Trustable Tools for Gunsmithing

I have 2 tool questions.

  1. Is a reaction rod or the Wheeler receiver clamp better for installing barrels etc., to avoid damaging the receiver?

  2. What pin punches are best for installing the pins in the gas block etc.?

There are professionals tools and there are tools that will work great just using occasionally. When I worked on cars for a living, the only tools I bought were Snap On. They used to be hands down the best. I have heard from people they aren’t what they used to be but I think that is true of most things today. Anyways, I couldnt get off the Snap On truck for less than $500.00. Now I am retired and I have bought less expensive tools to do a job, like Craftsman that are still made in the USA and they aren’t as nice or pretty but do the job without damaging anything.

The Chinese made Craftsman tools are not worth buying. I got their ultimate 208 bit set. I needed a T-10 for a hand gun screw that the torque is 10-15 ft. Lbs. I started to loosen the screw and the bit snapped off in the screw. I made a mess of the anodizing on the optics rail trying to get the screw out with the tiniest pair of locking pliers. Their is only about an 1/8" clearance on each side of the screw to the edge of the rail and the screw is counter sunk into the rail. Then I got a small chisel and tapped it once and it came loose. So, since this screw and one on the other end of the rail have to come out every time the pistol needs cleaned, I found a Snap On Dealer. The screw from Browning with shipping was about $15.00. In this case, I would have been far better off buying the best tool for the job and a whole lot less frustration. I’m going to try and use one of the pens for touching up scratches to make the rail look decent because it would be cheaper to buy the Buckmark Camper Rail then to have it anodized again.

These 2 screws usually loosen all by themselves when firing it. So, I will not buy a Chinese tool for anything anymore. It’s just not worth taking the risk.

I’ve had this Dasco Pro punch set for over 2-3 years now and they have held up very well. They are designed and made in the US. for $12.29 + $3.33 S/H. Not a bad deal.

My only complaint is the 1/16" punch is the weakest. Mine has a slight bend that I’ve bent back as straight as I can. I don’t remember what I did but its possible I was using this to pry on something. Otherwise, solid as a rock regarding punch sets.

I bought the wheeler punches. One large brass one broke in half the first hit with the small brass tipped hammer the punch set came with. This was the very first time I used the set. I got them that day. The 1/16" bent almost in half and the 1/8" bent as well. I got 4 different sets and each one did the same thing on a brand new AR-15 I was just trying to clean before firing it. To say that the gun was well oiled is an understatement. I was a Master Mechanic had all certifications and licenses and had never broken a punch before. I thought Wheeler was a US made product but they are made in China. No more. I went out and bought a wall known manufacturers set that drives to shops in their big trucks that the name is mostly in Red and white. I haven’t broke a punch or bent one since. You have to be careful where stuff is made nowdays and even though you think you know the manufacturer’s name and it’s built in the USA, double check. I had Schwinn bikes that were made in the USA, I was looking for my kids. It has a big sticker with “Designed in the USA” with a picture of a big flag. Then I looked at a small sticker at the bottom of the frame that says “Made in China.” There are a bunch of brands that were well known USA Brands that have sold out to China. It’s getting harder and harder to buy American. God Bless America and God bless President Trump as he tries to find ways to correct the Trade Deficit.

i wanted to wait about recommending these until i had a couple of builds completed with them. that has happened now and i can definitely recommend these. all of them have held up great and are quality made. i know they are pricey, but they are all within spec and not even the smallest ones have bent. You can buy cheap from China or quality from USA.

Sometimes the cheap route is the better one, but in the case of roll pin punches where 1/64 of an inch can mean you can’t finish your build, this is not one of those times.

Grace USA - Steel Roll Spring Punch Set - RS7 - Gunsmithing - Steel Punches - 7 piece - Gunsmith Tools & Accessories

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