Which gun vise is best?
Keeping your rifle and handgun in the best possible condition is vital for overall safety. You must make sure that all the parts are lubricated as needed and that there are no foreign particles in the barrel, magazine or firing chamber.
But simply handling the weapon when you need to clean it can be dangerous. To make sure that it stays put when you perform maintenance, you’ll need a robust gun vise. A tabletop version like the Tipton Gun Vise for Cleaning and Maintenance ensures a safe working environment no matter where you are.
What to know before you buy a gun vise
Know the capabilities and limitations
Buying a gun vise can be tricky if you are not sure what to look for. The needs to accommodate the caliber weapon that you want to service, with some space to make alterations. A gun vise is mainly used to keep a rifle or handgun firmly in one place while you clean it out or perform maintenance. But it can also be used to center your hunting scope — either with a hunting boresight or with the naked eye.
Have a dedicated surface for the gun vise
The vise, and by extension the weapon, shouldn’t be able to move when you are working on it. Ideally, you have a dedicated area where you clean your weapons, and the vise needs to be firmly attached to the surface. Tabletop vises can have clamps that fasten on the table edge, while free-standing gun vises rest on a tripod. These are not as sturdy as tabletop versions, but do allow for portability.
The gun vise needs to be maintained
Just like the weapon being serviced, the gun vise needs to be cleaned and kept in good order. A gun vise should last you a long time — but only if you look after it. All the hinges, knobs and screws should be easily accessible for additional lubrication, and the vise should be kept free from dust and dirt as much as possible.
What to look for in a quality gun vise
Can be configured for multiple calibers
It would be financially prohibitive to buy a vise for every caliber weapon you have, so a quality vise is adjustable. This mainly involves the grips and how wide they can open. Ideally, you can work on handguns as easily as on an AR-15 or hunting rifle. Also, keep in mind that weapons are maintained differently. As an example, the bolt can be removed from a bolt-action rifle while staying horizontal, but some shotguns need to break open to access the barrel. If you only have handguns, though, it may be better to look for a vise designed specifically for them.
Durable and robust
The last thing you want is for your vise to break or the grips to fail while you are working on it. A quality vise will be made of robust steel to keep the weapon steady while being secured to the working surface. The grips, levers and knobs should be made from hardened plastic or metal to maximize the vise’s longevity.
Accessories to add functionality
If you can do more with a gun vise, it will save you money in the long run. There are several that allow additional parts to be added to change the caliber being worked on, serve as holders for a bunch of tools, or let the vise be used for reloading gun powder into rounds.
How much you can expect to spend on a gun vise
An entry-level vise can retail for between $30-$50, depending on its make and functions. More robust and larger vises can retail for between $100-$150. If you prefer a free-standing vise, they retail for around $200.
Gun vise FAQ
Can you use a gun vise as a shooting platform?
A. This is not recommended. The force and kickback of many rifles is too strong for the vise to handle, and it can break and even injure you. A vise is only for cleaning and maintaining static weapons.
How do you clean a gun vise?
A. Wipe it down with a damp cloth after each use. Then, to keep all the moving parts working well, lubricate the threading, joints and sliders with oil or grease every so often, depending on how much the vise is used. Exposed steel can also be treated with anti-rust agents if it hasn’t already been done.
What’s the best gun vise to buy?
Top gun vise
What you need to know: This is a robust vise that can be used for rifles and handguns.
What you’ll love: Tipton is a trusted brand, and this device proves why. The stock grips can be adjusted on both sides and can slide toward the barrel rest. This makes it perfect for handguns, long rifles and break-open shotguns. It can also be used for extendable magazine rifles. It is made from solvent-resistant polymer and the grips won’t scratch the barrel. The vise also has compartments to store spares, cleaning fluid or tools.
What you should consider: There is no AR mag block available for this model.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top gun vise for the money
What you need to know: An affordable vise that works well for multiple calibers.
What you’ll love: This vise features dual lockable sides (stock and barrel) that will secure the weapon in place without scratching it. It has a tray for tools, and the plastic components have been treated with a chemical-resistant polymer. It can be used to clean long rifles and break-open shotguns.
What you should consider: It’s not the best option for cleaning handguns.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is a heavy-duty vise for the serious weapons enthusiast.
What you’ll love: Measuring 32 inches long and 11 inches wide, this steel tube vise is made for heavy-duty cleaning and maintenance. It stands on four slip-resistant, individually adjustable feet, and the entire vise can be mounted onto a worktop. The slidable barrel and stock clamps are the same width and height, making them perfect for all calibers of weapons. It comes with two removable accessory trays that can be used for storing cleaning equipment and parts.
What you should consider: It can’t be used as a bow press but will hold a bow for cleaning.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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