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Centerfire Rifles - Semiautomatic or Gas Operated Centerfire rifles, carbines and other gas operated rifles.

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  #1  
Old 11-21-2020, 11:24 PM
r1ghtw1ng r1ghtw1ng is online now
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Default Resolved: Broke the tip of an allen wrench in the gas block set screw

EDIT: Thanks for everyone's 2 cents. Resolved... details in post #44

Hey guys,

My buddy had one too many protein shakes before working on his gun, and broke the tip of a cheap allen wrench off in the set screw of his gas block. I think he was tightening it. Any tips on what you guys would try to remove the set screw? I'm not looking to salvage the set screw, just remove it in order to remove the gas block. I removed the other set screw, and there was a decent amount of threadlocker.

I tried pounding a small flathead bit to see if I could create a slot, but it barely dented the set screw and didn't touch the face of the broken tip. I didn't go too crazy with this yet.

A used gas block is what... $10-15? Thanks God this is not a Superlative AGB. So, I'm not looking to buy a new tool or spend $50 to save $10, but it would be nice to figure this out with the least amount of destruction. Worst case, I could just cut it off with a dremel. Any thoughts or suggestions? Appreciate your input!

Also: I don't have access to welding tools.

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Last edited by r1ghtw1ng; 11-26-2020 at 12:06 AM..
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  #2  
Old 11-21-2020, 11:32 PM
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If you can find one small enough a screw extractor will probably work. I don't think I'd try it with a hand drill though.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:37 PM
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That is a tricky problem. The cheap hex wrench was brittle.

I'd first try to heat it and whack it with a lead mallet.

After that it gets trickier to save the gas block. Drill press and cobalt small bit.
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  #4  
Old 11-21-2020, 11:46 PM
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Try drilling a small hole with a bit smaller than the hex wrench diameter - screw in a common (but hardened) sheet metal screw just in and tight enough to use it a an anchor to pull on.

It's just in there by way of friction, not like pulling out a bolt or screw that's threaded in an broke off, so nominal force should be able to pull it out.

Seems wedge in between the hex-flats, but it should not be in so tight as a bit of minimal force applied can't get it out.
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Old 11-22-2020, 12:01 AM
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Dremel and buy new gas block or live with it.
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  #6  
Old 11-22-2020, 12:27 AM
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Thanks guys. I’ll read thru the suggestions and try some tomorrow. Other tips I found online when researching:

-Since the Allen wrench broke while tightening, tap a nail in the loosening direction to free the broken bit.

-JB Weld a junk bit to the face of the broken bit, the torque the bit to remove the whole set screw.
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  #7  
Old 11-22-2020, 12:43 AM
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Cut a groove in the top of the broken hex and into the set screw, yes you'll cut a bit of the gas block too. Then use a small flat head screwdriver to unscrew it. Gas block will even survive, it'll just have a little cut where the wheel hit outside the bit/set screw.
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  #8  
Old 11-22-2020, 12:47 AM
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^^That is worth a try.The guy that said said use JB is clueless. Will not accept any torque and will keep shearing off.
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  #9  
Old 11-22-2020, 1:02 AM
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He was tightening the allenwrench, you need a small diameter left hand drill bit.
Use a very small dremel bit to smooth off the top of the broken wrench (so the drill bit doesn't slide around). As you drill the center of the allenwrench, hopefully it rotates enough to pop out of the set screw. If it doesn't, you now have a hole to ez-out the set screw.
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  #10  
Old 11-22-2020, 1:05 AM
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^^ Ever tried to drill a hardened allen wrench? You might try heating gas block area around the set screw with torch and turning uposide down and tapping with soft hammer or handle of hammer maybe broken allen wrench will pop out.
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  #11  
Old 11-22-2020, 1:40 AM
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He did the same thing. Fast forward to 32min. He explained how he got the broken bit out. Worth a try.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tBbnBTSui0k
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  #12  
Old 11-22-2020, 4:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaperTarget View Post
After that it gets trickier to save the gas block. Drill press and cobalt small bit.
Gas blocks are cheap. DRILL that mutha!!!
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  #13  
Old 11-22-2020, 6:43 AM
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Jerry’s Broken Tap Removal in Santa Ana

They will zap that screw out with an EDM without damaging the barrel, and the gas block will still be usable.

You’re never going to drill that hex key out, and if you try to you’ll end up with a broken drill bit.
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  #14  
Old 11-22-2020, 6:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gleam View Post
Try drilling a small hole with a bit smaller than the hex wrench diameter - screw in a common (but hardened) sheet metal screw just in and tight enough to use it a an anchor to pull on.

It's just in there by way of friction, not like pulling out a bolt or screw that's threaded in an broke off, so nominal force should be able to pull it out.

Seems wedge in between the hex-flats, but it should not be in so tight as a bit of minimal force applied can't get it out.
This is the answer. The Allen wrench tip is not threaded in so adding a flat does nothing. Use a center punch then drill small hole, insert small sheet metal screw and pull.
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  #15  
Old 11-22-2020, 6:56 AM
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maybe an Dental pic, and some heat
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  #16  
Old 11-22-2020, 8:10 AM
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I've been successful in removing this type of broken bits with magnets.
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  #17  
Old 11-22-2020, 8:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edgerly779 View Post
^^ ... You might try heating gas block area around the set screw with torch and turning uposide down and tapping with soft hammer or handle of hammer maybe broken allen wrench will pop out.
What a good idea.

And I also liked the OP's info about also trying to knock the hex tool in the opposite direction it was turning. A small punch could do that.
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  #18  
Old 11-22-2020, 9:33 AM
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Take a dremal, cut a slot and use a flat head screw driver.

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Old 11-22-2020, 9:39 AM
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Leave it. at least for now. No sense causing an issue for something that could be fine forever,
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  #20  
Old 11-22-2020, 10:15 AM
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Line her up under a drill press, start from a small bit and work your way up. The break happened under stress and the screw may have fractures. Hollowing it out will make it easier to eggshell out of there.

Use another screw as a depth reference, you want to drill as deep as possible.

Take your time, you will get it out. Make sure everything is squared and level before you operate.

Last edited by SCVlongstroke; 11-22-2020 at 10:18 AM..
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  #21  
Old 11-22-2020, 3:40 PM
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EDM
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  #22  
Old 11-22-2020, 3:54 PM
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A pick and work one edge at a time.
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  #23  
Old 11-22-2020, 4:12 PM
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Let me guess, a ball end allen driver? Zero reason to ever use one of those when you have a straight shot at the set screw. They are much weaker.
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  #24  
Old 11-22-2020, 5:34 PM
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Wouldn't just rattling off a few hundred rounds shake the thing loose?
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Old 11-22-2020, 5:37 PM
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EDM or weld something to it
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  #26  
Old 11-22-2020, 6:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-forceJunkie View Post
Let me guess, a ball end allen driver? Zero reason to ever use one of those when you have a straight shot at the set screw. They are much weaker.
LOL I was just getting ready to ask that when I saw your statement. I NEVER trust those ball end allen wrenches. One you have one break off in a fastener, you won't use them again. B.
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Old 11-22-2020, 7:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-forceJunkie View Post
Let me guess, a ball end allen driver? Zero reason to ever use one of those when you have a straight shot at the set screw. They are much weaker.
Every fastener has a torque spec. It's a set screw on a gas block some say as low as 10 inch lbs other 20 to 30 inch lbs. Over tight some say you can actually damage the Accuracy of the barrel. Just saying.
It's probably not a ball end as the break covers the whole set screw.

Last edited by dozer wright; 11-22-2020 at 7:26 PM..
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Old 11-22-2020, 7:36 PM
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Spray a penetrating oil on it. Then take a spring loaded center punch and hit it a couple times, and then a strong magnet. I do this 4-5 times a year when other techs leave them behind in motor hub set screws.
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Old 11-22-2020, 7:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Bullets&Whitewalls View Post
Spray a penetrating oil on it. Then take a spring loaded center punch and hit it a couple times, and then a strong magnet. I do this 4-5 times a year when other techs leave them behind in motor hub set screws.
I like this idea.

and...Ball-drivers are for mechanics what Dremel tools are to machinists.
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Old 11-22-2020, 8:16 PM
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Originally Posted by anhzx View Post
He did the same thing. Fast forward to 32min. He explained how he got the broken bit out. Worth a try.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tBbnBTSui0k
This seems like good advice. You just want to loosen up the broken tip of the Allen wrench. I'd start by using a small brass punch and see if you can loosen it by going to the left. Just a small tap and it should loosen it.
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Old 11-22-2020, 8:25 PM
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sometimes a high pressure blast of air will pop them out
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Old 11-22-2020, 9:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m16 View Post
Jerry’s Broken Tap Removal in Santa Ana

They will zap that screw out with an EDM without damaging the barrel, and the gas block will still be usable.

You’re never going to drill that hex key out, and if you try to you’ll end up with a broken drill bit.
This 100%
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  #33  
Old 11-22-2020, 11:17 PM
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I've had to deal with this issue a number of times (no, not my doing!). Most of the above suggestions have a good chance of working, but before you start cutting or paying for EDM, heat the gas block and screw, then hold the upper parallel to the ground with the screws down and rap the side of the gas block several times with a mallet. You might be able to dislodge the piece of wrench and it will simply drop out. It's worked for me several times.
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  #34  
Old 11-22-2020, 11:21 PM
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Thanks so much for the suggestions, guys. I'm eager to try some of them out. Hung out with the family most of today and put up Christmas decorations, so I didn't get to putter, but I will have some time tomorrow.

Probably no EDM or welding, since I don't have access to those tools.
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Old 11-23-2020, 7:25 AM
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Heat it up and drop it on carpet. It will come out. Just kidding.

Heat and tap with hammer.
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Old 11-23-2020, 7:40 AM
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If your unsuccessful and want to drive to Brentwood we can put it on a mill and drill it out.
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Old 11-23-2020, 7:52 AM
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Heat it up and drop it on carpet. It will come out. Just kidding.

Heat and tap with hammer.
Good God, man! He wants to get the piece out not destroy the rifle!
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Old 11-23-2020, 9:14 AM
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tbh, I'd probably just keep it like this until I had a reason to get it taken care of.
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Old 11-23-2020, 9:16 AM
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Old 11-23-2020, 7:52 PM
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get a dremel with a thin cut off wheel and slice down through the block, set screw, and piece of allen wrench. Once you cut to the bottom of the allen wrench, it will fall out. Then try a new allen wrench....with the head created by the cut off will, the loctite will likely be soft enough to release.
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