Tag Archives: gunsmith az

Vaughan SF-12 Soft Faced Hammer – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Vaughan SF-12 Soft Faced Hammer.  I have owned this exact hammer for over 10 years and when paired with a good 2oz and 4oz ball peen set along with a good punch set there if very little else you will need in this realm.  Occasionally you may need a plastic mallet or a dead blow for something really stuck, but again 95% of the time this is all you will need.

Now the reason I selected this particular hammer is purely about quality.  I don’t remember exactly where I found this hammer but I was at a retail store and examined a few different ones.  Simply picking this one up told me all I needed to know.  It is also another made in the USA product and while some things are just fine imported, hand tools are one place where made in American is still 100% synonymous with the best you can get.

Good hand tools feel like good hand tools and junk feels like junk, if you have used both good quality and low quality tools you will know exactly what I am talking about.  Take a look at the short video of this hammer and you can see even after 10 years of use it looks almost like new.  Now again I am not a professional gun smith but I have used this thing plenty over the last decade, as much as most hobbyists would ever need to.

The price of this hammer is under 23 dollars with free shipping and it is well worth it.  So consider adding the Vaughan SF-12 Soft Faced Hammer to your gun smith and maintenance kit today.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – This is the multi-tip hammer I mentioned in the video, it is a decent tool, lots of guys have them and love them.  I actually own one because it was so affordable to buy.  I now keep it as an emergency tool in my range bag because I never use it at home though.  So it is just my opinion that the Vaughan is a better investment.

Again though a lot of folks love the multi-tip and it will do a good job or you if you buy the one I linked to here in the PS.  However there is one on Amazon that has a metal handle sold by “MILITARIA” that one is complete and total FING JUNK do not spend your money on that one.  I mean it is total crap, yes it is that bad.



Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber (synthetic safe formula).  I remember when I was a kid and used to clean my uncle’s gun because “I got to”, yea I really thought that way.  Mostly that cleaning was a brush and a mop thought the bore and a clean out of the chamber and wipe down with a oil rag.  But sometimes he would help, we would break the gun down and really give it a full cleaning.

The first time we did this I discovered Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber I thought at that time and still do think today, the stuff is like magic.  Every bit of residue, oil, etc, gone in a second, the metal is ice cold and dry at the same time.  This stuff belongs in every gun cleaning and maintenance kit.

Let’s talk about the synthetic safe thing though.  Flash 8 years later and young Jack Spirko is a private in basic training.  He is cleaning his 20 year old Vietnam Era M16A1 and it feels like spit shinning a turd.  No matter what he does, the Sergeant Major’s tiny thin ass pinky can always seem to find some dirt in his weapon’s chamber, he thinks “if only I had some Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber.”

Young Spirko gets though basic and goes to AIT (advanced individual training) more of the same, Drill Sergeants yelling, lots of training, daily PT and more inspections.  One thing changes though he gets a bit more freedom, like the ability to go to the PX.  Young Spirko goes to the sporting goods section of the PX, hoping against hope and there he finds his long sought Birchwood Casey.  He buys 4 cans and shares with all the guys in his squad bay.  These 8 guys are going to rock the next inspection!

The spray does its magic but this is in the days before the average person had synthetic stocks, young Spirko has never even touched a weapon with synthetic stocks until enlisting.  Something horrible happens!  Every where the stuff touches the stocks, they turn bleached out whitish gray!  Oh shit!

Fortuitously Spirko’s squad leader (a prior service Marine) had seen this before, a bit of black shoe polish mixed with tiny amount of CLP (civilians call it gun oil) and a wipe down of the stocks and they are back to looking like shitty 1970s era hardware they are.  The day was saved and while the squad didn’t get though the next inspection totally gig free, weapons wise they did very well.

Well, I continued to spread the word about Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber when I went to my permanent duty station.  With a warning about getting it on the stocks and the remedy if you did.  It made a lot of soldiers really happy.

In 1993 I finished my time in service and came to Texas.  I continued to use Birchwood Casey and about 2012 if I remember right I was at a place called Academy Sports and Outdoors.  Picking up some stuff for a range trip and found the synthetic safe version.  I tried it and it worked just as good as the original, and a spot or two on your stock was no longer a disaster.

Now let me tell you the one important thing about this stuff, it is basically stripper.  It takes EVERYTHING off gun metal except say bluing or parkerizing.  All dirt but also every drop of oil, etc.  This means it is a cleaner not a maintainer, and you need to properly lube or lightly coat with oil any metal that it touches after cleaning it, as otherwise it will be unprotected.

So if you want to keep your guns at the ultimate level of clean pick up some Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber today.  I recommend at least 2 cans at all times in your kit.  Because of course two is one and one is none.

Final Warning – When I say this stuff takes all grease, grime, soot, powder residue, etc. off I mean it.  Do not spay this stuff over an unprotected area or it will be covered in gun gick!  Your wife will kill you if you do this over the dining room table!  Put down a layer of like two old towels and for best results do it outside.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Winchester 51 Piece Gunsmith Screwdriver Set – Item of the Day


Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day the Winchester 51 Piece Gunsmith Screwdriver Set.  Look strait out of the gate this is not really “the kit” for the big time gun enthusiast that tinkers often with many projects.  It won’t do everything  you will even need in drivers for guns, but it will do most, like 95%.

No what this kit is for is your range bag.  I can’t tell you how many times I have been at a range and a fellow shooter had some maintenance issue and no tools to fix the situation.  With this kit and a basic cleaning kit, a shell extractor and some lube if you can’t fix it at the range, you likely need a gun smith or to use your warranty if it is yet to expire.

driverkitbackThis is more than just a gun smith kit though.  Come on, 16 bucks for a good quality kit that has 48 different driver bits in it.  You know what I am going to say right.  Put one in the glove box of your vehicles.  Perhaps one in your Go Bag or BOB as well.

Does it have every torx bit, no but it has 7 and the one you are looking at pissed off because you expected it to be a Phillips bit likely will be one of those.  This is also a great gift to a young person who has finally be trusted to maintain his/her own firearms and frankly a good gift for anyone you need to get something for, not something spectacular just something.  You know what I mean.

Pick up one or a few of these and the first time you need it, you will feel like it just paid for itself.  Again this isn’t top quality on the level of say Forester or Grace USA (which I keep in my smithing box) but for 16 dollars it is extremely versatile and I have never had one fail me yet.  So give the Winchester 51 Piece Gunsmith Screwdriver Set a look and determine if it might be the right product for your range bag or other needs.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – Even if you don’t own a single firearm you should pick up one or two of these.  The ones in my boat and in my truck have both saved my butt a time or two.  Looking at a screw that needs turning and not having a simple tool with which to turn it suck.  Especially when it is either really hot or really cold outside and said screw is the one that can get you home.

Real Avid Smart Gun Bench Block – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Real Avid Smart Bench Block as we continue our gunsmith kit project for 2017.  Some of you may be asking what is a bench block?  Well it sort of completes the theme we have been on with this project for the past few weeks with the Pin Set, Ball Peen Hammer Set and Soft Faced Hammer.  It helps us pound things, without harming things.

What a bench block does mostly is allow you to drive out pins from your guns without having to deal with them moving around or being damaged by the surface they are laying on.  It also allows the pin to be driven out the opposite side by elevating the weapon above the bench surface.

Now why do I recommend this one?  A few reasons, first it is magnetic!  You want to know what sucks, here you go.  Tap, tap, tap, ding, da ding, “where the hell did it go”.  Ya that pin necessary to put your Browning A5 just rolled under something, you know not where!  This little gadget holds onto those pins making loosing them a lot less likely.

Next is that it is large enough to do most things you will ever need.  While there are product specific bench blocks, unless you are building AR uppers every day you don’t really need one.  The layout of this tool is well thought out, the holes are sized for standard pin sizes and the rubber surface doesn’t just keep from damaging your weapon it provides a good grip making your work easy.

Lastly is price, I am a big fan of buying the best you can get especially with tools, but there is no reason for what is essentially a block with holes in it to cost 30 bucks or more like some of them do.  This one is 15 bucks with free shipping on Amazon Prime.  So check out the Real Avid Smart Bench Block and consider adding it to your gun maintenance kit today.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Novel Three Ball Peen Hammer Set – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Novel Three Ball Peen Hammer Set as we continue our gunsmith kit project for 2017.  A good set of hammers is the next logical addition to the kit after the punch set we added last week.

I put a lot of thought into where to first go with hammers in our kit.  I considered brass hammers, dead blows and multi tip hammers, all have a place.   But when I thought about what a person putting their first kit would mostly need a hammer for (tapping out or in pins, and adjusting things like drift sites) I realized that the hammer I use more than any other is a 2 ounce ball peen.

If you check out the video below you will see a professional gunsmith who agrees very much with that assessment.  You will also note that the hammer he uses about next most often is a 4 ounce ball peen.  Specifically when that pin is just not wanting to come out and just a bit more energy is required.

So I looked on Amazon for a very high quality set to recommend of a 2 ounce and an 4 ounce hammer.  Everything I found was either junk, super expensive or said something like “hurry only 4 left in stock”, given what happens when I post an item at times I try to avoid stuff with limited stock.

So how often will you use an 8 ounce ball peen hammer on a gun?  I hope not very often, it usually means something is really wrong and something like a dead blow or a plastic mallet would be better used.  But the other question is, is a 8 ounce hammer a useful tool?  Of course it is.

So here is my recommendation, put the 2 and 4 ounce hammers with your gunsmith and maintenance kit, and add the 8 ounce hammer to your general tool kit, if you should need it for something with your guns, it will be there but won’t take up space in you kit only to be needed say once a year.

As to what I want in a ball peen hammer for gunsmithing work.  First I want a hickory handle.  I don’t really like fiberglass and if you buy smaller hammers with a metal handle they are always hollow junk.  As to the wood it is either hickory or it is wrong, yes I mean that.

Next I am very concerned that the head is fit properly to the handle, no play in it, and well attached.  Next while it isn’t likely that you will break one of the handles it can happen, so I always want a hammer that is plain designed ball peen that is designed for a standard strait handle.  This way you an always replace it if it breaks or becomes loose.  Every hardware store in America from, mom and pop to giant box sells such handles.

Lastly hammers are something you can still find made in the USA and in my opinion unlike some stuff, we do in fact make the best hammers (and frankly most hand tools) in the world.  This one passes on all criteria.  That said if you went out and simply locally purchased a 2 ounce ball peen (if you can find a good one at a good price) I would not fault you for it.

However if you pick up this set you will end up with a top quality 2 and 4 ounce hammer that if properly cared for will serve your grand kids some day.  So consider adding the Novel Three Ball Peen Hammer Set to your tool collection today.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – If you just want a good quality 2 ounce hammer I have found ONE that I would recommend on Amazon based on my personal criteria.  It is the Tooltron 20z Ball Peen Hammer.  If you search around on Amazon you can find a number of decent four ounce hammers for about 20 bucks.  This can cut your cost from 51 dollars to about 40, I make the three hammer set recommendation for two reasons.

First the Tooltron only shows three in stock, so you know  how that goes, but the bigger issue is getting a 8 ounce high quality “extra hammer” for about 11 bucks that would sell alone for over 20 dollars just makes more sense to me.

P.S.S. – Below is the video I mentioned this guy works on guns all day every day, you will note that his 2 ounce is used, “more than any other hammer he has”, again I agree with this.  It will also give you a good over view of other hammers, but I will have two more coming in the future that will do almost everything a hobbyist will ever and I mean ever need.



Grace USA Steel Punch Set – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Grace USA Steel Punch Set as we continue our gunsmith kit project for 2017.  If you are new to guns or working on them beyond the most basic cleaning you might wonder what punches are for.

These are for driving out pins for various reasons but generally due to a need to disassemble a gun (or reassemble) beyond very basic maintenance.  Sometimes this is just to clean at a deeper level, sometimes to do a repair and at others to do a modification like say changing out a trigger set.

Punches are another tool I learned about from my grandfather.  One day I was taking down my 870 shotgun and he caught me using a nail as a punch.  At first he said some four letter words and mumbling about the right tool for the right job.  The old man was a miner and a tough son of a bitch, but he was also a grandfather, so he quickly went soft and praised me for figuring out how to get by, but then took me to his work bench and pulled out an old wooden box and explained what a punch set was.

When it comes to punches in the gun world, you have four options.

  • Roll Punches – best for roll pins (hollow)
  • Steel Standard Punches – which these are
  • Brass Punches – a soft metal to be more gentle on what you are punching
  • Nylon Punches – the most gentle as to marking things up

The reason I recommend you start with a very high quality standard steel punch set is it will do anything you ever really need.  With care you can punch out roll pins with a solid punch, it is really bad idea the other way around.

Brass and nylon have a place too but again, steel will get any pin out that can be gotten out anyway, brass and nylon will both bend and fail at times.  And think of it this way, that time the old man caught me with a nail was not the first or the last time I have improvised a nail successfully to remove a pin.  So if you can get it done with a nail, you can get it done with a punch.

There is something small I really like about these punches as well, they are marked with sizes.  You may see this as a small thing but many gunsmith punches are not, and when you have three on a bench they start to blend together.  These are also made with a very hard steel, if you bend one, frankly you are pounding too hard, something is wrong.

This punch set includes sizes 5/64″, 1/16″, 3/32″, 1/8″ and 5/32″, 1 center punch, and 1 starter punch. They come in a vinyl pouch to keep everything organized and are made in the USA.  There are a lot of cheaper options in punches, but these really are a case for buy once cry once.  A good set of punches properly used have a longer shelf life than a human being.  So if you don’t have a good set of punches in your kit consider adding the Grace USA Steel Punch Set to your kit today.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Hoppe’s No. 9 Bore Solvent – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaning Solvent.  This is another item for our project of building a basic gunsmith and maintenance kit for 2017.

Over the first few months of 2017 we will feature sufficient gunsmith and maintenance items to build out a full basic kit to handle most of your gun care needs.

Anyway I have said it before and I will likely say it again a lot during this project, I am very old school in my choices for gun maintenance.

I know there are a lot of new products but I also know what has always worked will still work.

I remember my grandfather showing me how to clean the bore of his old Model 70!

First ya take out the bolt, you never clean it from the front side, always the back, got it?  Good now pay attention, this is important.

Now next ya put a cotton patch on the rod, dip in in the Hoppe’s and don’t get it all over the place or your grammy will get you.

Run it though the barrel nice and slow, one pass in and out, then get a new patch, do it again, then one more time.

Then ya run two clean and dry patches through it, may be three but that is enough.  Then take one more and put just a tiny bit of Hoppe’s Oil on it, run it back and forth twice and your done.

That’ll keep rust out of your bore and no one wants a rusty bore, it hurts when you pee if your bore is rusted.  Ya think that’s funny, do ya, well good it means you’re payin attention.

It ain’t like when I was in the Navy, we are shooting deer here, not Japs, deer don’t care if your gun perfect, just that it works.  You don’t have to get all out of sorts with this stuff, understand.

Now if you do a lot of shooting we might need a brush or some of that copper solvent, but most of the time, when you just were sighing her in, or got your deer, this is all you need.

When you want to practice stick to your 22, 30-06 rounds are expensive, so are good guns, so take care of it like this and it will be around when you are as old as I am.

Now take that oil rag and give it a good wipe down and put it in the cabinet till next time.

And so it has been for well past 30 years, I still have my first deer rifle and my first 22 and Hoppe’s products have been maintaining them all the while.  I don’t know how long my Grandfather had been using products from Hoppe’s but I know the company has been around for over 100 years and he never mentioned anything else.

As you can see from my Grandfather’s teaching above this solvent is for everyday cleaning of a weapon after it has been fired.  It dissolves powder and lead and copper residue and will take off surface rust as well.

If you have a badly fouled barrel with a lot of copper build up you may have to use something like Copper Solvent or do some cleaning with a bore brush but most of the time for general use a few swabbings of this stuff is all you need.  If you do go to a brush this stuff can be used on your brush as well and it is very effective that way.

So consider adding Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaning Solvent to your gunsmith and maintenance kit today, it has been taking care of my guns for more than 30 years, closer to 40 than I want to admit, and I have no plans to change brands any time soon.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – Note I said it dissolves rust.  So when you find that old shotgun in the pawn shop with some surface rust to restore, just put a bit of this on some double 0 steel wool and rub it lightly with this and it will come right off.  And remember anything you clean with this needs some oil before you put it away, this is a cleaner not a lubricant or protectant.  

Gunmaster Wood Toolbox – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Gunmaster Wood Toolbox  – with a 17 piece universal gun cleaning kit included.  This is the exact box I own for almost all of my gunsmithing needs.  The basic included kit is just that really basic, but I consider it basically a free add on to the box.

There is a lot to like about this box.  First it is big enough to hold all your cleaning supplies and some additional tools with room to spare.  I keep a can of Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber, Some powder solvent and other stuff in mine along with a a soft face hammer and punch set and the Winchester 51 Piece Gunsmith Driver Kit that I reviewed previously.  In 2017 I will be reviewing all my favorite gun smith and cleaning supplies and this box will be the place to assemble your kit.

Next I really like the gun cradles, man these things are great.  from cleaning a bore, to mounting a scope, they just make everything easier.  It is so much nicer to have a place like this to set your rifle when doing work on it, then to lay it on a table or a floor.

I found this box many years ago, exactly where I could  not remember but last night I was tinkering around with one of my rifles and thought, I wonder if Amazon has this one, I wonder if it is still made, the answer is yes and it is well priced at only 34 dollars, though it is unfortunately not on prime and shipping is about 10 bucks.

Again in 2017 I will be going though my kit on video and adding new items to TSPAZ from it over a say four month period (an item or two a week say) until all the basics are filled in.

I know a lot of this audience are hard core gun owners that have been doing this stuff their entire lives, most you likely have your own favorite stuff and techniques.  But one of the things I am proud about with TSP is how many first time gun owners, or I owed a gun or two but now I have ten and actually shoot them types it has created.

This has resulted in a lot of emails about basic tools, materials and maintenance.  So I figure this project will be like a mini course in basic gun maintenance and upkeep.   In the end my favorite thing about this box is it really does hold enough stuff to deal with 99% of what you need when it comes to your guns.  So when I go to the range and take this along, I know what ever the day brings I will still be shooting at the end of it.

So check out the Gunmaster Wood Toolbox and get your gear together.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – You will note some negative reviews about  fit and finish of this box.  Let me say for 35 bucks I don’t know what people expect.  This isn’t a fine work of art, it is simply a utilitarian tool.  I also noticed one guy bitching that the tray was not as pictured, he expected a tray with dividers and such, well that is not what is pictured.  All I can say is I have had mine since before TSP started and it is still working the way it did when I bought it.

Lastly there is one thing I don’t like about it, the bottom drawer doesn’t lock.  90% of the time, I don’t really care and when I go to the range I just put a piece of tape on it, but I will look into a permanent hack with some sort of latch for those of you who want something more “professional” in this regard.