Learning the art of gunsmithing is a very rewarding skill. I remember my first experience in the world of gunsmithing. I had purchased an imported m1911 and decided to strip it completely down and rebuild it using all Wilson Combat internal parts.
Not having any gunsmithing experience at the time, I relied heavily on Youtube videos to learn how to rebuild an m1911 and what gunsmithing tools I was going to need. In the process, I learned in great detail how to service an m1911 and the proper tools needed.
Once I successfully completed that project I moved on to a Polymer80 kit. Even though a jig was provided in the kit, I still needed a few tools of the trade to complete the build of the frame and slide.
Looking back at those two projects and a few smaller ones I’ve taken on over the years, there have been a few gunsmithing tools that have been a staple on my workbench regardless of the firearm I’m working on.
Wheeler, in my opinion, happens to be the best which is why they dominate the space on my workbench.
Nylon & Brass Gunsmithing Hammer
A nylon/brass gunsmithing hammer gives you the heft needed but doesn’t mar the normally much harder steel of a firearm.
Every modern firearm uses pins to help hold the gun together, which makes pin punches essential gunsmithing tools. You’ll need different types of pin punches to help drive out different types of pins.
The Wheeler Roll Pin Punch Set is designed to provide proper alignment with the pins of your firearms in order to prevent any damage or marring of the finish. This punch set is machined from hardened steel and will outperform and last longer than competing brands.
Most gunsmiths have more files than they can count, of all different profiles and lengths.
A file allows you to shape and blend in ways that are difficult to do with a machine. Re-shaping grip frames, blending beavertail safeties, breaking fine edges, installing sights, modifying triggers, and many more jobs rely on the skilled use of a good file.
The great thing about hand files is that properly chosen, a file can do anything from rough shaping to smoothing the metal and breaking the finest edges. The Wheeler Professional Gunsmithing File Set is the perfect starter set and will cover 90% of the work you’ll be doing.
Ever rounded out the hex-head hole in a screw out of usable shape, or worse, stripped the threads from a hole in a rifle action? Or have you ever crunched down scope ring screws so tight that the optic tube within has been dented or even damaged the internal optics?
As guys with tools, we tend to always believe “tighter is better" which results in over-tightening most screws, sometimes with disastrous consequences. The Wheeler F.A.T Wrench with interchangeable bits will enable you to torque screws to the manufacturer’s spec every time. It’s potent enough to torque the stoutest action bolts to spec and fine enough to tighten small screws at very light torque, and it comes with a set of 10 common gunsmithing bits.
Firearms screws and your normal screws found in hardware stores are not the same. To correctly and successfully remove and install firearms screws you need specifically designed gunsmith screwdriver bits.
Not only do screws used in firearms have tighter tolerances than standard hardware screws, but they also have no taper. Standard hardware bits have a slight taper, making them more of a general-purpose tool for a home tool kit.
Gunsmith screwdriver bits are hollow ground with no taper to completely engage the surface of the screw giving you a secure fit and full engagement which helps prevent the screwdriver from slipping out of the screw and marring the finish of your gun.
Professional gunsmiths are highly esteemed skilled craftsmen. However, you don’t have to be a professional gunsmith to achieve professional results. Well, at least when it comes to basic servicing, repairing, or upgrades to your firearms.
Gunsmithing covers so many different tasks, but with proper tools, you can excel at some basic repairing, modifying, and upgrading skills. When your work is done, you can sit back, crack open a cold beer, and be proud of what you accomplished.