Regardless of what you are going to the barrel, they need to be vised. A barrel vise holds everything in place and prevents the barrel from slipping when you are working. A good barrel vise should be secure, easy to use, and accommodate most common barrel sizes.
Here are our recommendations for the 4 best barrel vises on the market:
Atlin Vise James Barrel Vise
- ATLIN Vise Jaws 6" - Nylon, Non Marring Soft Jaws - Multi-Purpose Design for Gunsmithing, Woodworking, Jewelry Making, Plumbing
- Price: $13.95 ($1.99 / oz)
- Price as of 10/30/2020 17:34 PDT(more info about ad)
If you are like me, you already have a dedicated vise on your work bench. A more traditional vise you can use for a wide variety of armory based tasks. If you already have that vise, why get an entirely new barrel vise? Believe it or not you can simply buy a set of drop in vise jaws that allows your normal vise to act as a barrel vise. The Atlin Vise jaws are a barrel vise and so much more.
These green vise jaws are made entirely from non-marring nylon that will protect your barrel and other firearm parts. These vise jaws are designed for a number of tasks and feature a barrel vise running straight through the center of the jaws. It’s six inches long and will allow you to hold most barrels with ease. You won’t be able to use large caliber guns like the .50 BMG, but you’ll have no issue with most common rounds and barrels.
The Atlin vise jaws install over your vise jaws via a set of magnets. This makes them quick and easy to install and you’ll have no worries about them coming loose once you crank down on your parts. As we already said, this isn’t just a barrel vise. It offers numerous slots of different sizes to accommodate all sorts of other small gun parts. It’s an effective and affordable all in one armory tool—and one of the best barrel vises for the money.
Wheeler Barrel Vise
If you were to go through my gun tool box, you’d likely see a lot of tools with the words Wheeler printed on them. Wheeler makes some awesome gun tools; think of them as the Snap On for the gun world. The Wheeler Barrel vise is an old school but effective barrel vise that’s also compact and reliable. It’s made from steel and wood, and if that’s not old-school American then there is nothing I can do to impress you.
The Wheeler barrel vise uses oak bushings and comes with 3 different bushings. Q in drilled for 1 inch barrels, the other for 3/4 s of an inch barrels, and one is solid so you can custom drill it to the diameter you need. If you ever need others, you can purchase replacements from Wheeler and accommodate the vast majority of guns out there. This is a barrel vise you have to secure to your bench with a drill and some bolts. Don’t get lazy with it; make sure it’s secure of it will slip.
Once it’s in place, it will last you forever. A simple design like this has very few failure points. The Oak typically won’t mar most finishes, but I would still suggest wrapping your barrel with a little blue tap first. This acts as a just in case. The Wheeler Barrel vise is a handy little tool that provides for plenty of stability when working on your barrel.
Mechforce Barrel Vise
- Mechforce - Professional Grade Heavy Duty Barrel Vise, Barrel Surface Protection Design
- Price: $99.95
- Price as of 10/30/2020 17:34 PDT(more info about ad)
If you aren’t above spending a little extra money, the Mechforce barrel vise is a professional, heavy duty set up that will provide you with a modern barrel vise. Like most you’ll need to secure it to your bench via the screw holes in the base. The top portion of the vise is secured to the base via 4 steel bolts that apply pressure equally over your barrel. The Mechforce Barrel vise bodies are made from ¾ inch thick aluminum, so it’s not a lightweight set-up.
The vise (see full specs) comes with two pieces of raw cowhide. One goes under the barrel, the other goes over. This increases static friction for a greater overall hold and protects the barrel from being mauled by the heavy duty vise. The vise will accommodate an outer diameter barrel from .67 inches to 1.375 inches. This grants you a lot of leeway for a wide variety of guns. This includes common shotgun gauges and barrels.
This heavy duty barrel vise will have you torqing or untorquing barrels and installing and removing muzzle devices in a flash. The Mechforce design is simple but effective and incredibly strong. It’s not the cheapest option, but it does offer a good degree of strength and durability as well as the ability to fit a ton of different guns. This should be on anyone’s list of the best barrel vises.
Viper Bench Rest Barrel Vise
The Viper Bench Rest barrel vise is the smallest barrel vise I’ve ever seen. Small doesn’t always mean bad though. The Viper’s aggressive name should tell you that. A Viper is as big as a lion, but won’t have an issue biting you. The Viper Barrel vise is perfect for crowded benches. Its small size allows it you to slotted and secured in the most minimal of space. It stays out of the way, but is there when you need it.
The base is 7 inches by 3 inches and the top plate is a 3 inch square with four .5 inch bolts squeezed into place. Four half inch bolts will do one helluva good job holding your gun in place as you work. That half inch bolts all have a support spring to ensure proper fit as you tighten the bolts down. The bolts are hardened steel and designed for heavy use.
For your barrel removal and installation needs from .750 to 1 inch, the Viper barrel vise has you covered. It’s made mostly from aluminum, and it’s incredibly durable. The Viper Bench Rest barrel vise is simple tool but an effective one. Admittedly it’s a little pricey, and it doesn’t come with anything to prevent marring, but it does its job, and is quite small at the same time.
Getting the best barrel vise you can afford is a must for any at home gunsmithing table. Barrel vises keep everything steady when you are working hard. A barrel vise makes barrel work easy and keeps you from making an expensive whoopsie. Always invest in a quality barrel vise. It’s a one time purchase that will serve you forever. Good luck!
Owner of Reloaderaddict.com, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.