• Wheeler Engineering FAT Wrench Review

    The FAT Wrench comes nicely packaged in this easy to open blister pack.In today's highly competitive market, companies catering to sportsmen often introduce a multitude of products that for the most part are useless and serve no purpose other than to lighten the customers wallet. Fortunately there are also a large number of products being offered that meet a specific need or perform a specific task that is commonly encountered as well. The hard part is weeding through the advertising dribble and determining exactly which category each product falls within.

    The Wheeler Engineering FAT Wrench (Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench) is one of those products that falls within the useful category. Anyone who regularly works on firearms know the dreaded feeling of stripping out a screw by over tightening it with a standard driver, and if you don't have the proper tap & die set such an error will result in a trip to your local gunsmith to have it repaired.

    With the Wheeler FAT Wrench stripped screws will be a thing of the past so long as you pay attention to the recommended torque specs and adjust the wrench accordingly. The FAT Wrench is nothing more than a10 to 60 inch-pound torque wrench in a screwdriver like tool.

    To adjust the torque setting of the FAT Wrench, one simply pulls the end of the driver out and rotates it until the indicator in the clear display window coincides with the desired torque reading. Once the desired torque is achieved, simply push the end of the driver back down onto the body to lock it in place.

    Included with the FAT Wrench are an assortment of common driver bits for fasteners frequently used on firearms and a square drive adapter bit. The driver bits are your typical hex-head style, so if you have any similar bits for your power drills or screwdrivers they will work as well. Driver bits included with the FAT Wrench include:

    T10 Torx Bit
    T15 Torx Bit
    T20 Torx Bit
    3/32 Allen Bit
    5/32 Allen Bit
    #10 Flat Blade Bit
    #11 Flat Blade Bit
    #32 Flat Blade Bit
    Leupold/Buehler Windage Bit

    I must admit that I was a little surprised to see that a Phillips head bit was not included, especially since so many guns feature Phillips-head wood screws.

    Using the Wheeler FAT Wrench is pretty straight forward and easy. The large diameter handle lets you really torque on screws without needing a death grip, and so far the bits have proven to be of high quality with no sign of rounding or twisting.

    Using the FAT Wrench to install a number of scope mounts and bases, I wasn't really surprised to find that I had previously been over-tightening the screws. This was discovered by setting the wrench to the recommended torque specification for an already installed fastener and then trying to tighten it. Needless to say, in most cases this resulted in a loud and tell-tail click. Installing components with the FAT Wrench adds a piece of mind not found with standard drivers, because you know right away that the fasteners are torqued to their proper specification per the manufacturers recommendation. You also get the peace of mind that stripped threads due to overtightening will be a thing of the past.

    Overall I am very satisfied with the Wheeler Engineering FAT Wrench, though I must admit I do have two gripes. For starters, while the bits are held very securely into the square-drive adapter, the adapter doesn't fit snugly on the driver itself. The driver has a detent ball on what is otherwise a ratchet driver head, but the tension it provides is barely sufficient to securely hold the adapter to it. A stiffer spring behind the detent ball would alleviate this problem.

    The second gripe has to do with the precision of the unit. The scale on the display panel is in 5 inch-pound increments, and one full revolution of the adjustment knob is equal to roughly 4 inch-pounds. I say roughly as the line on the indicator is rather thick, and with the 5 inch-pound gradients on the display its hard to pinpoint exactly where youre at when in between them.

    Overall I would rate the Wheeler FAT Wrench a solid 3 on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best. It is a very useful tool and compact enough to keep in your range box, but Wheeler could have paid a little more attention to the details for increased precision. The price is also a bit high in my opinion at $49.99, as you can find inch-pound torque wrenches for as little as half that amount elsewhere. The assortment of bits offsets the additional cost a little, but if you have even a basic tool kit around the house its likely you already have suitable bits anyway.

    Additional Photos:

    The FAT Wrench includes a wide assortment
of bits to handle most any fastener you might encounter. Adjusting the FAT Wrench to the desired torque range is easily accomplished by following the directions on top of the dial.

    Battenfeld Technologies, Inc.
    5885 West Van Horn Tavern Road
    Columbia, MO 65203
    Phone: (573) 446-3857