Review: Gunsmither Bolt Bar

Last week I purchased a “Bolt Bar” from Gunsmither Tools. I’ve tried it out and have some comments. Bottom line: I recommend using this tool for bolt removal/installation for anyone who has challenges with finger strength or dexterity; and I recommend its extractor tool for everyone.

(Disclosure: I bought the tool from the Tandemkross website and have not communicated with them or Gunsmithertools in the writing of this review.)

Bolt Bar closeup

Holding bolt handle back

Holding extractor plunger back

Hooked on rear of bolt

The Bolt Bar is one of those tools whose concept and design transcend the simplicity of its material and manufacturing. When you get it, you might say, “Well that’s obvious.” But we didn’t come up with the idea, Joe Beary of Gunsmither did. The Bolt Bar is a 7-inch long strip of aluminum with two bends, and two roll pins sticking out from one side. It does two jobs:

  • Make it easy to push the bolt handle back, and to hold the bolt handle in place while removing or installing the bolt.
  • Make it easy to pull back the extractor plunger and hold it in place for removal and installation of the extractor.

The Bolt Bar has a few quirks but once you learn it, it works very well. For myself, I prefer my own method of using my fingers to remove the bolt, because I can better feel what is happening with the parts and it goes faster. The video below compares using the Bolt Bar to my “standard” method of using two hands and careful finger placement to do the job:

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