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Larry the Conservative
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Vises for gunsmith work. A recent post about vises, has caused me to re-evaluate the pair of vises I use. Neither one is a top quality vise - not even a third level really, but they do work OK for my general needs. That said I'm looking online at real "gunsmith" vises and wonder if owning a $500 vise could make ANY difference for home gunsmith work, or could I "get by" with a $100 vise?

Secondly, what type of vises work best? I like the versatility of a "plumbers vise" because it swivals and can rotate the jaws. A machinist vise is a solid piece of equipment and thats what I've been using, but the two I have are old and one has a bad habit or two that need to be addressed.

Thanks all
 

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vises

I got the Shop Fox vise from Midway for around 50 bucks. It swivels but doesn't rotate. The nice thing about this vise is the tall wide jaws. What I did was cut some plastic(about 1 inch thick as wide as the jaws) kind of in a u shape , turned them over and they fit over the slide between the jaws creating a padded vise. Then I took a router and cut a v groove horizontally just a little ways down from the top of the jaws in both pieces of plastic . Makes for an awesome barrel vise and wont mar the barrel.
 

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I got a rotating plumbers vise, and I fuss and cuss every time I use it. Yes, it is great for positioning parts, but the *&^%$# thing moves whenever the holding pressure is released.

If you can, get a good used "Made in USA" vise at a garage sale. They don't make them like they used to.

Then get some 10 gauge bronze sheet and make yourself some vise jaw covers to keep those teeth from biting in to the part you are working on.
 

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Retired Moderator & Gunsmith
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I use my woodworking vise more than my metalworking vise when working on guns. It has replaceable wood jaws (common 1x4) or I can use Teflon jaws. Here's the one I have but there are many other brands available that cost less: Wilton 63246 79C 10-Inch Jaw Width by 13-Inch Opening Woodworking Vise - Amazon.com The worst thing you can do is to put a nice gun in a steel jaw vise ... it sure won't escape without damage.

Removing threaded barrels is probably the hardest task for a vise. Using non-marring jaws in a strong metal working vise is the best solution. For most other tasks, soft wood jaws do an excellent job. For working on small parts like a hammer or sear, a Teflon jaw Panavise is great. See: PanaVise Products, Inc. I also use my drill press vise a lot for small jobs where portability is important. A set of wood strips in the jaws prevent marring. Pliers, Vise Grips, Vises, & Clamping | Vises | 4" Drill Press Vise | B224044 - GlobalIndustrial.com
 

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Republican!!!
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I have a small hobbiest vise I use occasionally. It works well for my purposes, but to tell the truth, I rarely have a need for a vise.

Yesterday, I was considering rebarreling my Rem 700. I've seen barrels replaced on TV and have come to the conclusion that this is definitely a job best left to experienced gunsmiths! I'm contemplating building an AR someday, but I think I might be able to handle that, though not with my little hobbiest vise. I have a medium sized bench vise on my work bench that I think would handle that. And I have various blocks for mounting AR's and 1911's. I'd never dream of putting any gun part in a vise without some sort of protection. But mostly dream is what I do. I work on guns for enjoyment, so that goes into account when I consider doing it myself or paying someone else to do it. ;)
 
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