Need a decent pin punch set

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Monac, Dec 16, 2019.

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  1. Monac

    Monac Member

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    Hi, I'm a noob in this forum. I have owned pistols for a long time, but I never tried to do my own gunsmithing on them, because I have no training in mechanical arts. In particular, I have avoided driving out any pins, so I don't have a useful pin punch set.

    But now I have a very nice Harrington & Richardson Model 199 22LR revolver, which is the single-action-only version of the Model 999. The problem with it is that the firing pin return spring is dead, so the firing pin sticks out in the forward position after firing, and catches on the case heads when the cylinder revolves.

    It is part 16 on this Numrich drawing of a Model 999:

    https://www.gunpartscorp.com/gun-manufacturer/hr/revolvers-hr/999?page=2

    It and the firing pin are retained by a long slender cross pin, which is part 15 on the same drawing.

    I have bought a new spring from Numrich. I also bought a new retaining pin, and a new firing pin (in case the old pin is not compatible with the new spring, somehow). Since these are 999 parts, I realize there is no guarantee they will be a drop-in fit on a 199, but they are the best I could do.

    I looked on Amazon for pin punch sets, and was swamped by the array of choices. I would like to get a decent set, but I do not plan to make heavy use of it, and I would only be using it on pistols, so I do not need a vast array of sizes.

    I don't mind spending enough to get decent quality, but I may make very little other use of it. I don't know anyone else who owns a set, and I don't know a good gunsmith in my area. Also, on paper, this looks simple enough (on paper) that I might be able to do it myself, and a punch set might cost less than a gunsmith.

    Any and all advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. shooter1niner

    shooter1niner Member

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    When I was a young machinist the hand tools made by Starrett tools of Athol, Ma. were like the standard. Expensive and over priced perhaps but they were high quality and American made. I have been out of the trade 11 years and don't know if this is still the case as it seems everyone has gone to offshore manufacturers.

    Depending on the work you are doing I would consider getting a set of punches with cupped ends and another set of flat. The cupped ends help keep punch centered on pin and do not damage the end or the work. They are good to get pins that have not moved in awhile started moving then switch to a flat punch. I like punches to be short. You may end up getting a longer set if you need it. I hope I helped and good luck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
  3. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    It sounds like your going to have intermittent use so the Wheeler set is probably fine I’m this instance. Even the Mayhews at some of the hardware stores out there will suffice in this instance. That is the route I would go. Measure the pin and go get the appropriate sized punch from Ace Hardware or the like.

    The advice about getting punches with cupped tips is sound and only you will be able to determine if they would be worth it. My opinion is that even though they are a great tool to have, in your instance it is probably not needed.

    Starrett tools are nothing short of awesome and everyone should have a few. If you want top tier tools, get the $60 punch set from Amazon. Probably still a bargain. They are really nice.

    Some may say to use a brass punch in this instance. Maybe they are right. I wouldn’t though. It is a somewhat specialized tool with minimal utility value. Plus you will want something tough to drive out a pin that may be quite stubborn after all these years. Just be very careful to hit the pin and not the frame of the gun. A small hammer can be a benefit as well.
     
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  4. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    I use punches quite a lot (for a hobbyist) and find that they are wear items, not durable tools. As such I find basic Tier 2 brands the best balance of cost and quality. If you actually use them you're going to be regrinding tips, and I'd rather consume a $3 Mayhew than an heirloom $18 Starrett.

    Amazon sells Mayhew punches pretty reasonably. For guns, buy 3 of the 89032 set and you'll be set for years.

    Also, never buy brass punches. . . buy a section of hard brass rod, and make your own lifetime supply of brass punches for the same money.
     
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  5. Monac

    Monac Member

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    Thanks very much, shooter1niner, earlthegoat2, and edwardware, This is the kind of advice I had hoped to get. In particular, although I knew not to get roll-pin punches, I did not know about cupped-end punches. Also, I would not have known to avoid brass punches.

    Amazon has a set of Starretts. They are expensive, but I know it can be false economy to buy cheap tools. And they are not much more than the Mayhew punches. I will look around and try to make up my mind. Thanks for paying attention to such a minor problem!
     
  6. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    You could also try Brownell's, and McMaster-Carr. Both have excellent tools.
     
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  7. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I've used a lot of different brands over the years and Starrett's are the one that hold up the best. Super hard steel, holds the shape and do not bend like a cheap one will. Now there are starter punches too which are shorter so you less likely to bend them if you don't hit them square on the head. Then once broken free you finish with the std length punch.
     
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  8. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 Member

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    I have a set of Craftsman punches that I bought from Sears ages ago. They’re all you need so there’s no reason to shop online. Working on Auto-5’s I found I needed a longer punch and got one at Lowe’s — which now sells Craftsman.
     
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  9. Tilos

    Tilos Member

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  10. SGW Gunsmith

    SGW Gunsmith Member

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    ^^^^^Good advice on the roll-pin punches. I get the best punches that I can use as I use them quite often. I do have a set of Starrett punches, and they are not "super-hard", but heat-treated very well and will bend before they will break, especially the small diameter punches. If they were super hard they would be brittle and shatter quickly. Not a good thing!
    The cupped end punches I have are used for pins with radiused ends so when driving those out of place the ends of the pins are not flattened.
    One of the most often used punches that I have are "tapered starter punches" used to start stubborn pins on their way to removal.
    I don't used brass punches as the yellow smear left behind is a PITA to remove, but instead I have several diameters of copper rod, and any copper smear produced is easily wiped off with bore solvent.
    Safety glasses are a much have/use item when drifting pins out of place, especially if you're in the habit of using brittle, super-hard, steel punches.
     
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  11. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    I only use cup tip punches for rounded head pins such as S&W revolvers. Decent steel and reasonably durable. I have Starrett, Mayhew, and several other brands. I find Mayhew to be the best of the less expensive brands.
     
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  12. Kp321

    Kp321 Member

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    I have been smithing for 40+ years and have had a set of Starrett punches the whole time. I have replaced the 1/16 and 3/32 punches several times but the larger ones are still original. I have always kept the broken punches and reground them into starter punches or specials as needed. Sure, they are expensive initially but the cost-to-own over several years is low.
    As with everything in life, you get what you pay for.
     
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