View Full Version : What tools do I need to be able to work at home?

February 17, 2009, 07:10 PM
I went to the local shop today to get scope mounts and found out the previous owner of my Remington 700 had glued the front sight bead into the front sight base. The guy at the shop told me he'd have to take the whole action out and do a bunch of stuff with it to get the front sight taken off.

Thankfully it was almost time to close, so I said I'd bring it back another time. I won't be going back another time. At least he took the rear sight off and didn't charge me anything for it, though. I started going to this shop because it's like 5min away from home, but they continually disappoint me and they're always pushing cheapo stuff on me, so I'm just going to find a new shop. One less customer for them!

Like my house.
I work on my own car. I work on my own bicycles. I work on my own refrigerator.... etc, etc. I'd like to start working on my own guns.

So my inquiry is simple:
What tools do I need to be able to do my own general-purpose work at home?
EDIT: (Right now I need to be able to find a way to get the front sight assembly off of the barrel. How the heck do I do that if I can't get to the screw underneath the bead?)

:confused: :confused: :confused:

February 17, 2009, 07:22 PM
Holy -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED- ... I just popped over to MidwayUSA and checked out the gunsmithing tools ... and most of that stuff is $$$$$.

:barf: :barf: :barf: :barf:

I guess I'll just find a good local gunsmith and start shopping at whatever gun store he works with.

February 17, 2009, 07:30 PM
Yep . . . been there done that. Don't have a t-shirt, but a few hundred dollars worth of gunsmithing tools instead.

Having the knowledge is just part of why we pay gunsmiths. The other part is it makes no sense for a jackleg hobbyist to accumulate the vast store of specialized tools needed to work on specific guns.

Many such tools are unique to one certain task on a certain model of gun and would never again be used unless encountering the same issue with the same type of gun.

James K
February 17, 2009, 09:06 PM
You might be able to drive the sight blade out, glue or no glue. Just try not to batter the base, break off the screw or strip the threads, or mar the barrel. The worst case is you will have grind the front sight blade out with a Dremel tool and file/cut away the glue. Unless you are an expert with a Dremel, you may ruin the ramp and have to replace that also.

Or just leave the front sight on. It may be a blur in the scope but it won't really interfere that much.

FWIW, what the shop was likely going to do was set the barreled action up in a milling machine and mill away the front sight blade without damaging the ramp. They can't do that with the stock on. That is the neatest way to do it and the least likely to damage the ramp or the barrel. But milling machines cost money, lots of it, so if you are scared by the cost of a few hand tools, best forget about the DIY stuff.


February 17, 2009, 10:22 PM
wacombs: Brownells sell a sight pusher designed to remove and install the dovetail sights. Its like a mini-press and will easily remove your glued in blade.

I think Midway has them as well.

February 17, 2009, 10:43 PM
There's always the right tool for the job, and then the tool that'll get the job done. I don't suppose anyone has ever taken off an oil filter without an oil filter wrench, although I bet you could get it done with your gun belt. The trick in most applications is not to use a tool that will cause damage.

Then there is another option that will save you a few pennies. If you got the tools to work on a car or refrigerator, you may have the tools to MAKE your own gun smithing tools. I've made m14 wrenches, SKS sight tools, etc.

James K
February 18, 2009, 04:17 PM
Every gunsmith has made specialized tools, but it doesn't make sense to me for something you can buy for under $10 at any gun show or from Brownells or Midway. For some reason, some folks like to brag about how they improvise tools and gauges, usually for some supposed advantage, but usually just because they don't want to spend the money.

Not actually about tools, but I remember a gentleman at the range who was firing a Czech P-38. I picked up some of his brass and when I handed it to him, I noticed that the headstamps said "9mm Luger" and ".38 Special" !?!?!?!?!. Of course, I had to ask what the heck. He told me he had plenty of range pickups in 9mm Luger and .38 Special, but .380 was hard to find.

It seems he worked as a night watchman at a machine shop, and had free run of the place after hours. He made dies so he could use the shop's arbor press to swage cases down to .380 size. He turned off the .38 rims and cut the extraction groove and trimmed cases. When done, he loaded with cast lead bullets.

I suggested that while the process certainly worked, it seemed to me to take a lot of time and trouble for cartridges that could be bought very reasonably in any gun shop. His reply was classic: "Got the time, ain't got the money."


February 19, 2009, 01:08 AM
A little heat from a heat gun or small torch will make the front sight easier to remove. It doesn't have to be much hotter than 200 degrees which wont hurt the barrel.
As to tools I believe a man that buys cheap tools will get that kind of work from them. A good set of hollow ground screwdrivers, some Swiss files, a small ball peen hammer, a dead blow hammer, a versa vise with soft jaws, a dremel tool, assorted Pliers, punches, an assortment of slave pins, a tipton gun vise, cleaning kit, 6-40, 6-48 taps assorted gun screws, Acru gel kit, surgical tubing, bore lite, wood rasp, barrel channel scrapers, assorted stones, magnifying light, at least that whats on my bench in front of me right now. and many more things as you get deeper into it.