For many shooters the simple mention of “T-15” brings fond recollections of self-installed scopes successfully on their favorite tack driver they’ve used out in the field or at the range. To others, the thought brings back nightmares of stripped rings and receivers, slipping scopes, crushed tubes, and other avoidable installation incidents. More often than not, these mistakes and the subsequent nightmares were the result of improper application of torque.
Whether it brings fond memories or scarring nightmares for you, the Torx T-15 screw remains a standard fixture (pun intended) among modern scope mounts, so learning to deal with them will serve you well.
Warne Scope Mounts is well known for manufacturing a variety of high-quality, USA-born optics mounts, all of which employ those T-15 Torx head screws. Like most high-end mount manufacturers, Warne holds a recommended max torque specification across all of their ring and base screws — 25-inch/pounds, to be precise.
Warne loyalists take note; the TW1 Scope Mount Torque Wrench (above) is a small, lightweight, T-handle wrench with just the specifications you need — a permanent T-15 Torx bit pre-set for 25-inch/pounds.
The wrench’s plastic shell might be a giveaway that, like the TW65 wrench, it’s manufactured in China for Warne by California Torque Products. However, the shape and size of the handle make it very comfortable and easy to operate. The T-15 bit is of great quality and fits Warne’s screws perfectly.
If you’re mounting a scope base to a receiver, it’s important to note that the TW1 should only be employed with a steel receiver as host. The wrench’s 25-inch/pounds of torque could strip the threads on an aluminum receiver.
My very first TTAG review was on the Warne 45° Side Mount (above). The mount has seen quite a bit of use over the years without fail. Now, in the midst of a series of upgrades to an AR, I had the TW1 wrench in hand for the build.
This wrench, like most torque wrenches, shouldn’t be used to loosen screws so I used the T-15 bit on Warne’s RT-1 Range Tool (above, background) to remove the mount. When it was time for re-installation, I added the recommended pinhead-size dot of blue (non-permanent) thread locker to the screw before grabbing the TW1.
Once snugged to the Pic rail, the TW1’s T-15 bit engaged the screw head with solid lock-up and torqued the screw towards the appropriate 25-inch/pound setting. As the wrench met its limit, it smoothly rolled-over and broke away cleanly.
To confirm the TW1’s torque limit, I used the standard mathematical and mass DIY test. Although slightly tricky due to its short, rounded handle, the torque wrench performed within its specifications.
Warne’s TW1 is a compact, lightweight, fixed 25-inch/pound torque wrench with a permanent T-15 Torx bit. It may be slightly overpriced for a Chinese-made single-spec wrench, but it performs well and works flawlessly with Warne mounts. This tool surely isn’t for everyone, but if paired with the TW65 it’s just about all Warne (and many other brands) mount users will need in their range bag or at the workbench.
Specifications: Warne TW1 Torque Wrench (T-15, 25 in/lbs.)
Price as reviewed: $24.99 MSRP
Ratings (out of five stars):
Design: * * * *
Warne’s TW1 torque wrench couldn’t be a simpler, easier to operate tool. Maximum torque is set at 25-inch/pounds and the T-15 Torx bit is permanent. At 3.5″x3.5″x1.125″, it will surely fit into any pocket, drawer, or range bag — plus, it weighs almost nothing.
Quality: * * * *
Unlike Warne’s mounts, the TW1 is made overseas and the difference in quality is somewhat incongruous. However, the TW1 is still well-made, performs consistently well, and is backed by Warne’s “life of the tool” lifetime warranty.
Ease of Use: * * * * *
The TW1’s contoured handle fits comfortably in the palm of your hand and makes operation painless. Stick it in, turn it slowly until it brakes-over, and you’re done.
Overall: * * * *
If you’re looking for a dedicated 25-inch/pound t-handle torque wrench with a T-15 bit, the Warne TW1 is a simple, compact, and lightweight option that is perfect for any range bag.
Warne produces some mighty fine optics mounts. Like many other quality-seeking shooters, I’ve trusted their products for years and have their MSR and tactical mount 1/2-inch hex nut torque specification engrained in my brain – 65-inch/pounds.
Adjusting a torque wrench to 65-inch/pounds isn’t typically a tiresome task; however, many wrenches like the Vortex Torque Wrench don’t stretch to 65-inch/pounds. The Wheeler F.A.T. wrench, another popular torque tool, has a limit of 65-inch/pounds so you’re moving the needle all the way out and back which, frankly, is anything but a good time.
Warne offers a nice reprieve from adjustable torque wrenches in the form of the TW65 Torque Wrench, a handheld wrench preset at 65-inch/pounds. Manufactured by California Torque Products on behalf of Warne, the 1/4-inch drive comes with a 1/2-inch socket and features electronic visual and auditory limit notifications.
The TW65’s handle is quite comfortable in the hand and easy to operate. The rubber coating provides additional grip support and doubles as an oil and chemical-resistant covering.
Removing the two screws closest one another (above, left side) allows removal of the battery tray which houses two CR2025 replaceable batteries.
At the other end of the wrench sits a 1/4-inch square drive. It secures sockets very well, but is clearly made overseas.
The provided 1/2-inch socket can be swapped out to any 1/4-inch drive socket.
For instance, above, a 1/4″ drive 12mm socket is used to tighten a non-Warne scope mount with the same 65-inch/pound torque specification.
When the torque limit is met, the wrench rolls-over very smoothly and disengages itself from action with a “tactile click,” as they put it. Even with no (or dead) batteries, the wrench will still perform its function adequately.
With electrical power, however, the TW65’s red indicator light shines bright and a rather loud alarm sounds from within the wrench. I suppose some may find these electronic features helpful – especially if you need a sharp reminder to stop wrenching – but I’ve never had any issue feeling a torque wrench hit its limit and could do without the auditory reprimand.
The TW65 is approved for loosening hex nuts, as well. Simply apply force in the opposite direction until the nut is loose. No light or sound indication will be given when used in the reverse direction.
As accustomed as I am to Warne’s very high-quality, made in the USA optics mounts, the TW65 65-inch/pound Torque Wrench (made overseas) is a definite departure in quality. However, it gets the job done without issue and is backed by Warne’s lifetime warranty – that’s the life of the tool, no receipt necessary. The smooth roll-over as it reaches its torque limit is satisfying, but the ensuing shrill alarm is rather loud. The TW65 is a more-than-adequate lightweight solution to serve the needs of folks who often tighten 65-inch/pound scope mount screws.
Specifications: Warne TW65 Torque Wrench (1/4″ Drive, 65 in/lbs)
Price as reviewed: $59.99 MSRP ($48 shipped via Amazon)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Design: * * * *
Warne’s TW65 1/4-inch drive 65-inch/pound electronic torque wrench is a less-expensive alternative to adjustable wrenches and is designed to tighten the 1/2-inch hex nut on Warne MSR and tactical mounts. Simply designed, it features a rubberized coating that resists oil and chemicals.
Quality: * * * *
Compared to Warne’ excellent optics mounts, the TW65 feels cheap. After all, Warne mounts are made in the USA and this plastic-shelled wrench is manufactured by an overseas OEM. That said, I’ve yet to encounter any issues with its performance or reliability.
Ease of Use: * * * *
Ergonomically, the TW65 feels good. It’s easy on the wrist and the textured handle and rubberized grip help to prevent slipping. The battery compartment requires the removal of two screws and a battery carrier. Absent batteries, the wrench still performs, just without the light and sound indicators.
Overall: * * * *
Designed specifically for Warne MSR and tactical mounts, the Warne TW65 is a reliably-performing, relatively inexpensive electronic torque wrench with a set torque limitation of 65-inch/pounds. Backed by a “life of the tool” warranty, this is a wrench any serious Warne mount user should consider for their tool chest or range bag.
Fred Zeglin Most importantly, we are staﬀed by highly gun-literate people, but personally, I graduated from the Lassen College Gunsmithing program back in 1984. I have made a living in gunsmithing and custom guns for over 30 years now, and I’ve published two books, Wildcat Cartridges and the Hawk Manual. My next project is to put together several instructional booklets about gunsmithing.
Not too long ago, I was approached by the American Gunsmithing Institute to make instructional video courses, and I created two videos: Taming Wildcats: Custom Cartridge Design and Fabrication and Reloading A to Z. I have both taught and run NRA Short-term Gunsmithing programs, and coordinate and teach the Firearms Technology program at Flathead Valley Community College.
ASJ It sounds like your scope and depth of knowledge is profound!
FZ In a nutshell, I have chambered and headspaced so many barrels that I lost track of the count long ago. Because of my work developing cartridges for clients and for my own interest, I was forced to learn about headspace at a level that most gunsmiths never feel the need to understand. If you’re going to design new cartridges, understanding headspace is essential.
ASJ It sounds like you enjoy teaching. What is your philosophy when working with students?
FZ When you teach classes it’s necessary to carefully break down the processes you’re discussing to make sure you impart the information the students need. This close evaluation of processes will increase your understanding of the subject in a unique way. If you are teaching others how to headspace a barrel, you better know exactly what you’re talking about.
ASJ Your company name is 4D Reamers. Is that all you oﬀer?
FZ We are constantly adding new tools. Right now we have almost a thousand reamers. In addition to that, we have headspace gauges that work with the reamers and a lot of other gunsmithing tools.
ASJ What other tools do you rent?
FZ We have some AR-15 specialty tools, sight installation pusher tools for several popular pistols, shotgun choke tools in several patterns and gauges, hydraulic dentraising tools for shotgun barrels, specialty taps and dies, crowning tools, forcing cone tools and lots more. Essentially, if it’s small enough to ship in the mail, we might well have it.
ASJ Tell us about the quality of your tools.
FZ We’re often asked if the reamers are sharp. I really have to laugh when I hear that question. I understand the reason that people feel the need to ask, but the answer is right in front of them. We have been in business a long time and repeat customers are our life blood. So, we make every eﬀort to keep all the tools in the best possible condition. We want our clients to come back over and over. If we did not provide good tools, this would not happen.
ASJ Who is your typical client?
FZ That’s an interesting question. We have a lot of hobby gunsmiths and guys who just want to ﬁx up one gun. We also serve the professional gunsmith community; professionals rent more tools simply because they have the volume of work.
A few of our professional clients are benchrest gunsmith Gordy Gritters, Pac-Nor Barrels, Jack First Distributors, Brockman’s Riﬂes. You know these folks have great reputations with their clients and they would not do business with us if we did not take good care of their needs for sharp, quality tools.
FZ When tools return they are inspected under magniﬁcation. Most clients are very careful with the tools. They understand that the next time they need a reamer they will want a sharp tool, so being responsible with them is just natural for most clients.
Once in a blue moon a tool will be damaged. What I like about the gun business is that it’s populated with people who are all about personal responsibility. Most are nice enough to call up and tell us there is a problem; some write a note and send it with the tool. In nearly all cases they simply abide by the rental agreement and take care of the damage.
When a tool shows wear and needs to be sharpened, we ship them oﬀ to professionals who specialize in this. We endeavor to make sure every tool is sharp and in good condition. We encourage clients to call right away if they are unhappy for any reason. Happy clients come back, that’s what we want.
ASJ Why do people rent tools when they can buy them?
FZ If we are talking about a hobbyist gunsmith, tools can be rented for a tiny percentage of what they cost to purchase. Save money on tools and you get to do more projects – it’s simple math.
Professionals use us because they often need tools that they will only use once or twice during their whole career. We often hear, “I have a tool box full of reamers that I never use.” Obviously that’s a huge investment in tools that just lay around. Shops will purchase reamers for calibers that are popular in their area. But the one-oﬀ chambers are better handled by ordering a rental. The overhead cost is so much lower and most shops just charge the rental to the client, so there is no investment at all for the shop. Plus, they can oﬀer every chamber we have tools for without buying a single one. If we have 1,000 reamers, they have 1,000 reamers.
ASJ Do you ever sell reamers?
FZ On a custom order basis we do sell reamers and gauges. Most of these orders are for non-standard reamers. Some folks want special dimensions, so custom orders are the best solution to that requirement. We are not a reamer maker, so we buy all of our reamers from the various reamer makers across the country.
We also sell Dakota bolt knobs in ﬁve styles, Dakota grip caps and inserts, Cerosafe chamber casting metal, instructional videos and many other gunsmithing-related products.
ASJ You also sell barrels. Tell me more about that.
FZ We oﬀer custom Savage drop-in barrels. These barrels are for the popular Savage 110 family of bolt actions. There are many places you can order pre-ﬁt Savage barrels, but what we oﬀer is access to our library of reamers. If we have the reamer, you can have a barrel chambered for the caliber. Nobody has as many calibers to choose from as we do.
We will only stock barrels that we know we can count on to be accurate. Blanks are CNC turned to the taper of the client’s preference, and we handle all the chamber and crown work in our shop, so that we can assure a proper set up for accuracy.
Stainless steel and chromoly (blue) steel barrels are both available. We have a small stock of blanks that we list on the web site. Custom orders can be ﬁnished in as little as four to ﬁve weeks, depending on the speciﬁcs of the order, and we are competitive on price.
Our accuracy speaks for itself. We have yet to have a client complaint. I love that ability to provide a high-quality product that surpasses the client’s expectations. ASJ
Editor’s note: For more, see 4-dproducts.com.
Meet Bob Goettel, owner and founder of Liberty Arms LLC, a full-service gunsmith capable of repairs on all makes and models of firearms. However, their specialty lies in custom-built precision rifles. Take a look at what inspired Goettel to get involved in the PRS, and what keeps his company growing.
American Shooting Journal How did Liberty Arms get its start?
Bob Goettel It started with a family friend who was a custom smith and machinist. The old story of sweeping the floors when I was 9 years old got me into their shop, and they helped me build my first .22 magnum. From that point on it was an addiction. I started building all of my own rifles for match shooting, and that started things in motion. Soon, friends would ask me to build rifles for them, and interest in my work kept building. Eventually the demand pushed me to start the business.
ASJ What services do you offer?
BG We offer all of the common gun-related gunsmithing services. However, we focus mainly on custom-rifle builds. We are set up for gunsmithing, cerakote and blueing services,and offer a full line of custom 1911s. Due to the growing popularity of long-range shooting and the growth of the PRS competition, 85 percent of our work has been focused on that portion of the industry. We also do lot of work for the local police department.
ASJ You mentioned having a line of 1911s. What other firearms do you offer?
BG We also have our Trident AR-15 and -10, as well as bolt rifles, which are built using our lines and customer specs. The great thing for shooters today is the abundance of parts and accessories that are available. Just about anything is possible.
ASJ How did you get involved with the PRS?
BG The PRS and long-range shooting in general has exploded in the past few years. From that explosion most shooters have found me. Just being into the right sport at the right time has helped set things in motion, and the PRS is a great event that keeps the rifle population alive. It’s great to be a small part of it.
ASJ Thank you for talking to us, Bob.
BG Thank you ASJ