By David C.
While putting together my new custom bolt action, I knew I needed a quality torque wrench for the job. A torque wrench should be a critical piece of your gear in your kit if you don’t go to a gunsmith for every little task. But up until now, I had been one of the many who just scratched it off my tool list. It was my experience that quality torque wrenches were expensive and were built for only one torque setting, driving up costs as you buy multiple pieces for action screws, base screws, and rings. And the cheap alternatives were, well, cheap in build quality as the price tag implied. . .
But when utilizing quality optics and components, and driving for the utmost accuracy and precision, a solution to consistent and accurate torquing of fasteners is a must. After all, over torquing rings can damage multi-thousand dollar optics, and inconsistent torque on your action screws can alter POI hindering repeatable accuracy. After doing some research I came across an innovative solution by Borka Tools; the Borka Military Grade (MG) Multi Torque Driver.
The Borka MG multi torque driver allows the user to choose between 12 preset torque settings varying from 15 in-lbs to 72 in-lbs. The manner in which it operates is proprietary (Patent Pending) yet simple and easy to use.
The meat of the driver is the driver arm. The driver arm consists of a driver handle, locking mechanism, and the driver arm. The locking mechanism within the driver handle breaks at one of 2 preset torque values, depending on which direction the force is applied. The individual torque setting is then selected by inserting the hex bit holder into one of the six holes in the driver arm. By flipping the driver assembly over, and inserting the hex bit from the other side, you can choose from 6 additional settings, since the pre-set ‘break’ is at a higher force when turning the opposite direction. Confused? We’ll give you the details in a minute.
The Multi Torque Driver is available in various field and shop kits that include carrying cases and various bits. I purchased the MG7 kit which includes the torque driver assembly, a mini ratchet handle, 30 hex bits, a 1/2″ socket, various adapters and extension, and a 1000D nylon field carrying case by TAB Gear. For a complete list of what is include in each kit, check out this link and scroll down. One included bit is a custom 3/16″ AICS action screw bit for legacy Accuracy International Chassis. This proved useless for me, but if you utilize an AICS chassis, I’m sure it’s plenty valuable.
Here’s a little more behind the principle of operation via Borka Tools:
Torque, also called moment or moment of force, is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis, or pivot. Just as a force is a push or a pull, a torque can be thought of as a twist. Assuming that vector of the force is perpendicular to the arm, torque value can be calculated as (Force) X (Distance). This is exactly how it works for Borka multi torque setting driver: while tightening force F is fixed (preset) to a certain value, change of torque setting is accomplished by selecting the different, also, fixed, distance D from the point of force application to the axis of rotation, in this case, rotation of hex bit holder mounted in an appropriate hex socket of the driver arm.
Until tightening force is below pre-set value, driver handle remains rigidly attached to the driver arm, and forms a lever of the distance D. When tightening force exceeds pre-set value, driver handle lock disengages from locking detent of the driver arm, allowing driver handle to rotate in the direction of the tightening force, which “breaks” the lever and effectively stops further application of tightening force, and correspondingly, tightening torque . As a result, over-tightening becomes impossible.
If you’ve taken a physics class, you should be experiencing at least a little DeJa-Vu, if not, rest assured, the science is solid. In practice it works like this, find the bit you need and insert it into the driver. Look at the handle and find the torque setting in inch-pounds that you desire, insert the bit through this hole. This step is easy to confuse, as the setting will be on the bottom of the driver arm when is use, make sure you have it right. Then simply insert the bit into the fastener head, place your palm on top of the driver to hold in the bit and your thumb in the center of the groove on the handle. Now just turn the assembly, with the force of your thumb, until the handle ‘breaks’ or cams over. Below is a short video of the operation I put together.
After using the Borka Multi Torque Driver on action screws, a scope base, ring mounts, and the rings themselves, I found it easy to use and very helpful. I am happy with my purchase.
I did have a one observation that I thought was important to share. At higher torque values, when the locking mechanism ‘breaks’ and the handle cams over, this can be a somewhat violent action given the amount of force you are applying to the handle, and the sudden give-away of the locking mechanism. Just be certain you have control of the entire assembly, or the bit can pop out of the fastener during the ‘break’ and you could scratch your coveted workpiece. I did find it easy to avoid this, if you use the torque driver as described above, with your palm on the center of the driver as outlined in the User Guide. This was not the intuitive, natural way to hold the driver for me, and took some getting used to.
What does it cost? I purchased this Borka MG7 kit from Mile High Shooting Accessories for $145 with free shipping. This was very reasonable to me given the flexibility of having 12 different torque settings over a wide range. Even the cheap adjustable wrenches usually don’t cover a range that wide, and at least 2 different wrenches would be needed. And if you were to buy quality, single setting torque drivers or limiters, you’d have a collection of them in order to do what the Borka system does in one convenient package.
Borka also has excellent communication. In fact, within 12 hours of going live with this review Boris Teper, the Owner of Borka Tools, and the designer of the tool contacted me (unsolicited) to say thank you for the positive review and to point out a couple small errors. I don’t even know how he found the review so quickly. Perhaps one or two referrals from this blog on his website analytics? I can only expect that someone that is ‘on the ball’ that well would provide excellent customer service as well.
Price: $105 – $145 depending on accessories
Ratings (out of five stars):
Design/Ease of Use: * * * * 1/2
The driver has a very innovative, easy to use design. I knocked off a 1/2 star because it is easy to hold the tool improperly and at higher torque settings, this can increase your ‘scratch potential.’
Construction: * * * * *
There is nothing to indicate anything about this kit is less than top quality.
Value: * * * * *
Over $100 for a torque wrench may seem steep, but when all the bits, accessories, and carrying kit are compared to other quality options (usually consisting of multiple torque drivers) the Borka offers great value in one simple package.
Overall: * * * *1/2
The Borka Multi Torque Driver is an excellent addition to your rifleman’s tool kit. It will allow consistent repeatable torque settings over a wide range. It is easily portable and thrown in a range bag or a bench draw and will be there when you need it. Borka has come out with a great, innovative solution to multiple torque wrenches/limiters, and made it simple and handy so it is likely to be utilized rather than collect dust.
Let me know any questions or comments you may have about the driver in the comments. I’d be happy to provide additional information if I needed.
David C. writes at nogreatercause.org. This article originally appeared there and is reprinted here with permission.
Sidebar: Recommended Torque Settings
The following are general recommended torque setting for various applications on your rifle. Always defer to manufacturers recommendations if they differ from those below.
- Action Screws in stock without bedding pillars : 40 in-lbs
- Action Screws in stock with bedding pillars: 65 in-lbs
- On actions with 3 screws, the middle screw should only be tightened slightly
- Scope Base Screws: 30 in-lbs MAX
- Ring Mount/Windage Screws: 30 – 40 in-lbs; 50 in – lbs MAX
- Scope Ring Screws (Aluminum): 10-15 in-lbs; 15 in-lbs MAX
- Scope Ring Screws (Steel): 15-20 in-lbs; 25 in-lbs MAX
“The Borka MG multi torque driver allows the user to choose between 6 preset torque settings varying from 15 in-lbs to 72 in-lbs.”
“By flipping the driver assembly over, and inserting the hex bit from the other side, you can choose from 6 additional settings,”
Which statement is true?
Six holes, two sides, twelve settings total. Text amended.
12 settings is correct, 6 on each side. Damn typos…Thanks for the catch and thanks for the fix Matt…
Good review. Sounds like an excellent investment.
“Now just turn the assembly, with the force of your thumb, until the handle ‘breaks’ or cams over.”
And only apply force to that handle. Don’t apply any force to the other end of the “T”, or between the axis of rotation and the handle’s hinge.
Another alternative at $50, though not nearly so cool looking, is the Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench. It’s a screwdriver-style inch-lbs driver, and I have found it to be a fantastic value as I’ve started DIYing more of my basic gunsmithing work.
Glad to contribute a review, including some important tips for successful long-term use, if there’s interest.
I have one of those, but believe it or not, I had to Google what you called it. I knew it was the FAT Wrench, and I assumed those letters stood for something, but my brain didn’t make the connection until I saw the picture. I blame my stupidity on lack of caloric intake.
Heh. I copied the name verbatim from my Amazon purchase history to make it more easily discoverable. Now that you mention it I’ve seen the “FAT Wrench” branding as well.
I saw this tool a while ago, and while I like the concept, I had the same concern the author shared about the execution – rather than a very short fraction of a degree ‘break’ at the specified torque, this thing really travels.
It’s compact and seemed well-built, but between the form-factor and the break-away, I wouldn’t risk using it on anything I own.
There are less expensive and more flexible options available at Harbor Freight (or other cheap tool store of your choice). The tolerances on the cheap torque wrenches are more than sufficient, IMHO, for most firearms-related tasks.
While this is a cool product and all, you can get a very nice inch-pound torque wrench online from manufacturers like Park Tool for about $20. If you have a bicycle shop nearby, you can probably pick one up in person. Mine does anywhere from 0 to 96 in-lb, and works with any sort of screwdriver attachment you can think of that will attach via adapter to a 1/4″ drive.
Yeah but torque wrenches from Park Tool, Harbor Freight, etc. aren’t tacticool. It would be like wearing a baseball cap to the range with an actual baseball team logo.
Take your $20 torque wrench in for calibration. You may be surprised at how far off it is, especially if you’ve had it for a few years or use it often. Can you overspend? Sure. Can you underspend? Yes. Torque wrenches are one of those things where you pay for what you get.
Actually, go buy yourself a certified calibration tool (yeah, I own one) and then try every TQ tool you have from Buffalo flea-market beam wrench to ohh-itsa-Snap-On.
You’ll actually learn that very little of it is better than 4-5% accuracy. I have a complete garbage $10/25-years-ago beam wrench that’s been abused like a $5 dollar hooker, and is as accurate as my Craftsmans. Snap-on? Meh, every one I’ve ever tested was no more accurate than the Sears product which cost 80% less.
I can’t remember which mag it was, but somebody did this in print a number of years ago. They came to the same conclusions I did.
If you have an exact torque for an app, then one can buy a >1% wrench for that specific task. But if you have to vary the TQ? They are always off by at least 5%. And the best part? It almost never matters. You just have to get close. If it’s precision, it is gonna be TQ plus degrees of angle anyway.
If you are looking to buy yourself a new Torque driver you may wish to check out the options offered by Wiha. I love my Wiha TorqueVario-S Torque Screwdriver. For just under $120 you get a very high quality tool that includes a calibration certificate.
Wiha makes great stuff. Especially for electronics. But much like Beta, ‘Murricans don’t know much beyond Snap-On when it comes to upper-end-stupid-money tools.
My torque tools are designed to serve specific purpose of providing a number of torque settings, most commonly used by the owners of precision rifles. Having 12 preset (fixed) torque settings, as opposed to fully adjustable torque screwdriver or wrench, has as its purpose to ensure very high consistency of rifle fasteners preloads, which is essential for keeping long range rifles zeroed after it was taken apart and assembled back together, which happens in the field from time to time. Compactness and light weight are critical features, appreciated by those who need to carry tools with them. Most of my customers are competitive shooters in particular or long range shooting lovers in general, with good number of military and LE personnel, and in general, people who care about accuracy and do not mind spending money to help it. Other people may as well be happy with FAT wrench, but FAT is not a product which is particularly popular with sorts of customers I sell my tools to… So, comparison based just on price appears not to take into consideration the intended purpose of my tools, which is application specific.