Friday, June 2, 2023

The Most Important Gun Parts to Keep Around Your Bench

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Guns – no matter what you shoot, be it an AR-15 or a flintlock Hawken rifle – are fairly complex mechanical devices.

Gun parts wear and fail, oftentimes without any warning, which can make repairs exigent.

Here are the top firearm parts to keep around your bench so you can make repairs when and as needed, even if that doesn’t align with routine maintenance.

Recoil/Buffer Springs
The springs are often the first part to fatigue and fail on any gun, and recoil and buffer springs, which shoulder a considerable burden through each cycle, are the most suspect.

You should always have spares of these around.

Magazine Springs
Magazine springs are probably number two on the list of “most failure-prone firearm springs.” Also, when a mag spring starts to fatigue, it ruins feeding and cycling, so have a spare.

Replacing the spring in a mag can effectively extend its lifetime infinitely, as the tube and follower should last forever.

…Other Springs
You should just keep a whole spring kit for your firearm around. Firing pin springs, trigger springs, extractors, and ejector springs, those things all fail too.

The whole gun is held together with pins, such as roll pins, takedown pins, and trigger assembly pins. This makes them among the most important gun parts of all.

Fortunately, you can get whole parts kits of pins for specific firearms like AR-15 rifles and 1911 pistols, usually for a few dollars.

As firearm parts go, extractors are critical for action function and can fail when shooting particularly hot loads. If your extractor fails, you could be stuck with a shell jammed in the chamber and little way to remove it properly.

So, with that said, keep some spare extractors and extractor springs within easy reach.

Ejectors are not quite as crucial as extractors but they can also complicate cycling when they do fail – so ejectors and springs are also important firearm parts to keep around the bench.

Firing Pins/Strikers
On some firearms, the firing pin will last forever. On others, the firing pin or striker can snap or crack or even mushroom due to repeated use. Fortunately, they are small, generally affordable parts that are fairly easy to replace.

Whole Spare Bolt Carrier Groups
If you shoot a gas-operated rifle like an AR-15, then keeping a whole spare BCG around isn’t a bad idea. Over time, the gas rings will wear out, which will necessitate replacement. Also, the extractor, ejector, firing pin, and springs are all contained in the BCG, so if one of these fails, it’s easy to replace the whole thing than to take it apart and fix it, at least in the short run.

Useful Tools for Replacing Firearm Parts
For the purposes of making the repairs mentioned in this article, you should keep the following tools and firearm accessories around the bench:

● An AR-15 wrench

● Assorted pin punches, including brass punches

● Screwdrivers, specifically Torx screwdrivers

● An Allen key

● A brass hammer

● A brass brush (for cleaning and removing marks)

● A vice, clamp, or block

● For shotgunners, a choke tube wrench

The Case for a Gun Parts Kit
One way to make sure you have all of the necessary parts for your firearm is to keep a gun parts kit. Most people that use gun parts kits are those who build their own platforms, but if you’re going to make your own repairs, a gun parts kit will have everything you need to fix the issue.

If you’re looking for one, visit SARCO, Inc, online at They carry hundreds if not thousands of shotgun, pistol, and rifle parts for a wide range of platforms, including hard-to-find parts and firearm accessories. Check out their website or visit them at 50 Hilton Street in Easton, Pennsylvania if you’re in their area.

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