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Thread: looking for gunsmithing screwdrivers recommendations

  1. #1
    Boolit Master zymguy's Avatar
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    looking for gunsmithing screwdrivers recommendations

    Starting to put together a tool kit for school. I'd like to know what screwdrivers you like and why . Ive been looking at the grace brand at Midway. Ive never so much as held one im simply looking at pictures.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Go to Brownell's.
    They're the 900 pound gorilla for common and specific/specialty gunsmithing tools.
    They have individual tools, as well as various sets of the favorites.
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  3. #3
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    Brownells offers a good selection. I really like the short stubby ones that are sold as law enforcement armorers screwdrivers. They keep your hand close to the work and are ideal for general assembly/disassembly of revolvers.
    Dedicated screwdrivers are nice for the very common sizes but are not economical when you need lots of different tips, some of which are rarely used.
    Hollow ground bits are KEY.

    There are also specialty bits for some unique tasks. For example, there is slotted bit with a hole in the center of the bit that needed to remove the extractor from a GP-100 cylinder. Beretta grip screws have a very narrow slot and there is a special bit that fits those. Long shank bits are handy for removing thick rubber butt pads from wooden stocks, etc.

    One good handle that accepts bits augmented by a few dedicated fixed blade screw drivers will take care of most general gunsmithing needs. I also keep one really cheap plastic handle, flat blade screwdriver on my cleaning bench just to open plastic flip-top cans. It's more of a prying tool and I would never use it on a gun but it sure is handy.

    I have several sets of screwdriver bits, including Allen head bits and Torx bits. The set I grab the most is a round plastic container that has a rotating top to expose the desired bit. It's handy, secure and quick.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    S&W branded bit container and specialized bit for Ruger GP-100 extractor
    Last edited by Petrol & Powder; 03-21-2021 at 06:04 PM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master scattershot's Avatar
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    Brownells is like a toy store for gunsmith tools. Get a bigger set than you think you will need, you will sooner or later. Buy quality tools. Buy once, cry once.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    I have a brownells starter set. The bits are labeled for width and thickness. They are nice bits. I have the LE handle and it's the perfect size.

    I also have a couple sets that are cheap. One was marked winchester and was 12 bucks. The other set was similar but different vintage and brand so has different assortment of slotted bits. While these bit sets are cheap and bend easier or break, they are useful for everyday maintenance of gun screws that aren't super tight. I look at it, Kind of like a mechanic, you have a snapon set of sockets but you keep a harbor freight set too for some things.

    I use both sets.
    Last edited by Bazoo; 03-21-2021 at 07:14 PM.

  6. #6
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    like the others, I have and like Brownells. I have bought several sets over the years, never a complaint.
    Barry

  7. #7
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    The Tech School at Pine City will have a recommend tool list. Also Midway and Brownells MAY have a special gunsmith student pricing.

    The Grace Brand uses good steel and are good quality I just don't like their handles.
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  8. #8
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    5 Star on Grace Tools.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master zymguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-Tecs View Post
    The Tech School at Pine City will have a recommend tool list. Also Midway and Brownells MAY have a special gunsmith student pricing.

    The Grace Brand uses good steel and are good quality I just don't like their handles.
    Ive been talking to some of the current gunsmithing students in my CAD class. They havent been to happy with the school tool list. Tuesday im going to go visit the lab and look at what the students are using.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master



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    Don’t buy the Winchester kit. I did. It’s just a cheap multi tip screwdriver set dressed up in a fancy box.

  11. #11
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    Buy the Wheeler kit from Midway, you decide which one you need.
    Charter Member #148

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    You can’t go wrong with Grace!

  13. #13
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    I like the Forrster set, but you are limited to I think eight screwdrivers.

    I also like the Brownell's Magna tip set, with the LE handle. It is a bit smaller in diameter and shorter, with a shorter length shaft, but isn't a stubby.

    I also use generic ¼" bits that I grind to fit the screw. One of the few places a dremel type tool actually works on an Armorer/ gunsmith's bench.

    Robert

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I bought a Brownells Magna -Tip Super Set about 25 years ago, and couldn't think of a better set.

  15. #15
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    Brownells screwdrivers and screwdriver bits are hollow ground, and some of them have slight curvature in the sides inside the screw slot. As a result they tend to cam up and out of the screw slot. For years I thought the problem was me and not the screwdrivers, but after finally trying truly parallel-sided screwdrivers I realized Brownells is at fault.

    Forster screwdrivers are too soft, and their warranty is poor. The tip of one of my Forster screwdrivers twisted, and when asked they said the screwdriver must be returned to them for warranty repair or replacement. I asked if they would accept photographs instead, and they said "no." It would cost the same to buy a new one as to ship the defective screwdriver to Forster. I declined.

    Grace screwdrivers are the best I've tried so far. The tips have true parallel sides, and do not cam out of screw slots. They are correctly hardened and the tips will break instead of twisting (twisting allows the screwdriver to cam out, damaging the screw in the process). When I asked about warranty replacement for broken tips I got no response.

    My solution is to make what I need. I grind screwdriver tips to the precise shape, width, and thickness required. It takes only a few seconds, and perfectly fitted screwdrivers don't damage screw slots. Any screwdriver made of good steel can be hardened by heating and quenching, and then ground into an excellent gunsmith screwdriver.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by zymguy View Post
    Starting to put together a tool kit for school. I'd like to know what screwdrivers you like and why . Ive been looking at the grace brand at Midway. Ive never so much as held one im simply looking at pictures.
    I bought the "Grace" set a couple of years ago. Very well pleased. I should have bought that set a long time ago.

  17. #17
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    I have the Wheeler, Brownell's, Pachmayr, B-Suare, Chapman, others accumulated over 50+ years. I prefer the current Brownell's set that designates the bits by width and thickness, I think Brownell's is calling them Supersets now. The Wheeler set, while well made is coded with a cryptic set of numbers that are not consistent within sizes. With Brownell's, it is easy to select a slightly wider or thicker bit by looking at the bit number, other sets require comparing bits side by side. Careful organization of bit sizes helps, but the Brownell's numbering scheme is very helpful. Brownell's makes several different screwdriver handle sizes. I prefer what they cal the Law Enforcement handle for most work. It is slightly smaller than the 'standard' handles in most sets without being tiny/too small. I usually like the magnetic tips but sometimes their clip tip works better when working near smaller parts that can move. Over time I have created a few lists of the screwdriver bits used on specific firearms, Marlin lever guns, Savage 99, S&W revolvers, Mausers... saves time looking for the proper bit sizes. Brownell's seems to have the best selection of bits and specialty bit, over time you will also be modifying bits for specific purposes. Nothing against other brands but Brownell's really does offer a little more for screwdrivers. They might seem pricey, but they are easier to use.

  18. #18
    Boolit Mold
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    I love my Grace tools... if it would be a profession for you, I'd not go cheap on tools...

  19. #19
    Boolit Master zymguy's Avatar
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    Any opinions on magnet vs clip specifically on the magna sets?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zymguy View Post
    Any opinions on magnet vs clip specifically on the magna sets?
    I don't like interchangeable screwdriver bits, and prefer a proper turnscrew.

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