Home gunsmithing booboos


June 25, 2010, 12:09 AM
1. Working on a firearm without proper lighting.
2. Working on a firearm using a lapboard as a work surface while sitting on a recliner chair, a sofa-or a bed.
3. Working on a firearm without proper manuals. Hey, I did this once before-20 years ago.
4. Working on a firearm over a rug-Hey, where'd that little spring/screw/part go?
5. Working on a firearm without proper tools-a Leatherman or Gerber MultiPlier doesn't quite work.

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June 25, 2010, 12:12 AM
6. Using a Dremel for almost anything.

June 25, 2010, 12:14 AM
Dremel Tools and hardware store bargain bin screwdrivers.

June 25, 2010, 12:19 AM
Guilty of almost every one of those. I'm young, still learning and I sometimes have to make due when I don't have a garage or workbench handy.

Like just a few minutes ago I installed my dual dovetail rings and had the proper tools except for something to twist the rings into place. After some digging I used a cheapo hunting knife and everything is good to go. Knew I forgot something at the hardware store.

I liked when my friend and I spilled a little bit of Hoppe's #9 on the carpet while watching TV and cleaning guns, the towel got most of it but the room had this nice manly aroma for a few days.

June 25, 2010, 12:35 AM
Three people, six hands to immobilize a gun barrel while drilling out a broken screw with a drill press and accidently going entirely through the screw AND through the barrel. Everyone had a job and careful focus, except no one was noticing how deep the drill was.


June 25, 2010, 12:38 AM
I'm guilty of 1, 2, and 4... :o

June 25, 2010, 01:05 AM
try assembling a M1 Carbine bolt sitting on the kitchen floor without the special GI tool :) Then finding the springs and detents when the bounce around the kitchen off each wall once. Ended up using my case trimmer for a vise of sorts and spent carbine shell in the trimmer holding the ejector in the bolt face while i put the rest together only took a hour or so though. Them little tiny springs can really fly.

June 25, 2010, 01:58 AM
...with kids playing toss-the-puppy...and the TV blaring...and the Dog barking...and having misplaced one's see-close Glasses...and the little lady running the Vaccuum cleaner next to you, that needs new Bearings...under flickering flourescent Lights...on a sunday night...with acid reflux from those frozen eye-talian dinner tray things that got microwaved earlier...and the mother in law walks in from the 'guest room' where the Ping Pong Table is leaning against the wall, and is looking for a rumble again...

June 25, 2010, 02:06 AM
Oh mine is pretty simple, "do it yourself" crown job on a Mosin M44 with a dremel. Luckily that mosin is WAAAY harder than that of the dremel bits so I just destroyed a few dremel parts and kinda polished the muzzle.

June 25, 2010, 02:23 AM
Hammering roll pins back in without a vise, bench, or really any firm surface for the gun to rest on, instead using your thigh/knee--just because your complete AR kit came in the mail and I didn't feel like waiting until morning to start putting it together after a long day at work and getting back to the apartment at 10pm after the neighbors have all gone to bed. :rolleyes:

Hammering roll pins in with a ball peen hammer, finish and deformation of pins be damned! :banghead:

Removing old finish with a Dremel and "re-bluing" with cheap do-it-yourself cold blue. :barf:

Press in detent... pull lever out slow-*PING as spring 1/4" long and 1/16" diameter flies into oblivion* :cuss:

"To re-insert hammer strut, apply considerable force on retaining plate until the ridged portion engages the grooves." Considerable = 45,000 ft/lbs over the course of an hour and a half :fire:

June 25, 2010, 04:40 AM
Taking my Marlin 1894C down for cleaning in the garden just on the grass. Never did find that screw :(

June 25, 2010, 06:09 AM
Hello friends and neighbors // Yep all 6 are common here, I do lay a big towel on my lap and on the floor in front of me.

Without searching the web I don't think I would have gotten some parts back in. *Some parts fall out differently then they are intended to go in.:scrutiny:

I'm looking for a screw for a scope right now, but I saw it bounce.

I mostly buy used, sooo.. thanks to all of you that have posted disassembly instructions on the web.
Today I hope to find a breakdown manual or video of my Remington Model 31, just in case it is different than an 870, the web is priceless for a shade tree gunsmith.

I read a post once of a guy who works on firearms in a large cardboard box, sounds good but I'd need a mighty big box.

Dremels are great for many things but not for that final shaping of your grips (while they are still on the handgun). I think the scratch will buff out with the same dermel if I ever get to it.

Nothing like a recliner smelling of hoppes#9, gun oil and coffee to get a comment, along with the marks on the wall next to it. I have a small drop top desk, set up 5 feet away, with good light and tools.....if I need it.:D

June 25, 2010, 08:05 AM
Firearm disassembly and drinking.
Reassembly will be the next day

June 25, 2010, 09:03 AM
Just one question guys, "just where do all those little springs and pins go when they fly away, never to be found again"? :)

June 25, 2010, 09:32 AM
"just where do all those little springs and pins go when they fly away, never to be found again"?
They end up in the sock that goes into the dryer with its mate, but only the mate comes out. :)

June 25, 2010, 10:34 AM
I think #4 happens on every surface when you have bad eyes! My father was always calling for "us kids" to come and find some random microscopic part.

June 25, 2010, 10:44 AM
Just one question guys, "just where do all those little springs and pins go when they fly away, never to be found again"?

Under my couch.

Honestly, I was putting a trigger kit into my XDm when a tiny little spring rolled off the coffee table and under my couch. (Not your typical coffee table. Mine is a heavy duty work bench with shortened legs which I use as a coffee table.......with a vise. Being a single guy is great.)

I moved my couch to find it and came up with no less than three similar, but not identical, springs...........

......hmmmmmm. Which one?

June 25, 2010, 11:09 AM
Just one question guys, "just where do all those little springs and pins go when they fly away, never to be found again"?

There are a few variables that go into the "where in god's name did that go?" If it is an expensive to replace part, it will show up right after the UPS man drops off the replacement; if it is for a gun you plan to use NOW, you'll find it tomorrow; recoil plugs are in another room; roll pins are just gone forever; screws will turn up when they get bored, sometimes days, sometimes years later; sharp edged parts make their presence known on Sunday mornings when you are barefooted; and a few manage to breach your perimeter and make good on their escape but can be found pouring down a couple of cold ones in the 'Missing Sock Bar and Grill' laughing over the look on your face when you got down on the floor to look for it and knelt on that grip screw bushing you dropped last week.

June 25, 2010, 11:25 AM
Trying to find a AR dust cover pin e-clip with a magnet, and sucking all of the metal parts up and scrambling so that you can't remember which way you took them out. Thank god for the internet, and manual. But, at least I found that microscopic freeking clip.

John Wayne
June 25, 2010, 11:27 AM
Don't forget the classic "I'll make it fit!" Those engineers at the factory obviously didn't know what they were doing when they made parts so they wouldn't go in backwards or in the wrong location.

Somewhere in my kitchen is a Glock firing pin safety and spring.

June 25, 2010, 11:34 AM
what about those parts that you put up in a safe place so you can find them later, only to forget where you put them!

June 25, 2010, 11:36 AM
I will have to call Dad and tell him he must have taught me real good. I have not done any of those things yet.

June 25, 2010, 11:38 AM
I'm also someone who let a recoil spring plug on a 1911 take off like a bat out of hell in my basement workshop. That was about a year ago. Still haven't found it. Had someone recommend I try to recreate the mishap to see where it might have gone. Yeah sure, then I'd be looking for two plugs.

June 25, 2010, 11:50 AM
I went all over God's creation looking for an action screw for a rem 700. I finally found a guy that had an extra one, and I mean 1. It was a little to long, so i got out the old reliable dremel tool, so as to make short work on grinding off the excess length. With one quick slip of the hand, old reliable eat all the threads off of my one and only action screw. They should outlaw dremel tools, and put the idoits that use them in jail. lol

June 25, 2010, 12:03 PM
Let's see...

Shot myself in the face with a 1911 recoil spring. In my defense, it was my first time and I was frustrated after installing the idiot scratch.

I have successfully disassembled a Ruger MkIII, cleaned it and reassembled it. Having been through that ordeal, I will sell it before I ever clean it again. It's gunscrubber only from here on out.

June 25, 2010, 12:59 PM
to know other professional amateurs do the same things. Took a CO2 pistol apart to get the cylinder out. All went well until a little transfer port bushing thingy boinked out of some hole and onto the concrete floor in my basement shop. Under the bench, along with a host of other stuff. I know there are some live primers under there too.... pistol is sitting in pieces in a ziplock baggie.

Now I often take a large plastic freezer bag, cut the bottom open and slide it over the section of firearm I am working on. I can slip my hands in from both sides and it will usually contain/confine auto-projectile parts inside the bag.

Was taking apart my Grizzly lathe pulley one time. It was held on by a C-spring on the end of the spindle, and was holding a VERY strong spring in place. the little spring slipped and the spring shot off. I did find all the parts as I knew where to look - right below the perfect impression of the C-spring in the wood along the edge of my work bench. Ouch, that woulda left a mark fer sure.

June 25, 2010, 01:26 PM
We love home gunsmiths, especially if they own a dremel. Fixing booboo's is quite profitable.

June 25, 2010, 01:31 PM
We love home gunsmiths, especially if they own a dremel. Fixing booboo's is quite profitable.

I have never owned a Dremel, I always figure if I can't screw it up by hand it probably ain't worth screwing up to begin with.

June 25, 2010, 01:37 PM
Mine is a heavy duty work bench with shortened legs which I use as a coffee table.......with a vise. Being a single guy is great.)


Sorry, that just wreaks of awesomeness.

I'm single with kids, so I could do that. I'm afraid if I did, I'd find my persuasive younger son placing my gullible older son's head in the vice one day uttering the phrase "I guarantee you it won't hurt..." :scrutiny:

I'm guilty of all of them. I've yet to buy an actual manual. With so much material available free online, I haven't had the need to buy books yet. I flip through pdf's and websites faster than I can flip through a book anyway. Usually the only paper book I actually pick up are books for reading pleasure. I still can't get into e-readers.

June 25, 2010, 04:39 PM
..rules when it comes to the Dremel I guess. I use a Craftsman rotary tool that must be superior to the Dremel as I use it from time to time without hassle.

Working on firearms without a vice kind of sucks, especially while using the Dremel

Lee Roder
June 25, 2010, 05:41 PM
4 definitely, always a good way to waste an hour unless you have spares. But you know, there's nothing quite like that AHAH! moment If your thing is the just thrill of the hunt. :D

June 25, 2010, 05:58 PM
what about those parts that you put up in a safe place so you can find them later, only to forget where you put them!

Just did that last week. Found it yesterday, finally!

I also learned that when you order a part, order at least two - that way you are almost guaranteed to never need the replacement.

June 25, 2010, 06:39 PM
I might add, always take any necessary precautions in order to protect weapon finish, as slips will happen. I've made this mistake a few times and the result was a trip to a local gun refinishing shop.

Oh, and put the beer away when doing the home "gunsmith" thing. Alcohol and tools, particularly when guns are involved, do not make a great pair! Unfortunately, I have also learned this lesson the hard (and expensive) way.

June 25, 2010, 06:47 PM
my family has given me 5 dremels in 15 years.

I use one. on my chainsaw and my lawnmower.

no FTF on either of those.... yet.

June 25, 2010, 11:21 PM
I did all but 3,5 and I finnished my saiga :D

Winger Ed.
June 25, 2010, 11:25 PM
Where do all those little parts go?

After mining the vaccume cleaner like a Gold prospector,
crawling around with magnets, etc.,,,, many times-
I'm thinking they all end up in orbit around either Mars or Saturn.


June 26, 2010, 01:13 AM
Wow, such a depressing thread.

I just messed up one of my guns a few hours ago using vice grips, and I screwed the chamber up on another one with a dremel awhile back too.

After I put a new trigger in my AK, I walled out the holes for the pins too much, and now I've got nails and wire keeping it all together. (It shoots good though, just as long as you're careful not to scrape your arm on the side of the receiver, or else you'll probably need a tetanus shot).

It's not surprising though, as I have a long history of using things like vice grips, super glue, hammers, and bigger hammers, to fix whatever is broken....and I usually just make it worse.

As horrible as most of my gunsmithing has been though, it doesn't hold a candle to how bad some of my cars were after working on them; windshield wipers with shoe laces tied to them that have to be operated by hand, cooling fans activated by toggle switches, no less than three cars that use a screwdriver to start, one car that I had to pull spark plug wires to kill the engine, an EZ out stuck in the side of the block with JB weld to keep it from leaking coolant, front grill held on with rope and zip ties, a muffler held on with bailing wire, and the list goes on.

June 26, 2010, 11:17 AM
When the little springs launched themselves into the parallel universe, I would always go to my collection of deceased disposable lighters. It seemed there were, among the different makes, a spring that could be cut to fit. I have also had to make plungers from metal rod using a dremel as a small lathe with needle files. If you happen to disassemble your M1 carbine bolt, and find a stainless steel plunger, let me know how it has held up over the last 25 years. ;)

June 28, 2010, 01:47 PM
Variation on a poem I read many years ago...

Twinkle, Twinkle, little part,
How I wonder where thou art.

I heard you hit the freakiní ground,
with a *ping!* you rolled around.

I search for you, high and low,
but where you landed I donít know.

Across the room or under boot,
To look some more would just be moot.

I know that you will soon be found,
when bare foot touches ground.


June 28, 2010, 02:39 PM
I'm a DIYer and I've found a few things to help.

The dremil is a great tool... Provided you use it smartly. I only use it for polishing feed ramps (not throating them, use a file and sandpaper. It takes longer but you won't F-it up). The only other thing I use a dremil for is to do the rough cut work on undercutting trigger gaurds and Beavertail safteys.

When polishing or doing any file work mask off any areas you don't want to damage. I don't care how small and simple the job is, take the time to put a few layers of masking tape or duct tape to protect the rest of the firearm.

When sanding your work down for a smooth finish go in steps. Use progressivly finer and finer grits till you get the desired results. Don't just skip from 220 grit right to 800-1000 grit, it'll only take you longer to get it right and you'll likely rush the job and end up with a ugly finish.

To all you 1911 guys, the kink on the saftey/slide stop spring is suppost to be there. Early on in my gun fiddling life I "fixed" my kinked spring only to launch it 20' out of my garage and into my driveway. The kink keeps the spring from going into orbit when disassembling the gun.

June 28, 2010, 03:26 PM
Where do all those little parts go?
They are "concrete soluble".... they hit the floor and evaporate.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
June 28, 2010, 03:40 PM
I do pretty much everything myself, no problems there. I did receive a shotgun that had the bead sheared clean off the top of the barrel. I tried everything to get the TIGHTLY-THREADED shaft out of the threaded hole.
They don't make an EZ-Out that small, at least that I know of. I tried stainless Dental Picks to see if I could get a purchase on a bit of uneveness on the top, however that didn't work either.

Finally, I got a really fine center-punch and tried carefully to hit the top with the sharp punch and try to spin it out that way. I could see, after a couple of hours of playing with this thing, that there was FINALLY some movement. I then put some penetrating oil on to soak overnight. I did the usual tap to get the oil to settle down in the threads.

OK, next day, I am ready to take this thing out. Still, I could barely get it to move with the center punch, but it was, and it was going extremely SLOWLY.

After I got it out to the point where I could grab it with pliers, I did just that.

Whew, saved on that one, I got it completely out and the threads were still perfect in the hole, and I hadn't messed up the barrel at all. That is, until I looked in and then happened to notice a very faint ring in the barrel right at that location! I cleaned the barrel inside so it looked like a mirror and held it up to a light, and sure enough, that bit of tapping must have caused an imperfection in the barrel right where the sight is.

I installed the new bead, and the slight ring, visible in the barrel is so slight, that I just decided to leave it alone. I had found a place that could have repaired it, however the guy wanted like $100 or so, and to me, there were more cosmetic issues with the gun than that ring which would be only noticeable if you were actually looking for it, and only if the barrel was really clean!

I learned something. I learned to have a bit more patience. Fortunately this was one of my "beater" guns as there was already a pretty deep gouge in the stock from the original ownwer.

June 28, 2010, 05:36 PM
Attempting to take apart and clean any CO2 BB pistol (I know, not "gunsmithing" per se, but similar)..... Many, many fun little parts that love to fly with great exuberance. :eek:

June 28, 2010, 05:46 PM
Ive taken apart an old Winchester 1400 without the manual about 3 years ago and did fairly good. But just recently (3 months ago) learned how to takedown the gas system after downloading the maual. Duh!! Gotta love the internet.

June 28, 2010, 06:35 PM
wow a thread all about me :) i feel special

June 28, 2010, 07:02 PM
(Not your typical coffee table. Mine is a heavy duty work bench with shortened legs which I use as a coffee table.......with a vise. Being a single guy is great.)

Ahhhhhh, to be young and single again. I'd love to be able to cast bullets while I watch TV, reload while in the A/C, or clean my guns while eating breakfast. Now if I could just get used to the whole no one in bed thing again.... Wait a minute what am I thinking? I'll just go to the shop to work on my junk thank you very much. :evil:

now I've got nails and wire keeping it all together. (It shoots good though, just as long as you're careful not to scrape your arm on the side of the receiver, or else you'll probably need a tetanus shot).

Did you know that the trigger pin on a Porter Cable framing gun is the exact diameter as a 3" Porter Cable smooth framing nail? I don't know if it was intentional or not, but it was darned handy that day at work. :o And, it's been that way for 3 years, and still going strong.

My biggest mistake when I undertake fixing anything is to not clean off the work bench to ensure I have enough room to undertake the task at hand. So, I wind up trying to figure out is this the trigger spring for my pistol, or the carburetor on the lawnmower? :confused: You'd think that after the 90,273,459,732,490,237th time I'd learn, but you'd be WRONG!


June 29, 2010, 04:49 PM
The first time I buggered up a couple of screw slots on my Beretta with a regular flat blade Home Depot screwdriver was a teachable moment. Cost me $12 for two tiny replacement screws but introduced me to hollow-ground screwdrivers.

June 29, 2010, 05:24 PM
Dremel Tools and hardware store bargain bin screwdrivers.
A Dremel tool is a necessity when doing doing military to sporter conversions, polishing feed ramps etc.. I've used Dremels and Foredom tools for years no problems yet.

June 29, 2010, 05:25 PM
A Dremel tool is very useful for home gunsmithing so long as you recognize the difference between a polishing bit and a grinding bit.

Many people can't . . .

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