Must Have Tools for Working on AR-10 and 308 AR Rifles
The Best Tools For Working On Your Large Frame AR
As I write this page in early 2019 nearly 9 years after this site was created I’m really struck by how much the world of the AR-10 and AR .308 has grown and changed. In fact, there are so many new manufacturers and designs it’s hard to keep. This growth in the .308 platform has increased the complexity of parts compatibility, upgrades, and the subject of this page Tools for Working on AR-10 and .308 AR Rifles.
Types of AR-10 and .308 AR
While generally speaking the platforms can still be broken down into the two distinct platforms of Armalite AR-10 and DPMS LR compatible with most manufacturers opting for DPMS style. I would say 95% of the market is DPMS .308 based to some degree. If my memory is correct there are only one or two brands building rifles based on the Armalite AR-10. Then of course there are some less popular players plugging along with somewhat proprietary designs, Rock River Arms is the first to come to mind.
In reality, the lines are getting very blurred with regards to compatibility. It seems manufacturers are attempting to lock shooters into their brands by having proprietary designs such as receiver profiles, barrel nuts, and barrel nut threads as well as bolt carrier groups. But wait there’s more!
A couple of years ago DPMS released their GII .308 which is much closer in size to an AR-15. Naturally, other manufacturers have followed suit with their own “small frame .308 AR”.
With so many manufacturers and designs, it’s no surprise that more tools, or shall I say more specialized tools are needed to work on these guns.
Upgrades, Repairs, and Maintenance
Maintaining, Repairing, and Upgrading the .308 AR has often required a few specialty tools but today as aftermarket vendors improve or change designs away from mainstream special tools are often needed. Some of these applications are for removing barrel nuts, attaching new barrel nuts specifically designed for proprietary handguards and there are even castle nuts that no longer use the industry-standard design. Then there’s the small frame GII that needs its own action block. You get the idea.
On the positive side of things, folks are designing tools to make once difficult tasks a little bit easier. There are roll pin punches specifically to the AR, a special tool for installing the super tiny “C” clip on the ejection port hinge pin. There are improved tools for dimpling barrels and aligning gas blocks, installing detents, staking bolt carrier bolts, and even flash hider installation tools.
Lastly, you still need traditional gunsmith and hand tools! Click on the General Gunsmithing and Hand Tools for the AR-10 and .308 AR toggle to view our recommendations.
Note: This page will be a bit of a work in progress as it’s replacing an existing page. Our apologies in the meantime.
General Gunsmithing and Hand Tools for the AR-10 and .308 AR
This information on this page was pulled from our original AR-15 site. Many of the tools and all the links are still relevant. We are updating this page to bring it to a 2019 level.
Tools for Maintaining and Building AR-10 .308 AR Rifles
Like just about every other mechanical device your AR-10/AR .308 will require service and maintenance at some point. While its possible to do some very basic maintenance on your rifle with the tools you have available in your tool box already the results might be less than desirable. For example without the proper punches there’s a good chance that you will mar the finish, mangle the various pins and possibly break parts.
Upgrading your rifle will also require some tools. You’ve spent a lot of money on your rifle don’t skimp on tools.
Don’t be tempted to cheap import type tools such as screwdrivers and hex key (allen wrenches). These tools are often made of inferior or unhardened metal. This will usually result in stripped and broken screws or worse a broken rifle. Again don’t skimp.
Basic Tools for Working on Firearms
Here’s a list of basic tools good for most firearms
- Wilton Cast Iron Bench Vise
- 12oz Ball Pein Hammer
- Small Plastic/Brass Face “No Mar” Hammer
- Roll Pin Punch Set
- Regular Punch Set
- Hex Key (Allen) Wrench Set – Loose
- Hex Key (Allen) Wrench Set – Folding
- Hex Key (Allen) Wrench Set – T Handle
- Torx (Star) Wrench Set – Loose
- Torx (Star) Wrench Set – Folding
- Dental Pick Type Tools
- Hollow Ground Flat Blade Screwdriver Set
- Philips Screwdriver Set
- Small AA Flashlight
- Bore Light
- Brownells Magna-Tip Screwdrivers – These are available as handles or as kits or combos for specific firearms.
- Strap Wrench
- Go/No Go Headspace Gages
AR Specific Tools
Below is a quick punch list of tools and their corresponding links. The rest of the page will include visual examples.
- Handguard Removal Tool
- Free Floating Handguard Wrench
- The “Claw” Upper Receiver Action Block Mfr Part: F414637
- The “Claw” GII Upper Receiver Action Block Mfr Part: F620989
- Lower Receiver Vise Block
- Armorers Multi Wrench
- Barrel Vise Jaws
- Carrier Carbon Scraper
- Gas Tube Wrench
- Sight Wrench
- Stock Wrench
- Maintenance Field Pack
- Bolt Catch Pin Punch
- Punches 1/16″, 3/32″, 1/8″, 5/32″, 3/16″ (See previous section above)
ODIN Works AR-10 Upper Receiver Vise Block is an indispensable tool needed for the assembly of an AR-10 and AR-15 Upper Receiver. This .308 AR Vise Block allows you to secure your upper while you clean or install barrels, forends, muzzle devices, and any accessories you want to mount on your upper.
The Young MFG 308 AR Bolt Assembly & Disassembly Tool makes it a simple operation to remove or install a new ejector and spring into the AR-10 bolt. Anyone who has tried to do this without a tool will be amazed at the reduction in the number of swears needed to perform the task.
Just spotted this on Brownells. Interesting, inexpensive and reusable tool for proper gas block alignment. Currently only available for .750 barrels but other sizes are coming. The Gas Block Genie is a must-have tool for easily assembling your AR platform rifle. Gas Block Genie allows you to install your gas block to the perfect depth and angle on the first shot!
Brownells has teamed up with M-Pro 7 to develop the M-PRO 7 AR 308 CLEANING KIT. This cleaning kit specifically for maintaining an AR-type rifle in peak operating condition. Now you can clean your AR using the same operationally tested products used by the United States Armed Forces.
These extra long gas tube pipe cleaners are designed for scrubbing out fouling and carbon residue from gas tubes on gas-impinging rifles, like traditional AR-10 308AR AR15 platforms and variants. These extra-long tube pipe cleaners let you swab the full length of the gas tube. Made with highly absorbent cotton bristles, these tubes are fully functional and can be used for a variety of other applications.
AR-15, AR-10, AR .308 Ejection Cover Hinge Pin Clip Tool lets you easily install the ejection cover hinge pin clip. Simply slide c-clip into recess in the tool and snap into place..AR-15 Ejection Cover Hinge Pin Clip Tool features split-lip design that lets you easily install ejection cover hinge pin clip. No more c-clips shooting across the room. Just slide c-clip into recess in the tool and snap into place. Squared handle makes it easy to grip and manipulate.
308-AR AR-15 AR-10 Bolt Catch Pin Compatibility 308 AR AR-10 Bolt Catch Pin – The bolt catch pin, one of the smallest parts on the 308 AR, AR-10 and AR-15 platform weapons is a part that can stop an AR-10 308AR build dead in it’s tracks if you didn’t purchase the correct one or the correct LOWER PARTS KIT for your STRIPPED LOWER RECEIVER. Here’s why. The AR-15 platform uses a roll pin and that’s taken for granted when shooters move up to the AR-10 and 308 AR platforms. Unfortunately this is where the topic gets muddy.
308AR AR15 AR-10 Roll Pin Tools – 308AR AR15 AR-10 Roll Pin Tools – One of my pet peeves from folks who assemble their own AR15 AR-10 308AR rifles is the sloppy installation of the various roll pins the rifles require. In all fairness there are a few roll pins that present a challenge to the inexperienced and experienced alike. The BOLT CATCH ROLL PIN comes to mind as does the FORWARD ASSIST ROLL PIN. The BOLT CATCH ROLL PIN is positioned quite close to the body of the LOWER RECEIVER and requires a ROLL PIN PUNCH to have a flat side to properly install.
Pictures of a GERBER SHORT STACK AR15 GRIP TOOL installed in a MAGPUL MOE PISTOL GRIP
The Gerber Short Stack is a compact AR-15 maintenance tool sized to fit into Magpul MOE and MIAD pistol grips. The Gerber Short Stack’s innovative three-piece design allows shooters to create multiple wrench configurations, allowing users to tighten and loosen the buffer tube, flash hider and other accessories. The Gerber Short Stack also features a front sight adjustment tool, a pull-through handle for OTIS cables, and scraping surfaces for the weapon system’s firing pin, bolt and bolt carrier. The Gerber Short Stack is compatible with Magpul M-LOK accessories, featuring a 7mm wrench and two-sided hex bits for M-LOK fasteners.
Handy tool aids in applying straight-line torque for fast, easy installation of the AR 308/AR-10 barrel nut without scratching the exterior of the upper receiver. Helps ensure the right amount of torque is evenly applied, while maintaining proper alignment of the barrel, upper receiver, and gas tube ports. Use with any barrel nut wrench or free-float tube wrench and a torque wrench with a ½” square drive.
AR-10, DPMS LR-308, AR .308 AR Tools January 12, 2019 Update: It's interesting to look at this page knowing it's nearly nine years old as I type this. While this page is still relevant there has been so many changes to the platform with many new manufacturers...
Links to Other 308 AR | AR-10 | AR 308 Content
Manufacturers | 308 AR Compatibility | Charging Handles | Carbon Fiber Barrels| Barrels | AR Rifle Build Guides | AR Receiver Selection Guide | Trigger Selection Guide | Bolt Carriers | Armalite AR-10 Rifle Parts | AR-10 Rifle Barrel Selection Guide | 308 Scope Selection Guide | Tools | Scope Mounts |