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Tools for the Amateur Riflesmith
The tools required to do the work described on this site have been shown in the background of the photos that make up the site. Here I will attempt to tell about the tools themselves and where to find them.
The first group of tools should consist of some printed material; a Brownells Catalog, a machinists' handbook** and one (at least) good book on general Gun or Riflesmithing. I recommend Roy Dunlap's Gunsmithing, by Stackpole, available from Brownells.
Brownells has the absolute best selection of 'smithing tools and supply's in the world.
** Although the standard of the industry is the "Machinery's Handbook", published by the Industrial Press (about $75), a real sleeper is the "American Machinists' Handbook" by Colvin and Stanley, published by McGraw-Hill. The AM'sH can be had on E-Bay, often for as little as $5 in like new condition, while the M'sH commands a much higher price. I don't know if the AM'sH is still in print, but a copy from the late 30's to the mid 60's (of either book) will contain all the info the 'smith needs to know. The newer books contain a lot of rather HiTech and exotic machining info that doesn't apply to the 'smithing trade.
The rest of the tools fall into two categories, those tools common to the metal/wood working trades and those unique to the firearm trade. ALL of these tools can be purchased from Brownells, but the general tools are better purchased from industry trade houses, while the firearm specific tools can be had from Brownells.
The two trade houses I use are Wholesale Tool and Enco. Both sell to the public, neither offer a "trade" discount. If you order from them on-line, you will receive monthly flyers as well as an annual catalog. You may be able to request a printed catalog on-line. These two carry much of the same items, Wholesale has some more obscure items, like left-hand dies. Wholesale tends to be cheaper, but has a $25 minimum, while Enco has no minimum. Both have good customer service but lousy web sites.
Brownells is excellent in every way. They have the BEST on-line sales program, very, very good customer service, and only sell the best quality merchandise. They do offer a trade discount to FFLs. Now a word about Midway. Midway has very good service and has begun to carry 'smithing supplies, as fairly good prices. But Midway has a $30 minimum ($40 dealer minimum), while Brownells will gladly sell a single $5 item. Brownells also has a staff of genuine Gunsmiths who are able and happy to answer questions, while Midway seems to stock and sell, but not assist.
Many of the tools I will be showing are Asian, with most coming from Red China. You can make your own choice as to buy from the Commies or not. I have found most of the Chinese tools to be of good to excellent quality, and stuff from Poland and Bosnia to be very good. I have NEVER found anything from India that was worth using.
Page 1 - Vises, Bench, Drill Press, Etc.
Page 2 - Measuring Stuff, Micrometers, Squares
Page 3 - Cutting, Grinding, Polishing
Page 4 - Punches, Bench Block, Scribe
Page 5 - Screwdrivers
Page 6 - Taps, Drills Cutting Fluids
Page 7 - Glues 'n stuff
Page 8 - Keeping it all together - Tool boxes
Page 9 - The Big Stuff - Powered Equipment
Page 10 - 'Smithing Specific Jigs and Fixtures
Page 11 - Shop-Made 'smithing Tools