Gunsmithing Tools You can Find at the Hardware Store: Part 5

  • Jack Collins
Photo Courtesy of Marco Verch Professional Photographer

Sometimes, you need to get some specialized tools for a gunsmithing job. And to do that, you need to shop at a store that sells these kinds of tools. You’re not going to be able to buy an AK-47 riveting set at the hardware store, for instance. But some gunsmithing jobs don’t require these kinds of tools. Instead, you just need to pick something up from your local Ace, Home Depot or Lowe’s. Those are the kinds of tools we’re going to look at in this post.

Measuring Calipers/Micrometer

Both of these tools can be extremely helpful for gunsmithing. They’ll tell you the distance between two points. Calipers and micrometers are precision tools, and many of them can accurately measure up to +/- 0.005 mm. That’s the combined circumference of two human hairs.

Calipers or micrometers are useful for any job where accuracy is key. For example, calipers are one of the “must-have” tools for anyone who wants to reload their own ammo. It’s important to note that while calipers and micrometers are extremely similar, they’re not the same. You’ll want to use micrometers for any job when tiny measurements are key.

Torque Wrench

Photo Courtesy of U. Laport

Ahh, the ubiquitous torque wrench. These bad boys have a ton of applications for amateur and professional gunsmiths alike. Essentially, a torque wrench allows you to set a certain amount of torque, usually measured in foot-pounds. When you twist the torque wrench to tighten a fastening, it’ll apply that exact amount of force.

This makes torque wrenches super useful. Need to mount a new optic to your hunting rifle? Use a torque wrench to make sure it stays locked in place. Installing an optic mount on your M1A? You’ll definitely need a torque wrench for that, unless you want it coming loose every time you shoot (this comes from personal experience). Digital torque wrenches are a little more expensive than their analog cousins, but they’re also easier to use.

Check out the previous parts to this series below!

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4!

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