A Quick Guide for Finding the Best Gunsmith Screwdriver Set for your Workbench or Range Bag!
If you work on firearms like I do you need the best gunsmith screwdriver set available to do the job right.
I just love working on my own firearms. Although I don’t fancy myself as a gunsmith, I am a precision machinist who makes his living with tools. One thing my line of work has taught me is to always use the right tool for the job. And when it comes to removing screws from a firearm, a general purpose screwdriver isn’t the right tool to use. They perform just fine when tinkering around with your 4X4 or fixing something around the house.
And it’s not just about using Hollow-Ground bits to keep from damaging slotted screws; gunsmithing involves dealing with many unique screw types that require specialty screwdriver bits that are just not found in a general purpose screwdriver set.
But finding a good quality set that will accommodate a wide variety of firearms isn’t that easy. There are products that are made from inferior materials that could fail at a critical time and damage your firearm. Or worse yet, a faulty tool could mean the difference between a successful hunt or mission failure.
The good news is there are a few reliable tool and firearm accessories manufactures that have designed some excellent Gunsmith Screwdriver Sets. But you can’t tell just by looking at them: you have to research the specs and analyze customer reviews, looking for legitimate issues.
What Are the Best Gunsmith Screwdriver Sets?
I have done all the foot work, researching the specs and sorting through hundreds of customer reviews. The (5) sets I recommend below have all the components and features that are important for working on most firearms.
I am familiar with the brands and either use them myself or know other shooters who do. In my opinion these are the Best Gunsmith Screwdriver Sets currently available.
#1 Wheeler Deluxe Gunsmithing Screwdriver 89 Pc. Set
- (2) ¼” Drivers with Non-Slip over-molded handles , (1) Hex-to-Square Adapter, Hinged Storage Case
- (54) hollow-ground flat bits, (15) specialty bits, (8) Allen, (4) Phillips, (3) Torx, (1) 2 ¼ shaft extension and (1) hex-to-square drive adapter
Wheeler Engineering is one of the oldest and most reputable firearm tools and accessories manufacture in the industry. The Wheeler Deluxe Gunsmithing Screwdriver 89 Pc. Set is designed for the serious gun owner or professional gunsmith.
Just about every screwdriver bit you can imagine is included in this set – and then some. Weaver didn’t just guess at the bit sizes you might need. They measured the screws of hundreds of antique and contemporary firearms to equip a set with the bits you will need for almost any situation.
The hollow-ground Flat bits range from .120” x .020 all the way up to .360 x .070. And don’t worry if you break one of the thin bits on a stubborn screw – the set includes 2X of the thinnest flat bit sizes.
There is a selection of Phillips, Allen (Hex), and Torx bits that will enable you to work on scope bases and rings and other common gunsmithing tasks. And don’t worry about those weird fasteners – (15) cleverly-designed Specialty Bits are also included.
Each bit in this set is machined from S2 tool steel and then hardened to 56-58 Rockwell “C.” This means they will not fail when you need them most. Many of the cheap sets have bits that are formed using the powdered metal process which don’t have the tensile strength of a machined bit.
The set comes with (2) ¼” Drivers with Non-Slip over-molded handles and a Hex-to-Square Adapter. The molded storage case firmly holds each screwdriver bit and accessories. It has a molded-in tray to hold screws. A Metric and Fractional Scale are molded into the case for checking the length of screws.
Check Out this Brief VIDEO!
One of the features I really like about this case is the Guide on the inside of the top that shows the size of each bit and location. This eliminates having to fish around for the right size bit.
#2 WEAVER 849719 Deluxe Gunsmith Tool 88-piece Kit
- Magnetic Bit Driver, Hex Drill Bit Adapter, Hex Bit Square Adapter, Bench Block, and Double Faced Hammer
- (54) Flat Bits, (3) Phillips Bits, (4) Torx Bits, (8) Hex Bits, (3) Specialty Bits, and (2) Extended Length Bits
- (9) Pin Punches
- Rugged Plastic Storage Case
Weaver is one of the most familiar and trusted American companies when it comes to firearm accessories and tools.
The WEAVER 849719 Deluxe Gunsmith Tool 88-piece Kit is a whole lot more than a set of screwdrivers: it’s an ensemble of the most important tools you will need for working on a firearm. Every firearm I can think of has at least (1) Pin holding parts together. So it only makes sense to include a set of Pin Punches and a hammer to drive them.
The hammer is double faced (like some people I know, LOL) with Plastic on one face and Brass on the other. These are the perfect materials for tapping out pins or drifting out a dovetail sight. And every person who works on guns needs a Bench Block for those kinds of tasks to absorb the energy from the hammer.
The Bench Block has large and small holes for driving out pins and “V” and Square channels to hold assemblies.
The bits in this set are made from high quality tool steel and precision formed to fit specific screws and fasteners. Although there’s not as many sizes compared to other screwdriver sets, the WEAVER 849719 Deluxe contains the most common ones used.
Each component of this set is neatly fitted in a rugged plastic storage case. It won’t take up too much room on your bench and its small enough to carry along in your range bag.
Best Professional Grade:
#3 Chapman Mfg #5589 Ultimate Gunsmith Screwdriver & Hand Tool Set
- Midget Ratchet, 3-5/8” Extension, Screwdriver Handle, Spinner Top, and Pocket Pack
- (2) PHILLIPS sizes #1, #2. (10) SAE ALLEN HEX sizes .050″, 1/16″, 5/64″, 3/32″, 7/64″, 1/8″, 9/64″, 5/32″, 3/16″, and 7/32″
- (12) SLOTTED/FLATHEAD sizes .125″ x .030″, .160″ x .030″, .190″ x .025″, .190″ x .037″, .230″ x .037″, .250″ x .025″, .250″ x .037″, .328″ x .030″, .328″ x .037″, .375″ x .025″, .375″ x .037″, and .375″ x .050″
- (7) STAR (fit Torx Screws) S6, S8, S10, S15, S2, S25, and S30
- Plastic Storage Case
Chapman Mfg. is a USA company in Durham, CT and began making screwdriver sets in 1936. They have been supplying their hollow-ground screwdriver sets to our US Navy SEALS, professional gunsmiths, and gun hobbyists. In fact, every branch of the US Military has been using their high quality sets since 1953.
There is a lot more to the #5589 Ultimate Gunsmith Screwdriver & Hand Tool Set than first meets the eye. It’s not the largest or most diverse set available, but it’s probably the best engineered.
Unlike some gunsmith screwdriver sets, each bit in the #5589 set is carefully designed for a specific application. Each bit is made from reliable USA sourced materials and milled to size instead of formed from powdered metal. Then the bits are heat treated to a specific hardness, so it’s not too brittle to shatter or soft to twist.
The bits in this set are made to withstand a specific torque range. They are purposely designed to break if too much torque is applied instead of damaging an irreplaceable gun screw.
Also SEE: Best Torque Wrench for Mounting Scopes
Over 200 different tool combinations can be formed with this set. Each of the bits and tools are ¼” Drive and are all interchangeable for maximum versatility.
You will really appreciate the proprietary Chapman Midget Ratchet. It provides you with up to 4X the leverage of a large screwdriver. Just be careful not to apply too much torque or you could damage the screw or break the bit.
The Spinner allows you to access those delicate screws in those hard-to-reach places. A 1911 Grip Screw bit is included making this set ideal for the Gov. Model fanatics like me.
The Chapman Mfg. #5589 Ultimate Gunsmith Screwdriver & Hand Tool Set is without a doubt one of the very best tool kits to have in your range bag or on your bench. To help you sleep better at night, Chapman Guarantees their tools for THREE years against faulty workmanship or materials!
Best Traditional Set:
#4 Grace USA Original Gun Care Screwdriver Set HG8
- (7) Screwdrivers – Blade Sizes N2, G2, G3, H2, H3, H4, N3, and N4
- Plastic Storage Bag
Grace USA has been making the HG8 set of gunsmith screwdrivers since 1941.
These traditional screwdrivers are reminiscent of gunsmithing tools used in decades past before the popular driver bit sets were introduced. I have used my Grace screwdrivers for hundreds of gun projects and wouldn’t be without them.
Each blade is crafted from Chromium and Vanadium steel and heat treated to 52–56 Rc hardness. This is the ideal hardness for a screwdriver blade. It’s hard enough not to twist but not so hard that it will chip while removing a delicate gun screw.
The blade ends are custom Hollow Ground to tolerances of +/-.002 to fit screws commonly found on firearms. They can be used for sight screws, guard screws, plug screws, scope screws, floor plate as well as many other firearm screws.
The square shaped handles are made from Maine hardwood that minimizes slipping even with oily hands. Each tool features a nickel-plated ferrule that adds to the appearance of these fine hand tools and protects the wood from chipping.
The Grace USA Original Gun Care Screwdriver Set HG8 isn’t for everyone. They are ideal for workbench projects but obviously not suited for taking to the range. The quality is what you would expect from this American company. This is a set of screwdrivers you will enjoy using and be proud to own.
Best Budget Set:
#5 Winchester 51 Piece Gunsmith Screwdriver Set
- Driver and 1” Socket Adapter
- (12) Flat Head Bits, (8) Hex Bits, (4) Phillips Bits, (2) Long Phillips Bits, (7) Star Bits, (4) Robertson (Square) Bits, (2) Spline Bits
(4) Tri Wing Bits, (3) Clutch Bits, and (3) Hex Bits
- Plastic Storage Case
The Winchester 51 Piece Gunsmith Screwdriver Set is what I would call a budget set. Although Winchester is an American Icon company this tool set is imported but the quality is fine.
Even though this set does have a very good selection of bits it isn’t what I would call a professional gunsmithing set. This screwdriver bit set is best suited for the average shooter who likes to work on their firearms. It’s ideal for use on the bench or for carrying along to the range.
The Flat Head bits are Hollow-Ground for a more precise fit with the screw slot. Unlike most sets the Winchester 51 includes (4) Tri Wing Bits. They probably won’t get used that often but they will enable you tackle those tri head screws sometimes encountered on certain firearms.
There’s a good assortment of Phillips, Square, Torx, and Square bits that come with this set. A 1” Socket Adapter is included and comes in handy for torquing a scope ring cross screw and bolt. The Driver has a nicely over molded handle that feels good in the hand.
Do I Really Need a Gunsmith Screwdriver Set?
I am fortunate to have a sizable collection from vintage and modern day hand guns, WWII rifles, English hand-built shotguns, and tactical long-range rifles. Needless to say there is a wide variety of screws on these guns that range from thin-slotted flat heads to TORX.
Some screws have very shallow narrow slots that general purpose screwdriver bits won’t fit. This is very common in vintage firearms, especially British made guns. Oftentimes the screw heads are much larger in diameter than standard fasteners requiring a wider blade than usual.
Some assemblies and modules found on firearms require a spanner bit to disassemble. A well-outfitted gunsmith screwdriver set will have all the bits necessary to accommodate just about any type of fastener you might encounter.
What to Look for When Choosing a Gunsmithing Screwdriver Set!
There are several issues you should consider when selecting a gunsmithing screwdriver set.
If you plan on working on multiple types of firearms you will need a set with a wide variety of flat bit sizes.
Since there is no standard in the firearms industry you are likely to encounter screws with many different slot widths and lengths. Its important to use a bit that fits the slot precisely to transfer as much torque possible to the screw. The bit should be almost as wide as the screw diameter for maximum engagement. Make sure the set has a wide assortment of flat bit sizes.
Torx is a screw drive system characterized by a six point “Star” pattern. You will encounter Torx screws on most modern rifles and pistols. They are used extensively for scope mounts and rings. Make sure the set you choose has a full range of Torx bit sizes typically found on guns.
Some firearms have Phillips head screws so its a good idea to select a set with at least a small and large Phillips bit.
Allen (Hex) Bits:
Allen head fasteners are found on most contemporary firearms. The better equipped sets should include a range of SAE and Metric sizes.
Many firearms utilize special fasteners and assemblies that require Specialty Bits to work on. The professional gunsmitting tool sets will have a variety of the most popular specialty bits.
Its a good Idea that the set you are considering has a Large and Small size driver. Working with a clumsy large driver on small precision-machined and polished screws is something to be avoided. Using too large a driver is a sure way to accidentally apply too much torque. Of course when turning a larger screw you need the larger size driver for the mechanical advantage.
Sometimes you will encounter a screw that is inside the receiver and requires an extension to reach. Check to be sure the screwdriver set has at least one extension.
It may seem obvious that a set should include a storage case of some kind. But its important that the case stores the bits, drivers, extensions and other components in a organized matter so they are easy to access. Its important that the case has a good latch to keep it from popping open if you toss it in your range bag.
What is a Hollow-Ground Screwdriver Bit?
A common slotted screw or a gun screw has a slot with parallel sides. So, it only makes sense that a screwdriver should have parallel sides also. Common screwdrivers have tapered sides because they are easier to manufacture. They work OK to tighten or remove a screw but they usually deform the area just above the slot causing unsightly burs.
A Hollow-Ground screwdriver bit has a concave shape just above the end of the screwdriver blade. This shape produces parallel sides near the tip. More torque pressure can then be transferred into the screw because of the greater contact area. This design reduces or eliminates damage to the screw head.
These benefits are especially desirable when working on vintage or traditional firearms, where screw heads have a secondary ornate function. Quite often the heads have been polished or even engraved, requiring the utmost care when removing. This is the reason hollow-ground bits are included in the best gunsmith screwdriver sets.
Pro Tip: For removing those stubborn rusted screws on an old or vintage firearm, add a couple drops of Kroil Penetrating Oil. Then, just wait a few minutes for it to do its magic before putting the torque to it.
Contents at a Glance
- 1 A Quick Guide for Finding the Best Gunsmith Screwdriver Set for your Workbench or Range Bag!
- 1.1 What Are the Best Gunsmith Screwdriver Sets?
- 1.2 RECOMMENDATIONS
- 1.3 Most Complete:
- 1.4 Most Diverse:
- 1.5 Best Professional Grade:
- 1.6 Best Traditional Set:
- 1.7 Best Budget Set:
- 1.8 Do I Really Need a Gunsmith Screwdriver Set?
- 1.9 What to Look for When Choosing a Gunsmithing Screwdriver Set!
- 1.10 What is a Hollow-Ground Screwdriver Bit?