Screw Removal Made Easy

How to make and use your own screw jacks.

by Dick Maheu

If you have been working guns any length of time you have faced the age old problem of screws that don’t want to budge. One of the easiest things to do is to get impatient, grab the nearest screwdriver available, even if it is the “right” one, and start crankin’. I learned early on in my gunsmithing career to study this problem fully before laying out a plan of attack. Trust me when I say a buggered up screw can be become a worse condition if the improper tact is used. With the right tools and methods, many of these jobs can be done properly and professionally with a minimum of time and hassle. There will be those few screws that defy all the usual methods and will need to be drilled out. I’ll cover that later on in the article.

There are many different scenarios that come into play when tight or “frozen” screws are encountered. Was the screw simply over torqued? Was Loctite or epoxy utilized? Is the screw rusted in? Was the screw previously bent or warped and is actually wedging parts against each other. Is it under heavy spring pressure? Were the screw or hole threads stripped? Dirt, dried grease or oil, and residue can lock a screw in as well. The occasional warped part or receiver can misalign screws when they are fastened and be difficult to remove. Is the screw actually properly secured for normal removal but the slot buggered up by previous disassembly or tinkering? These are just a few of the normal reasons we encounter difficult screw removal.

Diagnosing The Problem

Read more in our June 2015 issue.

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