Tool Question

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by Poppypaul, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. Poppypaul

    Poppypaul Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Messages:
    129
    Location:
    Newtown, CT
    I have come to realize that screwdrivers for gunsmithing are different than regular screwdrivers you might buy at Sears or other makes. The screwdrivers for firearms have straight shanks coming up from the tip and the regular screwdrivers have tapered shanks. Can anyone tell me why that is?
  2. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    17,575
    Location:
    Australia
    so they dont slip , a 1890's screw driver is way different from todays , all where straight in them days , no tapers except in real cheapies

    today ...
  3. Skipper

    Skipper Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    510
    Location:
    People's Republic of Kalifornia
    To expand on Jack's reply, the normal slotted head driver has very little contact with the screw slot:

    [​IMG]

    The hollow ground fits much better:

    [​IMG]
  4. Dutchboy

    Dutchboy Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    140
    As you have noticed, Gunsmithing screwdrivers are hollow ground at the tip. This difference allows for a tighter, more uniform fit into the screw head, which allows for better torque transfer. All of these differences make it less likely to damage the screw head when you are using the screwdriver. Most people find damaged screw heads very objectionable in a firearm. Frequently, these screws are custom built, and difficult to replace. So, if you damage one, you have to look at it forever. And it pisses you off every time you see it.

    The downside is that you need a lot of different bits to properly fit all the variety of possible screw heads.

    With a general purpose screwdriver that has a tapered tip, you can push it into a screw slot and it will go deeper or less deep until the taper snugs up to the sides of the slot. That only gives you a small area to transfer torque, and you are more likely to damage the screw head, but with only a few different sizes of screwdrivers, you can get the job done on a wide variety of screws. For general purpose work, no one wants to deal with a pile of different sized screwdrivers.
  5. Poppypaul

    Poppypaul Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Messages:
    129
    Location:
    Newtown, CT
    Thanks fellas it makes good sense to me. The photos really show how much better the one fits than the other. In addition ruining a firearm screw head will be much more costly to replace IF it can be replaced at all especially in much older guns.
  6. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Messages:
    3,228
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    perfect photo Skipper! Brownells has excellent gunsmith screwdriver sets with interchangeable tips, one of my better gunsmithing investments.
  7. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,397
    The screw driver can still jump out of the slot even with a hollow ground blade. For tight screws, you will find that using a drill press prevents that and allows removal of even stubborn screws without battering the head or the driver slipping.

    You clamp the work in the drill press vise or otherwise hold it in place with the drill press chuck perpendicular to the screw head. Insert a stubby screwdriver bit into the chuck and tighten it. Do NOT turn on the drill press power!

    Bring the screwdriver bit down into the screw slot, and use the press handle or lock to hold it there. Then turn the chuck by hand.

    The same technique will work with stubborn percussion nipples with a nipple wrench in place of the screw driver bit.

    Jim
  8. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    17,575
    Location:
    Australia
    i've converted a el cheapo drill press ( motor died) into a tapping and screwing center

    no more not perfect threads .. where the top pulley sat i put a steering wheel off a boat , it gives you enough leverage to cut hard metals with ease and it dont slip
  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,397
    That is a good idea if you have an old drill press. I have found that for most purposes, just hand turning the chuck works OK, but the steering wheel should give plenty of torque.

    Jim
  10. cutter

    cutter New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    635
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Great Ideas!! I have a couple old small drill press that I didn't know what to do with, now I do! Thanks
  11. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    3,477
    Location:
    Nashville TN
    AND the drill press method will save you from
    ragged holes in your flesh !!!!!
  12. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Messages:
    3,477
    Location:
    Nashville TN
    I am one that doesn't mind having a lot of screwdrivers at hand.
    I do have the B-Square sets like Brownell's and Gander and.....sells,
    but for some things the handle for the bits is too large and cumbersome
    for the task at hand.
    Some work requires small precision bits, and a small handle w/them.
    Wiha from Germany has been my favorite for many years.
    Standard bits, micro, handles, or a screwdriver.....
  13. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Messages:
    3,228
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    my favorite and most handy one is a Smith & Wesson screwdriver; don't think they give them out anymore, I complained to the gun counter clerk when I bought my wife's .357, no screwdriver! Hey man, where's it at?

    I also bought a 1911 combo bit screwdriver, all the bits fit into the handle; it lives in my pistol bag, takes care of anything on the 1911 in one handle. I think it runs about $12-15.
  14. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Messages:
    3,228
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    [​IMG]

    the one in the middle is what my dad has, think there's about 2 or 3 at home. We found one at a flea market one time but they're pretty hard to come by it seems.

    maybe they still do come with them and the gun counter guy ripped me off.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
Technical Questions & Information snipping tool May 27, 2014
Technical Questions & Information What's the correct tool for... Jan 7, 2014
Technical Questions & Information 870 shell catch staking tool plans? Nov 21, 2013
Technical Questions & Information J. Stevens Arms & Tool Co. 22 May 14, 2013
Technical Questions & Information Renting Gun Tools - what a concept Nov 4, 2012

Share This Page