Gun Tools


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mikemyers
June 8, 2014, 01:25 PM
I think most people involved with working on guns either already know (or soon will know) of the need to use tools designed for working on guns, not the ordinary screwdrivers, etc., that you buy at the local hardware shop.

My question for someone here who is a qualified gunsmith, is using tools such as the "Chapman Mft. Co. #9600 Gun Screw Driver Kit" adequate, or do you recommend more specialized tools? The application I'm thinking of is disassembly, cleaning, and re-assembly of a handgun, using the "right" tool, so screwheads remain looking factory-new.


Cheap tools get rounded off over time, break, damage the screws they're supposedly tightening or loosening, and if you look closely at the screwhead after using them, the screw might look damaged. I assume this is because the screwdriver is not the exact size needed for that particular screw.

If the Chapman set is NOT adequate, how is one to know what specific tools they should have on hand, to work on a particular gun?

(The Chapman set I'm looking at now dates back to the 1980's.... it's still available today, http://www.amazon.com/Chapman-9600-Starter-Gunsmith-Screwdriver/dp/B0002S7YBI, and I assume it's pretty much the same.)

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Old Fuff
June 8, 2014, 01:38 PM
Chapman screwdrivers are good, but Brownells (www.brownells.com) offers replaceable bits that are ground to fit different screws in specific models of firearms. They also have specialized tools related to disassembly and reassembly of many popular kinds of guns (S&W revolvers, 1911 platform pistols, AR-15 rifles etc.). They also have various sets of pin punches, that are something else you'll probably need.

Last but not least you can get shop manuals and videos explaining in great detail how to service certain guns.

rcmodel
June 8, 2014, 02:17 PM
I use Chapman almost exclusively.

They also offer a wide range of individual bitts besides what comes in the set.
But the ones that come in the #9600 set fit almost anything you are likely to be working on.
And spare bits are cheap enough you can grind them for any special needs that come up.

About the only thing I have found they won't fit is the very extra fine slots used on some high grade European shotguns. Some Belgium Brownings for instance.

I also have a few Brownell's 'special' bits such as the one for 1911 grip screw bushings.
They fit the Chapman handles just fine.

http://www.chapmanmfg.com/OrderParts.html


rc

zoom6zoom
June 8, 2014, 03:05 PM
I've had one of the Brownells kits for over thirty years. Still great except for a few bits I have had to replace due to loss or my modifying them for special purposes. Not the cheapest kit out there, but considering the cost over time, a true bargain. And who can estimate the cost of a nasty gouge on your favorite gun from using inferior tools?

4v50 Gary
June 8, 2014, 05:56 PM
I have a Chapman set from the late '70s that was made in America. It's better than the Brownell's set that was made in China. I like the Chapman and have modified some bits to fit particular guns.

Jim Watson
June 8, 2014, 06:45 PM
Either one of them takes standard quarter inch hex bits.
You can use a Chapman or a Brownells or a Midway or any of several others to turn any of a multitude of bits, "gunsmith," industrial, or hardware. Brownells even has a grinding wheel of the radius the tips are ground to so you can thin one and maintain the hollow grind.

Jim K
June 8, 2014, 09:43 PM
Some folks will jump all over me on this, but a lot of professional gunsmiths don't buy super expensive specialist hand tools. They buy reasonably good tools and alter them (grind screwdrivers to shape, for example) as necessary.

Jim

4v50 Gary
June 8, 2014, 10:09 PM
Since altering was mentioned, we were encouraged to frequent pawn shops to buy screwdrivers and other things cheap. We modified them as needed. I've never bought from a pawn shop before attending gunsmithing school.

One tool I used a lot was an old stubby Craftsman screwdriver. The blade was ground down to fit inside the S&W rebound slide spring. It's great for removal and installation of the rebound slide and spring.

rcmodel
June 8, 2014, 10:27 PM
I might mention that grinding gunsmith screwdrivers to fit specific screw slots is a skill most folks can't master.

Even after years of trying.

I find it about 10 times more difficult then hand sharpening a knife razor sharp on a whet-stone, in the dark.

rc

Hullraiser
June 8, 2014, 10:59 PM
I would like to get one of the chapman kits someday , but other than some speciality hammers & punches, I've found high quality hex, Allen& star drive kits, smaller, medium and precision screwdriver kits have worked for me. Although I'm not making major mods, replacing sights etc. I've never stripped, slipped, or gouged anything yet. Also have assorted files, steel wools and trusty dermel with grinding & buffing kits with flex shaft & foot control.

zoom6zoom
June 8, 2014, 11:02 PM
It's better than the Brownell's set that was made in China.Brownell's MagnaTip sets are made in the US.

BBBBill
June 9, 2014, 12:29 AM
...we were encouraged to frequent pawn shops to buy screwdrivers and other things cheap. We modified them as needed.

^^^^ I made my 1911 slide pusher (used when fitting barrels) out of an old screwdriver as well as the rebound slide tool for S&W revos. Couldn't afford them back when. No need to replace them now that I can.

Jim K
June 9, 2014, 01:38 PM
FWIW, I never used anything for an S&W rebound slide spring but a Nr 2 Phillips screwdriver.

Jim

Kp321
June 10, 2014, 10:37 AM
I use the accessories from the Chapman set with Brownells bits. The solid extension and ratchet handle are very handy. Nothing wrong with the Chapman bits but the Brownells set has more choices for a good fit on more screws.

Nappers
June 13, 2014, 03:49 AM
I bought the Wheeler Engineering screwdriver set..... the 89 piece I think, not sure.

It works so far for me, I don't do a lot of gunsmithing per se, but on my own firearms.

Sav .250
June 13, 2014, 07:31 AM
A screw driver set, designed for weapons is a must. Lots of good choices available.

4v50 Gary
June 13, 2014, 07:57 AM
Bravo BBBBill.

This week as part of my blueprinting class, I made a Rem 700 mandrel (.701), a receiver sleeve and a holder for the recoil lug. Presently I'm try to zero the assembly (mandrel, receiver sleeve and receiver) in my lathe.

triggerman770
June 19, 2014, 03:33 AM
one good thing about the Brownell's Magna tips is if you break or twist a bit just email them the bit # and a replacement magically appears in a 12x12 UPS box:what:

Hullraiser
June 21, 2014, 06:53 PM
I have usually just used good quality tools that fit, & quality machinist hammers & punches. I recently broke down and bought a Winchester 51 pice bit set. Seems to be good with several bits I may not use for my purposes. I'm looking forward to using them

ClarkEMyers
June 21, 2014, 07:30 PM
IMHO it's flat impossible to grind a screwdriver bit usefully on a bench grinder. One issue is that grinding lines are wrong and taper is almost inevitable.

It's not impossible with a milling machine vise (Harbor Freight will almost work because precision in the vise is almost wasted in a cut and try process) holding the bit vertically and moving against the side of the Brownell's shaped grinding stone in a drill press. Obviously side loads the drill press but passes take very little off and the should be very slight grinding marks cross-wise on the bit help keep the bit from climbing out of the screw slot.

Rumor long ago said some of the specialty gunsmith screw drivers were from the same vendor as MAC screwdrivers reground by the specialty vendor.

beag_nut
June 21, 2014, 11:00 PM
IMHO it's flat impossible to grind a screwdriver bit usefully on a bench grinder. One issue is that grinding lines are wrong and taper is almost inevitable.

.

Many gunsmiths and machinists would take vigorous exception to that opinion, including me.

Drail
June 22, 2014, 02:56 AM
If you cannot grind a bit to fit a slot perfectly then you need to work on basic skills before you open up a firearm and start poking around.

beag_nut
June 22, 2014, 04:28 PM
If you cannot grind a bit to fit a slot perfectly then you need to work on basic skills before you open up a firearm and start poking around.

Exactly.

Sol
June 22, 2014, 05:55 PM
Off topic, but even if your not a gunsmith, you should have a variety of screwdrivers and tools around your house.

I say this only because I know waaaaaay too many people that have absolutley no tools in their houses and don't know how to use them even if they did.

stu1ritter
June 23, 2014, 07:05 AM
Tool tip time. One of the hardest things to fathom for folks who work with tools is a dull Phillips screwdriver.
As a retired Mercedes mechanic of 30 years and amateur gunsmith for 55 years (Army gunsmith in 1959) I find it amazing that people don't sharpen their Phillips screwdrivers. Granted, we hardly ever see a Phillips head in gun service but they are used everywhere else. Takes about 15 seconds to regrind the bit. Once a Phillips slips in the screw head the sharp edges are dulled and it will only slip more. A light touch on a fine grinding wheel and they are as new. I use Brownells magna-tips for slotted screws, can't get much better in the assortment to fit gun screws.
Stu

fguffey
June 23, 2014, 07:49 AM
In the perfect world of turning screws, what is this thread about?

The driver drives the screw, problem, getting the driver to drive the screw with 100% contact, most slotted screw drivers only drive on the leading tip on each side. A better choice would have been the clutch head type screw driver. On a common screw driver in a common screw the screw is driven by the leading ends of the blades.

There are better choices with more contact than 'the blade', problem, we are too far into it to change now.

F. Guffey

http://artdepartmental.com/2009/10/27/tool-school/

mikemyers
June 23, 2014, 08:33 AM
.......I find it amazing that people don't sharpen their Phillips screwdrivers. Granted, we hardly ever see a Phillips head in gun service but they are used everywhere else. Takes about 15 seconds to regrind the bit......


I guess I'm one of the people you're talking about. I have absolutely no idea how to sharpen a Phillips head screwdriver, and didn't even know it could be done until I read this. ......my own "solution" to the problem, I get high-quality screwdrivers (Hudy, and before that, SnapOn), and they "seem" to last forever.

Now that I know it can be done, I'll check it out when I get home.

stu1ritter
June 23, 2014, 08:43 AM
Mikemyers, just look at the four driving edges of the Phillips and you will see how they get rounded off. Just maintain the angle and a touch on a fine grinder and back to new you go. If the Phillips gets pointy like a Reed & Prince, just touch the tip to the grinder and flatten it a bit. All my Phillips screwdrivers are SnapOn, Stahlwille and Hazet.
Stu

mikemyers
June 23, 2014, 08:43 AM
If you cannot grind a bit to fit a slot perfectly then you need to work on basic skills before you open up a firearm and start poking around.


I find it difficult to accept that one needs to be a machinist before one attempts to simply open a gun up to clean it, but if you're right, the question of which tool to use may be irrelevant.

I also suspect many of the expert gunsmiths today got that way by "learning on the job". I don't think one can learn these things simply by reading about it. .....I'd like to ask how all of YOU learned how to do things as well as you can today? Did you take a course? Learn from a book? Learn from experience and trial-and-error?

stu1ritter
June 23, 2014, 09:39 AM
Tool Tip Two.
When starting these very fine threaded gun fasteners it is always a good idea to turn the screw backwards until you feel the click of the thread falling into place before you start turning in the tightening direction. Sure keeps you from misthreading these fine fasteners. Works well for sheet metal screws also.
Stu

Hullraiser
June 23, 2014, 05:44 PM
I has my first disappointment with my brand new Winchester 51 piece bit set. After dialing in a scope I got the bits out to check & snug ring screws. Hmmm. No metric hex head to fit. Went back to my non gun folding metric hex bit set. Hope I get to use the new tool soon. Otherwise I'll keep using the non gun specifics tools I've used for years without any problems

loose noose
June 25, 2014, 12:08 PM
I've got a set of "Bonanza Sports" that I've had for at least 30 years. I had to do some modifying to them over the years, but they have served me well. Just recently bought a new set from Wally World but they don't have a brand name (guess whoever made them isn't too proud of them), any way they seem to have a bit for every screw made. I also have a Lyman screw driver with a bunch of assorted bits that I carry in my shooting bag, comes in handy at times.

cfullgraf
June 25, 2014, 12:50 PM
I have a Brownell's screw bit set and it performs well. I guess I have been living under a rock as I had not known about Chapman. Looks like they have some interesting drivers to go along with the bits. I will probably invest.

I am never disappointed when spending good money on good tools.

Drail
June 28, 2014, 02:40 PM
I started with a Chapman set many years ago and then switched to buying 1/4" hex drive bits at the hardware store to grind on. I now have at least 6 different driver handles and a drawer full of custom ground bits - and once in a while I still end up with a gun on the bench that requires me to grind a bit for its screws. The Brownells sets are probably the best - their bits are made from a carefully hardened alloy and will last forever if not abused or overtorqued. When you work on guns for a while you will build a large collection of drivers, files, and punches. At least I did. The right tool for the job is about the only way to not damage a gun (yours or someone else's) You don't need to be a machinist to grind a bit - just a good eye and steady hands and lots of practice. It's a lot like learning to sharpen a knife properly. And I know a lot of guys that can't seem to figure that out either.

natman
June 28, 2014, 09:57 PM
I say this only because I know waaaaaay too many people that have absolutley no tools in their houses and don't know how to use them even if they did.

Then it's probably for the best.

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