firing pin that protrudes through the bolt.
- Hex wrenches - Valuable tools for any handyman and you end up working on ChiCom red dot sights that are common these days.
Got The Right Tools For The Job?
Whether you are aiming to be a professional gunsmith or just a gun hobbyist, investing in high-quality gunsmithing tools is a must. With the right tools, tasks like repairs, adjustments, teardowns, and re-assemblies will not only be made easier but more enjoyable for you as well.
Plus, you don’t really want to cause any irreparable damage to a firearm for using standard or make-shift tools and supplies.