Where to get an apprenticeship for gun smithing
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Where to get an apprenticeship for gun smithing


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Old 03-23-2014, 07:54 PM   #1
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Default Where to get an apprenticeship for gun smithing

I have no credits or anything with a gun smithing school but I plan to make it a career in the next few years as I prepare to head west. Do I have to go to school first and then go apply to watch someone? Or do I call around and ask if I can sit in and learn? Is it necessary to go to a gun smithing school to get a job at a mom and pop/ medium sized gun store? It is my dream job and I want to start preparing now. Thanks


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Old 03-23-2014, 08:57 PM   #2
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Sit and learn? Sir, I fear we need to explain the term APPRENTICE (see also indentured labor)

Visit some gunsmiths. Not gunshops. Find one that is looking for a shop rat. And is willing to teach you about what he is doing, and why. You do the sweeping shop, fetching firewood, stacking supplies, making coffee, etc.

Gun shops are looking for folks that will show up when they are supposed to, know something about guns, and about dealing with CUSTOMERS. Smithing school not required.


Along the way you will learn the difference between a parts-replacer, and a gunsmith. Be prepared to do some study- machine tools, woodworking, math, etc.


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Old 03-23-2014, 08:57 PM   #3
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Great question! As someone who is thinking about making a career change, I've wondered about that too. Would love to hear responses from our more knowledgeable members...


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Old 03-23-2014, 09:05 PM   #4
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Many gunsmiths start out as machinists. I would learn to use CNC equipment before I even concerned myself with becoming a gunsmith. Even with a severe shortage of gunsmiths businesses that are not capable of mass production are going under like the titanic. If you want to spend the rest of your life working in 50 year old building with a leaky roof, in a bad area of town you can learn basic machine work at many community colleges.

Another thing you have to consider is how are you going to raise the cash to start a business. If you have CNC skills you can get a decent paying job right out of school.
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:05 PM   #5
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Sit and learn? Sir, I fear we need to explain the term APPRENTICE (see also indentured labor)

Visit some gunsmiths. Not gunshops. Find one that is looking for a shop rat. And is willing to teach you about what he is doing, and why. You do the sweeping shop, fetching firewood, stacking supplies, making coffee, etc.

Gun shops are looking for folks that will show up when they are supposed to, know something about guns, and about dealing with CUSTOMERS. Smithing school not required.


Along the way you will learn the difference between a parts-replacer, and a gunsmith. Be prepared to do some study- machine tools, woodworking, math, etc.
I meant sit and learn in a dfferent, active way. Yes I know you have to move around. Thanks for the reply.

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Old 03-26-2014, 12:24 AM   #6
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The gunsmith unused to visit from time to time in Georgia had an apprentice who was a metal worker, machinist, and had also worked for a contractor as a carpenter. The gentleman under apprenticeship did a good chunk of the labor as he learned about applying his skills to guns. He was also learning about bluing, parkerizing, specialized coatings, etc. the apprenticeship was more to tune his already acquired skills from the previous 20 years and focus them toward his passion. The gunsmith went to gunsmithing school, and was gaining someone with some of the heavier experience on the heavy machinery side, that he wouldn't have to worry about as far as making basic machining or woodworking mistakes.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:27 AM   #7
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The gunsmith unused to visit from time to time in Georgia had an apprentice who was a metal worker, machinist, and had also worked for a contractor as a carpenter. The gentleman under apprenticeship did a good chunk of the labor as he learned about applying his skills to guns. He was also learning about bluing, parkerizing, specialized coatings, etc. the apprenticeship was more to tune his already acquired skills from the previous 20 years and focus them toward his passion. The gunsmith went to gunsmithing school, and was gaining someone with some of the heavier experience on the heavy machinery side, that he wouldn't have to worry about as far as making basic machining or woodworking mistakes.
I have worked in the construction field for most of my life! So I should be good there. I am not a pure finisher but I can frame and stain wood and generally work with is nicely.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:55 AM   #8
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Gunsmithing is not rough work like framing or even trim work. There isn't a painter coming behind you to fix your mistakes. You have to be able to shape and fit finished wood without marking the finish.

I have the feeling you are interested in being a parts replacer, not a gunsmith. We have a bunch of parts replacers around here. A parts replacer usually ends up with all the responsibilities of running a business to make wages. A parts replacer has to compete with all the shade tree mechanics that can replace parts on commonly used guns.

The gunsmith I use is a retired tool and die maker at Colt. He has such a great reputation he can pick and choose the work he wants to do. For example he doesn't work on AR type rifles. He will not modify a Glock unless it can be done with drop in parts. Then you have to be a regular customer for him to work on your Glock.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:59 AM   #9
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Gunsmithing is not rough work like framing or even trim work. There isn't a painter coming behind you to fix your mistakes. You have to be able to shape and fit finished wood without marking the finish.

I have the feeling you are interested in being a parts replacer, not a gunsmith. We have a bunch of parts replacers around here. A parts replacer usually ends up with all the responsibilities of running a business to make wages. A parts replacer has to compete with all the shade tree mechanics that can replace parts on commonly used guns.

The gunsmith I use is a retired tool and die maker at Colt. He has such a great reputation he can pick and choose the work he wants to do. For example he doesn't work on AR type rifles. He will not modify a Glock unless it can be done with drop in parts. Then you have to be a regular customer for him to work on your Glock.
Thanks for the post but I want to aim and be a full fledged smith. I can work very well with wood but there can always be room for improvement.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:06 AM   #10
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I have worked in the construction field for most of my life! So I should be good there. I am not a pure finisher but I can frame and stain wood and generally work with is nicely.
to give you some comparison, working on wood gun stocks is more like building or restoring fine furniture. still not beyond your abilities by any means.

do lots of reading on all types of guns to get a working knowledge of them.

IMO, gunsmithing is more of passion and a love for working on guns. most gunsmiths do it simply because they enjoy the work andnot for the money. theskillsthat most gunsmithshave could very well earn them big bucks in other fields rather than repairing and working on guns. in some ways, it's a dying art simply because most just don't have the commitment to the time and effort it takes to become a good gunsmith and that there are much better paying jobs. it takes years to build up the skills, the reputation and the client base to make it as a gunsmith.

most of the gunsmiths i know, do it part time, on the weekends and nights and have a regular job to support themselves and to pay the bills.


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