1 year 2 weeks ago - 1 year 2 weeks ago#145by michael
michael created the topic: The tools I use
The garage builder will, of course, not have access to the high-dollar tools that a professional gunsmith uses. That doesn't mean we can't build quality and accurate rifles. There are some tools that are necessary and I'd like to use this thread to detail the tools I use, and why I chose these specific tools.
First, I'm going to name off some basics - things you may already have and things that you can pick up at your local tool shop.
Screwdrivers, allen keys, sockets, torque wrenches
Some barrel nuts require a crows foot - and you're on your own to find the correct size for your nut. Maybe this one:
Below are the AR specific tools I use on all of my builds.
My first build, the barrel and handguard were not parallel. I thought I did something wrong with the handguard, and an experienced smith told me that the upper barrel interface may not have been square to the rail. It turned out that he was 100% correct. I took his advise and when I reinstalled the barrel it was perfectly parallel to the rail.
As a result, I'm sure to use the lapping tool with EVERY upper receiver.
I 100% recommend buying this tool and spending the 10 minutes to ensure your upper receiver is square to the rail.
In order to use the receiver lapping tool above, you'll need to hold the receiver steady in your vise. Some people swear by the clamshell style upper vise blocks but I don't like them at all. This is the block I use to hold the upper receiver while I lap it.
This tool uses the rail and the takedown lugs to secure the upper in your vise while leaving the interior open (necessary to use the lapping tool)
In case the auction is gone - I've added a couple of pictures.
Because I mentioned the clamshell upper receiver block, and how I don't like it (I actually threw mine away because I hated it so much). This is the reason I threw it away - I discovered the BEV block. For those of us who don't like the idea of spending over $100 on a "reaction rod" - this does the EXACT same thing at 1/3 the price.
You will, of course, need a armorers tool (barrel wrench) if you have one of several standard types of barrel nuts. This is the tool I use, and it's great. It has everything I need for the parts I use. Your mileage may vary - do some research and don't buy something cheap. A cheap barrel wrench may be made of soft metal and may even damage your parts.
There are a lot of arguments over what oil to use - but one thing nobody ever argues is about the grease. Some people have preferences - but the M-16 manuals specify AeroShell 33MS grease for the barrel nut.
A large container is expensive - I buy these small containers. I've got 3 of them and have barely used any. You don't need much for the barrel lug and nut - so get a few and you'll be set for a long time.