1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Gun Tools

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by mikemyers, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. mikemyers

    mikemyers Well-Known Member

    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.)
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    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.


  4. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Well-Known Member

    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?
  5. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  6. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    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.

  8. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    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.

  10. Hullraiser

    Hullraiser Well-Known Member

    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.
  11. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Well-Known Member

    Brownell's MagnaTip sets are made in the US.
  12. BBBBill

    BBBBill Well-Known Member

    ^^^^ 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.
  13. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    FWIW, I never used anything for an S&W rebound slide spring but a Nr 2 Phillips screwdriver.

  14. Kp321

    Kp321 Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. Nappers

    Nappers Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Well-Known Member

    A screw driver set, designed for weapons is a must. Lots of good choices available.
  17. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  18. triggerman770

    triggerman770 Well-Known Member


    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:
  19. Hullraiser

    Hullraiser Well-Known Member

    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
  20. ClarkEMyers

    ClarkEMyers Well-Known Member

    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.

Share This Page