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mchljrdn

Tool Kit Advice

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That's a good start. Inevitably, no matter how many tool recommendations you get, you'll find something you forgot (while you're in the middle of a build, and probably late on a Saturday or Sunday night...). You will need a torque wrench, BTW. And I like to have an inch-pound torque driver/wrench on hand, as well for gas block set/clamp screws, handguard hardware, sights, scope rings, etc.

Having said that, and I'm trying to be careful here...

Caldwell makes good "starter" tools. I'm not talking about the vise blocks and other fixtures -- those are probably good to go. Their hand tools, though... Eh.

IME, the Caldwell roll pin punches are prone to bending, and the paint (yes, paint...) won't last through the first build. After bending or mushrooming a couple of punches from my Caldwell set, I picked up a good set of punches from Grace USA: https://www.opticsplanet.com/grace-usa-16-piece-ar-15-punch-hammer-set-w-bench-block.html They're not cheap, but they're damn fine tools. And they come with a bench block and a quality hammer.

Buy yourself a good magnetic bench block, as well. I have a few, but find myself reaching for this one 90% of the time: https://www.opticsplanet.com/real-avid-smart-bench-block.html

For vise blocks, I use a set from No-MAR: https://www.plastixrevolution.net/collections/ar10-upper-receiver-vise-blocks/products/223-ar-15-308-ar-10-upper-receiver-vise-block

I also have a No-MAR lower vise block: https://www.plastixrevolution.net/collections/ar15-ar10-lower-receiver-vise-blocks/products/ar10-sr25-lower-receiver-vise-block

All used in a 4" bench vise, bolted to my workbench. With magnetic vise jaws: https://www.amazon.com/Vise-Jaws-Multipurpose-Reversible-Available/dp/B018QNM7V2/ref=pd_bxgy_img_2/139-3663406-1318522?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B018QNM7V2&pd_rd_r=2524bca2-6a82-48a1-9313-f2e33cdfa375&pd_rd_w=0lSYy&pd_rd_wg=KJLG5&pf_rd_p=fd08095f-55ff-4a15-9b49-4a1a719225a9&pf_rd_r=5DA9FV1WES5ZG25ZHMPA&psc=1&refRID=5DA9FV1WES5ZG25ZHMPA

The Gas Block Genie is a great tool. I'm still waiting for them to release their 0.625" and 0.875" versions...

Also, if your barrel nut requires aligning a relief or hole for the gas tube, this tool from Squirrel Daddy is amazing: https://www.squirreldaddy.com/Gas-Tube-Alignment-Gage-Pin-p/sd20-196.htm

Finally, a good pivot pin detent tool will save you a ton of heartache... https://www.squirreldaddy.com/308-Detent-pin-and-spring-installation-tool-p/sd20-181.htm

 

I am an admitted "tool queer," so I could go on. And on. And on. But between what you've posted and what I've shared above, you should be able to get your build rolling with the bare minimum of yelling, cussing, and throwing shite.

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25 minutes ago, COBrien said:

That's a good start. Inevitably, no matter how many tool recommendations you get, you'll find something you forgot (while you're in the middle of a build, and probably late on a Saturday or Sunday night...). You will need a torque wrench, BTW. And I like to have an inch-pound torque driver/wrench on hand, as well for gas block set/clamp screws, handguard hardware, sights, scope rings, etc.

Having said that, and I'm trying to be careful here...

Caldwell makes good "starter" tools. I'm not talking about the vise blocks and other fixtures -- those are probably good to go. Their hand tools, though... Eh.

IME, the Caldwell roll pin punches are prone to bending, and the paint (yes, paint...) won't last through the first build. After bending or mushrooming a couple of punches from my Caldwell set, I picked up a good set of punches from Grace USA: https://www.opticsplanet.com/grace-usa-16-piece-ar-15-punch-hammer-set-w-bench-block.html They're not cheap, but they're damn fine tools. And they come with a bench block and a quality hammer.

Buy yourself a good magnetic bench block, as well. I have a few, but find myself reaching for this one 90% of the time: https://www.opticsplanet.com/real-avid-smart-bench-block.html

For vise blocks, I use a set from No-MAR: https://www.plastixrevolution.net/collections/ar10-upper-receiver-vise-blocks/products/223-ar-15-308-ar-10-upper-receiver-vise-block

I also have a No-MAR lower vise block: https://www.plastixrevolution.net/collections/ar15-ar10-lower-receiver-vise-blocks/products/ar10-sr25-lower-receiver-vise-block

All used in a 4" bench vise, bolted to my workbench. With magnetic vise jaws: https://www.amazon.com/Vise-Jaws-Multipurpose-Reversible-Available/dp/B018QNM7V2/ref=pd_bxgy_img_2/139-3663406-1318522?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B018QNM7V2&pd_rd_r=2524bca2-6a82-48a1-9313-f2e33cdfa375&pd_rd_w=0lSYy&pd_rd_wg=KJLG5&pf_rd_p=fd08095f-55ff-4a15-9b49-4a1a719225a9&pf_rd_r=5DA9FV1WES5ZG25ZHMPA&psc=1&refRID=5DA9FV1WES5ZG25ZHMPA

The Gas Block Genie is a great tool. I'm still waiting for them to release their 0.625" and 0.875" versions...

Also, if your barrel nut requires aligning a relief or hole for the gas tube, this tool from Squirrel Daddy is amazing: https://www.squirreldaddy.com/Gas-Tube-Alignment-Gage-Pin-p/sd20-196.htm

Finally, a good pivot pin detent tool will save you a ton of heartache... https://www.squirreldaddy.com/308-Detent-pin-and-spring-installation-tool-p/sd20-181.htm

 

I am an admitted "tool queer," so I could go on. And on. And on. But between what you've posted and what I've shared above, you should be able to get your build rolling with the bare minimum of yelling, cussing, and throwing shite.

Thanks for the input!  I'd rather buy once - can't stand bad tools.  I have a 4" vice on a workbench - would you recommend purchasing the No-Mar and scrapping the Wheeler vice?  Do you have specific recommendations for the torque wrench and driver/wrench?  

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3 hours ago, COBrien said:

That's a good start. Inevitably, no matter how many tool recommendations you get, you'll find something you forgot (while you're in the middle of a build, and probably late on a Saturday or Sunday night...). You will need a torque wrench, BTW. And I like to have an inch-pound torque driver/wrench on hand, as well for gas block set/clamp screws, handguard hardware, sights, scope rings, etc.

Having said that, and I'm trying to be careful here...

Caldwell makes good "starter" tools. I'm not talking about the vise blocks and other fixtures -- those are probably good to go. Their hand tools, though... Eh.

IME, the Caldwell roll pin punches are prone to bending, and the paint (yes, paint...) won't last through the first build. After bending or mushrooming a couple of punches from my Caldwell set, I picked up a good set of punches from Grace USA: https://www.opticsplanet.com/grace-usa-16-piece-ar-15-punch-hammer-set-w-bench-block.html They're not cheap, but they're damn fine tools. And they come with a bench block and a quality hammer.

Buy yourself a good magnetic bench block, as well. I have a few, but find myself reaching for this one 90% of the time: https://www.opticsplanet.com/real-avid-smart-bench-block.html

For vise blocks, I use a set from No-MAR: https://www.plastixrevolution.net/collections/ar10-upper-receiver-vise-blocks/products/223-ar-15-308-ar-10-upper-receiver-vise-block

I also have a No-MAR lower vise block: https://www.plastixrevolution.net/collections/ar15-ar10-lower-receiver-vise-blocks/products/ar10-sr25-lower-receiver-vise-block

All used in a 4" bench vise, bolted to my workbench. With magnetic vise jaws: https://www.amazon.com/Vise-Jaws-Multipurpose-Reversible-Available/dp/B018QNM7V2/ref=pd_bxgy_img_2/139-3663406-1318522?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B018QNM7V2&pd_rd_r=2524bca2-6a82-48a1-9313-f2e33cdfa375&pd_rd_w=0lSYy&pd_rd_wg=KJLG5&pf_rd_p=fd08095f-55ff-4a15-9b49-4a1a719225a9&pf_rd_r=5DA9FV1WES5ZG25ZHMPA&psc=1&refRID=5DA9FV1WES5ZG25ZHMPA

The Gas Block Genie is a great tool. I'm still waiting for them to release their 0.625" and 0.875" versions...

Also, if your barrel nut requires aligning a relief or hole for the gas tube, this tool from Squirrel Daddy is amazing: https://www.squirreldaddy.com/Gas-Tube-Alignment-Gage-Pin-p/sd20-196.htm

Finally, a good pivot pin detent tool will save you a ton of heartache... https://www.squirreldaddy.com/308-Detent-pin-and-spring-installation-tool-p/sd20-181.htm

 

I am an admitted "tool queer," so I could go on. And on. And on. But between what you've posted and what I've shared above, you should be able to get your build rolling with the bare minimum of yelling, cussing, and throwing shite.

Great links brother:thumbup:

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3 hours ago, mchljrdn said:

Thanks for the input!  I'd rather buy once - can't stand bad tools.  I have a 4" vice on a workbench - would you recommend purchasing the No-Mar and scrapping the Wheeler vice?  Do you have specific recommendations for the torque wrench and driver/wrench?  

Let me start by saying I tend to be a cheap-ass, with expensive tastes.

While the Wheeler armorer's vise is a neat product, you can accomplish the same thing with a set of vise blocks and a hold-open device: https://www.fulton-armory.com/cleaning-hold-open-device-ar-15-308-ar-j-dewey.aspx
(That's a link to Fulton Armory, but it's a Dewey product -- you can find those lots of places, for less than Fulton wants for it...)

As far as a torque wrench, I'll probably get lambasted here. But oh well -- it works for my builds. I use a mid-range click-type 1/2" drive torque wrench (the same one I use for automotive projects). Most recommend a beam-type, but I used what I had and I haven't had any issues yet. To be clear: I'm not recommending you use a click-type torque wrench, as that's technically incorrect. I'm just saying I've used it on 4 complete builds and at least half-a-dozen handguard and/or barrel swaps, and so far none of those rifles has been set alight by the ghost of Eugene Stoner...

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away from 308ARs (the 10/22 galaxy), I bought a pre-loved Proto 6106 torque driver on that all-too-common-yet-not-linkable-here online auction website -- with a calibration statement -- for, like, $70. Brand new, they run $275ish.
6106.jpg?fit=684,608&ssl=1

I've heard mixed reviews of the Wheeler FAT Wrench. But, while Googling, I did come across this Husky 1/4" hex torque screwdriver that has some pretty good reviews: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-1-4-in-Hex-Inch-Torque-Screw-Driver-H4DTRQ/204772217

Edited by COBrien

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Quality torque wrench for locking down barrel nuts - barrel nut range is HUGE, at 30~80lb/ft, so that part of it isn't really a big real - with such a huge range to hit.  Look for something in the proper range, too, because all torque wrenches are least accurate in the bottom 20% of their range.  That includes Snap-On, which is all I use - I have them for work, not guns, but they get used on my guns, too.

For small shiit like scope mounts and things like that, go for quality.  By once, cry once.  My 1/4" drive Snap-On torque wrench has a range of 40in/lb to 200in/lb - way too high to use on scope mounts and rings, which are typically 25in/lb numbers.  Sometimes as low as 15in/lb on some mounts.  That badass little torque wrench doesn't even go down that far - and it's bottom 20% is the least accurate...

For stuff like that, I have this Snap-On QDRIVER4 - <<<that's the model number.  It's range is 5~40in/lb.

Snap-On-Torque-Screwdriver-QDRIVER4-5-40

i-img639x1159-1532845638fwstat404940.jpg

The bottom 20% of that would go up to 12in/lb, but I use it to install windshield screws that cannot go over 6in/lb, or it can crack the plexiglass windshield - haven't cracked one yet.

 

 

Edited by 98Z5V

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4 hours ago, kaocsd said:

This was my question for why I joined.  I currently have a https://www.realavid.com/product/ar15-armorers-master-kit/. I need to get upper/lower vise blocks, but anything else I need that this kit won't cover? 

RealAvid making some really great AR tools, and I've been eyeing them for over a year now at the local Sportsman's Warehouse stores - those guys carry them.  I've almost pulled the trigger on a few of those armorer's blocks that they have.  That kit is pretty complete, if you're starting with no AR tools, and you could easily cross a $250 barrier trying to piece all that together from scratch.  It's worth it, worth the money, especially that "reaction rod" version that they have - but keep in mind that's all AR15-related stuff. Many tools in that kit will cross over to .308ARs, but that action rod won't.  Still not a detractor from that kit, and it's price, though.  You're covered for small-frame ARs with it.

If I didn't have all the stuff I already do, I'd buy that kit.  I'll still get a couple of their field tools, and some of those armorer's block that they make.  It's good stuff.

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4 hours ago, 98Z5V said:

RealAvid making some really great AR tools, and I've been eyeing them for over a year now at the local Sportsman's Warehouse stores - those guys carry them.  I've almost pulled the trigger on a few of those armorer's blocks that they have.  That kit is pretty complete, if you're starting with no AR tools, and you could easily cross a $250 barrier trying to piece all that together from scratch.  It's worth it, worth the money, especially that "reaction rod" version that they have - but keep in mind that's all AR15-related stuff. Many tools in that kit will cross over to .308ARs, but that action rod won't.  Still not a detractor from that kit, and it's price, though.  You're covered for small-frame ARs with it.

If I didn't have all the stuff I already do, I'd buy that kit.  I'll still get a couple of their field tools, and some of those armorer's block that they make.  It's good stuff.

I already own the the kit, and its great, my question was what do I need besides the blocks to build the .308AR.  This is the first time diving into the larger frame and I have only built 2 AR15s. 

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