Tools needed for working on guns

by Erik  

The title says it all. If you have more than a few guns and plan on making any modifications, you will probably need some special tools. Buying a few moderately priced tools will save you plenty of cash in the long run. Most gunsmiths charge around $50/hour with a $25 minimum.
What tools do I need? Well, there are some tools the are weapon specific. Meaning, an AR-15 armorers wrench will only work on an AR-15. Some other tools such as sight pushers will only work on a few guns at best.

For everything else, you can pickup a few different things that will make your life a lot easier. These tools will work with every gun, and you should only have to buy them once because they really wear out. For years I used a set of star tip screw drivers as my punch set. I finally spent the money on punch set because I was afraid of leaving marks from the star tip on my polymer frame.

Along with a punch set, you should also pickup a gunsmith hammer. Sometimes they come with the punch set, but make sure you get one that has both a brass and plastic side. The plastic side usually comes in nylon or delrin. The other side is metallic for banging on hard surfaces. It is made of steel and/or brass.

Shown here, is a Lyman set that consists of both the hammer and punches. You will see each side of the hammer has a different surface for working with different parts of your guns.

Why use a punch set? A punch set comes with specific sizes that correspond to different size straight or roll pins. Using the proper size punch ensures you do not widen the opening in which the pin fits. Boring out the pin hole with the wrong tool may completely ruin your gun. There is nothing worse than destroying a $200+ polymer frame because you did not buy the $50 punch set. Using something other than a proper punch may also mangle your roll pin making it difficult or impossible to re-insert. Trust me, I've done it before. Using the wrong tool, I bent up a roll pin and could not re-use it. I was forced to wait a week until another one came in the mail.

If you own an AR-15 and plan on doing any upgrades save yourself some time and frustration. Purchase the proper wrench that allows you to do everything from changing the muzzle device and barrel to switching the buffer tube. They are fairly in-expensive and you will not be able to substitute the wrench for anything else depending on the task. I haven't found any other way to easily remove the castle nut without the correct wrench. Shown below is the AR multi-wrench and tool for removing the hand guard.

Buying sight pushers is usually not needed as the cheapest ones are at least $100. Most gun shops will do your sights for $20-25. More expensive sight pushers can be $150+. If your frequently work on rifles, a gun vise will make your life much easier. You can also use it while cleaning your guns which makes it a little more useful than just repairs or modifications. Shown below is the Tiptop gun vise.

Don't be tricked into buying expensive kits with screw drivers. You can usually find a deluxe screw driver set with every head type and size needed separately. Don't forget various types of needle nose pliers and a good flashlight.

No feedback yet