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I have been having a blast getting back into some light duty armorer work, but I find I am reaching the limits of what I can do with my standard shop tools. Automotive wrenches are too thick to reliably get onto muzzle devices and suppressors, my punch set is too short for some applications (some FAL pins, for example) and my "armorers" driver set is missing about half the bits I find I commonly use (mostly optic and rail accessory stuff).

I have a much more comprehensive driver set on the way, but all the "gun" wrenches are either those awful combo tool types or the crows foot variety, both of which do not even offer all the sizes I find myself in need of (and are often still too thick to boot). Plus I have enough of them already to know I do not want more.

So what are your recommendations for a nice, thin wrench set that covers everything from, say .5 in to 1.75 inch (and metric equivalents, because I have a lot of European stuff too)? It does not have to be a "gun" specific set, it just has to be good quality and thin enough to get a few of them stacked together in a small space.

This stack is impossible to deal with with my current tool set, especially the bottom nut (the actual muzzle device) because it is "protected" by a spacer.

As for punches I have a basic hardware set as well as a good Wheeler set, but the hardware set is a bit too limited in variety and the Wheeler set is a bit too short for every application. I am looking for good recommendations that people use and like there too.

And if there are any other specialty tools you find useful, like strap wrenches or weird spanner bits or whatever go ahead and post those too. I am a massive tool nut, and my firearms nuttery is only a small extension of that.
 
Skinny wrench drawer...
a5INT73h.jpg
 
Punches: If it from Starrett, it's gtg. Also...if you're doing a lot of work...a set of sacrificial starter punches is probably worth the small investment. Brownells or Midway for that and any other punches you need.

A set of dental picks...in metal and plastic.

Dawsons Extractor Removal Tool is wonderful if you're working on 9mm 1911's...


These little armorer tools are da BombDiggity!


And Vibra-Tite VC-3 thread locker is fantastic stuff if you don't know about it. It's designed for screws that may need periodic adjustment from time to time. You can make five adjustments before the screw needs to be recoated. The stuff is great for things like tension adjustment screws on holsters and such. It's a little pricey but a bottle goes a long way
 
Ok, I know they may not be the best, however, check Amazon for thin open end wrench sets. They offer them in both SAE and metric. One set I saw was 3mm thick.

Both Ace and Harbor Freight carry thin wrench sets as well.

+1 on the Vira-Tite. Good stuff.

Best regards.
 
I've bought all of my recent wrenches, punches (allen, socket and box/open), pliers and screwdrivers from Tekton.com.

Gun-specific tools mostly from Brownell's or Midway USA.

I really like this torque wrench screwdriver for the money:

BTW, this castle wrench doesn't slip like the others all seem to:
If you don't have an AR, you probably don't need this tool.
 
I don't usually go for the "gunsmith" kit's. They seem to run at premium prices for very mediocre quality tools... unless you really get up into the spendy spendy stuff.

Here's a few I own and use very regularly. Allen wrench set.

Multiples of commonly used SAE and metric bits... and I've only once ever found a bit (a 10.9) that I needed that wasn't inside.

Roll pin

These simply for the 2 offset bolt catch pin that's always a PITA... but no more...

A must have bench block not mentioned yet.

If you ever do any work on AR's an action rod is darn near invaluable.

Some good stuff already mentioned, but a 2nd shout out for the F.A.T. torque. Invaluable!!

A good quality SAE/Metric metal caliper is another I couldn't live without.

There are others that I consider invaluable, but very firearm type specific so it depends what you typically work on.
 
If you want to buy thin wrenches this set has 3/4" - 1 5/8"

I have a set made by Bonney at work.
Up to 3/4" Craftsman has regular open ended ones, 1/2",9/16" etc.

I use the Fat Wrench at work, well worth the $50
For bits and drivers I use Mac RBRT, best ones I have used yet.
 
Good not expensive calipers:

Digital (I have these)

Analog (friend has these)
 
Great advice and recommendations already given; word of advice for digital calipers; regardless of price, use the best/dedicated battery size/types. I messed up using hearing aid button in my cheapo and got WAY off readouts :s0140: LR44 or SR44 is whats recomnended for the Philadelphia HF digital caliper, not 675 Zinc air :rolleyes:
 
Great advice and recommendations already given; word of advice for digital calipers; regardless of price, use the best/dedicated battery size/types. I messed up using hearing aid button in my cheapo and got WAY off readouts :s0140: LR44 or SR44 is whats recomnended for the Philadelphia HF digital caliper, not 675 Zinc air :rolleyes:
They have a lower initial voltage than the LR44 and SR44. The SR especially holds voltage very well over time, and then drops rather steeply when it hits the end of life. The ZA675 is for devices like actual hearing aids, which draw more current.



AG13/LR44/SR44/SR44SW/357 Battery Chemistries Comparison Chart

ChemistryAlkalineSilver-OxideZinc AirMercury-Oxide
Nominal Voltage1.5V1.55V1.4-1.45V1.35V
End-Point Voltage1.0V1.2V1.05-1.1V1.1V
NotesVoltage drops over timeVery constant voltageSlightly lower voltage, large capacity;
mostly used as hearing aid batteries
Slightly lower voltage, contains mercury;
not in use anymore
Typical LabelsLR44, 76A, AG13, LR1154, A76, L1154SR44W, SR44, SR44SW, 157, 357, 303, SG13, AG13, S76, A76, SR1154675, Blue Tab, ZA675, PR44, 7003ZDMR44, MR1154
Typical Capacity110-130 mAh150-200 mAh600-700 mAh180-200 mAh
 
I buy old wrenches at garage sales, and grind them to the thickness I need. Just don't overheat them while you're grinding them down.

You can temper them if need be, which isn't that difficult.

Being a machinist, I make a lot of my own tools.
 
They have a lower initial voltage than the LR44 and SR44. The SR especially holds voltage very well over time, and then drops rather steeply when it hits the end of life. The ZA675 is for devices like actual hearing aids, which draw more current.



AG13/LR44/SR44/SR44SW/357 Battery Chemistries Comparison Chart

ChemistryAlkalineSilver-OxideZinc AirMercury-Oxide
Nominal Voltage1.5V1.55V1.4-1.45V1.35V
End-Point Voltage1.0V1.2V1.05-1.1V1.1V
NotesVoltage drops over timeVery constant voltageSlightly lower voltage, large capacity;
mostly used as hearing aid batteries
Slightly lower voltage, contains mercury;
not in use anymore
Typical LabelsLR44, 76A, AG13, LR1154, A76, L1154SR44W, SR44, SR44SW, 157, 357, 303, SG13, AG13, S76, A76, SR1154675, Blue Tab, ZA675, PR44, 7003ZDMR44, MR1154
Typical Capacity110-130 mAh150-200 mAh600-700 mAh180-200 mAh
Yes, I'm aware of that lol. I have hearing aids that uses the ZA675s, one from like 1990 :eek: and the other from 2010ish. Need to replace them with more modern stuff on health insurance when I can.
 
Few more...

Midwest Industries Upper Receiver Rod...It's more expensive than the Wheeler tool above. But it's made from 4140 steel and is an absolute beast.




Magpuls AR Armorers Wrench...or similar is probably also a must have if you spend any time working on AR's. These type of tools aren't cheap. But they'll likely last multiple lifetimes if you take care of them.

Note that Midwest Industries has their own version. There's a video down the page that highlights the features. They also included a handy bottle opener on theirs so you can open your beer while you're putting your AR together. 😍

Knipex Pliers - Just a quick mention of these. If you haven't discovered Knipex pliers...particularly their Cobra Water Pump Pliers and their Plier Wrenches, oh boy are they nice. Not cheap but nice. And they come in every size and configurations imaginable along with clippers, cutters, nippers, etc.
 
Punches are the easy part; Starrett. Get some proper roll-pin punches as well. A few pieces of delrin make good non-marring punches for drifting sights.

Now, screwdrivers. Spend some money. Get these if you want great drivers: https://chapmanmfg.com/

You'll need something to whack those punches with. This thing is awesome with steel, brass and delrin replaceable heads, as well as a removable dead-blow weight in the head. I use it for everything from driving pins to spousal-unit correction.
 
Midwest Industries Upper Receiver Rod...It's more expensive than the Wheeler tool above. But it's made from 4140 steel and is an absolute beast.
Action rods are definitely a game changer, but I can attest the wheeler is really only suitable for the home tinkerer. Good for multiple dozens of builds/re-builds, but being from aluminum the lug lock does "wear". It hasn't failed me yet, but it's definitely showing it's age.

I guess on the one hand it's nice that it's aluminum to prevent damage to an extension, but it's not a "lifetime" tool. The tube alignment rod is just plastic. Pretty chinsey. I don't really use that feature, took it off and it's floating somewhere around in the tool cabinet, but if it's a selling point to others... be aware.
 
For smaller thin wrenches 3/8" to 7/8" you often find "tappet" wrenches at estate and garage sales. They are mostly double open-end, but sometimes just single open end. The were designed to adjust mechanical "solid" valve tappets that have a hex-head adjusting screw. They are longer than a normal open end wrench in order to reach deep into confined spaces, like valve chambers.

$_12.jpg
 

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