Welcome everyone to the TFB Armorer’s Bench! As mentioned in the little blurb below, this series will focus on a lot of home armorer and gunsmith activities. In this article, I decided to do another show-and-tell sort of Armorer’s Bench article. This one will showcase and talk about what exactly is in my “Gunsmithing library”. Any gunsmith or armorer can be greatly helped by literature. Yes, I realize books are a boring topic but it is one of the most useful things in my toolkit. This job is one where you can learn something new every day and the answers to questions you may have are not always on the internet. Let’s dive right into what exactly is in my personal gunsmithing library!
Other Reading @ TFB:
- TFB Armorer’s Bench: By The Armorer Book – Glock Maintenance
- “Man Portable Air Defense System: Fliegerfaust” Book Now Available
- Book Review: The Guns of John Moses Browning – The Remarkable Story
- Book Review: Thorneycroft to SA80 – British Bullpup Firearms 1901-2020
- Book Review: Vickers Guide SIG Sauer Vol 1
- Heckler & Koch Vickers Guide Book Now Shipping
TFB Armorer’s Bench: My Gunsmithing Library
Here, we at TFB hope to inform, entertain, and even inspire any would-be gunsmith or armorer out there. Ideally, with the information I provide and with the help of our sponsors, you can have some useful knowledge pertaining to the conservation and improvement of firearms technology while at the same time sharing experiences and teaching each other new tips and tricks along the way in the comments. Digging deep into what it is to be an armorer or gunsmith has significance but what is important is what those people do to show they’ve earned that title. I am happy to share my experiences and knowledge and hope it is informative!
Make your personal safety a priority:
- Practice proper gun safety. Always make sure before the firearm hits your bench that it is unloaded and safe to be handled.
- Wear the proper safety equipment. The main one would be safety glasses (decent ones) since parts are often under spring tension and you may work with high RPM tools. Other honorable mentions would be latex gloves or a respirator when working with potentially harmful solvents and oils. Also hearing protection when working with loud machinery or test-firing firearms.
- Modifications, alterations, and customizations will void your firearm’s warranty 9.5 times out of 10. Please take that into consideration before attempting any at-home gunsmithing.
- If you are unsure about proper safety practices, disassembly procedures, or warranty standards, stop, put down the tools, and consult a competent gunsmith.
Manuals: My Gunsmithing Library
Often overlooked and underappreciated, the manual for a specific firearm (in inventory or not) has great potential to answer questions that are not readily available elsewhere. I save all the manuals for all of my personal firearms and if I come across lone ones when I am at a gun show or at work, I will grab those too. Besides having them to aid in talking about a specific gun or its maintenance, they may hold little tips or tricks in their functions. Most modern ones will have pictured disassembly steps and exploded parts diagrams which are also valuable to a gunsmith or armorer in the long run.
Modern Gunsmithing Literature: My Gunsmithing Library
This one is fairly standard and understandable. I have books written or published in the last few decades that I would consider modern. They may regurgitate or simplify time-tested methods and examples but they also have new information from time to time. A lot of my “modern” books pertain to the disassembly of firearms or lists and diagrams of parts.
As time goes on, I need these less and less because after a while you start to understand how similar one design is to another in various ways and it does not take too much to take one apart and put it back together. A lot of actual procedures and methodologies have already been written about time and time again so that part is where the older literature really shines.
Old Gunsmithing Literature: My Gunsmithing Library
Any time I am out and about (especially at antique stores and gun shows), I keep an eye out for firearm literature. For the most part, I look for gunsmithing books. It doesn’t matter if the book literally is called “gunsmithing” or something more specific like “working on the 870”. In most cases, these books have some of the bluntest, most straightforward, and wholesome gun-related wisdom. They are written by practicing armorers and gunsmiths just like I write this series in a much broader and simpler sense.
Their spelling, punctuation, and grammar may not be the greatest. They may use slang terms or toss in opinions here and there but it is someone who shares the same craft and is conveying their experiences the way they see them. That is something I always value when reading through them. Some are perfect glimpses into a different time such as ones on older muzzleloaders and ones concentrating on converting military surplus rifles to sporting rifles. A different time for sure but still valuable information.
Gun-Specific Literature: My Gunsmithing Library
Lastly, gun-specific books are of extreme value. Most unfortunately they often are printed for a short time and after they cease printing they go for exorbitant amounts of money, far more than the author ever intended. This is a disservice to the gun world but it is what it is. I have a bunch on my wishlist because of this but often regular life needs pop up and I am unable to find the extra cash for the expense. This is not to say only out-of-print books are worthwhile ones.
For example, I have a book on the Swedish Mauser I bought last year for around $20 and it has some of the most ridiculously specific information (right down to the buttplate screws) which is fantastic. Gun-specific books are almost always a good source for historic information but they also have good information on parts, common issues, and explanations for said issues. This, more than any type, is the type of book I look for most nowadays. It is extremely worthwhile and I highly recommend grabbing whatever gun-specific book you find.
Final Thoughts: My Gunsmithing Library
As I mentioned at the beginning, this was another show-and-tell style article. It is written in hopes to get people thinking and sharing. Books are my most recommended tool on a workbench. Knowledge will always prevail since it quickly translates into skills. I am not an avid reader by any means but if this is what I (or you!) want to do in life, it is priceless. This was by no means my entire library and I apologize for the lack of literally talking about one book at a time. If book reviews or a favorite book article are something you folks would like, please let me know. Are there any gems in your library? A go-to gun book? Let’s share in the comments below! Excited to see you all next time.
As always, thank you for reading TFB! Be safe out there, have fun while shooting, and we will see you next time for the TFB Armorer’s Bench! Also, let us know what you think in the comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.