Can you be specific on what type of rifle, as tools and fixtures will depend upon what type and model of rifle, as what we use on a bolt action rifle is different than an AR15.
If you are talking an AR15 type rifle, then are you building it from small parts, or using a factory built upper receiver assembly.
If using a factor built AR15 upper receiver assembly, then you will need tools for the lower receiver assembly, and possibly a few tools to touch up things in the upper receiver assembly.
For an AR15 lower receiver you will need
Pin punches: 3/32", 1/8"
Roll pin punches: 3/32", 1/8", 5.32"
Front pivot pin installation tool
Butt stock wrench for either a collapsible or fixed stock
Staking punch for spanner/castle nut on collapsible stock if you are using one
Lower receiver vise block
Bolt carrier gas key staking tool
Allen (Hex) & Torx type wrenches if accessories require them
Hammer (small ball peen)
For an AR15 upper receiver you will need
Upper receiver vise block
Barrel nut wrench to fit whatever barrel nut you are using
Flash hider/muzzle brake/compensator wrench if you are installing one
Screwdrivers/wrenches for sights or optics
Gas tube jaws or wrench
Sight tool for iron sights
Thread locker for iron sights & optic mount screws
If you want brands, please speak up and I am happy to give you my preferences.
Thanks Greg! I'll be working on an AR so the list above is a good start. I'm going to start with a stripped upper and lower and put it all together as I go along. I'd be happy to have any brands to lean towards or stay away from.
Hopefully this helps a little. I could write a book on just tools that are commercially available, and ones we have made, to include but not limited to gauges, custom armorer tools & fixtures, and then advanced rmorer/gunsmith tools for front sight base installation, gas block indexing/drilling fixtures, reamers, etc.
When teaching armorer courses, my best advice for considering what tools to get, is consider them as an investment, and invest wisely and buy quality. Generally when you are looking at what tools to use on guns, you will probably use them more than once, so it usually doesn't pay to go cheap.
Here is a basic list of what a person will need to do most work on the AR15 / M16 type firearms. These are the tools that we use and recommend in armorer classes. We also use and show other tools, but the list below is what we prefer as they work well and are generally most user friendly.
Kroil: Creeping oil to help free stuck parts.
Bench Vise 4" will work well on an AR15 for barrel work, receiver work, and the 4" jaws will fit when working on a carbine gas system (5" or wider won't fit).
Pin Punches (Drive Pin Punch): Used for roll pin removal, and dowel pin removal.
1/16" for ejector, and A1 windage plate / A2 windage knob roll pins
5/64" for gas tube roll pin
3/32" for forward assist, bolt catch roll pin
1/8" for trigger guard roll pin, and front sight base / gas block dowel pins & taper pins once they are pre-loosened.
Purchase quality American Made punches, as they will usually have better quality steel as compared to imported stuff. I prefer Starrett & Proto. Also keep in mind that occasionally striking tools like punches get damaged, which makes them disposable when the break, don't lose any sleep over it, just replace it with a new on and move onto the next thing.
Roll pin punches: Used for roll pin installation. For armorer courses we use Proto (Many with over 2-decades of service and still going)
3/32", 1/8", 5/32"
Roll Pin Holder Punches: Get a set for all sizes, as it will help hold the roll pins and get them tapped in about 1/2 ways in tight spots when working in areas like the ejector and gas block/front sight bases, trigger guards, etc. There are several good ones on the market from Brownells, Grace, and we also offer them as well.
Sully Delrin Punch: Available in both an AR15 model and AR308 model. The delrin material is firm enough for using during repair, but soft enough that it shouldn't damge the metal or finish on the firearm. The tip (small end) is .250 in diameter, designed for pushing out front & rear takedown pins, and installing/removal of magazine catches. The back side is designed for using during ejector work to compress it during installation, this is why we offer it in both 5.56 diamater, and 7.62 Diameter.
Front pivot pin installation tool. There are several good choices available.
Butt stock wrench for either a collapsible or fixed stock. This can be combined with a multi-wrench for barrel and flash hider work. There are several good ones from places like Brownells, Tapco, Stoner, Magpul, GemState, Spikes Tactical, Midwest Industries, etc.
Staking punch (Center Punch) for spanner/castle nut on collapsible stock if you are using one, which can also be used on bolt carrier keys.
Bench block: I prefer our Sully Bench Block, but you can also find units from Brownells & Midway.
Lower receiver vise block: There are many on the market, and they all work well.
Bolt carrier gas key staking tool: The Sully Gas Key Staking Tools or The MOACKS from Michiguns are both good choices.
Allen (Hex) & Torx type wrenches if accessories require them. Most AR15 weapons systems and accessories are standard sizes. Metric is generally on the airsoft type stuff.
Hammers: I mostly use a small 4-oz ballpein for most pin work. A larger ballpein in 10oz, 12oz or 16oz for taper pins is useful.
Upper receiver vise block: I prefer a clam shell unit, there are several on the market. If using an under block that secures on the pivot pins, then opt for a metal one and not the delrin one as the flex when torque is applied.
Barrel nut wrench to fit whatever barrel nut you are using. A good multi wrench as mentioned above will work, keeping in mind that if you do a lot of barrel nut or flash hider work, then you will probably end up with several wrenches as all the tolerances of the wrenches and parts vary a little. Also you will find that many of the free float tube manufacturers will also manufacture their own wrench for their barrel nuts, and you will probably end up purchasing them when working with their free float tubes.
Flash hider/muzzle brake/compensator wrench if you are installing one. Standard box end wrenches will work, as well as a good multi armorer wrench as already mentioned. The Sully Flash Hider/ Brake / Compensator wrench will be available soon.
Screwdrivers/wrenches for sights or optics
Gas tube jaws or wrench. The Sully Gas Tube Jaws work on all AR15/AR308 gas tubes, and gives a solid hold when trying to remove stuck gas tubes. Brownells has a gas tube wrench that has been around for decades and works well.
Sight tool for iron sights. You will need 4 or 5 prong depending upon which sight post, and you will need a longer tool when dealing with tritium front sight posts.
Thread locker for iron sights & optic mount screws. Red and Blue Loctite, along with something softer like nail polish and wicking loctite for when and where it is needed. Rocksett for certain applications as well. Be careful with any high temp thread locking agent, as you may need to remove parts someday.
Ejector tool: There are a few different offerings on the market. The Sully AR15 Ejector Tool is used for removal and installation of the ejection system roll pin. It is designed to hold the rifle & parts on the AR15 bolt assembly, especially when you have damaged roll pins that are sheared off or mushroomed. The Sully AR15 Ejector Roll Pin Tool is also designed to hold things during installation of the extractor pin. The Sully Ejector Tool is also designed to be used during installation of extractor pins, especially when dealing with heavy duty extractor springs and aftermarket tension upgrades like the Crane O-Ring and Defender Ring.
We also offer the Sully AR308 Bolt Action Rifle Ejector Tool. This tool will work on all variations of the AR308 type weapon system, and does all the same functions like the AR15 Ejector tool does. We also designed it to work on all Remington 700 and Savage SA/LA type rifles (10. 110. 11, Axis, Stevens 200, etc).