Gun Smithing Tool Advice

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing Forum' started by JoeStreet, May 18, 2014.

  1. JoeStreet

    JoeStreet New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I am trying to put together a business plan for a gunsmithing business. I’m trying to find a tool list that would include the all of tools that I would need. I intend to provide a fair amount of services ranging from repair to bluing and other types of finishes. I’ve spent a bunch of time on Brownell’s site and I’ve searched for “Starter Tool Sets” and while they have some available they don’t appear to be very inclusive, not being critical but I am trying to build an all-inclusive list so that I can fully capture all of my startup cost. I’m hoping to include things like a mill and a lathe as well as all of the essential hand tools. If anyone knows where I can find such a list or have ideas regarding tools that need to be on the list I’d be very grateful for the help.

    Thank you very much, Joe S.
     
  2. hiwall

    hiwall Active Member

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    When I started gunsmithing I had some and then bought some tools. But most gun specific tools I purchased as I needed them. Why spend the money on that specific tool if it might be a year or even two before you need to use it? From day to day you never know what gun or what job some one might bring in and want you to do to the gun. You can order the tool and have it in your possession in just a few days. I've purchased special tools that I thought were cool and never have used them. Much better to have few tools that you are very good at using.
     

  3. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    i have to agree with Hiwall.

    must have tools.

    a few different sized hammers.

    punch and drift pin set.

    a few pair of needle nosed pliers.

    gun specific screwdriver set.

    trigger pull gauge,

    rubber mallets.

    pick and probe set.

    a couple of gun vises.

    a bench vise.

    bore sighter.



    these are just some i think that would be used daily, if not at least weekly.
     
  4. bobr3940

    bobr3940 New Member

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    I agree with the comments made above. Buy the tools as you need them.

    If you are just starting out you might want to check out the PDF file that Trinidad State Colorado Gunsmithing school gives to their new students. It lists all of the tools that they will need to provide while they are taking the classes. Here is a link: Required tool list. While this does not cover larger items like lathes, bluing tanks, etc it does cover the basic tools that are a good basis for a general purpose gunsmithing toolkit.

    Bob
    http://www.gunsmithinfo.com
     
  5. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    You know, I keep getting tools all the time.
    Their kits are okay to start with, but each smith will need special tools as they find their niche.
    I've ended up making some of mine for a couple of special applications.
     
  6. DrFootball

    DrFootball disappointed & disgusted, But DETERMINED... Lifetime Supporter

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    Grab the Natchez catalog or look on their website. I have bought most of it from them. A good Vise, a good shooting rest,. You can pick what shooting bench/Table you want,. A Reloading bench( maybe put two together or buy the Harbor Fgt. Workbench)., I got 2 different Tool sets, one Deluxe (from Weaver-$75) and A smaller set to go from Safariland. get a Trigger pull scale, I got something from Wheeler called a Fat Wrench,..you may want Two different Vises, one specifically for AR's if that will be a big part of your business. Since I don't Reload anymore I can't give you any advice there but you will need at least one, if not two presses,..if you don't have a lot of land out the back of your property for your own range, try and swing a good Bullet Trap.
    Now, if you start to buy big machines like Lathes and A good Grinder, or even a CNC set up to make your own parts, your talking a lot of money.....Screwdrivers are important. Brownells sells a "Magnatip Autoloader" Screwdriver...a box of different small parts,..You will also want to mount Scopes, so a Boresight kit is also a plus.....


    Sent from my iPad using Firearms Talk
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2014
  7. John_Deer

    John_Deer New Member

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    If you want to mount scopes you need an inch pound wrench and a thin piece of string that will hold a brick to line up the crosshairs. You will also need a gun vise that you can level the gun. You will also need a quality two foot level.
     
  8. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

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    Depends on how deep you want to get. Some big power tools should also be considered for machine work (threadind, drilling and tapping) and refinishing.

    A milling machine. Good drill press, compressor, sand blasting equipment for refinishing. Shop oven for baked on finishes. Bluing tanks. Bench grinder with polishing wheels, belt sander for fitting recoil pads.
     
  9. JoeStreet

    JoeStreet New Member

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    Wow! Thanks for all the input. If anyone has anymore ideas they will be appreciated. Thanks again, Joe.
     
  10. molonlabexx

    molonlabexx New Member

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    I am in training right now with AGI. What I have so far is basic hand tools (gun smith specific not just random screwdrivers), Ball and Pein hammers, punches, and tons of of tools. I don;t have any power tools with the exception of a cordless drill. I don;t plan to open my own gun shop or make my own business, rather get hired by a shop/range full time. I hope to start apprenticing soon as well. Check out AGI, they have some good kits and their master kit comes with all kinds of tools, even power tools.
     
  11. regload

    regload Member

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    I can't see any need for a normal gunsmith to have any type of CNC machinery. Not unless that 'smith began specializing in making replacement/modified parts for a few model firearms, and could be guaranteed to sell a few hundred of those unique parts per year. Kind of like Weigand and their scope mounts.
    Programming a CNC routine takes a fair amount of time, definitely not worth it for a couple or three parts at a time. More time spent programming than in setting up and machining. I speak from industrial experience.
     
  12. molonlabexx

    molonlabexx New Member

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    CNC is not necessary UNLESS you work for the armorer and make the replacement parts that you send to shops. Even in that case the company will provide the machinery.
     
  13. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    i have to agree. CNC lathes and milling machines can be very expensive and require someone to either input a program or write a program for it to make parts. they are more designed for making huge quanties of parts for mass production.
     
  14. DrFootball

    DrFootball disappointed & disgusted, But DETERMINED... Lifetime Supporter

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    I'm being taught all Phases. At least with my own Lathe and a few smaller machines... I can actually Rebuild. The Stuff they do on "SONS of GUNS " intrigues me. You can get one for as little as $3600. CNC, a very good Friend who did it for a living and now Teaches it, taught me enough. I just need program specs and the materiel and a machine to run it on, even though I don't care for Windows, I can get a Unix compiler and run it on my MAC. Of Course I'd have to get a dedicated MAC to run it.,....


    Sent from my iPhone using Firearms Talk
     
  15. hiwall

    hiwall Active Member

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    Very, very little of the day to day work of a gunsmith even requires a mill or a lathe. For power tools a good drill press and a Dremel are by far the most used. A saw for cutting stocks for recoil pad installs. Even a standard grinder is not used very often. Files are used alot.
     
  16. John_Deer

    John_Deer New Member

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    A professional gunsmith very seldom uses a dremel tool. If they do use a dremel tool it is to repair or replace hand fitted screws. They do not use a dremel tool to smooth parts or change the angle of part. If they round off a sear their grandchildren will be paying off the resulting lawsuit.

    Here is what a gunsmith uses.
    http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...tures/series-ii-stoning-fixture-prod9875.aspx
     
  17. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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    Bingo!

    Asking what tools YOU will need as a gunsmith is like asking how long is a piece of string?

    Start with all the basic hand tools already mentioned and work up from there on the specialty tools. I've probably got well over 30K invested in tools and machines already and don't even come close to having all the tools I would need to be able to do every job that walked in the door. But then again I don't have to, because I'm not a professional gunsmith. :p
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  18. hiwall

    hiwall Active Member

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    I listed Dremel on purpose to bring out the computer gunsmiths. The uses for a dremel in gunsmithing are limitless.
    People who say "Never use a Dremel" are just like anti-gun zealots who say that no one should have a gun because some wacko used one incorrectly. A Dremel is simply a tool. I have seen many many guns damaged by hammers that were used to remove or slide over sights. Does that mean hammers are the sign of a poor gunsmith?
    What you do with the tools you have makes you a real gunsmith or not.
     
  19. John_Deer

    John_Deer New Member

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    There are parts replacers and there are gunsmiths. A gunsmith has the tools and equipment to do jobs quickly and professionally. He does everything possible to eliminate errors. A parts replacer sits there with a hammer and dremel tool screwing up peoples stuff. I can't even say what would happen if I caught a gunsmith beating on my sights with a hammer. If a hammer and a dremel tool was all that is required I wouldn't use a gunsmith. I have my own hammer and dremel tool.
     
  20. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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    I had a pristine 80 series Colt 1911 destroyed by a "professional" gunsmith at a local gun shop years ago. I took it in to have a set of Bo-Mar sights installed. Three months later I went to pick it up and my heart sank into my stomach. It looked like they cut the new dovetail in the slide with a dull wood rasp. Huge crooked gaps between the cuts and the rear sight body. To top it off the firing pin safety plunger spring was sticking out of the slide! They cut right through the plunger bore. :mad:

    I ended up having to file a lawsuit against them to recover my losses, and about a year later the place went under. Apparently it was a common occurrence for them. Having an FFL does not a gunsmith make...

    Since then I've done all my own work. I have Dremel tools. I have Foredom tools. The trick is to know how, when and where to use them - and when NOT to use them. This ain't rocket surgery. :D

    Now THIS guy on the other hand.....

    http://smg.photobucket.com/user/Highpwr/media/Various Videos/Gunsmithin.mp4.html
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2014