Welcome everyone to the TFB Armorer’s Bench! As mentioned in the little blurb, this series will focus on a lot of home armorer and gunsmith activities. In this article sponsored by Wheeler, Tipton, Caldwell, and Frankford Arsenal, I decided to take a closer look at the two Bench Blocks that Wheeler Engineering currently offers. Wheeler is one of a few companies out there that offer affordable examples of gunsmith technology. An example would be these bench blocks which not only support a workpiece while pins are driven into or out of them but also have cutouts specific to firearms to make life easier. Let’s jump into the Wheeler Bench Blocks!
TFB Armorer’s Bench: Closer Look – Wheeler Bench Blocks
Welcome to our recurring series of Armorer’s Bench which is made possible and brought to you by Wheeler, Tipton, Caldwell, and Frankford Arsenal who are our sponsors. 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.
Brief Overview: Wheeler Bench Blocks
One of the first articles here on TFB’s Armorer’s Bench was a list of my picks of 10 Essential Home Armorer/Gunsmith Tools. In that list, I specifically single out bench blocks as being absolutely necessary and I stand by that. I use one almost every day and I feel lost when I am in need of one. The purpose of most gunsmith bench blocks is to support a workpiece, whether it be a receiver, trigger assembly, or simply just a single screw. By doing this the workpiece is off of the bench and more often than not there is space for a pin to be punched out and able to fall or be captured in that given space. I have quite a few different bench blocks like my old school DIY hockey puck bench block or my metal jewelers block but today we are here to go over the two that Wheeler offers.
Wheeler offers two separate bench blocks. This first one is a pretty standard style across the board when it comes to bench blocks but it has some neat features. Made of non-marring urethane, it has normal holes, grooves, and cuts. This also comes with a series of quality of life features that are purely additional. A majority of them have to do with 1911 style pistols.
This bench block has the following added bonuses:
- Mainspring removal and boss.
- Barrel link removal channel.
- Rear sight drift channel.
- Front sight staking channel.
- Hammer and sear pin removal holes.
- Ejector port dressing channel.
- MSRP: $24.99
The second and arguably more unique of Wheeler’s lineup of bench blocks would be their AR Armorer’s Bench Block. Once again made of non-marring urethane, Wheeler AR Armorer’s Bench Block is pretty obviously meant for a very generic AR15 since it has a large amount of real estate cut out for an A2 front sight. This is a great thing because this is one of the most common things I see replaced when customers are looking into upgrades.
I personally used this bench block for the first time quite a bit as I took apart that Smith & Wesson Sport II for our disassembly article. This is why I decided to roll into this article because of how much of a help it was. The A2 front sight install and uninstall space is a fantastic and welcome feature in my book but there is more!
- Space for charging handle disassembly or assembly.
- Spot for the front of the lower receiver to rest while the bolt release and its roll pin are being installed or uninstalled.
- Space for the upper receiver to rest flat in order to punch out the forward assist roll pin.
- A spot to remove gas tube roll pin.
- A whole side is dedicated to the installation of lower receiver pins.
- MSRP: $49.99
Note: These AR Bench Blocks are specific to AR15s and will not work for AR10s in the same sense as they would for the AR15.
Closing Thoughts: Wheeler Bench Blocks
Bench blocks will always be on my essentials list. These Wheeler ones are extremely handy and affordable! I highly recommend them especially if you are an avid tinkerer with anything AR15 related. Otherwise, simple DIY hockey pucks like mine will do just fine for the average thing. There are many different kinds out there and I encourage you to search for what would work best for your needs. Just because I was happy with these does not mean that they would be the end all beat all fit for you. If I am looking for the best bang for my buck though I’m rolling with these Wheeler Bench Blocks! Take care and be safe out there!
One last thing! We are curious what you guys and gals may consider common upgrades or changes to an everyday AR15. We could potentially turn them into future articles along with assembly. Take care everyone and be safe out there!
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 brought to you by Wheeler, Tipton, Caldwell, and Frankford Arsenal! Also, let us know what you think in the comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.
The Caldwell® Pro Range Glasses feature a stylish wrap-around design and are a great choice for all shooters. They feature an adjustable nose piece and temples for all day comfort. The scratch resistant lens meets ANSI Z87.1 standards and offers 99.9% UV protection.
Tired of trying to secure your AR parts while installing a pin, detent or spring? The AR-15 Bench Block is the answer! Specifically designed for AR-15 assembly and disassembly, the AR-15 Bench Block is the perfect tool. It securely holds the upper receiver, lower receiver, front sight and charging handle during assembly, disassembly and maintenance.
Made of non-marring urethane, the Universal Pistol Bench Block is perfect for use on M1911 pistols as well as other firearms such as 10/22s.
The Delta Series AR-15 Upper Vise Block is optimized for left hand and right hand Mil Spec A2 upper receivers with carry handles, as well as flattop style receivers. Other AR-15 variants may be adapted with special attention to potentially non-conforming surfaces or features. The Delta Series AR-15 Upper Vise Block allows you to safely clamp on to your AR-15 upper receiver in a vise holding it securely without twisting, crushing or marring the finish. This block is the perfect product for torqueing a barrel on, removing a stubborn barrel nut or for simple gun maintenance and cleaning. It is made of a high pressure, solvent resistant polymer material which can withstand almost anything you can throw at it. The Delta Series AR-15 Upper Vise Block truly is the all-around product for your AR-15 gunsmithing, maintenance or cleaning needs. As an added bonus it includes a receiver insert with a gas tube alignment system, making sure your gas tube is always in line when installing a barrel and torqueing a barrel nut. Durable design holds receiver securely and fits both left and right-hand Mil Spec A2 upper, as well as flat top receivers.
Ultra Kit includes: AR-15 AR Armorer’s Vise, AR-15 Combo Tool, Torque Wrench, AR-15 Armorer’s Bench Block, AR-15 Roll Pin Installation Tool Kit, Upper Vise Block Clamp with Gas Tube Alignment Tool, Maintenance Mat with Exploded AR-15 Diagram, Pivot Pin & Roll Pin Installation Tool, AR Front Sight Tool, Delta Ring Tool, Strap Wrench, AR-15 Bore Guide, AR-15 Adjustable Receiver Link, .22 Cal Bore Brush, Bolt Carrier Brush, Chamber Brush, Magazine/Upper Receiver Brush, Nylon Brush Handle, Double-ended General Cleaning Brush, Cleaning Pick Set, and Custom Fitted Carrying Case.bee
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