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Thread: RFI: Hammer & Punch sets

  1. #1
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    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Central Front Range, CO

    RFI: Hammer & Punch sets

    Looking for suggestions for a good set of gunsmithing punches and hammer.

    I currently use a small, tack-driving type hammer and some simple, long steel punches. Looking to upgrade to more purpose-build tools.

    Id be using them primarily for working on ARs and Beretta 92s. This is a hobby, not a daily use situation.
    Punches suitable for starting and driving out roll pins, as well as staking castle nuts and B92 parts would be desirable.
    Not sure what traits are most desirable in a hammer - what weight, size, impact surfaces, etc?

    Ideally in a set, but also open to just a set of punches and a separate recommendation for a hammer.

    Up to $50-$60 seems reasonable.

    Input from those with experience here is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Old man yelling at cloud OlongJohnson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    "carbine-infested rural (and suburban) areas"
    I have this one:

    Supplemented with this one when I needed one to grind flat for the Sig long external extractor coil pin:

    These aren't high end. They do mushroom a little bit if you really wail on stuff, but it's easy enough to dress them back to shape. There are expensive pin punches, such as those made by Starrett, but I just haven't made the jump to those, as typically they are priced more for each punch than the whole Dasco set and I just don't see the benefit.

    I use this set for starting coil pins, at least when there's one that fits: The Euro guns generally have metric pins, so the fits tend to be less ideal. I like these better than the "roll pin" punches with a little nipple on the end that is supposed to center in the pin. Those don't work well on coil pins, as the nipple tends to want to telescope the inner coils out, and most quality stuff uses coil pins these days.

    I picked up a set of brass punches on either Amazon or fleabay to avoid marring stuff. They mushroom easily, so I frequently dress them back to diameter and flatness with a file. Better than doing that with the gun parts. The 1/16" punch got fubared really quickly, so I put it in the lathe. Drilled the end, drilled and tapped into the side for a set screw. Bought a pack of 1/16" brass K&S rod at the local Ace Hardware and cut it into segments. Now, when the pin insert gets boogered, I can just swap to a fresh one.

    You can get a gauge pin of the necessary size from Amazon to use as a slave pin when installing AR trigger components. It's a $3 solution (precision ground, hardened and polished tool steel) instead of whatever tool is sold specially for that.

    I picked up a hardened steel punch, again I think off fleabay, and customized it for staking castle nuts. Will iterate on the shape as I do more; it's a work in progress.
    I would grind one differently for staking B92 extractor pins, but would still probably do a custom grind for that.

    I have a couple of ball pein hammers. One is probably 8-12 oz, I don't really know. Found it in the trunk of some wreck when I was junkyarding 20 years ago.

    I also have a 2-oz ball pein hammer that I got only recently, and have hardly used. It's good for really small-scale blacksmithing, but driving pins probably wants at least 4 oz. It took some conditioning, like filing, sanding and polishing, to get it ready for use, even though I bought a quality brand.

    I've done a lot of work on a bunch of different pistols and built a few ARs and this covers it all pretty well.
    Not another dime.

  3. #3
    I have a few different sized hammers, as I am sure a lot of others do. The one I most use with firearms and punches is a Grace 8 ounce brass hammer with a delrin tip. I also have a full range of ball peen hammers if I need something larger.
    My hammer was found as a second, at a local hardware store, most of my ball peen ones, were garage sale pickups. My punches, tend to be Grace or Wilde. I suggest you keep your existing punches, and while I have a few, one that were recommended to me are smaller, roll pin punches.
    Example :

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