View Full Version : screwdriver set question

April 8, 2009, 09:28 PM
What are the major differences between regular Home Depot, Craftsman, Snap On etc. multi bit screwdriver sets compared to other brands Pachmayr, Wheeler or whoever that are called gunsmith sets.


April 8, 2009, 09:45 PM
Regular old screwdrivers have a tip with the sides at a slight angle to each
other. Kind of like a wedge.

Gunsmith screwdrivers have the sides ground parallel to each other, and gun
screws are a parallel sided slot.

If you are going to work on guns, DON'T go cheap on tools. Brownell's is
a great source for tools. I have a Brownell's screwdriver set that started
as a handle, case, and a basic set of bits over 30 years ago. I've added
bits to it as needed over the years and it has never failed to perform well.

April 8, 2009, 09:58 PM
A standard flat screw driver head can peen the edges of the screw slot and gradually deform the slot. Too small of a head can do the same.

I like the magna-tip hollow-ground heads

April 8, 2009, 10:04 PM
Using regular screw drivers on guns will almost certainly lead to damaged screws - if not the first time, certainly over time - because of the tapered blade(s)

The parallel sides on gunsmith drivers help insure the screwdriver fits the screw correctly and the screws are not damaged.

April 8, 2009, 10:56 PM
I just purchased the wheeler 89 piece set. Was that a good or a bad move?

April 9, 2009, 07:36 AM
Well you may be OK as long as the sides of the blade are at least straight, not tapered like a regular old screwdriver, and they fit the slot. Fitting the slot entails a good snug fit, but the blade must reach the bottom of the slot, and not be too long so that it is a little shorter than the screw slot enough that it will not scratch or rub against the screw hole. Test the fit of the bit before putting it in the handle and twisting away. I got a small set of supposed gunsmith screwdrivers once, but it turned out that the blades were too thick for the slots on many guns so I ordered a big driver set from Brownells and so far, it works on everything. The killers are screws with very thin slots, finding a blade that is thin and wide enough can be a chore. Buggered screw heads can be reworked and reblued maybe once, unless the damage is too severe. Then you buy replacements, if available. I hope you have some Kroil in case you run into a stuck screw on an old gun. It would suck to snap a screw head off in a nice gun.

April 9, 2009, 07:40 PM
The Wheeler set are good drivers.
I don't know where they're made or who actually made them, but they seem to be good quality.

Personally, I don't think they're in the same league as the Brownell's Magna-Tip bits, but the Wheeler will do.

April 9, 2009, 09:59 PM
Wheeler makes excellent tips, good hardened steel.
This driver set from Midway is really good, particularly for the price.

These additional bits well fill your needs.

The S&W bits are not as hard as the Wheelers. I have bent one of the small tips on a really stubborn screw, but for a import set they are good quality.

April 9, 2009, 10:46 PM
wheeler ind is Larry Potterfield's son's company which is the oner of Midway USA

longrifles, Inc
April 10, 2009, 08:30 PM
I own every Brownells gunsmithing screw driver made.

The tips are ground in such a way that they purchase against the entire surface of the screw (flat head) This way it mitigates against tearing out on the ends. They are also in varying thicknesses and widths to accommodate a broad variety of screws. The heat treat is also important because if they are soft they'll also fugger up your screws.

Money well spent if you take guns seriously.