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Old July 10, 2018, 12:11 AM   #1
jski
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Gunsmithing screwdrivers

I've heard a lot of good about an American made option:
Chapman Ultimate Gunsmith Screwdriver & Ratchet Bit hand tools Set
Anyone use these puppies?
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Old July 10, 2018, 11:57 AM   #2
T. O'Heir
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They work, but the bits, that are designed to break before damaging the screw, are expensive and not easy to replace.
Real smithy's grind regular inexpensive screw drivers to fit the screw. You can buy a lot of screwdrivers in any hardware store for $77.
Anything that has the word "Gunsmith's" in its name just costs more. Kind of like tumbling media. If the bag has a reloading company brand name on it it'll cost more than the exact same thing in a pet supply shop.
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Old July 10, 2018, 02:39 PM   #3
jski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir View Post
They work, but the bits, that are designed to break before damaging the screw, are expensive and not easy to replace.
Real smithy's grind regular inexpensive screw drivers to fit the screw. You can buy a lot of screwdrivers in any hardware store for $77.
Anything that has the word "Gunsmith's" in its name just costs more. Kind of like tumbling media. If the bag has a reloading company brand name on it it'll cost more than the exact same thing in a pet supply shop.
The problem is the Stanley screwdriver you pick up at HomeDepot never is a 100% fit. It’s always an almost fit. And after using your Stanley a few times on the same screw leaves the screw head looking like crap.

Last edited by jski; July 10, 2018 at 08:23 PM.
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Old July 10, 2018, 04:38 PM   #4
RC20
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I had one, I did not like them.

Sear has a set of screwdrivers that are color coded. Free spinning knob on the top. They are very good hard tips and I use them extensively at work.

https://www.amazon.com/Craftsman-18p..._&dpSrc=detail

For the heavier stuff I use Megapro. They come in 4 or 5 different types, very heavy duty tips, work great, ergonomic Unlike the awkward Chapman. You can get the one that hits the most tips and then add the ones you want. Not cheap, but I have yet to evern mar one let alone damage or any wear at all on a tip.

https://www.amazon.com/Megapro-151NA...=megapro&psc=1
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Old July 10, 2018, 05:23 PM   #5
4V50 Gary
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I have several sets. First is a Chapman detachable head set (over forty years old now and made in Estados Unidos) and the other is a fixed handle set from Brownells. I also have some Grace screwdrivers; some of which I reground.
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Old July 10, 2018, 07:46 PM   #6
Dfariswheel
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The best are the Brownell's Magna-Tip bits.

These are American made and are the finest quality available.
They offer more sizes then anyone else and you seldom have to grind a bit to get a perfect fit.
Professional gunsmiths time is valuable and we don't like having to waste time grinding a bit when we can get one that's ready made and fits properly.
Sometimes grinding a bit is necessary but not often with the Brownell's.

If you ever damage a bit, email Brownell's and they'll send you a replacement FREE.
So, it's "Buy once, Cry once" since you'll only have to buy a bit one time for life.

I recommend buying two of the "law enforcement" size handles...one magnetic and one clip-grip retention. You'll use both.
Many people think the magnetic retention handles are what's needed, but often the last thing you want is a screw that won't let go from the driver.
The law enforcement size are the perfect size for good control and no slipping like with bigger handles.

You can buy small sets, big master sets, and individual sets of three or four bits that fit a specific gun.
Buy the biggest set you can afford and as you need them buy other sizes to add to the set.

Unlike the Chapman sets, the Brownell's are long enough to fit into holes like the screw holes on single action trigger guards and back straps.
Try that with most sets and you'll gouge the edges of the holes.

As above, the Brownell's are top quality American made, where the Midway Wheeler sets are Chinese made and no where near the quality of the Brownell's.

You get what you pay for and the price of the Brownell's bits are far cheaper then having to buy an expensive and hard to get gun screw.
Also, customers are not real happy with scratched and gouged guns and dinked up screw slots.
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Old July 10, 2018, 08:07 PM   #7
mete
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Yes , and taking apart an old British double that hasn't been touched for years
requires extreme patience . Screwdriver tips must perfectly fit the thin slot. Use of solvents and a bit of heat usually helps.
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Old July 11, 2018, 08:29 AM   #8
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I have Wheeler, Chapman, Brownells and Grace sets. The Wheeler and Chapman sit in range bags. Brownells is always in use.

Jeff

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Old July 11, 2018, 08:45 AM   #9
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Gunsmiths have to grind on screwdrivers regularly. I have had some professional sets, but have found I am happier doing a hollow grind on a regular screwdriver when needed to fit a particular screw. It's hard to find screwdrivers for things like Browning A5's with their thin little slots without making one up for yourself.
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Old July 11, 2018, 08:24 PM   #10
1MoreFord
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I have a very old set of Chapman's. Mine work well and didn't cost $77.
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Old July 12, 2018, 08:14 AM   #11
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For my money (to use an expression), the best bet is to make your own screwdriver tips.

The problem with many (most?) slotted screwdrivers and bits is that they are "slope ground." The slope in the screw slot tends to promote cam out, which is how screws (and receivers) get buggered. With a small amount of work, you can buy a bag full of slotted screwdriver bits, put a hollow grind on them and, if necessary, adjust the bit width to exactly fit a given screw.

Likewise, many (most?) Phillips screwdrivers and bits have too sharp a point. This causes the bit to bottom out in the screw before the Phillips wings are fully seated, also promoting cam out. A light touch on a wheel flattens out the tip just enough to avoid the problem.
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Old July 12, 2018, 11:26 AM   #12
tangolima
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RKG View Post
For my money (to use an expression), the best bet is to make your own screwdriver tips.

The problem with many (most?) slotted screwdrivers and bits is that they are "slope ground." The slope in the screw slot tends to promote cam out, which is how screws (and receivers) get buggered. With a small amount of work, you can buy a bag full of slotted screwdriver bits, put a hollow grind on them and, if necessary, adjust the bit width to exactly fit a given screw.

Likewise, many (most?) Phillips screwdrivers and bits have too sharp a point. This causes the bit to bottom out in the screw before the Phillips wings are fully seated, also promoting cam out. A light touch on a wheel flattens out the tip just enough to avoid the problem.
If there is room in my man cave to hold numerous screw drivers in organized manner, I would grind my own too.

I bought the Wheeler set to start with. It is ok for the price. Certainly not for serious professional use. Several bits have broken, either too brittle or too soft. The rubber skinned handles absorb oil and have become slippery. Eventually it will be replaced by a Brownells set. One good thing about the Wheeler set is their bit variety.

Philips screwdriver being too pointy, you probably use too small a bit size for the job.

-TL



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Old July 14, 2018, 02:17 AM   #13
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I've been using the Mag-na-tip-bits from Brownell's since 1967. Cost per bit is very reasonable, and if the bit fits the screw correctly, you'll never booger a slot or socket, from "cam-out".
Save the "Home Depot" screwdrivers for door hinges and use the properly shaped "hollow-ground" bits for gun screws. Grinding screwdrivers for proper fit will ruin the temper in that blade.
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Old July 14, 2018, 07:23 PM   #14
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As long as the screws aren't too tight, the Wheeler set works OK. As soon as you have to really twist on one, the tip will twist and bend, camming the screwdriver out of the slot. This can ruin a screw and damage your reputation.

The Magna-Tip set from Brownells costs about 4X what the Wheeler set costs, but it is worth it. When you really lean in to twist out a screw, you can break the tip off, and damage the screw, but its farther between these incidents than I can remember. I still have some of t my original Magna-Tip screwdrivers from 1983 in my tool set, so I think I like them.
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Old July 15, 2018, 10:15 PM   #15
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I have a Chapman set that I've had for at least 20 years. It is very good. I have two sets from Winchester which I've had very good luck with an like a lot. I even bought a set for my good friend and my son. Enough too heads for any situation.
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Old July 18, 2018, 05:39 PM   #16
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Chapman, Winchester, and Forster flat blade full-size screwdrivers. I pick through them to find a best fit to a particular screw. A few times, gentle application to my grinder of an oversize cheap-o bit has got one just right.
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Old July 19, 2018, 12:48 AM   #17
Model12Win
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This is seriously an excellent screwdriver set for any realistic home gunsmith or maintenance work:

https://www.amazon.com/Winchester-Pi.../dp/B0057IO2B8

I've had one for years and really it's excellent. The handle is soft rubber so it doesn't get slippery when it gets gun oil on it (and believe me it will get gun oil on it). It has tons of different sizes for anything you'd need. The bits are properly ground and I've never had one slip out of a screw, even from really tight screws on new guns.
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Old July 19, 2018, 09:49 AM   #18
Ricklin
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Screwdrivers

I like Wiha the best. I keep a sharp eye out for that brand esp. second hand stores.

I have been known to grind a screwdriver bit or two. Grind and quench grind and quench. Have had good luck so far. I just don't get them too hot.
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Old July 19, 2018, 10:57 AM   #19
PawnWolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dfariswheel View Post
The best are the Brownell's Magna-Tip bits.

These are American made and are the finest quality available.
They offer more sizes then anyone else and you seldom have to grind a bit to get a perfect fit.
Professional gunsmiths time is valuable and we don't like having to waste time grinding a bit when we can get one that's ready made and fits properly.
Sometimes grinding a bit is necessary but not often with the Brownell's.

If you ever damage a bit, email Brownell's and they'll send you a replacement FREE.
So, it's "Buy once, Cry once" since you'll only have to buy a bit one time for life.

I recommend buying two of the "law enforcement" size handles...one magnetic and one clip-grip retention. You'll use both.
Many people think the magnetic retention handles are what's needed, but often the last thing you want is a screw that won't let go from the driver.
The law enforcement size are the perfect size for good control and no slipping like with bigger handles.

You can buy small sets, big master sets, and individual sets of three or four bits that fit a specific gun.
Buy the biggest set you can afford and as you need them buy other sizes to add to the set.

Unlike the Chapman sets, the Brownell's are long enough to fit into holes like the screw holes on single action trigger guards and back straps.
Try that with most sets and you'll gouge the edges of the holes.

As above, the Brownell's are top quality American made, where the Midway Wheeler sets are Chinese made and no where near the quality of the Brownell's.

You get what you pay for and the price of the Brownell's bits are far cheaper then having to buy an expensive and hard to get gun screw.
Also, customers are not real happy with scratched and gouged guns and dinked up screw slots.
I had no clue that they would replace a bit for free on the magna-tips. I rolled the torx bit, and just bought a new one for like 2-4 bucks. Thank you for telling me about their replacement policy.
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Old July 19, 2018, 05:00 PM   #20
ozarkhillbilly
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I will second or add to the praise of Brownells, they are well worth the money. If you own a gun then you should have a set.
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Old July 20, 2018, 12:23 AM   #21
ogree
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dfariswheel View Post
The best are the Brownell's Magna-Tip bits.

These are American made and are the finest quality available.
They offer more sizes then anyone else and you seldom have to grind a bit to get a perfect fit.
Professional gunsmiths time is valuable and we don't like having to waste time grinding a bit when we can get one that's ready made and fits properly.
Sometimes grinding a bit is necessary but not often with the Brownell's.

If you ever damage a bit, email Brownell's and they'll send you a replacement FREE.
So, it's "Buy once, Cry once" since you'll only have to buy a bit one time for life.

I recommend buying two of the "law enforcement" size handles...one magnetic and one clip-grip retention. You'll use both.
Many people think the magnetic retention handles are what's needed, but often the last thing you want is a screw that won't let go from the driver.
The law enforcement size are the perfect size for good control and no slipping like with bigger handles.

You can buy small sets, big master sets, and individual sets of three or four bits that fit a specific gun.
Buy the biggest set you can afford and as you need them buy other sizes to add to the set.

Unlike the Chapman sets, the Brownell's are long enough to fit into holes like the screw holes on single action trigger guards and back straps.
Try that with most sets and you'll gouge the edges of the holes.

As above, the Brownell's are top quality American made, where the Midway Wheeler sets are Chinese made and no where near the quality of the Brownell's.

You get what you pay for and the price of the Brownell's bits are far cheaper then having to buy an expensive and hard to get gun screw.
Also, customers are not real happy with scratched and gouged guns and dinked up screw slots.
+1000 for the Brownells set.
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Old July 20, 2018, 09:54 AM   #22
laytonj1
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I bought my Brownells magna tip set about 20 years ago including the thin bit set. In all these years I’ve only damaged one bit (the smallest one). Definitely one of my smartest buys. They are the standard. Buy quality tools and they last.

Jim
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Old July 20, 2018, 04:49 PM   #23
Dfariswheel
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Brownell's will replace broken or damaged Magna-Tip bits.
I DON'T know if they'll replace other types of bits like Torx or specialty type bits.
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Old July 20, 2018, 09:49 PM   #24
Model12Win
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The Brownell's sets use a slippery hard plastic standard screwdriver handle. This is their only real failing. Keep that stupid thing degreased.
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Old July 23, 2018, 01:50 PM   #25
SIGSHR
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I have the Chapman, B-Square and Lyman sets, and I buck screwdrivers for $1.00 each at the local thrift shops, flea markets, rummage sales, etc. Grind them to fit. I even ground one to fit the slots of bicycle wheel nipples. Well worth the effort.
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