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Thread: Looking for a decent set of driver bits.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Looking for a decent set of driver bits.

    I've gotten a few sets of screwdrivers and bits recently and all have left be disappointed. As usual they look beautiful in the box but they are just too soft. I don't mind paying more for something that works. I read a few comments about Chapman tools but have never tried them. Any experience? I understand they are at least US made but it seems like in the flurry to compete with the Chinese, made in the USA doesn't mean what it used to either. I just got a set of US made screwdrivers I'm less than impressed with. They just fold over on anything even moderately tight. I'd rather break a tip than have it fold over the edge of a screw. I really just want to spend the money one more time..

    Looking for bits this time rather than screwdrivers. The screwdriver idea seemed great but I'm not happy with them. Bit should also be easier/cheaper to replace.

    Any reviews from personal experience with any brands currently available greatly appreciated. Also looking in the $100 range, I'm just a hobby user looking for the 95% solution. Probably can't afford the 100% one.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Uncle Grinch's Avatar
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    I've tried Midway, Lyman, Chapman and Grace. All have twisted or rounded in use. I hate to pay a fortune for a set, but that may be the answer... Apex, Proto...etc.
    Shoot Safe,
    Mike

    Retired Telephone Man
    NRA Endowment Member
    Marion Road Gun Club
    ( www.marionroad.com )

  3. #3
    arlon,

    I own, and still use, two sets of drivers from Grace Metal products. These are excellent quality drivers and the company stands behind them 100%. However, a set of eight screwdrivers does not even come close to handling all the different size screws and slots you will encounter if you like to tinker with firearms.

    Quite a few years ago I purchased a full set of the Magna-Tip drivers from Brownell's. It isn't too often that I am now caught without a proper sized bit for the screw I want to remove. The bits are available individually should one ever be broken or twisted. Individual bits can also be ground to fit for a particular purpose.

    It not required to buy the entire set all at once. A basic set can be purchased and added to as needed.

    Life it too short to mess with junk tools!

    PB

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    alamogunr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phineas Bluster View Post
    arlon,

    I own, and still use, two sets of drivers from Grace Metal products. These are excellent quality drivers and the company stands behind them 100%. However, a set of eight screwdrivers does not even come close to handling all the different size screws and slots you will encounter if you like to tinker with firearms.

    Quite a few years ago I purchased a full set of the Magna-Tip drivers from Brownell's. It isn't too often that I am now caught without a proper sized bit for the screw I want to remove. The bits are available individually should one ever be broken or twisted. Individual bits can also be ground to fit for a particular purpose.

    It not required to buy the entire set all at once. A basic set can be purchased and added to as needed.

    Life it too short to mess with junk tools!

    PB
    +1 on the Brownell's set. Even if you don't get the full set at first, it can be filled out later. I've had my set for several years now and am thankful every time I spend a few seconds finding the correct bit for a screw.
    John
    W.TN

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    +1 again for Brownell's. I have owned and used (almost daily) their Magna-Tip bits. You can order the shaft length of your choice for the driver: stubby is 5/8", law enforcement is 1 3/4" and standard is 3 3/8". I appreciate the magnetic feature as the driver serves as a third hand. Left hand usually holds the workpiece, right hand holds the driver, and the driver holds the screw. Along with all this comes Brownell's guarantee. If the tool fails you in any way, send it back to them and they will ship you a new same product replacement item and they will even pay the shipping charges. Lifetime, no questions guarantee.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Last time a driver tip broke on me was in a thru stock bolt inside the stock. Regrinding the tip wasn't a problem, getting the old tip out of the screw down in the hoe was a chore.

  7. #7
    i use chapmans at work, no real complaints. i also have a set of wheeler engineering bits/drivers like the magna tips mentioned above. i like the wheeler set. have broke a few bits but easily replaced.

  8. #8
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer


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    I've used the Brownell's for years, but they are lacking on some of the older screw slot sizes. I started making my own from flat stock tool steel. Shape them, hollow grind, drill for rivet holes, and temper. Then set into a handle. Or, just leave a shank long enough to insert into a handle, and epoxy into place.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    I've had a set of Chapmans for over 25 years and never broken a single one.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Screwdrivers I have now are Grace. Thanks for the ideas, I'm guessing there isn't a 95% solution anymore. Tools I've had 25 years still work too but I can't think of a tool I've purchased lately that's going to last much past the first few times I use it.

    Best I've found so far are old Craftsman or Snap-on in pawn shops. The old ones are great but have to be ground on. Not exactly the solution I want but it might be the best one right now. Hate having to make a tool everytime I run into a tight screw.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Grinch View Post
    I've tried Midway, Lyman, Chapman and Grace. All have twisted or rounded in use. I hate to pay a fortune for a set, but that may be the answer... Apex, Proto...etc.

    That has pretty much been my experience (not just tools for gun work). I have tried several name brands. It seems like if they are current production they just won't last like the stuff that was being made 25 or so years back. Totally different tools I think. Look the same or nicer now but the metallurgy just isn't the same.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    I almost forgot the Chapman set in the yellow plastic box. I keep it in the range box. Haven't had to really lean on it so far so don't have any comment on its quality.
    John
    W.TN

  13. #13
    Boolit Master historicfirearms's Avatar
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    The Brownells kit was some of the best money I have to work ever spent. I use it every couple of days for the last ten years and am glad I bought it every time.
    I was a dog on a short chain
    and now there’s no chain.
    Jim Harrison 1937 -2016

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by historicfirearms View Post
    The Brownells kit was some of the best money I have to work ever spent. I use it every couple of days for the last ten years and am glad I bought it every time.
    Anyone know if the new Brownell's sets are the same quality/metallurgy as the older sets? I hear a lot of people liking the older sets they've had for years. I just wonder if they are actually being made in the same place. Are they US or Chinese made?
    Last edited by arlon; 07-09-2017 at 04:34 PM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I have and use sets from Apex, Brownell's, Chapman, and Wheeler., as well as random pickups from Sears, Wally World and Horrible Freight. I've never broken an Apex or Brownell's bit, seldom broken a Chapman, but several Wheeler bits have broken on me. I can just count on the random pickups breaking at the first real load I put on them. For routine work, I can use anything, but if I get serious, I really want Apex orBrownell's bits.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  16. #16
    Boolit Man
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    I prefer the Brownells bits.I also have a set of bits from J.C.Whitney that are useful for some of the more unusual screwheads.For thru stock buttstock screws I use drag link bits and a socket extension.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check