Tag Archives: tool

Very Compact Astro 1828 ONYX 3/8″ Nano Impact Wrench Is Great For Tight Quarters

This past winter I had the fun of changing the starter motor twice in 15 degree weather in my Landcruiser.  It was a bear getting to the starter bolts with my full size Ingersoll Rand 1/2 Thunder Gun.  It’s an awesome impact wrench and I had trashed a few cheap Harbor Freight ones before taking the advice of my friends and buying it.  To make a long story short, with a long extension and a universal joint, I was able to get the two bolts out.

While working on the truck, it struck me that I really needed a compact impact wrench to get into tight spaces.  I did some digging and found the Astro 1828 Onyx for 3/8″ impact sockets.  I figured I wanted small and probably would not need 1/2″ most of the time.

These next photos show how much more compact the Onyx is compared to the big Thunder Gun:

The little Onyx gets great reviews – currently 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon with 148 reviews.  I bought it and a Hot Max 28083 Swivel adapter at the same time.   It arrived in a nice little cardboard box from Amazon and I promptly put good Teflon tape on the swivel’s fittings, installed it and then a Milton M-style plug.

So far, both are holding up great in my home garage use (I’m not a pro mechanic – more like a shade tree one with ADD and sleep deprivation).

What I find interesting is that it is a torquy little beast.  They claim 450 ft/lbs.  I have not bothered checking using a calibrated torque wrench but I can tell you it’s done a great job so far.  For big stuff / tight stuff, I still go to the Thundergun with its 625 ft/lbs of torque.  The Onyx is more of a special purpose tool for me.  By the way, if you notice it is shiny above, I had just used it to remove the drain plug off a 2002 Camry’s transmission.  They are about 18mm and use a 10mm Allen bit to come off.  My 10mm Allen bit is for a 3/8″ drive so I just stuck it on the Onyx and it whipped it right off.  Reinstalling, I set torque at 1 out of 3 and then checked it with a 3/8″ drive ratchet wrench after — it was in there solid.

In short, I am happy with the little Nano and Hot Max swivel combination.  I definitely still use my Thunder Gun for wheel lugs and big fasteners but the Nano is now my go to for tight spaces.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.



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Astro 1828 ONYX 3/8″ Nano Impact Wrench 450ft/lb (Automotive)

The Astro Pneumatic Tool 1828 ONYX 3/8″ Nano Impact Wrench – 450ft/lb allows for the shortest profile possible when paired with 3/8″ impact sockets. This makes it ideal for use in restricted spaces such as engine, transmission, and suspension work. It is constructed with 3 forward and 3 reverse settings, a full length of less than 3-7/8″, and is incredibly light weight at 3lbs Specifications: Free Speed: 10,500 R.P.M, Hammer Design: Twin Hammer, Max torque: 450 ft-lb, Working torque: 400 ft-lb, Drive Size: 3/8″, Avg. Air Consumption: 5.6 CFM, Noise Level: 85 dB, Overall Length: 3.85″, Net Weight: 2.98 lbs, Air Inlet: 1/4″, Sug. Air Pressure: 90 Psi, Exhaust System: Handle Exhaust.

Features: 

  • Ideal for use in restricted spaces such as engine, transmission, and suspension work
  • 3/8″ model allows for the shortest profile possible when paired with 3/8″ impact sockets
  • 3 forward and 3 reverse settings
  • Full length of less than 3-7/8″ and incredibly light weight at 3lbs
  • Compact yet powerful design at 450ft/lbs

List Price: $98.00 USD
New From: $95.00 USD In Stock
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The Vortex Torque Wrench Optics Mounting Kit is Wicked!!

I’m to the point with rifles that when I want to maintain accuracy, I know I need an accurate torquing driver.  For years I have used the Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque (FAT) Wrench and it was good enough.  For about $40 I got the base unit that included a few bits and a case.  The FAT wrench had a range from 10-65 in/lbs and good enough accuracy (+/- 2 in/lbs up to 40 pounds and +/- 5% over 40 in/lbs).  My only beef with it was that the mechanical scale that shows you the torque settings was in 5 pound increments.  To get close to 18 in/lbs, for example, required going close to the middle between 15 and 20 in/lbs and calling it even.

I used the FAT wrench pretty much exclusively from October 2014 to May 2018.  It was good enough at the time – way better than going for ballpark feel “farmer tight” settings but in the back of my head though, I wanted better.

By the way, in case you are wondering why a person would get one of these torque wrenches or drivers, it’s because many torque wrenches aren’t calibrated in inch/pounds (they are often foot pounds in the US) and they may not go down as low as 10 inch/pounds (in/lbs).

My interests span many types of firearms from AKs to precision rifles.  With the latter, I own a number of sub-MOA rifles and they demand precision tools if you want repeatability and reliability.  These rifles also have very good Vortex scopes and rings as well.  If you want consistency and the rings to not shoot loose, the value of a torque wrench becomes apparent fast.

I’m a Vortex fan – there’s no two ways about.  Their optics are superb and they have an absolute “we will stand behind it no matter what with no nonsense” warranty.  Once in a while I will see guys troll the brand on Facebook but I honestly question whether they have ever actually even owned one.

Folks, I’ve owned probably 7-8 superb Vortex scopes and a ton of red dots.  I really don’t know how many red dots of various types – probably approaching a dozen.  The glass is good, the scopes are durable and do you know how many times I have used the warranty? — None.  In talking with guys that have, Vortex took care of them.

So, let me get to the point.  Vortex came out with a torque driver called the “Vortex Optics Torque Wrench Mounting Kit” that goes from 10-50 in pounds in calibrated 1 in/lbs increments that you set like a micrometer.

When it arrived, the first thing I noticed was the heft.  This is a solidly built metal tool that screams quality.  It comes with a few bits.  You pull the copper colored locking ring down and turn the handle to get the torque you want.  I did find that you have to push the bits in very firmly.  There is a detent ball that holds the driver bits in and it is surprisingly stout.

A nice touch is that the end of the handle has a 1/4″ socket if you want to use a ratchet wrench for higher torque applications.  For example, Vortex precision rings can go up to 50 in/lbs.  I can do that by hand most of the time but a ratchet makes it much easier.

On the topic of bits, it is a standard 1/4″ drive so you can get a large collection of bits and pair it up with this unit.  For example, I had a Home Depot Husky brand driver with a ton of bits that I picked up on sale at some point and just had sitting on the shelf.  I put it with the Vortex and its few included driver bits.  Additionally, when I am working on a firearm, I typically have my Weaver deluxe toolkit open as well.  It contains a great selection of bits that you tend to find on firearms.

There is one thing I changed though – the Vortex unit comes in a round plastic case that is nice and strong but I don’t have the patience to try and put it all back together for storage.  So, I hopped down to Ace hardware and bought a case to hold the Vortex torque driver, the Husky driver and all the bits plus I have room for more storage.  I also used some of my spare pluckable foam left over from cases to pad the bottom of the case.

In case you are wondering, here are photos of my FAT and Vortex torque drivers side by side:

In this next photo, you can see what I mean about precisely setting the torque on the wrenches.  My Vortex Precision Scope Rings specify a torque of 18 in/lbs.  With the Vortex wrench, you can precisely set it for 18 pounds.  With the FAT, it’s somewhere around 17-19 pounds plus we already know the wrench’s accuracy is limited to +/- 2 in/lbs as well.

On the topic of accuracy, the Vortex driver comes with a certificate of calibration to testing standard DIN-ISO-6789 by a gentleman named Tom on Feb 27, 2018.  You can see my specific wrench nails the accuracy – no more guesswork and no more ballpark torque setting.

In summary, I am very happy with my Vortex wrench and would recommend it to anyone doing precision firearms work, notably optics.  You can pick one up at a very reasonable price from Amazon and you ought to do it.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.



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Vortex Optics Torque Wrench Mounting Kit (Sports)

Riflescope mounting accessory set 10-50 lb adjustable torque – 1 in/lb increments Versatile set – Variety of bits included Convenient, twist lock storage packaging

Features: 

  • This tool is easy to operate, simple to set, and offers fast, accurate tension wherever and whenever you need it.
  • The easy to read inch-pound increments ensure you tighten in 1in/lb increments to the specified torque, and not a bit more, ranging from 10 in/lbs to 50 in/lbs.
  • Bits included in kit: 3/16″ Hex bit – fits Vortex Bobro mounts, 2.5mm Hex bit – Fits Razor Red Dot, 3mm HEx bit – Fits Hunter rings, CM-202 and CM-203, T15 Torx bit – Fits Viper rings and Tactical rings
  • Bits included in kit: T25 Torx bit – Fits PMR rings, 1/2″ Socket – Fits Tactical rings, 10mm Wide Screwdriver bit – Fits Hunter and Viper clamp bolt, 1/4″ Socket adaptor

List Price: $69.00 USD
New From: $69.00 USD In Stock
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Resurrecting a Gummed Up Air Tool Without Disassembly

Recently I got out my Ingersoll Rand model 117 air hammer to use and found out its action had gotten all gummed up.  It’s been probably a year since I last used it even then probably didn’t use it a ton.  I always drip air tool oil into a tool before use because my air lines run driers and particulate filters for my plastics work.  Thus, I have to manually apply the oil before I use a tool.

When I went to use 117 the piston would not actuate and when I shook the tool, it didn’t sound like it normally did.  My first thought was to check the air pressure and it was at 90 PSI and the regulator was wide open so my next guess was lubrication.  Adding more air tool oil didn’t make any difference.  I then remembered a tip a guy told me years ago with gummy air tools – spray a ton of PB Blaster down the quick connect fitting and let it sit with the quick connect fitting up in the air trapping the penetrating oil in the tool for 5 minutes and try again.

So, I did that, reconnected the air line and it worked!  The tool worked like a champ and it blew PB Blaster everywhere!  I did it one more time just to make sure stuff was clear and ran the tool for a maybe 30 seconds to blow the PB Blaster out, wiped it down with a rag and then put in four drops of air tool oil.  Problem solved.

This was a huge win because I was in the middle of working on AK and wanted to use this tool plus I didn’t have time to take it all apart,  I’m writing this post a few weeks later after completing the AK build and the IR 117 is still working like a champ.

By the way, PB Blaster can be found at tons of automotive stores.  The packing looks gimmicky but it is actually one of the best penetraing oils that is out there along with Kroil.  If I didn’t have access to either of those, I would have made up some Ed’s Red or at least used some form of transmission fluid.  Tranny fluid works great but take a while to penetrate gunk.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.

Ingersoll-Rand 117K 2,000 Blows-Per-Minute Standard Duty Pnuematic Hammer with 5 Chisel Set (Tools & Home Improvement)

An economical air hammer with a longerpiston stroke, this tool is designed forexhaust work, bolt cutting, and front-endwork. The trigger control and a built-in powerregulator give you full control of the speed and power. Longer stroke piston. Alloyed steel barrel and heat-treated piston for longer life. Up to 2, 000 blows per minute.

Features: 

  • Longer Stroke Piston
  • Alloy steel barrel and heat-treated piston for longer life
  • Up to 2,000 blows per minute
  • 5 piece chisel kit

List Price: $73.61 USD
New From: $73.61 USD In Stock
Used from: $65.23 USD In Stock
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The Gerber Suspension Multi Tool [22-01471] is Pretty Nice!

Guys, I like multi tools when I travel or go camping.  I have torn up a boat load of cheap imported ones and a Stanley just by trying to use the pliers to grab on to something really tight.  I have never had a problem with a Gerber or Leatherman tool – let me say that up front.

At any rate, I wanted to find something compact and with locking blades.  I have a Gerber multi tool that I have used a ton since 1998 and my only issue is the lack of a lock on the blade.  You don’t really think about the lock until the first time you are really yanking on something to cut it and that blade starts to close!  It’s been my goto tool for years and is showing its age.

At any rate, I did some digging around and decided on the Gerber Suspension.  All the tools I worried about have a positive locking system and the handles fit your hand pretty well.  It has 4.6/5 stars with 1,493 reviews on Amazon.  That is a pretty darned good score!  I get the warm fuzzies when I see scores like that and the unit was only $23.49 shipped with Amazon Prime.

Here are features and my thoughts

  • Needle-nose Pliers – Important
  • Wire Cutter/Stripper – Important
  • Straight Blade – Important
  • Serrated Blade – Maybe – they work great on rope
  • Phillips Screwdriver – Important
  • Large and Medium Flathead Screwdrivers – Important
  • Scissors – I have no idea if I will ever really use this but it is an interesting design and seems solid
  • Bottle Opener –  Important – this is an Emergency Beer Access Tool
  • Can Opener – Important – I can’t tell you how many cans I have opened over the years thanks to the can opener in my old Gerber]
  • Saw – not that important
  • Awl – not that important
  • Lanyard Ring – not that important

Open, it is 6.5″ long and closed it is 4″ long plus it has a little belt / storage pouch.

Here are photos of mine:

So far, everything seems solid.  I tested the locking mechanisms and they work.  I took a steel rod and grabbed on with the pliers as hard as I could and nothing bent.  I’ve had tools in the past where if I did that the handles would crumple.  Literally, I put a bar in a vise, grab hold with the pliers and then try and turn the bar which is pretty much impossible.  The Suspension held up just fine.

I’m going to be using this more over the summer and we’ll see how it holds up.


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Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier [22-01471] (Tools & Hardware)

Tough, reliable, and easy to handle, the Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier is engineered to tackle jobs in just about every situation you can imagine. Featuring a sleek butterfly design, durable stainless steel construction, and Gerber’s patented Saf.T.Plus component locking system, this affordable multitool packs 11 convenient tools that will quickly prove indispensable.

The Gerber Suspension Multi-Tool Features:

  • Needle-nose Pliers
  • Wire Cutter/Stripper
  • Straight Blade
  • Serrated Blade
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Large and Medium Flathead Screwdrivers
  • Scissors
  • Bottle Opener
  • Can Opener
  • Saw
  • Awl
  • Lanyard Ring

Gerber’s patented Saf.T.PlusTM lock system provides safety and convenience. View larger.

The Suspension offers a unique design based on Portland, Oregon’s suspension bridges that’s up to tough tasks. View larger.

You can purchase seperate tool kits for even broader functionality. View larger.

Strong, Innovative Open-Frame Design
Strong yet lightweight, the Suspension Multi-Plier offers the durability of stainless steel construction along with an aluminum butterfly-opening handle that’s inspired by the precision engineering of Portland, Oregon’s famous suspension bridges. Like those time-tested iron bridges, this tool is designed to deliver the down-and-dirty performance that you demand from your tools.

But performance isn’t everything. The tool’s unique suspension-style handle sits comfortably in your hand, giving it a well-balanced feel. Compact enough to satisfy the most demanding minimalists, and cool enough for any gadget guy or girl, the Suspension Multi-Plier offers a sleek, streamlined design that will look as good as it performs.

Reliable, Easy-to-Access Tools Keep You Prepared
Whether you’re at home, on the road, at a muddy jobsite, or deep in the backcountry, you can’t predict what you’ll be up against. The Suspension Multi-Plier is fitted with 11 tools that will give you the edge in virtually any situation.

Starting with the knives, you have the choice of a straight blade for fine-tune cutting, or a serrated blade that’s great for cutting rope.

This tool also includes a Phillips screwdriver along with large and medium flathead screwdrivers, as well as a dedicated wire cutter/stripper. Unlike bulky squared-off pliers on many multitools, the needle-nose pliers at the center of this tool are designed for the tightest of spots. And they’re spring loaded so that they open when you release your grip, which makes working with them easy, pinch free and intuitive.

Other useful features hidden away in the handle of the Suspension include scissors, a bottle opener, a can opener, saw, an awl, and a lanyard ring.

Safe, User-Friendly Design
If you’ve ever had a folding knife close on your hand in the middle of making a tough cut, you’ll have a special appreciation for Gerber’s Saf.T.Plus system, which locks components securely in place for worry-free use.

Even with this lock system, deployment is quick and easy. Gerber’s user-friendly design makes it simple to access any tool that you need–just slide the lock-release button back and get set for the task at hand.

This Gerber multitool also comes with a nylon ballistic-cloth sheath so that you can keep it protected from the elements when it’s not in use.

If you’re looking for even more versatility, Gerber offers an add-on tool kit that contains an adapter, three different sizes of flathead bits, cross point bits, and hex head bits for increased functionality. Also available are several a convenient sharpening systems that can help you keep the blades on your multitool in top condition without the hassle of using a whetstone or a round file, including the DF6 Compact Sharpener and the DF8 Sharpener, which uses unique diamond fingers to acheive a perfect 30 degree angle every time you sharpen a blade (tool kit and sharpeners not included).

Gerber’s History of Ingenuity
Savvy. Moxie. Craftsmanship. Attention to detail. These are just a few of the company traits that contributed to Gerber’s emergence as a world leader in outdoor gear. Joseph Gerber started Portland, Oregon’s Gerber Advertising back in 1910, and one Christmas, he hired a local knife-maker to craft 25 sets of kitchen cutlery as client gifts. The knives were so popular, Mr. Gerber ultimately left his agency to launch Gerber Legendary Blades in 1939.

For more than half a century, Gerber Legendary Blades has been helping people fend for themselves. Gerber designs popular, dependable tools and knives along with other outdoor gear that helps users accomplish whatever tasks they may be faced with, promoting the lost art of self-reliance.

What’s in the Box
Suspension multitool and nylon sheath.


Features: 

  • Suspension Multi-Plier multitool with 12 integrated components
  • Saf.T.Plus component locking system guarantees safety
  • Lightweight open-frame stainless steel handle
  • Includes a ballistic nylon sheath
  • Weighs 9.6 oz; Closed Length: 4 inches; limited lifetime warranty

List Price: $27.49 USD
New From: $27.49 USD In Stock
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