No matter what level of gun enthusiast you are, you need some tools to work on them with. Whether it’s for basic maintenance like cleaning your piece after a trip to the range or maybe adjusting sites or making serious modifications to the firearm so it better suits your needs, you need the right tools. Because these modifications require a lot of precision, you don’t want to just reach into the tool drawer at home and grab any old thing. Because if you do, you might end up with a “buggered” screw on your firearm which makes it harder to work with in the future, or worse yet you might slip and scratch your gun. So to help you get started, here’s a look at some of the specialized tools you should have for gunsmithing.
One of the key tools you’ll need, especially for older guns, is a good gunsmith screwdriver set. You might think that your normal screwdriver will work just fine, but you’d be wrong. The majority of screwdrivers are made so that the tip is tapered, but on gun screws that’s going to “bugger” the screw and make it harder to use each time. You obviously don’t want that. Instead, you need a hollow ground screwdriver. Hollow ground screwdriver tips run parallel and won’t rock back and forth in use, thus saving your screw. Precision hollow grounds are even better giving you a good grip on the screw to prevent slippage. Why all slotted screwdrivers aren’t hollow ground screwdrivers is beyond me because this sounds a lot less frustrating than a normal slotted.
Thankfully, on modern firearms, a lot of the slotted screws have been replaced by hex drive and Torx drive fasteners so having a variety bits or drivers to move those screws is essential. Torx drivers have grown in popularity since they were invented, probably because they’re good fasteners that don’t slip and cam out and typically they don’t cause breakage. Wiha, Felo, Wera and Klein all make excellent Torx bits and drivers which is really important if you want to preserve your screws from being stripped. For hex drivers, some online researchers have found Bondhus the most precise fit, but Felo and Wiha are good too. If you don’t mind spending a little more, Wera hex drivers not only feel solid and snug, they look nice too. The key thing to consider when choosing your hex and Torx tools to do your gunsmith work with is how precisely they fit and work with your fastener. All of the brands we carry have a high degree of precision but some work better than others for certain needs, so don’t hesitate to contact us for help making a decision.
Those are probably the most basic tools one needs to do the most basic gunsmith work, but as you get into it, you may discover you need a few more. And no one ever went wrong with a few more tools. The reason being, especially with older firearms, you may need to buy replacement parts. Growing up, my father would get old military rifles at a discount and he would find that some part on the gun needed to be replaced because it was rusted or just plain worn out. The replacement part would, on occasion, not fit properly. So, some modification to the part would often be required. Usually some filing would do the trick, so grabbing some files (needle files, round and flat bastards), pin punches, hammers and a vise are all good ideas. You probably want a caliper too so you can get really precise. The job of the filing tools is obvious, but the gunsmith hammers and pin punches help with adjusting sites and getting tiny parts in and out of places.
While there are many, many specialized tools for gunsmithing, the most basic tools are the best place to start. Getting the right screwdrivers then would probably be job #1. Torx and hex drivers would be right up there with it. Once you have the right tools you’ll be able to give your firearms the care they need to remain in good working order, which when the SHTF or you need to go hunting, is mission critical.