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Thread: Screwdrivers for S&W revolvers?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Petander's Avatar
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    Screwdrivers for S&W revolvers?

    Hello,

    do these bits work for S&W? They look normal straight edged to me,not "hollow ground". Shouldn't proper bits go deeper in the arched bottom slot?

    I was going to get Grace but got a Forster set instead,no go,they are normal flat straight edged tips. Grace looks standard,too.


  2. #2
    Boolit Bub
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    those are hollow ground

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    I bought the "Grace" set. First set of hollow ground screwdrivers I've ever owned. I'm impressed. Should've bought that set 50 years ago.

  4. #4
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    you want screw drivers with a flat tip, and hollow ground just like in that picture. normal screw drivers will wedge themselves right up out of the slot and bugger the screw head. flat tip, hollow ground, and fit the slot perfectly reduce your chances of making a mess.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardB View Post
    those are hollow ground
    Thanks. So it's my language barrier again.

    I was expecting something like this to properly fit the round bottom grooves.



    No flat screwdriver fits this properly:


  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    I can see where you would think that the Brownell's bits are not suitable, but I'll join my peers and say that they are made properly for gun screws.
    The cylinder latch screw for the S&W revolver is an odd one, but a hollow ground bit will work. Something that I have found is that if you use a bit that is wide enough to fit between the elevated ends of the slot it will go in deeper and turn just as well as not having one that is the full length of the slot. They do make bits with nipped corners like you indicated in your drawing, and I've got some, but can't remember right now which set they came in. Might have been a Lyman set.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Yes it seems your understanding of hollow ground is off, hollow ground means that there is no taper from the end of the screw driver blade up the shank for a ways. A regular screw driver starts tapering to a larger size from the tip up the shank. It doesn't matter if the screw head has a round bottom slot what matters is the bit fits all the way into the slot minus the rounded part, the bit is almost or the same length as the slot and the bit is as wide as the slot. By having the bit fit into the slot as tight as possible the force applied while turning out the screw is as evenly distributed as can be. If for instance your bit is narrower then the screw slot then when applying force to the screw the bit has enough slop that only the leading edge of the bit is contacting the slot and buggering it up. A bit that isn't as long as the slot is applying force to a smaller area of the slot which can bugger things up as well.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy JoeJames's Avatar
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    Many times when faced with a slot too narrow, I've just taken a bit the right width, and put a Dremel stone to it and hollow ground it. Like for the bug screw on a 5 screw Smith.
    You Can Vote Your Way Into Socialism, But You Have To Shoot Your Way Out of it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Yes thanks for the clarifications, everyone- I was expecting a different blade shape. "Hollow ground" got kinda mixed with the "hollow slot" in my head.

    I've been filing and dremeling screwdrivers forever,might even keep on doing that. I'm in the beginning of a "get proper tools" -campaign.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    If your homemade screw drivers do the job without damaging the screw, then they are the proper tools.

  11. #11
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    The Brownells screwdriver bits are not as good as Grace. The Grace P4 & P5 are much less likely to bugger up your S&W side plate screws. They are wooden handled screwdrivers, not bits. I highly recommend them.

    Brownells bits tend to cam up out of the slots. They can be fixed by regrinding. Better to start with correct screwdrivers and not learn the hard way.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master TNsailorman's Avatar
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    I have 1 Pachmayr, 1 Chapman and 1 Grace sets of screwdrivers for guns. The Chapman and the Pachmayr sets are the single handle and replaceable tips. I much prefer the Grace set with individual wooden handles over the other two although I use the Pachmayr and Chapman quite a bit. All work correctly if I do my part though. The best advice I can give though, regardless of which type of screwdriver you use; go slow and do not get in a hurry on guns screws. That is a recipe for buggered and damaged screw heads.

    P.S. : I corrected an error in my original post. One of the single handle multiple blade sets is a Chapman and not a Grace. Sorry if I misled anyone, james
    Last edited by TNsailorman; 01-23-2020 at 12:18 PM.

  13. #13
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    This Forster screwdriver set may be quite ok after all.

    Got the Brownells bits coming,too.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petander View Post
    This Forster screwdriver set may be quite ok after all.

    Got the Brownells bits coming,too.
    I haven't tried Forster screwdrivers yet, and I want to. If you get them, please share some close-up photos of the tips, and your impressions.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy Hogdaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bazoo View Post
    If your homemade screw drivers do the job without damaging the screw, then they are the proper tools.
    ^^^^^^^^^Concur^^^^^^^^^^^ ; )
    H/D

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJames View Post
    Many times when faced with a slot too narrow, I've just taken a bit the right width, and put a Dremel stone to it and hollow ground it. Like for the bug screw on a 5 screw Smith.
    This.....screwdrivers are consumables, if you need one to fit make it fit perfectly.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I have Brownell's screw drivers and several other top shelf sets. I have been thinking of buying bit type set. I use drill/ drivers almost every day and can tell you their is a big difference in quality of bits. Brand name means nothing because most are sub contracted. If bit is made in China or Asia it's junk. I'm going to buy my bits at a industrial supply distributor. Industries don't buy "sets" they buy the bits they use in units.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I've used them all over the years. A good hollow ground tip that reaches to the bottom of the slot and has the matching width for the slot will get the job done. Fit is KEY.

    Some bits (or tips if it's a fixed one piece screw driver) are too hard and will be brittle. Others are too soft and will deform. The happy middle ground is elusive but I would rather have a bit that's a little too brittle than one that's a little too soft. A bit that deforms is more likely to cam out and damage the screw head. A brittle bit will break but is more likely to leave the screw head undamaged.

    The Thumbpiece nut on a S&W revolver is a bit odd but a bit that fits the slot all the way to the edges will generally work even if it doesn't bottom out in the center.

    The good thing about S&W revolvers is you only need a few sizes of screw drivers for most revolvers. (side plate screws, thumbpiece nut, strain screw and maybe sights)

    Brownells made a short "Armorer's" handle for S&W revolver work that I really liked. I don't know if they still sell that handle but it was useful. Mine was sacrificed to the range gods decades ago. I had acquired so many other handles that I never replaced it.
    Last edited by Petrol & Powder; 01-17-2020 at 09:57 AM.

  19. #19
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    I use the Brownells handles and bits. I have the short handle, mid length, and standard. The bits I have found to be decent quality. What I normally do is fit a set of bits to a gun and use that set for that gun type.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tatume View Post
    I haven't tried Forster screwdrivers yet, and I want to. If you get them, please share some close-up photos of the tips, and your impressions.


    Forster quality.

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