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Wheeler Engineering 89-Piece Professional Gunsmithing Screwdriver Set

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Wheeler Engineering 89-Piece Professional Gunsmithing Screwdriver Set

Wheeler Engineering 89-Piece Professional Gunsmithing Screwdriver Set

Photo copyright Battenfeld Technologies, Inc.

The Bottom Line

This is a useful set of screwdrivers, and I've been using them for several months. I have yet to find a screw that one of these bits won't fit.

I haven't tried the specialty bits, but I'm already disappointed. The bit for 1911 grip screw bushings features a blade that's narrower on one side - a recipe for slippage, which precision screwdrivers should help us avoid. Its blade is also off-center.

This is a good screwdriver set and a fine addition to my home gunsmithing tools. It's not the best in the world, but it's not the most expensive, either - though the price is a tad high for the overall quality of the set.

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Pros

  • Contains many bits to help you match 'em up with your gun's screws.
  • Contains specialty bits for specific applications (scope rings, sights, etc.).
  • Screwdriver handles are comfortable and provide good grip.
  • Includes duplicates of some commonly-used bits.
  • Includes case to keep it organized, which has a "cup" for small parts.

Cons

  • Inconsistent quality. Some bits are poorly made, and magnet strength varies in the handles.
  • Numbers are stamped on bits, but some are too light. Don't lose the "bit location guide" sticker.
  • Where is it made? I can't tell, but I suspect it's made in China.
  • Some bits are loose in the box; others are very tight.
  • Bits are made soft enough to break (but I haven't broken any yet, and Wheeler sells replacements).

Description

  • Screwdriver set that contains 84 hex (1/4" drive) bits, specialty tools, and pin punches.
  • Also contains two driver handles, an extension, and an adapter that allows you to use the bits with a 1/4" drive ratchet.
  • Apparently, the 89th piece is the plastic case itself.
  • Includes specialty bits for Ruger, Weaver, Redfield, & Leupold scope mounts, plus Millett, M1/M14/M1A, and Glock sight tools.
  • Also: 1911 grip screw bushing bit, bit for latch pin nut on SA Colts & Rugers, Mauser stock bolt bit, and S&W spring tool.
  • Includes 4 pin punches, 8 allen hex bits, 3 torx bits, 5 phillips bits, and 54 standard (slotted screw) bits.
  • Some standard bits are duplicates; they are expected to break. Wheeler sells replacement bits.
  • Includes driver handles of two different lengths.
  • Go through all the bits when you get the set. Some folks find missing and/or duplicate bits. Wheeler will send replacements.

Guide Review - Wheeler Engineering 89-Piece Professional Gunsmithing Screwdriver Set

It's no secret that it's important to use a screwdriver that fits properly, especially when working on guns. A slip can cause damage to a gun's finish that will mar its beauty, and will likely reduce its value as well. Beyond that, many guns use screws that you won't find at your local hardware store, and ill-fitting screwdrivers are prone to slip and ruin such screws. Finding replacements can be costly, if not impossible.

This makes it important to have many screwdriver choices if you work on many guns. One obvious option is to carefully grind a screwdriver to fit whatever screw you're working with, but that gets old in a hurry, plus it's tough to keep such tools arranged neatly. And precision grinding isn't something everyone can accomplish.

I have used this Wheeler set on a number of guns, and it's been a pleasure to have it nearby when I'm doing any kind of gun work. I wondered about it after reading the user reviews at MidwayUSA, because some folks have experienced bits breaking and even crumbling, but I haven't had that problem.

Make no mistake - this is not a top-of-the-line set. If you are expecting perfection, you won't find it here. But if you can work around obvious flaws and if you have the experience to judge whether a given tool will work well or not (the smaller hex allen bits have rounded edges and are almost sure to slip, for example), then you can get some good use out of this set.

It has already proven its worth by allowing me to find well-fitting bits for every screw on an old pre-64 Winchester Model 94 30-30 that I overhauled. I will keep this set close by and I expect to get much use out of it in the future.

- Russ Chastain

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Disclosure: A review sample was provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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