A recommended starter tool list for beginning gun smiths...

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by Silver Fox, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. Silver Fox

    Silver Fox
    Puyallup, WA
    Well-Known Member

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    I am not claiming this is an all inclusive list and I am not saying this is ideal for everyone, but after interning with Dave at South Ridge Arms for awhile this is a list of gunsmithing tools that you may be interested in, if you wish to get into gunsmithing.

    This list of tool are ones that I see to use on a daily basis. There are more specialized tools that would come in handy and I will order those at a latter date, but for now I am starting off with these.

    Note: If there is something you would recommend please post a suggestion and the reason why. The majority of firearms I work on are the AKM family of rifles, pistols and shotguns, FALs, AR-15 series and Glocks. I am starting to get more into the European handguns and 1911's. I didn't list the tools I already have acquired throughout the years (wrenches, screw drivers and specialized tools) so chances are I may already have it.

    I made this list as a recommendation for the next generation of gunsmiths coming up in the ranks.


    Stock Number / Description Retail Price Your Price Quantity Total

    713-000-121 (In Stock)
    AK47 Campy Bob Sight Tools
    Please note: This product ships direct from Factory, please allow additional business days for shipping. $24.99 $22.76 1 $22.76

    230-112-105 (In Stock)
    Roll Pin Punch Kit $19.99 $19.99 2 $39.98

    080-000-580 (In Stock)
    Takedown Tool $29.95 $21.95 1 $21.95

    080-475-106 (In Stock)
    6-Way Nylon/Brass Punch Set $23.47 $19.97 1 $19.97

    249-130-134 (In Stock)
    No. 134 Flat Nose $34.99 $34.99 1 $34.99

    249-150-153 (In Stock)
    No. 153 Straight Needle $28.99 $28.99 1 $28.99

    249-150-154 (In Stock)
    No. 154 Curved Needle $29.99 $29.99 1 $29.99

    354-008-000 (In Stock)
    Grace Eight-Screwdriver Set $41.99 $31.43 1 $31.43

    080-685-000 (In Stock)
    Roll Pin Holders Set $49.99 $41.65 1 $41.65

    080-645-000 (In Stock)
    Alignment Pin Set $18.99 $14.68 1 $14.68

    354-000-006 (In Stock)
    Starter Punch Set, 4 pc $19.95 $14.95 1 $14.95

    080-000-492 (In Stock)
    Rifle Bench Block $16.99 $16.99 1 $16.99

    818-600-100 (In Stock)
    1" Nylon/Brass Hammer $19.99 $19.99 1 $19.99

    Product Total $338.32

    Shipping - UPS Ground $11.95

    Total $350.27

    Note: If you do order from Brownells tell them up front that you are a gunsmith apprentice and they will give you a discount on select items.

    mookmanjdj and (deleted member) like this.
  2. gunslinger1911

    WA state

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    and we thank you siverfox... :D
  3. BillM

    Amity OR
    Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Screwdrivers. Nothing wrong with the set you listed, but I would choose th Brownell's Standard set No. 1, 080-101-081

    I started with that set a L-O-N-G time ago, adding bits as needed. It's only 10 bucks more than the Grace set.
  4. MountainBear

    Sweet Home, OR
    Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I suggest getting your punches (both standard drift and roll pin if available) from Sears. Craftsman tools have a lifetime warranty. I started with Starret's, as that's what the school I went to issued us. Once I broke my first, I went to Sears and bought one. I've broken several since, and every time, they replace it with a new one, no questions asked.

    I also recommend having a decent ball peen hammer, a couple of decent files, a stone set, some tweezers, and a decent pair of smooth jaw hemostats (an MD friend of mine once referred to them as needle holders, presumably for suturing I expect). A rough list of what I was issued when I started gunsmithing school is as follows.

    tool box
    needle file set
    2 hand files (cannot remember exact, but I seem to recall mill and bastard cut)
    1 rat tail file
    1 four way, half round wood file
    drift punch set
    roll pin punch set
    ball peen hammer
    nylon/brass hammer
    brownells magnatip screwdriver set
    starret depth micrometer
    starret micrometer
    starret calipers
    thread pitch guage
    feeler/shim guage
    jobber drill bit set
    I'm sure there was more, but this covers most of it.

    I quickly added some good pliers of various sorts, but a good parallel jaw, needle nose, and needle nose vice grip were the most helpful. I also added some other wood rasps for stockmaking, an exacto knife set, and a calculator. We also made several tools in the first few months. Inletting screws, a firing pin protrusion guage, bolt welding jig, screw plate (basically a piece of steel with drilled and tapped holes for checking screw sizes, was also helpful for holding screw while grinding to length). I constantly added to my tool bin while I was at school and have not stopped, even though I don't currently do work for the public.

    Lastly, perhaps the most important tools you can get are books. Reference books are excellent. My library is around 40 to 50 reference manuals, and growing constantly. Brownell's catalog, MidwayUSA catalog, Numrich GPC catalog (excellent parts diagrams and parts lists), any of the Khunhausen shop manuals, plus basically any other reference for any sort of guns you are interested in working on. Garage sales and used book stores are an excellent source for this stuff. Even if you don't see a current need for the information, its good to buy books to have on hand for later reference.

    Just .02$ from another gunsmith's perspective. No slight meant to SF's list. I used all the tools I listed, although some more than others. A lot depends on what type of work you will be doing. The tool list I have would work great for an all around/general gunsmith and perhaps a rifle builder. I've had to get way more specialty tools to do some of the handgun work I prefer.
    mookmanjdj and (deleted member) like this.
  5. Silver Fox

    Silver Fox
    Puyallup, WA
    Well-Known Member

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    Mountain Bear-

    Thank you for sharing!! That is an awesome list.

    If at anytime you can think of more items please come back.

    You hit the nail on the head about the books. I've been doing that awhile now, but didn't consider it. Maybe I'll start another thread just about Gunsmithing books, unless you wish to beat me to it?

    Thanks again.

  6. Grommit327

    Active Member

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    Bringing this back up from the dead. I need to get better tools than the claw hammer, slip jaw pliers and electrical tape that I used to put my AR together. Just picked up a GP100 and want to smooth up the trigger. I figure I need a set of good punches, probably brass and steel, a decent brass/nylon hammer and a good set of screw drivers. Oh and a stone or stones for the smoothing work. My question is what are considered to be decent brands for tools? It looks like the Wheeler and Lyman tools don't get the best reviews and I'm not into buying shoddy tools. Also not sure what stones I should be looking for(hopefully a good set)? This will be a learning experience for me definitely. However I am very mechanically inclined and patient so I think I can figure things out.
  7. mookmanjdj

    Oregon Coast

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    Thank you gentlemen for this great information. Worth printing off. I am exploring becoming one of the next generation.

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