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Old 10-17-2012, 11:14 PM   #1
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Default Looking to Be Gunsmith

I want to be a gunsmith when I'm old enough, and was wondering if anyone could give me some tips or pointers. I've become pretty good at figuring out, disassembling, and cleaning pistols and military surplus rifles. I've totally disassembled my Mosin Nagant, a Winchester 94ae, 1917 Eddystone, a Colt Cobra, Ruger LCP, and my Lee-Enfield(by far the hardest one to disassemble and clean). Anyone have any ideas? Thanks

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Old 10-20-2012, 10:55 PM   #2
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Also, at there any requirements to become a gunsmith? Any licenses or qualifications?

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Old 10-20-2012, 11:01 PM   #3
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You are off to a good start. As far as licenses and qualifications- yes. You must be 21, and hold an 01 Federal Firearms License, same as a Dealer.

Suggestions? You need to learn about machine tools, woodworking, math, metals, welding, and about BUSINESS (How much do you need to charge to make a profit and stay in business? What can I write off on my taxes, etc)

Take all the math and manual arts (shop) you can in school- and business classes. Computer science would also be good.

Beyond High School, there are colleges that have a School of Gunsmithing. There is also the old fashioned way- apprentice yourself to an experienced gunsmith.

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Old 10-20-2012, 11:04 PM   #4
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First thing I would recommend is some machining training. Lathe especially, because a lot of work is done on one.

Basic wood working, shop style classes will help. As will just a flat interest in modern weapons.

Anything machinist based is going to be beneficial. Measuring. Tooling. Fabricating. Things of that nature.

They have gunsmithing schools, but I don't really know how they "rate" in the realm of who's good and who's just a rubber stamp factory.

The best gunsmith I know grew up in a gunshop, taking things apart, putting them back together, and then did some work as a machinist for awhile before he opened his own shop.

If you can find a shop that will take you in, let you shop rat, hang out, learn things, that would be the best place to start.

Good luck.

JD

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Old 10-21-2012, 02:26 AM   #5
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go to career builder or monster and see how many gunsmith jobs are out there for novice gunsmiths who spent over 20k at Colorado school of trades I'll tell you its zero . Do it as a hobby its only a career if you have the money to start your own business when you graduate . plus every year theres about 500 new gun smiths with certification that are competing for those 5 jobs in the entire U.S . just trying to help cause im going through this right now..

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Old 10-21-2012, 02:57 AM   #6
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That nylon 66 seems to be the one they test smiths around here. Like the above its a hobby an i love it. Im a wanab smith as well ive cold blued a few.Im a finish carpanter by trade, grew up as a gear head 16 working in a old school machine shop. Ran hand lathes an love it f a cnc lol

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Old 10-21-2012, 05:49 AM   #7
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nothing wrong with wanting to become a gunsmith. very respected trade to get into. also to some degree becoming a lost art as many of the old time master gunsmiths are retiring or dying off and there seems to be not as many of the younger generation taking to the field as was years ago.

now a reality check. if you want to be a gunsmith, then you need to do it for the right reasons. one point i will stress, becoming and being a gunsmith is a commitment and a calling. a true gunsmith does it because he has a passion for firearms, all firearms, old, new, shotguns, rifles, pistols, fancy and inexpensive. a true gunsmith doesn't do it for glory, money or fame. some do obtain those, but it's not what drives them, it's the passion for working on firearms. whether it's doing a very small repair to bring an older firearm back to being able to shoot again, or building a fine custom hunting rifle from the ground up.

it takes a huge amount of commitment to become one, and many years to become a skilled gunsmith. it's a lifestyle that you have to dedicate yourself to. many gunsmiths i know just can't make a living doing nothing but gunsmith work and do it on nights a nd weekends as extra income. there will be times when there will not be enough work for one person and times when there's enough for several people.

my suggestion, find a gunsmith in your area and see if he will let you apprentice with him for a while and see if this is the career you want to do. learn metal working, wood working, welding of all types, learn how to work a lathe and milling machine. if wanting to do it as a business, then learn business management so that you can possibly make money doing as a living.

many people think they want to be a gunsmith, but very few ever acheive it. all i can say is good luck if this is your calling.

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Old 10-21-2012, 10:41 AM   #8
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Post up your location.....

We're not licensed gunsmith's and don't want to be.BUT,we do have a machine shop,all welding process's and a complete cabinet shop.We do a goodly amt of work on gun related "stuff".Way too much to list......

My point is,if there was a young aspiring cleancut "kid" who wanted to learn about machining wood/metal....once checked out,they'd be more than welcome to work part time here.You WILL learn to sweep floors....you WILL learn to maintain the equip....you WILL learn discipline and safety,and how all these areas go hand in hand with "best shop practices".

So,I can't be the only shop willing to help out.....look in your area for some retiring shop owners.And don't think it has to be specifically a "gunsmith".Check with your local welding supplier,be straight up with them.Ask if theres some "old guy" who could use some shop help in return for welding lessons?The main thing,usually....is,you're looking for older gentleman that are nearing or are already retired.The day to day grind(makin $$ to pay bills)is often behind them.They're not going to close shop...well,just because.But I can guaratee you,they could use some help.Good luck.

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Old 10-21-2012, 12:41 PM   #9
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Gents- some VERY good posts- on behalf of the original poster- THANK YOU! This is a question we get from time to time, and the good advice you posted will be read by a number of folks for a long time.

C3

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Old 10-21-2012, 12:48 PM   #10
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There is a difference in a parts changer and a gunsmith. Most of the "gunsmiths" we deal with in gun shops are parts changers. To be a skilled gunsmith requires serious study, including classroom training, and an apprenticeship. Expect to spend 4 years to be a qualified gunsmith and a minimum of 6 years to become a master gunsmith.

There are several Jr. Colleges that teach gunsmithing. That would be the way to go. They have all of the tools and instructors who know how to use them, and how to apply that to gun work.

Skilled trades are a great way for a young man (or woman) to create a good life for yourself and your family. Good luck!

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