16 September 2021


I am a sucker for tools.

It's all I can do to keep from ordering the $70 Sterret punch set from Brownell's.  I have good punches already!

But those are BETTER punches...

It's a $70 question of the punches in hand being good enough.

For fuck's sake, there's a debate on Arfcom about 1/2" breaker bars.  The "BUY MERCIAN!" contingent sure hates that the $12 bar from Harbor Freight will suffice for virtually all your breaker bar needs.  It's Northern Tools equivalent survived having a 6' cheater pipe slid over the end.

But, sometimes, better tools are better.


I started out doing AR barrels with a DPMS multi-tool (left).

It is an aggravating barrel nut wrench.  You'd think with all that engagement, it'd be near fool-proof too.  Wrong.  It's a pain to get lined up correctly and the little nubbins are just a teensy bit undersized compared to the grooves in the barrel nut.  That means you can be almost in the right spot, but only grasping 4 grooves 180° apart and not engaging the bottom at all.

It slips.  A lot.

I've completely destroyed one barrel nut and did real damage the one on Sabrina.


Notice the rounded off and burred teeth?

I keep it around because it's got the spanner that works on both styles of carbine receiver extension lock-nuts and the flat-bladed end matches the screw in a rifle stock.

My next tool is the genuine USGI model (middle).  It's easy to get lined up and it didn't slip until I tried to get a barrel that Palmetto State had loctite'd onto the upper off.  That only ruined three teeth, but it bent out one of the pins on the wrench!  That pin is now loose.  I've tapped it back in and staked it a couple of times, but the wobble is getting looser and looser.

I keep this one because it has a third slot in it that fits the moderator on Tabitha.  the others only fit a standard flash-hider and rifle receiver extension.

The most recent wrench is a HSLD-011 from 2Unique Products. (right).

It's got excellent engagement and is easy to get lined up!

Everyone wins!


  1. Thanks for the recommendation on that barrel wrench. I share your frustration with ones like the DPMS. I have a very similar one that was sold by Bushmaster (same corporate parent as DPMS for many years), except the finish is a darker gray. I have another one of a similar style, but of a generic brand.

  2. I've got a GI one myself, but the original version that has the three-prong flash hider wrench. (From Sherluk.)


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