What's one thing almost all of us are guaranteed to have for our prepping gear? This won't come as much of a shock to you: guns. Of course, we all similar resources, as we're all humans and have the same needs, but gear is usually where you come across lots of variation.
And yet, we still all end up using some good ol' guns. Maybe some of us use more of them than others or use a variety of different kinds. Or perhaps we rely on them heavier than others, but in the end, I have no doubts close to all of us own a gun or two and intend to use it if SHTF.
Learning how to use one isn't that hard, as there are plenty of tutorials, gun ranges, and people willing to teach you all around. The same goes for buying one, not too hard. However, the hardest part of owning a gun and being able to use it is actually the maintenance part.
If you aren't able to learn how guns work, and be able to maintain and repair them, then you could be in for an unpleasant surprise once a survival scenario takes place. It's vital to be able to do those things, so that's why you should consider gunsmithing. It is such a valuable skill all preppers should know!
Check out an excellent a beginner's guide to gunsmithing, thanks to our friends at The Prepper Journal.
Tools for Disassembly and Reassembly
Gunsmithing tools are often similar to “regular” tools, but sometimes there is that slight, critical difference. For instance, the “first” type of tool to consider is the lowly screwdriver. No you can’t go down to the big box store and buy their no-name cheap screwdriver set. Or go to the fancy tool store and buy their top-of-the-line screwdriver set. Most “regular” screwdriver sets have a limited number of sizes AND their blade shape is a blunt wedge (taper ground). And this is a recipe for disaster when working on firearms. They have a lot of screws, often of the slotted persuasion, and in a wide number of sizes. Your “standard” tapered screwdriver set probably won’t have a blade of the right thickness or width, and without this degree of fit, the screwdriver will mar up the slot. Even if by some lucky coincidence the screwdriver is the right size, the tapered sides of the blade have a tendency to cam the blade out of the slot, which messes up the top edge of the slot. And firearm screws are often blued so any marks you make tend to really stand out. If you are looking at a gun with buggered up screws, the odds are someone who did not know what they were doing (and had the wrong tools) has been monkeying around inside of it (or failed to get inside).
What you need is a screwdriver set with a wide number of sizes AND parallel sides (called “hollow ground”). Because of the number of sizes, the best choice is usually a set with one or more handles and a large number of bits. Kind of the “reference” for this class of tools is a Bownells Magna Tip Set.
Their beginner’s sets are not cheap, and their top of the line set with 75 standard, 4 Phillips, 17 hex (Allen), 11 Torx®, and 13 specialty bits for sights, scope mounts, grip bushings, Ruger ejectors, and other unique applications, along with 7 assorted handles, runs $320. You can get cheaper hollow ground sets, but they usually won’t have the variety of bits and may be of lower quality than the Brownells sets, but can still be quite adequate. It is a reasonable methodology to start out with a small set, and add additional bits as you need them, although when you find you need a bit, you “should” stop what you are doing until you can get the correct bit.
Another thing found in abundance in firearms are “pins”. These can be solid or “roll” pins. To get them out and back in, you need the “second” type of tool to consider, a set of punches in various sizes. For solid, flat end pins, you use flat face, constant diameter “pin” punches. For roll pins, roll pin punches with a little bump in the middle of the face are strongly suggested. If you will be doing a lot of roll pins, a set of roll pin “holders” would make things easier; since each holds the pin in position and drives it part way through. Occasionally you will have a pin with a rounded end, and a “cup” face punch is optimal for these.
Tools for Maintenance and Testing
In order to keep a firearm functioning optimally, you need to maintain it. Maintenance usually involves cleaning it after use (or after it is exposed to an adverse environment). A cleaning kit is in order to clean out the bore. This includes some solvent, a caliber specific set of patches (squares of cloth), “mops” (fuzzy cylinders) and (soft) wire brushes, and a rod to push these items through the bore. Cleaning rods can damage the muzzle (and thus accuracy), so some sets have a bore guide included in them; some others use a coated rod or a very soft rod material. Some sets, particularly those intended to be carried with you, use a cable to pull the cleaning elements through the bore instead of a rod used to push. Alternatively, some people prefer to use a “bore snake” these days, claiming these pull-through combinations of mop and brush are quicker and safer (than rods). To clean the rest of the gun, a selection of brushes and cloths is in order.
Once you get a firearm clean, you want to lubricate it with the appropriate grease and/or oil, and perhaps give it a wipe down with oil or other protectant to provide some protection against rust to the finish.
Of course, you're not a master gunsmith yet, but you're on your way with these helpful tips! To see more great prepping guides and tutorials, check out The Prepper Journal.
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