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Old 03-27-2012, 04:03 PM   #41
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I agree with added. I love weapons and learning everything about them but I have responsibilities here along with six yrs. in a career so I can't just skip town. Explore every option you have and go with what's best. If you're looking at law enforcement join the military get in a most that deals with just weapons get some world experience and when you get out you have a load of options open to you.
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:54 PM   #42
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I'm a full-time gunsmith, and opened my own shop 10 years ago. It was hard - jobs were few and every cent was needed for tools and keeping the lights on. My wife made a good living and supported us while I built the business. After the first few years I started to make a profit and I enjoy a good living these days. Here's two things I know for sure - I do a lot of LE work because their armorer's are only trained on a few platforms, and my daughter is a medic/armorer in the Army. When she visits we work on guns constantly because the Army only taught her the basics of a few weapons. To be a successful gunsmith you need a loyal following and a solid reputation. With so many folks unemployed and deciding to be a gunsmith because they like guns it's hard to find the gems in the rock pile. If you want to be world famous you need to do work that is 100% perfection and have folks tell their friends. A lot of the big names are really good, but they also spend thousands of dollars to have their name in every gun magazine to keep it in front of folks.

Unless an apprentice brings usable skills to the table they cost me money. I have to pay extra insurance, unemployment and FICA taxes if I pay you, I have labor laws to adhere to, and then everything takes at least twice as long because I have to show you, watch you, and then double check your work. I can sweep the floors myself, most apprentices need grocery and rent money. So on top of losing money on every job I have to make payroll. Then as soon as they learn all they can from me they become my competition and open their own shop. We stay friends, but it's cost me for your education. If you get offered any compensation for the education, tools you break, parts you ruin, and so on - be grateful for whatever you get offered. That's not a hateful statement, just the honest "other side" of the apprentice/master relationship. I don't accept apprentices any longer because I can't afford to. If you find a smith who can, cherish it.

Good luck and I do hope one day to see your name splashed across the magazines as one of the world's greatest. The American Pistolsmiths Guild will tell you what it takes to join their ranks if you ask.
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:58 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GunDoc
I'm a full-time gunsmith, and opened my own shop 10 years ago. It was hard - jobs were few and every cent was needed for tools and keeping the lights on. My wife made a good living and supported us while I built the business. After the first few years I started to make a profit and I enjoy a good living these days. Here's two things I know for sure - I do a lot of LE work because their armorer's are only trained on a few platforms, and my daughter is a medic/armorer in the Army. When she visits we work on guns constantly because the Army only taught her the basics of a few weapons. To be a successful gunsmith you need a loyal following and a solid reputation. With so many folks unemployed and deciding to be a gunsmith because they like guns it's hard to find the gems in the rock pile. If you want to be world famous you need to do work that is 100% perfection and have folks tell their friends. A lot of the big names are really good, but they also spend thousands of dollars to have their name in every gun magazine to keep it in front of folks.

Unless an apprentice brings usable skills to the table they cost me money. I have to pay extra insurance, unemployment and FICA taxes if I pay you, I have labor laws to adhere to, and then everything takes at least twice as long because I have to show you, watch you, and then double check your work. I can sweep the floors myself, most apprentices need grocery and rent money. So on top of losing money on every job I have to make payroll. Then as soon as they learn all they can from me they become my competition and open their own shop. We stay friends, but it's cost me for your education. If you get offered any compensation for the education, tools you break, parts you ruin, and so on - be grateful for whatever you get offered. That's not a hateful statement, just the honest "other side" of the apprentice/master relationship. I don't accept apprentices any longer because I can't afford to. If you find a smith who can, cherish it.

Good luck and I do hope one day to see your name splashed across the magazines as one of the world's greatest. The American Pistolsmiths Guild will tell you what it takes to join their ranks if you ask.
Great advice. Iv heard my mentor/business partner tell several people this advice almost verbatum

God didnt make all men equal colonel Sam Colt did
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Old 03-27-2012, 06:00 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GunDoc
I'm a full-time gunsmith, and opened my own shop 10 years ago. It was hard - jobs were few and every cent was needed for tools and keeping the lights on. My wife made a good living and supported us while I built the business. After the first few years I started to make a profit and I enjoy a good living these days. Here's two things I know for sure - I do a lot of LE work because their armorer's are only trained on a few platforms, and my daughter is a medic/armorer in the Army. When she visits we work on guns constantly because the Army only taught her the basics of a few weapons. To be a successful gunsmith you need a loyal following and a solid reputation. With so many folks unemployed and deciding to be a gunsmith because they like guns it's hard to find the gems in the rock pile. If you want to be world famous you need to do work that is 100% perfection and have folks tell their friends. A lot of the big names are really good, but they also spend thousands of dollars to have their name in every gun magazine to keep it in front of folks.

Unless an apprentice brings usable skills to the table they cost me money. I have to pay extra insurance, unemployment and FICA taxes if I pay you, I have labor laws to adhere to, and then everything takes at least twice as long because I have to show you, watch you, and then double check your work. I can sweep the floors myself, most apprentices need grocery and rent money. So on top of losing money on every job I have to make payroll. Then as soon as they learn all they can from me they become my competition and open their own shop. We stay friends, but it's cost me for your education. If you get offered any compensation for the education, tools you break, parts you ruin, and so on - be grateful for whatever you get offered. That's not a hateful statement, just the honest "other side" of the apprentice/master relationship. I don't accept apprentices any longer because I can't afford to. If you find a smith who can, cherish it.

Good luck and I do hope one day to see your name splashed across the magazines as one of the world's greatest. The American Pistolsmiths Guild will tell you what it takes to join their ranks if you ask.
Thanks for telling me my dream is possible. Nothing great comes easy
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Old 03-27-2012, 07:45 PM   #45
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Well I think this is about the end so let me say good luck, I, like all the other gunsmiths on this thread like to see new blood I truly hope your dreams come true. For many years now when people ask what I do I have been proud to say "I am a gunsmith". Learn everything you can, keep up with the trends, avoid the fads and don't give to a customer if you can't be proud of it. These words were told to me by one of my instructors when I started school, still true thirty years later.
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:09 PM   #46
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I've been following this tread for awhile and now I thought I'd chime in. I was a gunsmith for many years and I had no schooling. When in high school I worked for a gunshop(clerk/floor sweeper). After a couple years I thought about being a gunsmith(I was dirt poor). I asked the owners of the shop if I could bring the used guns home one at a time and clean them (and I told them why)(this would be illegal now,most likely was illegal then). This allowed me see how guns were made, how they worked, and how they came apart. I also had a brother who collected old guns. Between these two places I had access to a large number of guns. I learned alot. Then I started buying up old broken or incomplete guns. I'd fix 'em and sell 'em. After a few years I applied for a FFL and started working on guns for others. Sometimes I turned down jobs if I did not have the ability or tools for the job(i kept working a real job full time). After a few years I never had to turn down any jobs. Then I quit my day job to gunsmith full time. Then one day I lost interest, don't know why. I eventually closed my shop, dropped my FFL, and rejoined the workforce. Now I find my interest in guns is back but I will not seek to open a shop again. Now I make custom sights and sometimes buy old guns to fix up. So I guess the gist of the story is that there are many ways to start up your business. And what you like today might not be what you like tomorrow.
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