To Gun Tinkerers: Don’t Get Screwed
You have heard, no doubt, that if you chained a million monkeys in front of a million word processors for...
You have heard, no doubt, that if you chained a million monkeys in front of a million word processors for a million years, they would eventually replicate the works of Shakespeare. Similarly, if you gave a million unskilled gun tinkerers access to a million firearms and a million screwdrivers for a million years, they would equal the damage that was caused by the atom bomb we dropped on Hiroshima.
You would think that so simple a device as the screwdriver would require little or no skill. But, like the hammer, it requires a lot of skill. Melvin Forbes, who is handy with all tools, can drive a nail with two blows. Wham WHAM! The average person needs 20 or so, and three nails, and a trip to the doctor to look at his thumb.
Same with screws. You fit the screwdriver in the head and twist. Yet, if you look at the repair rack at a gunsmith shop, or a used-gun rack, you will see butchered screws beyond counting. Their little heads are mangled, chipped, and butchered.
In the world of screwing, there are two epochs–pre-Torx and post-Torx. The Torx screw is a work of genius. Rather than having one large slot, it has six small slots radiating from a center hole. This is far stronger, and holds the screwdriver bit in place. It enables the semi-skilled to drive a screw in with real force, and get it out again, without having the screwdriver blade flying out and gouging something. It’s also a lot harder to mar Torx screws than slotheads. You can do it, but it takes some effort.
Here are some tips on screwdrivers, all of which I have learned the hard way:
– Never use a screwdriver with your gun unsupported, or poorly supported. Put it in a gun rest or a vise.
– The little hex and Torx wrenches that come with your scope rings are for emergency use only. It’s nearly impossible to keep them in line with the screw as you twist.
– The screwdriver you got for 39 cents at the yard sale is eventually going to do damage worth a lot more than 39 cents.
– The best screwdrivers I’ve ever used, and I’ve used a bunch, is the 72-piece Wheeler Engineering Professional Gunsmith Screwdriver Set. It is superior on all counts, and if by some wild chance you can’t find a bit to fit in here, there is an 89-piece set available.
– Driving a screw without considering how it is to be employed is an invitation to sorrow. Scope-base screws do not require the same degree of force required of scope-ring screws.
– Loc-Tite is good, but it’s not always necessary, and it’s designed to be used in miniscule amount.
– Go to a gunsmith.