Do You Tinker with Guns?

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by GOG, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. GOG

    GOG Free American Monkey

    I'm a tinkerer at best and leave real gunsmithing to the pros. But I'll do basic repairs and other minor work if I think I can undertake it without screwing it up. It makes sense to me to know as much as I can about my firearms and firearms in general. I also want actual books because of potential EMP etc.

    Although I've relied on the internet more times than I can count, having actual assorted books and manuals is a comfort to me. I use them often because I can put my hands on a photo or text with just the search of the index.
    The first four I bought were the Gun Digest Disassembly manuals; Center Fire Rifles, Shotguns, Semi Automatic Pistols and Revolvers. That was quite a few years ago and my library has grown considerably. But those four still serve me well and were an excellent investment.

    So, do you tinker and do you have some manuals or books you think we should have or something that's just interesting?

    BTW, AR 15 guys, is the new bench manual by Peter Sweeney a good one? It was published last year?
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  2. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I build a lot of guns, mostly from parts that I search out at gun shows.
  3. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    I'll admit to some tinkering...and am on the lookout for various manuals. Latest one is a S&W armorer's manual, with several handwritten modification notes. Certainly worth the $20 price tag.

    Now if I could find dimensional schematics for an 1878 Whitneyville Armory revolver ;)
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  4. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    I'm going to suggest that you get some quality tools next.
    Serious quality screw drivers or bits will go a long way. If you know the pain of stripping a slotted screw with an ill fitting driver and what damage it can do to the finish of the gun or stock .. it's well worth the few bucks more.
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  5. Tempstar

    Tempstar Pray for Mrs. Krap

    My bible is the Brownells catalog with the exploded views.
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  6. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey

    For AR's a manual really isn't necessary. Just keep in mind proper torque settings. I have a .jpg showing the lower parts and a set of tools. The jpg helps me to tell a few of the springs and detentes apart.

    For bolt action rifles consider something like a Savage, Ruger American, or Tikka that uses a barrel nut. On these you can swap out your own barrels. All it takes are a set of go and no go gauges, the proper wrench and a barrel vice. Trigger swaps on bolties are generally easy. This way you can stash a few parts for SHTF for them as well.
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  7. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey

    As far as books and manuals I mostly keep reloading books, plus a set of printouts for AR's - parts and where they go, what parts need how much lube, and my assembly notes.
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  8. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    I have found a wealth of gun books at yard sales, flea markets, used book stores, over the years and a couple of friends that have passed on gave me their libraries as as well. Most are very dated, which is what I love about them. The old books tell how to carve stocks, fit actions, temper springs, etc, not really necessary now, but interesting if things went south. While pricey if bought new, there are several gun smithing videos that I found handy and I have flash drives with some very good videos and a lot of diagrams of guns. I also have a small monitor, a raspberry pi, etc with them in as good of a faraday cage as I can make. I love the old single shot break action rifles and Lee's first loader and have supplies stacked deep for them. Good screwdrivers, better punches, a bench with a padded top and with my old eyes the best lighting I can find make guns a very rewarding hobby. My personal bias is in buying some good abrasive stones as the thing that pleases me most is a smooth trigger pull and a little smoothing will often make a lot of improvement.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
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  9. GOG

    GOG Free American Monkey

    A number of years ago I worked part time in a gun shop and got paid in store credit. 10% over on new anything and whatever kind of deal I could wangle on a used firearm. Great place and that's where I got started tinkering. The gunsmith there was a good friend and I just hung out with him when things were slow. I learned a ton from him.
    BTW, I'm just new to AR's, not new to guns. :)
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  10. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Same here, I have the same assembly/diassembly manuals from Gun Digest and others. Has come in real handy on certain guns. I do much of my own gun work, though I do use a 'smith for anything major.
    My late Father was a big DIYer, and he trained me to be the same. Got a good technical library too. And a shop full of tools, mine and Dad's.
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  11. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    If you take your hobby to the next level, specialized tools are required for many guns and will make it easier and do a better job for all of them. No one tool will work for all of the different types and makes of weapons out there. Before you buy any one of them, talk to someone who uses one like you wish to buy, and if possible try it out. Some of them are real junk or will only work with one manufacturer's line or may actually damage your weapon. The good point is that most firearms hobbiest are like most hams and will give you a lot of free advice if you truly wish to learn and are willing to listen.
  12. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    I recommend the Gunsmithing the AR-15, by Patrick Sweeney. Well written, clear and concise!
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  13. GOG

    GOG Free American Monkey

    There's lots of AR builders these days and I've managed to avoid it for a long time, but I'm finally going to do it.
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  14. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey

    The first time a gun guy builds an AR is like the first time a junkie takes crack. It's hard to say which addiction is the most expensive.
  15. GOG

    GOG Free American Monkey

    I already have Gunitis, so AR Fever or whatever it's called will just be another facet of my addiction. :cool:
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  16. GOG

    GOG Free American Monkey

    Nah, I'm as pure as the driven snow.
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  17. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    One of the most valuable tools I have taught other mechanics is to use the camera and take pictures of the process while your doing it, and mark things for where they came from.
    if your a newbe and working on things that have springs ,make a cabinet a bit like a sand blast cabinet with it's own lights glass/plastic and hand holes. gloves optional. that way if a spring goes flying ,it can't go far .it's contained . a card board box works just fine . pertinent tools have their own designated place inside.
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  18. Merkun

    Merkun furious dreamer

    For those springs that think freedom beats staying in place, nothing beats a good stout magnet for finding the little ones and picking up any you can't readily reach. Tie a string on and push it into the deepest, darkest corners under the bench with a yard stick and pull it back ---
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  19. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    Do you get beyond "tinker" when you buy your first headspace gauge? Receiver wrench? Mainspring/hammer spring vise?

    A set of Jack First parts catalogs (There are three, red, white, and blue and they need lots of shelf space) might be useful to replace those parts that flew off into space or got lost in the shag carpet when you didn't do your disassembly in a plastic bag to catch flying parts. The parts breakdowns can also help you figure out a repair when you-tube isn't available.

    If you reload or cast bullets you can't have too many manufacturers load data sheets and books by Lee, Lyman, RCBS. A cartridge case conversion manual is a must for odd stuff you can't find/afford, and Glen Fryxell wrote the most informative manual on bullet lube and casting that I've ever read. It's downloadable here: From Ingot to Target: A Cast Bullet Guide For Handgunners, Table of Contents - Fryxell/Applegate (Author states on the cover page that you may print a copy for your own use.)
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  20. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grampa Monkey

    TOOLS, Tools, And more Tools!!! Every type of firearm has it's own needs when it comes to tools, and this is where things can get expensive. I just added up the specific tools for JUST the 1911 and the total was just under $800!!!
    A short list of the most common and valuable tools are various files, good selection of drivers and bits, awesome drill bits, and drift punches/center punches and drifts. Also a good center punch, scribes and my most used of all, machinest marking dye and calipers.
    For good references, the American firearms academy has full sets of armorors DVD's that you can purchase or download for a fee, and I will pause on images and snap a picture with my phone and then up load to the computer and blow up the images and send to the printer! I like doing this with blueprints and exploded drawings that I then put in a hard cover 3 ring binder!

    Yes, I "Tinker" a lot!!! I went the full coarse at Trinidad for Gunsmithing, and even though it's just a hobby, it's really awesome being able to make or build, or just rebuild pretty much any thing GUN!
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