There is no way around it, if you desire to service, maintain and build AR15 rifles you will need some tools. Some of the tools you may already have while others are very specialized for a given task. When working on an ar15 there are some tools that turn a pain in the operation to a simple task. Below we will look at these tools and give a brief description of their use and why I suggest it.
Books and DVD’s
- SAFETY GLASSES
- NYLON/BRASS HAMMER
- BALL PEIN HAMMER
- PUNCH SET
- HEX KEY WRENCH SET – Folding and individual
- SCREW DRIVER SET
- TORQUE WRENCH
- STRAP WRENCH
- DENTAL TOOLS – Tooth brushes and picking tools
A BENCH VISE is mandatory when servicing, maintaining and building an AR15 RIFLE. A BENCH VISE will serve as a fourth hand while you wrestle with springs and roll pins. You are much less likely to damage your AR15 i it is being properly held in a BENCH VISE.
Being an apartment dweller I often have to take an unconventional approach to working on my weapons. In the case of the BENCH VISE I dont have a workbench so I am either forced to bring my hardware to the day job or work from my coffee table. I prefer the coffee table. To that end I purchased a 41 pound WILTON 11128 6-1/2-Inch STEEL UTILITY VISE and mounted it to a platform. This platform is about two feet wide and 18 inches deep. The platform is sized to fit exactly on it’s storage shelf. The BENCH VISE is mounted to allow handle clearance when the vise is fully closed. When I get a chance I will upload a picture.
Using the vise in this manner with this heavy BENCH VISE and platform allows me to perform any task except tightening a barrel nut. When tightening a barrel nut I just clamp the base to a table or equally substantial support. Alternatively I stick a pipe in the lower vise jaws meant for a round object and apply force in the opposite direction as the barrel nut tightening operation. Both methods work well.
MAGNETIC SOFT JAWS
BARREL VISE JAWS
Lower Receiver Block
ROLL PIN PUNCHES
holders, starters, specialty
One of my pet peaves from folks who assemble their own AR15 rifles is the sloppy installation of the various roll pins the AR15 rifle requires. In all fairness there are a few roll pins that present a challenge to the inexperienced and experienced alike. The BOLT CATCH ROLL PIN comes to mind as does the FORWARD ASSIST ROLL PIN. The BOLT CATCH ROLL PIN is positioned quite close to the body of the LOWER RECEIVER and requires a ROLL PIN PUNCH to have a flat side to properly install.
I have searched the internet shooting forums and websites as well polled user of my own forums for a better way to install roll pins. In that search I found some creative approaches but nothing that worked any better than my own approach of taping a ROLL PIN to a ROLL PIN PUNCH. Well that was then this is now. Brownell offers a ROLL PIN STARTER SET they refer to as ROLL PIN HOLDERS. The pins are available individually or as a set for just under $50. I opted for the set.
BROWNELLS AR15 ROLL PIN HOLDER OPERATION:
The roll pin holders are genius. As seen in the image above the ROLL PIN HOLDERS are simply a punch that has a hollow tip the diameter of a given roll pin. Place the ROLL PIN in the correct ROLL PIN PUNCH HOLDER and with a plastic faced or brass hammer carefuly tap in the ROLL PIN. To prevent damage to the the WEAPON stop hammering before the ROLL PIN HOLDER contacts the part that accepting the ROLL PIN. At that point switch to a regular ROLL PIN PUNCH, the type with a half round nose and finish driving the ROLL PIN flush.
NOTES ON ROLL PIN HOLDER USE:
- Cover any part of your weapon with masking tape followed by duct tape in an area that could be damaged from ROLL PIN INSTALLATION. The masking tape serves as a great protector for your weapon. The underlying masking tape makes duct tape removal a simple process.
- Grease – I like to apply a small amount of grease in the ROLL PIN HOLE to help with proper installation. I also add a small amount of grease to the inside of the ROLL PIN HOLDER to help prevent the ROLL PIN from falling out and getting lost should I have a brain lapse.
- For finishing the BOLT CATCH ROLL PIN INSTALLATION I suggest the BOLT CATCH PIN PUNCH from Brownells. It is almost entirely flat on one side making installing the BOLT CATCH ROLL PINthe rest of the way a breeze.
FRONT PIVOT PIN TOOL
BARREL NUT WRENCH/ACTION WRENCH