After 22 years of professional gun writing, I’ve learned a trick or two about how to do things better and easier when it comes to guns. One I learned while on the NRA Technical Staff is how to deal with gun screws—particularly ones you have to take in and out often. In that job, I had to mount and remove scopes from test guns weekly and was shown a routine that keeps screws tight, but lets you take them back out easily while keeping them in good shape so they can be used several times.
The first step is to thoroughly clean and then degrease the screws with degreaser or alcohol. Residual oil from the machining operations and packaging make it easier for screws to work loose, and can also attract dirt and grit. Often on the workbench there were small metallic filings that were magnetized, and they could stick to the screws and chew up threads, but degreaser usually blasted those away.
With the screws thoroughly clean and degreased, I’d dip the threads in a little powdered rosin. Normally in gunsmithing powdered rosin is used on tools such as barrel vises that have large, smooth contacting surface areas that need a lot of grip. It provides excellent grip on screw threads, too, and like blue Loc-Tite provides the grip while letting you easily remove the screw later.
Finally, if you need a screw really tight, instead of turning on a screw with steady force until you shear the head off, break the screw, or bend your screwdriver tip, simply turn it in tight and hold it, then tap the end of the screwdriver a couple of times with a small hammer. If you have a stuck screw, similarly tapping the screwdriver while turning the screw out often breaks it loose.