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  #1  
Old 08-01-2020, 09:27 AM
Raiders1976 Raiders1976 is offline
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Gunsmith tools made in USA - what to get

Just curious to know what opinions are out there regarding basic gunsmithing tools. I find a lot of Chinese crap on Amazon but want a better quality set. Any advice as to what and where to buy? Thanks, Robert in TN
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  #2  
Old 08-01-2020, 10:28 AM
Oldpistol Oldpistol is online now
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Get the Brownell’s catalogue. They charge $10 or $15 for the print version. Almost anything you could want is in there. Nice stuff too. You might want to establish a budget before you buy the catalog. Otherwise you will be like the rest of us, deeply addicted to gunsmithing tools. Which never ends it seems. Midway has a lot of stuff too. My suggestion is assess your needs and buy prudently.
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  #3  
Old 08-01-2020, 10:50 AM
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Agreed, Brownells carries the good stuff but it's all very expensive. Since I'm not a full-time gunsmith I've found the imported tools like Wheeler usually get the job done just fine.
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Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.
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  #4  
Old 08-01-2020, 10:59 AM
Nork1911A1 Nork1911A1 is offline
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The Wheeler punch set I got for 1911 detail strips works just fine. I've got a couple of small files from Ace hardware that have done a fine job (not sure where they're made).
Though I am far from being a gunsmith....and I don't play one on TV either.

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  #5  
Old 08-01-2020, 11:25 AM
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The absolute first tool you should invest in is a good set of gunsmithing screwdrivers. Never use cheap, tapered hardware-store screwdrivers on gun screws. Brownells makes a series of screwdriver sets with replaceable bits. I have the Chinese-made Wheeler equivalent and it works, but the handle isn't centered on the shaft which I find annoying.

The second tool you need to invest in is a good 8# sledgehammer.

Just kidding.
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Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.
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  #6  
Old 08-01-2020, 11:35 AM
Plaidad Plaidad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsk View Post

The second tool you need to invest in is a good 8# sledgehammer.
I thought the second was supposed to be a Dremel tool!
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  #7  
Old 08-01-2020, 11:40 AM
longarm longarm is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsk View Post
The absolute first tool you should invest in is a good set of gunsmithing screwdrivers. Never use cheap, tapered hardware-store screwdrivers on gun screws. Brownells makes a series of screwdriver sets with replaceable bits. I have the Chinese-made Wheeler equivalent and it works, but the handle isn't centered on the shaft which I find annoying.

The second tool you need to invest in is a good 8# sledgehammer.

Just kidding.
I agree: everyone knows a 3# maul is plenty!
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  #8  
Old 08-01-2020, 12:11 PM
Autonomous Autonomous is offline
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They make an 8# Dremel?
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  #9  
Old 08-01-2020, 12:16 PM
Electraclyde Electraclyde is offline
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My favorite tool is a very LARGE hammer! Using that I never need to force anything. LOL.
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  #10  
Old 08-01-2020, 12:25 PM
Old Grey Hare Old Grey Hare is online now
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I have a set of Grace USA gunsmith's screwdrivers. Made in USA, traditional carbon steel shanks and wood grips. Hollow-ground, with proper tips. The thickness of the tip is as important as the width of it. These are *tight* fitting proper gunsmithing 'drivers.

There are others, you can find in Amazon, just always, when you search stick at the end of your search string "Made in usa" Works in google, duckduckgo, amazon, etc.

My punch set, sadly, is China-made. I needed them right now ASAP and couldn't wait for mail order. It's by WHeeler but made in china. I'll probably sell it on ebay and get me a USA-made set.

I want everything that touches my guns to be USA-made. Cleaning tools (everything I have is pro-shot), patches, etc. Holsters, belts, ammo, everything made here. I can't stand giving China one more cent than I have to.
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  #11  
Old 08-01-2020, 01:53 PM
Levian Levian is offline
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Originally Posted by Electraclyde View Post
My favorite tool is a very LARGE hammer! Using that I never need to force anything. LOL.
You know what they say...when all else fails, get a bigger hammer!
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  #12  
Old 08-01-2020, 02:06 PM
Colt191145 Colt191145 is online now
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brownells magna tip, any grace punch or bit is also good. I know that Tekton has punches, but I am not sure if they are USA made or not.

I like the brownells specific bit sets, like a set for ruger blackhawks, colt SAS or whatever. It is a luxury to have these sets, but they are worth it when you need them.
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  #13  
Old 08-01-2020, 03:08 PM
HogCommander HogCommander is online now
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Measuring tools:
1" micrometer
Groove micrometer
Good quality calipers
Pin gage set (.061" - .250")
Gage block set
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  #14  
Old 08-01-2020, 03:12 PM
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum is online now
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Brownells gets my vote and my business. Over many years, I've found their service and commitment to their customers as top tier.

Furthermore, by buying from Brownells, you are supporting a company that, in turn, firmly supports both the 2A and the NRA. Look at NRA Board Directors.

Brownells generally identifies U.S.-made products, giving their customers this information, while still offering products sourced from other countries. All leaving the customer in charge of such decisions.

Buy from your friends; support 2A rights and the NRA, and get the best service and widest offering in the process.
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Last edited by chrysanthemum; 08-01-2020 at 03:19 PM.
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  #15  
Old 08-01-2020, 03:17 PM
jtq jtq is online now
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Good question from the OP, and while the Brownell's recommendation as a source for gunsmith tools, it doesn't address the made in America part.

Is there a brand line that Brownell's carries that is American made?
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  #16  
Old 08-01-2020, 03:22 PM
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtq View Post
Good question from the OP, and while the Brownell's recommendation as a source for gunsmith tools, it doesn't address the made in America part.

Is there a brand line that Brownell's carries that is American made?
Brownells catalog typically identifies U.S. made products. Not sure about "always", but I look for the U.S. flag in their print catalog.

My catalog is a few years old, so I hope that nothing has changed (in this respect) in their more recent catalogs.
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  #17  
Old 08-01-2020, 04:46 PM
roaniecowpony roaniecowpony is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrysanthemum View Post
Brownells catalog typically identifies U.S. made products. Not sure about "always", but I look for the U.S. flag in their print catalog.

My catalog is a few years old, so I hope that nothing has changed (in this respect) in their more recent catalogs.
Magna-tip sets are USA all the way. That said, they can break and bend. Years ago, they used to replace any damaged tips for free when you were ordering other things. No more.
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  #18  
Old 08-01-2020, 05:04 PM
flechero flechero is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrysanthemum View Post
Brownells catalog typically identifies U.S. made products. Not sure about "always", but I look for the U.S. flag in their print catalog.

My catalog is a few years old, so I hope that nothing has changed (in this respect) in their more recent catalogs.
Still do.... but the current issue is sold out and will not be reprinted. Not sure when catalog #73 comes out.
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  #19  
Old 08-01-2020, 05:44 PM
roaniecowpony roaniecowpony is online now
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A few things you may also want:
brass punch set
steel punch set
some hardwood (walnut, maple, etc) blocks for backing when punching pins.
hardwood drift
plastic headed small hammer
6" dial or digital caliper
trigger scale
jeweler's files
India stones of various shapes
hard arkansas square sharp cornered stone
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  #20  
Old 08-01-2020, 06:23 PM
hardluk1 hardluk1 is online now
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Grace USA makes more than screwdrivers and Sinclair International reduces the chaff you have to look around at Brownells main site for gunsmithing products and company names to research !! -

http://www.graceusatools.com/product...?category_id=1
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  #21  
Old 08-01-2020, 06:37 PM
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My list of essential gunsmithing tools:

1. Quality gunsmithing screwdrivers
2. Set of drift pin punches, both steel and brass
3. Set of roll pin punches
4. Small hammer
5. Set of needle files
6. Set of bastard files
7. SAE and Metric hex key wrenches
8. Bench block
9. Bench vise w/padded or aluminum jaw inserts
10. Square sanding blocks w/assortment of wet/dry sandpaper

In addition to the above you will want whatever model-specific tools are used for the firearms you work on the most. For the 1911, that includes a plunger tube staking tool, front sight staking tool, bushing wrench and hammer/sear jig. For an AR-15, get a multi-wrench and set of upper and lower receiver vise blocks. For a Glock, a rusty nail with the tip filed off will do.

BTW I went 40 years without a trigger pull gauge. Now that I have one I do find it useful on occasion, but not absolutely essential. I also bought a sight pusher, which like most of them works great on some guns but not others.
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Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.
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  #22  
Old 08-01-2020, 07:16 PM
Colt Carson Colt Carson is offline
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Something else to consider... isn’t everything Brownells sells guaranteed forever?
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  #23  
Old 08-01-2020, 10:51 PM
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Imissedagain Imissedagain is offline
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Even with Brownells Magna-tip large set you will still need some smaller screw drivers... making tools is part of the skill set.

Question: how about a list of the size and shape of the stones needed to work on 1911s?

Thx
RT
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  #24  
Old 08-02-2020, 06:53 AM
Rwehavinfunyet Rwehavinfunyet is offline
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Gunsmithing tools....

Since this is the 1911 Forum, if a person mostly starts out using hand tools, I like and use the 1911 barrel lug fitting kit....helps to achieve a good barrel fit.....

https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...prod18787.aspx
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  #25  
Old 08-02-2020, 07:06 AM
Tatanka Tatanka is offline
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I don't care for tools or equipment made in the U.S.

If you're careful, tools made overseas are the same (or better) quality for far less money.
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