armorers kit


March 10, 2006, 12:44 PM
looking to buy an armorer's kit from bushmaster...two types a1 or a2
what aare differences. the bushmaster i have is an a2 with non removable handle, but i also have a custom flattop. which would be best?

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Double Naught Spy
March 10, 2006, 02:02 PM
I recently completed an AR15/M16 armorer's class by Greg Sullivan of Defensive Edge. A point he repeatedly made was that the armorer's kits offered by several groups really include more tools than you actually need or include specialized tools that you don't need as there are common tools that will handle the same jobs. For example the standard armorer's kit for the A1 from Bushmaster includes a receiver push pin tool, cleaning kit, and technical service manual. You don't need a push pin tool. You probably already have a cleaning kit. As for the service manual, maybe you need it or maybe not, but such information can be found online for free.

The question then becomes one of $. Are you really saving any money by purchasing a prepackaged kit that includes things you don't need?

Sort of interesting, when looking at Bushmaster's master armorer's kit, the price was $320 for the entire kit, but if the components were purchased separately, the cost would be $325. So you save $5 but you buy a bunch of stuff you don't need like the cleaning kit. If the cleaning kit costs more than $5 and you don't need it as you already have plenty of cleaning supplies, then are you really saving money?

Comparative, the Bushmaster kits don't seem like bad prices. As I recall, Brownell's has an AR15 armorer's kit that runs something like $1000-1100 and include things like a lead barrel vise block set that few people use anymore.

March 10, 2006, 03:24 PM
The thought occurs to me that an armorers kit includes a number of tools that are very common and can be purchased elsewhere for substantially less. So, here's what I'll do: My brother is a recently discharged Iraq vet armorer (45B). I'll see if I can get him to make a list of tools that he actually used and I'll post it here for you. I'm going home tonight, and I probably won't see him until tomorrow, but I'll get something out of him. If anybody is interested in the same for the M249, M2, and so on, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

I also have a few tips on wearing an M2 headspace/timing gauge in a waistcoat if you don't have a pocket watch. I thought the chain looked funny, and sure enough...

But if you just *really* want to go buy a tool right now (and I do completely understand if this is the case), get yourself a set of high-quality hardened pin punches. I know he used those all the time. Also, I do recall him telling me that delta ring tools are just *almost* useless. I offered to mail him one while he was over there, and he said he'd never use it. Go figure.

March 10, 2006, 03:43 PM
Double Naught Spy.....after taking the armorers course, what tools would you suggest...A-Z ?

March 10, 2006, 04:18 PM
I am a retired 45B and a current working gunsmith who does AR15 work fairly regular.
Get a receiver/action vise block from Peace River. These are the best there is on the market.
The barrel vise jaws are necessary if you do any work on AR rifles with a flashider or muzzle brake or if you plan to fit your own barrel extensions,(this is loads of fun and not for the timid!).
Get a set of ROLL PIN PUNCHES and a set of roll pin starter punches, nothing more frustrating than having a roll pin flair out while trying to punch it out or start it into the hole.
Get a 50 Foot Pounds, not inch pounds, minimum rating Torque wrench.
Lots of folks say you don't need the torque wrench,,,,I have had to reinstall more than one barrel that was improperly installed by the selected "gunsmith" who just screwed the barrel nut or float tube down until it felt "tight enough".
I use a barrel nut wrench from Smith Enyerprise but the USGI version will work just super too.
If you plan on working with sliding buttstock assemblies then get a good quality CAR tube wrench, again mine came from Smith Enterprise but there are several good ones on the market now.
If you plan to work on rifles with free floater hanguard tubes you will need a good quality web strap wrench, Sears, about $20.00.
Don't bother with the cheap rubber strap plumbers wrench, they won't hold up and don't impart enough screw force when working with float tubes.
Brownells sells a neat little tool called a "gas port alignment tool", pretty nice to have but you can do the same thing with a 3/32"X6" solid brass rod.
Hammers and screwdrivers you already should have.
Mil-Spec cleaning kits with the jointed steel rods are cool for looking at but I personally have no desire to shove one down my expensive AR custom barrels.

Double Naught Spy
March 10, 2006, 05:51 PM
I don't have the list with me here, but the things we used for complete disassembly and reassembly included...

1/16" punch
3 roll pin punches matching the sizes of roll pins on the AR15, the largest being 5/32" (this is where the list would be handy. Note roll pin punches have the little nipple. Bushmaster listed the sizes 3/32", 1/8" & 5/32" but did not specific roll pin punches. You can use regular punches, but be prepared to cause roll pins to collapse in on themselves, hence the benefit of the roll pin punches that will help preclude this)
lightweight tack hammer to use with the punches
1 flathead screwdriver for the grip screw
Oly Arms barrel and stock wrench - the Oly Arms version seems to be long enough to handle the necessary torque for some of the tougher jobs and has enough slots to handle the normal muzzle brakes/flash hiders and buttstock assemblies (A1 and A2)
Kroil - penetrating or Kreaping oil to really loosen tight parts
Not supplied in class but found useful, parts magnet. After losing/dropping/spring shooting parts on day 1, I brought in a magnet and put it under my mat for day 2 and it was especially helpful with the small springs and ball bearings.
front sight tool (there is a multi-tool version for the 3, 4, or 5 slot varieties, supposedly, but most of us has the 4 slot type and simply used the 4 slot front sight tools provided - note that you can get by without these, but it is easier if you have one)
upper receiver vice block
Bolt Carrier Scraper-shop Version - those with cleaner guns got very little use from this, others got a lot of use.
pipe cleaners - heavier duty tobacco shop variety, but NOT used for the gas tube
fiber, not metallic, pot cleaning scouring pad (used with Kroil to remove carbon buildup on the bolt quite easily.

We did NOT use the barrel vice jaw blocks -we were told that they were expensive especially in regard to usefulness, which isn't much or often for your normal duty maintenance and repair issues.

We did not use, but had the option to use cleaning rod guide, gas tube wrench, headspace guages, firing pin protrusion guage. We all took a look at the headspace and firing pin guages and did some quick checking, but everyone seemed to have guns with correct spacing.

I think that covers most of it. As noted by another poster, having the correct punches is important. Having extra roll pins is also important and you might consider having duplicate punches as well since they break fairly easily if abused or over used. Roll pins are cheaper if purchased in mass at the hardware store.

I am sure I have missed something, but I don't recall what. Like I said, I don't have a list with me.

FYI - the class I took through Defensive Edge was a good class. I believe it was $250 for the 2 day class and Sully (Sullivan) brought along all the required tools, lube, etc. We just brought our guns to work on and money for lunches. Information on his classes and what not can be found at

March 15, 2006, 10:10 PM
Thanks for the tips guys. I just put the upper and lower receiver action blocks in my Brownells cart. (Brownells acquired Peace River in 2003, so it's now a Brownells/Peace River item.) I've been intending to get the foot-pound and inch-pound torque wenches for a while. There's little more satisfying than building your own stuff.

March 16, 2006, 10:41 PM

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