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...the broken ball end of a 2mm hex wrench from a screw?

While reinstalling a screw that holds the optics plate in place on my S&W M&P .22Mag pistol the ball end of the hex wrench broke off in the screw head. It didn't quite break off flush with the screw head, but pretty close. And it's only 2mm.

I've tried a few things to get it out but it's just too small and it's too tightly in place to get anything to grab it or pry it out. I'm thinking my only option is to maybe drill it out. But that's gonna be really tricky. I'm not even sure I have a drill bit in the 1.5mm range. That's pretty tiny.

Any suggestions? Or is drilling it the only way.


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I'm no gunsmith, but my first inclination would be you will have to sacrifice the screw. You will need access to a drill press and a vice to hold the slide. Use a bit that is just under the diameter of the screw head. Drill down to the point where cap meets the threaded shank. The cap will then come off. You should then be able to remove the plate leaving an exposed portion of the threaded screw. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to remove the remaining stud. Someone with more smithing experience than me may think this idea is pure bullshit. I hope they are right and there is a simpler method.
A set of easy outs or left handed drillbits might grab the screw and back it out as you are drilling down which would make the process a little easier.
 
Pretty sure the screw is gonna be toast. The screw head is plenty big enough to drill out the center a bit and use an easy out. I don't have anything else that's small enough to just get the broken piece out. I have a drill press and vice.
 
You can epoxy something to just pull the ball end out but it might fail depending how tightly wedged it is in there. The ball ends are always too small for the socket so they're really only good for spinning the screw in or out and the regular end for torquing or breaking it free.
Anyway, if the epoxy doesn't work then it's probably drill and easy out time. Did you or whomever use thread locker and if so what color?
 
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I’d grab a couple of stiff picks if you don’t have a tiny needle nose pliers. Start fiddle dicking the driver end counter clockwise to unfuck it. Once it’s not wedged between the flats pull it with a healthy magnet. I try to save drilling it out as an absolute last resort, especially with a part that can suddenly get unstuck. You can spend a lot of time creatively and still not equal the cost and depreciation of reworking the slide.
 
The threads had blue thread-locker from the factory. And that was the plan...spin it in with the ball end, switch to the other end to tighten it because the hex wrench was so small. I hit some resistance from the thread-locker and it snapped. It's not critical to rush into anything since I'm not needing to put an optic on it right away and it doesn't affect function. I may try just a dab of JB Weld on the end of the broken hex wrench and try to secure it to the ball end. That might work.

I tried picks and magnets already. I'm with @CS Boomis on drilling it right away. I'll try a few other things first. On the other hand, just hitting it with a drill bit might wiggle it out. It's not protruding enough to grab on to. I even tried with tweezers squeezed with small vise grips. No go...
 
I used superglue on the end of a Allen wrench once
 
Is there enough of it proud of the screw that you could take a dremel cutting disc and cut a groove that would let you use a small screw driver?

I'd think if you could get any twist to the left on it it would come right out.
 
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I did the same on an AK rear trunion.

Since you’re on the top of the firearm and have the space to use it, why not use a dremel or cutoff wheel to cut a notch out of the screw, without touching the firearm. Then, use a flathead screwdriver to remove the screw.

Or, find an appropriately sized nut, and weld the Allen key ball end to the nut. That’s what I did. Works great, and kills the heat activated threadlocker too.
 
I did the same on an AK rear trunion.

Since you’re on the top of the firearm and have the space to use it, why not use a dremel or cutoff wheel to cut a notch out of the screw, without touching the firearm. Then, use a flathead screwdriver to remove the screw.

Or, find an appropriately sized nut, and weld the Allen key ball end to the nut. That’s what I did. Works great, and kills the heat activated threadlocker too.

Well... You might be able to weld something to a 2mm piece of broken hex wrench ball that's sitting nearly flush on a screw that's about 6mm wide, sitting on top of a $500 gun. I've never even dreamed of being skilled enough to do that. And the screw is recessed into the slide cover so I can't get a cut-off wheel to the top of the screw without contacting the slide cover. Already tried that.

I'm probably just gonna drill a hole big enough to get a small eze-out into and go that route. Of course, then I'll have to order a screw from S&W...prolly cost $3 for the screw and $20 to ship.
 
Well, first thing I’d try is the shoot it idea. I honestly think that’s a badass idea. Second, I’d sharpen my smallest center punch super sharp and just tap no harder than I can control the point in the opposite direction of how you twisted it off. If that doesn’t work I’m drilling. But I’m gonna just drill enough to pick that lil sombitch out if I can. My goal would be to not have to drill that screw. I hate ez outs and the smaller they are the more I hate em. Yes I have a couple sets but I try not to use em if possible. Good luck to ya.
 
Well... You might be able to weld something to a 2mm piece of broken hex wrench ball that's sitting nearly flush on a screw that's about 6mm wide, sitting on top of a $500 gun. I've never even dreamed of being skilled enough to do that. And the screw is recessed into the slide cover so I can't get a cut-off wheel to the top of the screw without contacting the slide cover. Already tried that.

I'm probably just gonna drill a hole big enough to get a small eze-out into and go that route. Of course, then I'll have to order a screw from S&W...prolly cost $3 for the screw and $20 to ship.
All ya gotta do is put a little puddle of weld on the inside of the nut while you hold it on there. With the AK I used my regular ol MIG gun. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you’re just tacking the inside of the nut to the fastener. If you can get just the Allen wrench to stick, then you’re doing great. If you catch the screw too, then you may be able to free it from the nut without too much damage.

Just make sure you slather the slide in Cooter Snot when you do, if you’re picky about your finish.
 
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