Posted: 8/8/2012 1:16:36 PM
THE IMAGE ABOVE IS A PAID ADVERTISEMENT
Any insight on this is much appreciated!
Posted: 8/8/2012 3:46:50 PM
The industry standard and the finest made screwdrivers are the Brownell's Magna-Tip bits.
These are HARD and extremely smooth.
They offer more sizes than anyone, and if you break or damage a bit, all you have to do is email them and they'll send you a new bit FREE. You don't even return the damaged one.
These are 100% American made.
These are quality tools you only buy one time and they last for your lifetime.
I recommend buying the biggest set you can afford, then add bits as you need them. The extremely thin #1 bits are not needed very often, unless you're going to be working on older European shotguns and rifles that used very thin slots. For this reason, Brownell's is now starting sets with the #2 being the most narrow.
Since Brownell's sell so many sizes, you very seldom ever have to custom grind a bit for an odd size screw.
I recommend buying one of the "law enforcement" size handles. The standard handle is too big to give good control, and the stubby handle is just too short.
The LE handles are the perfect size.
I recommend buying a magnetic version AND the clip-tip version. The clip-tip uses an internal clip spring to hold the bit. Sometimes you want a magnetic handle, but very often you don't.
The Midway Wheeler sets are lower quality Chinese made, and just aren't as good. Few real pros will use them.
They're softer and rougher then the quality Brownell's bits.
Since a gunsmith uses screwdrivers more than any other tool, you need to buy the best, and that's Brownell's Magna-Tip.
For punches, you can buy Sears or Brownell's.
I personally used the Brownell's replaceable pin punches. These are a heavy steel handle with a screw-on head that retains the actual punch pin.
The pins come in a wide variety of lengths and types including standard, cupped tip for round head pins, and special roll pin punches to work with roll pins without deforming them.
I recommend buying two complete sets. I think these still come in sets of three. I'd buy one set with standard type and length pins, and one set that you can switch pins for whatever the job requires.
Buy replacement pin sets for the handles.
I recommend buying a set of starter pins, or make them by cutting a standard pin off to about a 1/2" working length. These are used to get tight pins started.
The short length prevents the punch from bending or flexing on tight pins. Once the pin is started moving, you switch to a standard length.
These replaceable punch sets are good because by buying two sets of handles and whatever types of pins you need, you can fill every need with only two sets of handles instead of buying lots of punches.
If you don't mind taking the time to constantly be switching pins, you can get by with only one three piece handle set.
Also, when you damage a punch pin, it's a lot cheaper to replace the pin then to buy a new punch.
For rougher work you can buy Sears punches and cut a set off to make your own starter punches.
Since Sears Craftsman give you free replacements for damaged punches, these are a good buy.
Use them for a really tight pin that probably going to damage the punch.