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Tools of Gun Owners and Gunsmiths Some assistance by Spiggy, of Calguns
Firearms Measurement Tools
The list below is separated into a number of categories. Overall, it represents a more or less logical progression from basic gun owner tools, to small-business level requirements. I'm not particularly interested in documenting consumables here, although there are a few overlaps. Generally speaking, most of the categories will assume you've already purchased the items in the lower-tiered categories.
A bore snake is useful for rapid cleaning, although the rod is more traditional and versatile. You can live without a bore snake, but not without a cleaning rod.
Toothbrush - optional but useful.
These tools will end up in the arsenal of nearly everyone who does things with their weapon beyond the simplest of cleaning. Light Gunsmithing Tools
Bore lights allow you to inspect the condition of guns' barrels.
Boresighter - laser or optical; useful for rough calibration.
Clear work area (or magnetic bowl) - to avoid losing small parts
Dental mirror (optional but very useful for inspecting chambers and throats)
Digital camera or camcorder (optional) - to have a record of where parts were, before you came along.
Dremel or Roto-Zip
Needle nose pliers
Magnet (optional but very useful for picking up ferrous parts)
Left-handed drill bits - useful when dealing with stripped-out screws. It'll loosen the screw while you're drilling into it, then you use a left-handed tap to remove the screw.
Levels - for mounting scope rails or fitting scopes.
Picks (very useful to reposition wires and springs)
Torque Wrench (for scope ring screws)
Airbrushing kit (optional, for applying certain paints)
Black paint pen (good for covering up nicks on painted steel)
Sharpie marker (good for covering up nicks in parkerized steel)
Sander (or just use sandpaper / steel wool)
X-Acto Knife - for fitting stocks.
This does not include specialized tools, such as AR-15 armorer's wrenches or AK-47 rivet jigs. Building or Modification Tools
Angle grinder or Roto-Zip
Barrel vise blocks - to hold barrels steady while installing things on them
Blowtorch - for spot heat treatment; unnecessary for most purposes not involving AK's
Bolt cutters - for shortening screws or bolts as appropriate
Headspace gauges (go, no-go, and field, in the calibers being worked on)
Heat gun (for drying parts)
Heavy duty pliers (channel lok or visegrips ideal)
Sharpie or other marker (for marking cuts or covering scratches)
Shop press - where AK-47's are concerned, this is mandatory to progress beyond bottom-tier builds. 6-ton may work, 12-ton is the minimum effective power, 20-ton is ideal
Spot welder - recommended over normal welders in certain, very limited cases (i.e. rails on AK's)
Strong magnet - when building, scraps of steel get dropped and need to be picked up efficiently.
Taps and dies - may be required for some builds.
Wire clippers - for shortening springs
Welder - necessary for CETME or G3 builds.
When price is little object and the desire is to do the job as effectively as possible. Top-Tier Tools
CNC Mill - for mass or limited production of parts
Electric oven capable of 500 degrees (to cure paint)
Kiln (for heat treating steel)
Lathe - to make barrel extensions, etc
Mill - trimming down parts with perfect control
Roto-Zip (forget dremel tools)
Powder coating gun
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