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Becoming a Gunsmith


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Old 04-22-2017, 10:33 PM   #41
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So I ran into an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. I got 3 old Smith&Wessons that all need at least 2 things fixed on them! I'm having great luck from the get go!
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Old 05-08-2017, 07:24 AM   #42
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I am a gunsmith and I can tell you the only two ways to become a true gunsmith are apprenticeship or brick and mortar school. I would not say that one is better than the other has each has advantages and disadvantage is to the other. I was fortunate enough to get both. I attended and graduated the Colorado school of trades which in my opinion was a great school. On a sidenote I did take a few classes at Trinadad and I liked some of their classes. After graduating I got to apprentice for about a year. Both gave me great insight and knowledge in the field. Like everyone else has said gunsmithing will never make you a ton of money but it is an absolutely wonderful job to have if you like working with your hands. My biggest piece of advice to you would be get an education through either method and then find your niche. If you have any questions let me know.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:25 AM   #43
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Default gunsmithing book

google this book and download it for much information

GUNSMITHING AND TOOL MAKING BIBLE
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:41 PM   #44
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You can figure out how any gun ticks and fix it. However you may modify the intent of and design a bit too far by trial and error.
BIL in Az worked under a Gun Sith learning the trade. Learned to do it right the first time and do things without trial and error a lot of error.
Real Smithing comes down to machine work so knowing your way around mills and rifling jigs, and so on. How to polish without ruining a gun and blueing without taking a week, and refinishing and even making stocks, without making a career out of one job. Smiths get paid what they can demand for their work, not how much they can demand for their hours though some do but don't have many Customers.
Soooo go to school for Gun Smiting and work as a journeyman for well established known Gun Smith. Commit to the idea and stick to it and don't give up. You'll make it. So many in any field quit at their first discouragement or roadblock or just get tired of it.
You won't be a recognized Gun Smith in six months. Get know by your work not your card.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:50 PM   #45
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I try to do every job like it was going to be submitted in a gun magazine.

Words of praise about your ability travel a lot slower than the words of criticism.
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:21 PM   #46
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Like any skilled trade it is learned, over time, by a lot of hard work. A good place to start would be in a vocational school, followed by an apprenticeship under a master. Expect a minimum of four years of study to become a competent journeyman gunsmith, and ten years to become a master.

Schools are easy to find, masters are not.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:18 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chainfire View Post
Like any skilled trade it is learned, over time, by a lot of hard work. A good place to start would be in a vocational school, followed by an apprenticeship under a master. Expect a minimum of four years of study to become a competent journeyman gunsmith, and ten years to become a master.

Schools are easy to find, masters are not.
a lot of the problem stems from many of the master gunsmiths retiring, dying off, or getting too old to do the work anymore. leaving a huge void in those who are qualified or capable of teaching the younger generations of how to gunsmith.

another aspect is, the lack of the younger generation willing to make the commitment, or sacrifices to become a master gunsmith. too many are about instant gratification and big money. neither of which gunsmithing will give them.

it has in many ways become a dying trade and art. sad fact of life though.
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:03 PM   #48
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I don't really blame any generation for the slow decline of master gunsmithing. It is more about being practical. Like said above, it certainly can not be learned overnight. A person has to make a living. I can not see a beginner learning the trade, becoming skillful, knowledgeable, and experienced enough to make a living at gunsmithing. Then while making a living at it, do it long enough to earn the title of master.
All the while that you are trying to make a living at this craft there is always the real risk that laws could change and basically put you out of business, either directly or through making it too expensive to meet the new codes and regulations.
That said a younger person could make a living at any profession and gradually build knowledge and skill as an unlicensed hobbyist at gunsmithing or gun building.
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Old 05-23-2017, 02:29 PM   #49
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Been an interesting "read" so far. At age 19, I and three other co-workers were asked if we'd like to take part in a 4-year, state indentured, apprenticeship program. One position involved becoming a toolmaker, the other three positions were to become machine repair technicians. I got the toolmaker program. I had never run a machine in my life, let alone work with machining tolerances of +/- 0.0020 inch.
As my skills grew from what I learned working with journeyman toolmakers who were run out of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and Germany by the Third Reich, my confidence and machining ability got better and better. I learned many "knacks" that these 'ol boys, once I learned that I needed to "shut up and listen, you can't learn when you're talkin'.
The company owner was a heavy duty hunter, and traveled the world hunting all sorts of critters, so naturally, when he needed machining done on one of his firearms, he brought to the tool room with explicit instructions as to what he wanted done. Barrel shank threading, dovetail cutting, octagon shape milling, removing the ears off BRNO Mauser's, and of course drilling and tapping for optics bases.
After a couple years of this, I learned quite a bit about machining and at the same time expanded my knowledge about what made firearms "tick" by reading every book I could get a hold of that involved gun repair. Once I finished my apprenticeship, I was installed on the "second shift" ( 3:00 PM to 11:30 PM ), so I had most of my day time off. I decided I wanted to pick up some gun repair work so I could feed this passion and use the profits to invest in tooling and machinery. Every bit of over-time $$$, at my full time job went into my part time business, at least until I got married.

In 1968, the Gun Control Act required that all who were doing gun repair and if it required that the firearm be kept for more than one business day ( 24 Hours ) you must apply for, and post for all to see, a copy of your 01 Federal Firearms License, which also allows for buying and selling firearms. All repair acquisitions, and those for guns for sale must be entered in a bound book and accurate records must be kept. If your records are not accurate, you WILL hear about it from a compliance agent when he/she stops by for an audit.

I retired from my full time job in 2010 and now do full time gun repair and restoration of older .22 rifles as time allows. I just can't imagine ever retiring from doing this work.

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Becoming a Gunsmith - Gunsmithing Forum

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