In his introduction to the new Gun Digest Book of Centerfire Rifles Assembly/Disassembly, gunsmith Kevin Muramatsu outlines his general tips for preparing to take apart a rifle. They are:
- Make sure the gun is completely unloaded
- Always wear safety glasses
- Use a big, flat, well-lit space for the disassembly work
- Have the factory user manual available for your gun
- In addition to having a copy of the Gun Digest Book of Centerfire Rifles Assembly/Disassembly, get a copy of the Gun Digest Book of Exploded Gun Drawings.
You'll also want good tools. Here are Muramatsu's top 10 recommendations for general centerfire rifle disassembly.
The tiniest of these fine German instrument screwdrivers from Brownells is too small for most gun work, but you’ll see the rest of them used frequently throughout the book. There are many tight places where these will come in handy.
2. Standard Screwdrivers
When a larger screwdriver is needed, this set from Brownells covers a wide range of blade sizes and also has Phillips- and Allen-type inserts. The tips are held in place by a strong magnet, yet are easily changed. These tips are very hard. With enough force you might manage to break one, but they’ll never bend.
You should have at least one good pair of bent sharpnosed pliers. These, from Brownells, have a box joint and smooth inner faces to help prevent marring.
4. Parallel Jaw Pliers
For situations where a non-marring rap is needed, this hammer from Brownells is ideal. It is shown with nylon faces on the head, but other faces of plastic and brass are also available. All are easily replaceable.
6. Metal Gunsmithing Hammers
7. Sharpnosed Forceps
For situations where reach and accessibility are beyond the capabilities of sharpnosed pliers, a pair of large sharp-nosed forceps (tweezers) will be invaluable.
8. Nylon Drift Punch
One of the most-used tools is this nylon tipped drift punch, shown with an optional brass tip in place on the handle. It has a steel pin inside the nylon tip for strength. From Brownells, and absolutely essential.
9. Drift Punch Set
A good set of drift punches will prevent a lot of marred pins. These, from Brownells, are made by Mayhew. The tapered punches at the right are for starting pins, the others for pushing them through. Two sizes are available-4 inches or 6 inches.
10. Roll Pin Punches
These punches by Mayhew are designed specifically for roll pins and have a projection at the center of the tip to fit the hollow center of a roll pin, driving it out without deformation of the ends. From Brownells.