5 Best Torque Wrenches for Gunsmithing
5 Best Torque Wrenches for Gunsmithing
4.7 (93.33%) 18 vote[s]

Most recommended
Wheeler 553556
  • Accuracy: +/- 2 in
  • Torque range: 10 in to 65 in
  • Includes: 10 bits

A good choice too
Vortex Torque Wrench
  • Constructed of strong steel
  • Comfortable, non-slip grip
  • Adjustable from 10 in to 50 in

A good choice too
Wheeler 954621
  • 2 ergonomic handles
  • Constructed Of Strong Steel
  • 54 Hollow Ground Bits

Wheeler 710909
  • Large LCD digital display
  • Accuracy: +/- 2 in
  • Audible Indicator Tone

Weaver Torque Wrench
  • Magnetized tip secures bits
  • Torque Range To 80 Inches
  • Includes A Variety Of Bits


Choose the Best Torque Wrench for Gunsmithing

Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Torque Wrenches for Gunsmithing

783 users answered this survey. Please help us improve this review!

46.62% of users selected Wheeler 553556, 39.97% selected Vortex Torque Wrench, 4.34% selected Wheeler 954621, 2.94% selected Wheeler 710909 and 6.13% selected Weaver Torque Wrench. Every month we analyze your answers and change our rating.

A reliable and easy-to-use torque wrench is typically a must-have tool for anyone who is into gunsmithing at any point. Usually, gunsmithing experts prefer choosing hand-held and portable digital torque wrenches that can mount a scope onto any firearm. But mostly such tools are handy if you have a rifle. To make sure your rifle operates safely and precisely, you need to invest a high-end, accurate torque wrench.

The following guide aims to cover a few top-notch torque wrenches specifically designed for different gunsmithing jobs. If you need to attach the riflescope quickly and securely, consider checking the comparison table of the tools’ major features.

Benefits of using a gunsmith torque wrench:

  • Increased rate of accuracy;
  • All rifle scopes have a torque value in inch-pounds for their screws. You can pick the tool with the same value. Otherwise, you may damage the screws or strip the rifle’s threads of the scope’s ring;
  • Specifically designed torque wrenches are more consistent because they can repeat the preset torque values every time you need to tighten the screw;
  • Such tools are also easier to use when you need to insert the screw than a regular screwdriver. These instruments are more durable and powerful;
  • Torque wrenches are quiet;

If you are a novice in the gunsmithing field it can be a challenge to pick the best torque wrenches for your firearms. That is why this guide was compiled – check the reviews of products, the comparison table and tips for buyers. Eventually, you will pick the best gunsmithing torque wrench for your needs.

Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Wrench – the best for torque range!

Wheeler Torque WrenchThe Wheeler Firearms Accurizing (FAT) instrument is a next-level gunsmithing torque wrench with a precise and reliable adjustment scale. One of the best things – it comes with 10 bits to make the tool multifunctional.

The Wheeler FAT instrument’s bits are made from S2 tool steel. For additional durability, the instrument is hardened to 56-58 Rockwell C. Also, the set includes a 1/4-inch socket attachment. All these components are supplied in a plastic storage case.

Tips for users: apply a bit of blue thread locker to prevent the recoil of the screws when tightening.
Pros
  • Large torque range
  • Durable
  • Comes in a sturdy plastic case with a socket attachment and 10 bits
  • Budget-friendly
  • Slip feature
  • Easy to set up
Cons
  • Only one-year warranty
  • The increments could be smaller
  • Better to tighten the screws with this tool than loosen them
  • Smaller toward the rear

You may want to pick this Wheeler Firearms Accurizing wrench because it emits an audible click when the desired torque level is reached. In such a way, you won’t over-tighten the screws of your riflescope.

Vortex Wrench Mounting Kit – the best for portability!

Vortex Optics Torque WrenchThe Vortex Optics Wrench Mounting kit offers many useful features and attachments. This is a dial-torque wrench type with a small but precise adjustment range. To achieve better accuracy, this instrument has readings of 1 inch-pound increment.

This profound Vortex kit includes 6 hollow-ground bits for different rifle scope sizes. Also, it offers two types of socket adaptors – for 1/2 and 1/4 inches.

Pros
  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Accurate
  • Calibration in accordance with the DIN-ISO standards – the certificate is included
  • Easy to use for novices
  • Reduced over-tightening risks
  • Includes 6 bits
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Small torque range
  • Comes without a storage case

If you seek fast and accurate tension when attaching the riflescope screws, consider testing this Vortex mounting kit. It is simple and easy to use.

Wheeler Engineering Gunsmithing Screwdriver Set – the best for versatility!

Wheeler Engineering Gunsmithing Screwdriver SetThe Wheeler screwdriver set is more than just a torque wrench with attachments. Each piece of this set is built from durable metal alloys like S2 tool steel. All components come in a handy storage case.

You may want to use this set because 21 hollow-ground and concave-shaped bits provide the maximum contact when you tighten the screw. Besides, this set includes a pair of non-slip plastic handles.

Pros
  • Versatile – the kit includes 43 pieces
  • 2 handles with non-slip cover
  • Convenient storage case
  • The tool is made of durable metals
  • Includes hollow-ground gunsmithing bits
Cons
  • No separate compartments in the case
  • Bits are not very sturdy
  • Not good for loosening the sets

This Wheeler set includes an advanced screwdriver tool that can be transformed into a professional torque wrench.

Wheeler 710909 FAT Torque Wrench – the best for digital features!

Wheeler 710909 Torque WrenchThe Wheeler brand offers more than budget-friendly analog sets and torque wrenches. For example, you may check the 710909 Digital FAT wrench. The major benefit of this tool is a digital LCD display. It shows the precise readings.

Thanks to this display, you may torque the riflescope even at night outdoors. Also, the instrument beeps when you reach the preset torque range.

Tips for users: the buttons for setting up the digital display are located on the upper part of the handle. Also, check the handle if you want to know the battery charge.
Pros
  • More precise than any analog torque wrenches
  • Versatile
  • Large torque scale
  • Loud beeping sounds instead of analog clicks
  • A great tool for beginners
  • Comes with 10 hollow-ground bits
  • A durable storage case
  • Easy readability
  • Large LCD display
  • Low battery indicator
Cons
  • Some basic bits are not included
  • Even slight over-peaks can’t be damaged
  • The battery compartment may quickly become loose

Like all Wheeler products, this torque wrench comes with 2 Torx bits, 2 Allen bits, 4 bits with flat blades. It doesn’t include the popular Phillips bits. It can be used to tighten the screws on big and small firearms.

WEAVER Gunsmithing Torque Wrench – the best for bits!

Weaver Torque WrenchIf you seek versatile bits, check this Weaver set that was specifically designed for hunting guns. The instrument is easy to use because of superb magnetic bits. This Weaver tool can be a good choice for tightening any hunting gunsmithing equipment.

Pros
  • Many adjustable settings
  • Versatile bits
  • Can help to prevent the snapping of rifle scope screws
  • For secure use and hold of the screws, you may use the magnetized bits
  • Comes with a sturdy plastic case to store the tool and bits
  • Made of high-end materials
  • The handle is soft to the touch
Cons
  • The overall design could be better
  • The handles are not ergonomic

One of the major reasons to pick this Weaver torque wrench is its advanced internal mechanism – both durable and accurate. You will be able to service the spring clips, pressure shafts, and threads of this wrench thanks to the detailed manual.

Also, you may use this instrument to install rifle and pistol scopes as well as hunting gun scopes.

The Buyer’s Guide

Expert firearms specialists or enthusiasts who like to repair handguns and rifles often need special skills of a gunsmith to handle such delicate things. Also, they have to be familiar with basic torque wrenches. In the following review, I’d like to cover a few useful tools for this purpose.

A gunsmithing wrench is a special kind of tool that can secure a rifle scope when you are applying the proper torque to scope mounts, rings, and screws. You won’t be able to fasten the action screws and bolts without an accurate torque wrench so make sure to buy one. I strongly recommend reading the manufacturer’s specs when making a choice.

Materials and design

It is extremely important to double-check the quality of materials and design before investing in any gunsmithing torque wrench. All parts must be made of metal. Just forget about cheap plastic torque wrenches – they are not worthy of your money. The reputable manufacturer should provide a warranty for its products. It is better to choose the wrenches with a lifetime or replacement warranty.

If you have such an opportunity, hold the wrench. The grip should be comfy and it mustn’t slip even if your hands are covered in gun oil.

As for the design, it is more preferable when the ratchet head can move and measure torque in both directions – counter-clockwise and clockwise. Check if the torque wrench has the “bi-directional” label.

Also, consider investing in a special gunsmithing screwdriver kit with different head attachments for basic torque wrenches. It can be extremely helpful if you use rifles with different scopes.

Accuracy

It is hard to underestimate the importance of using an accurate and pre-calibrated torque wrench when tightening the screws on your riflescope. If you seek maximum accuracy, consider using digital gadgets that show the measurement value in a different system. Check a few digital torque wrenches mentioned earlier. Slipper wrenches may also become a good choice at this point.

Price

The price of gunsmith torque wrench may vary drastically. But it is wiser to skip the cheapest tools made of non-durable materials. Pricey wrenches are not more accurate than basic (and more affordable) tools but they can definitely offer more extra features. For instance, expensive (up to $100) digital wrenches typically come with a few adjustment ranges, a few preset modes, an advanced alert system, greater calibrations and more durable all-steel construction.

This guide covers the top-notch wrenches with various price tags. Consider what options you need and then choose the best wrench in its price segment.

What makes a good gunsmithing wrench?

The best tools in this category should provide consistent torque quickly and simply. Also, such aspects are important to consider when buying an instrument:

  • High quality of materials;
  • The range of torque calibration (the higher the range, the better)
  • Is the manufacturer supplying different types of bits for working on an array of action screws, rings, and mounts?
  • Convenient, preferably non-slip grip handle
  • Checks are more important than tightening
  • Indicators showing the appropriate torque setting like a large LED display;

Why did I pick these top 3 torque wrenches for gunsmithing?

  • Wheele offers the accuracy of +/- 2 inches, the torque range is from 10 to 65 inches;
  • Vortex is made of strong steel, has a very convenient non-slip handle;
  • Wheeler has not one but two ergonomic grips and its body is made of strong steel;

Torque Wrenches for Gunsmithing FAQ

What type of torque wrench is most accurate?

Torque wrenches have long been one of the most frequently utilized instruments. There isn’t a single workshop that doesn’t have at least one or two torque wrenches, in addition to a spanner and socket kit. In conclusion, a torque wrench is a tool that helps the consumer to control the amount of force or torque added to a bolt when locking or loosening it.

The shown torque performance on most models has a precision tolerance. Any suppliers and styles, for example, have a tolerance of +/- 4%, +/- 2%, or even +/- 1%. The smaller the tolerance, the more reliable the reading would be, as long as the true reading is inside the defined + or percentage of tolerance.

Torque wrenches that are digital or electronic are thought to be the most precise. They offer a digital readout screen on which the torque cap can be programmed. A strain gauge connected to a torsion rod gives a notification to a transducer, which calculates the torque force per device and displays it with an LED reading.

The consumer will be alerted by LED lights as they are reaching the target torque setting and by an audible warning signal when the torque level has been hit. Some versions often have an internal computer chip that enables torque measurements to be stored and later downloaded to a database for archival purposes. This is indeed advantageous for certain auditing purposes. Over the past few years, the cost of electronic wrenches has decreased, making them even more economical and available to most car mechanics.

Consider that a torque wrench is a precise tool, so buy the finest one you can. Investing in a high-quality torque wrench, on the other hand, would seem to be the wisest decision since you will get a product that is reliable, durable, and likely to last a long time.

Do you need a torque wrench for ar15?

Although building your ideal rifle from the ground up isn’t complicated, there are some aspects of the AR-15 design that tangle people up. It is up to you to decide whether or not you require a wrench for your AR15 design.

Since the normal torque range is 30-80 ft-lbs, there’s no need. Tighten it by hand, then step on to the next gas tube hole, and you’ll be up past 30 foot-pounds in no time. However, a wrench would be required if the AR rifle’s barrel nut required a certain torque, such as 66.5 foot-pounds.

Tighten the barrel nut beyond 30 foot-pounds with a torque wrench before the nearest accessible notch in the barrel nut aligns with the opening in the upper receiver. Do not use more than 80 foot-pounds of force.

What is the best brand of torque wrench?

Here are several suggested wrenches for gunsmithing and maintenance work such as tire rotation, spark plug replacement, and cylinder head bolts, among other items. A few top-notch torque wrench brands you may rely on: 

  • Tekton (e.g. 24335 1/2 inch drive click torque wrench);
  • Precision Instruments (e.g. PREC33FR250F ½-inch drive);
  • EPAuto (e.g. 3/8 inch 10-80 foot-pound wrench);
  • Venzo (the set of Allen keys);
  • Pittsburgh Torque Wrench (e.g. pro reversible click type);
  • Snap On;
  • CDI;
  • Craftsman;
  • ParkTool;

Is it ok to loosen bolts with a torque wrench?

A torque wrench is a mechanism for tightening. This fragile and accurate tightening mechanism shouldn’t be used to undo/loosen any nuts or bolts. Treat your wrench with the same respect you will a measuring device.

Even if a bolt or nut has been torqued to design, it needs more torque to release it than it does to tighten it.

What can you use if you don’t have a torque wrench?

If you can’t spend $50 – $100 on a new torque wrench, there are a few alternatives you may use as a replacement: 

  • You may want to use a common wrench as well as a scale instead of a full-fledged torque wrench. It is possible to quantify the moment (or torque). T = F x a, where T represents the moment or torque (Nm, lbs-ft), F represents the applied force (N, lbs-ft), and a represents the wrench duration (m, ft);
  • A long ratchet or a breaker bar would also do the job, but anything at least a foot long would be needed. If you’re dealing with foot-pounds, you’ll need a way to calculate the exact distance between the part and your arm, as well as a way to measure the amount of force applied. Use a scale and the above mentioned-formula;

How can you know how much torque you need?

To ensure that your firearm operates reliably and without cracking, you must understand how to quantify bolt tightening torque. A measurement error could cost tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the time and resources needed to repair damaged machinery.

You may want to use this simple formula: 

T (torque) = K x F x d

K stands for the coefficient of friction, d means the bolt diameter, F is the axial bolt force calculated in Newtons or pounds. T obviously means the Torque. 

Take a simple example to figure out how to calculate the torque for a certain bolt or nut. Your K will be 0.2, which is a standard friction coefficient (without lubrication). The width of your bolt will be 0.5 meters, and the axial bolt power will be 11,175 pounds.

Fill in the blanks in the above-mentioned formula:

T = 0.2 * 11,175 * 0.5

T = 1,117.5 inch-pounds

Then divide by 12 to convert to foot-pounds. T = 1,117.5 / 12 = 93.125.  This means the torque is 93 foot-pounds. 

Video Tutorial: Wheeler-Wrench Firearm Accurizing Torque Wrench

Final thoughts

As you’ve probably already guessed, when it comes to gunsmithing torque wrenches it is better to invest in high-end metal instruments, even if their price is a bit above your budget. Make sure to check the tool’s accuracy and quality of materials before buying.


I’m a Matthew Johnson, and I’m a motor mechanic. I like my profession and every day I use many tools, but a torque wrench is most useful of them. I’m going to write about my experience of using different torque wrenches and share with you.

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2 Comments

  1. I didn’t think Wheeler Firearms accurizing wrench would be so good. Let’s start with the fact that it comes with 10 bits which makes it a multifunctional tool. It’s easy to set up, has a slip feature and is also inexpensive.

  2. Gunsmithing is a difficult task itself, without the proper tools it’s basically impossible. I highly suggest that anyone getting into gunsmithing experienced or not gets one of these Torque Wrench kits.

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