Gunsmithing as a career.

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing Forum' started by MrInfantry1994, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. MrInfantry1994

    MrInfantry1994 New Member

    I plan on becoming a gunsmith and working for someone when i get out of the USMC. What i want to know is the education i need to become one. Good gunsmithing schools, math knowledge etc. I figured i would ask some people who may be a gunsmith. all answers are appreciated
  2. g17frantz

    g17frantz New Member

    Head over to the introduction page and introduce yourself! As far as schooling, AGI (American Gun Institute) to my knowledge, is number one.

  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    Well- depends. You want to be a gunsmith, or run a gunsmithing BUSINESS?

    Yeah, you are going to need math. If you want to be more than a parts replacer. A good smith is a mechanic, machinist, woodworker, and puzzle solver. How to use machine tools (lathe, miller, drill press) and hand tools. Knowledge of metals, metalurgy, and some chemistry.

    Going beyond basic skills- know enough business to be able to keep books- tax man is going to be looking for that. How do you set price for your labors? Markup on parts?

    Beyond what you can learn in schools (like the Colorado School of Trades in Trinidad CO) being apprenticed to a GOOD smith has a lot to be said for it.
  4. silverado113

    silverado113 New Member

    Semper Fi. I would definitely listen to C3's advice. Go to the actual school and with the new GI Bill rules your entire costs should be covered. You could take some Community College courses in machining and things that would help but don't do the online crap.
  5. MrInfantry1994

    MrInfantry1994 New Member

    i want to be a gunsmith
  6. Sarge22

    Sarge22 New Member

    To be a smith, a real world classroom as opposed to AGI is the preferred. After all, learning is best done by practice, and that's difficult without a well equipped school house. If you don't feel you can make it to an actual school, then I would suggest majoring in machine tool at your local community college, and augmenting this with the AGI videos. Order a catalog from Brownells and Midway USA. Start a library. I'm old Army, so I don't know how you Sailors do it, but the Army makes unit armorer an assigned task. If the Corps does the same, volunteer for it. Hope this helps.
  7. pfatz

    pfatz New Member

    Gunsmith Schools

    I attended the Gunsmith School at Trinidad State Jr College, liked it, ran my own shop and succeded. I'm retired now . Colorado School of trades is in Denver and is a private school not associated with an academic such as a community college. It is an old school and may be OK. There are several other schools around the country. Search Gunsmith Schools for a list. I would stay away from corespondence schools simply for the lack of "Hands On" experience you get at a Brick & Mortar Academic based school. I have an AA for my 2 years of study.

    You can get good experience with Machining, Welding, Stock Making, Bluing, Custom & Repair work & More at a resident school. TSJC (Trinidad has Dormitories for students, cafeteria and more. We also had 18" of snow one day but school went on. Most of these are what I call real schools IE: Resident, Hands On, schools with shops & Instructors!

    Colorado School of Trades
    1575 Hoyt Street
    Lakewood, CO 80215
    Phone: 800-234-4594

    Lassen Community College
    P.O. Box 3000
    Susanville, CA 96130
    Phone: 530-257-4211

    Modern Gun School
    80 North Main Street, P.O. Box 846
    St. Albans, VT 05478
    Phone: 800-493-4114

    Montgomery Community College
    1011 Page Street
    P.O. Box787
    Troy, NC 27371
    Phone: 800-839-6222

    Murray State College
    One Murray Campus
    Tishomingo, OK 73460
    Phone: 580-371-2371

    Penn Foster Career School
    925 Oak Street
    Scranton, PA 18515

    Pennsylvania Gunsmith School
    812 Ohio River Blvd.
    Pittsburgh, PA 15202
    Phone: 412-766-1812

    Piedmont Community College
    1715 College Drive
    P.O. Box1197
    Roxboro, NC 27573
    Phone: 336-599-1181

    Pine Technical Institute
    900 4th Street
    Pine City, MN 55063
    Phone: 800-521-7463

    Sonoran Desert Institute
    10245 East Via Linda,
    Scottsdale, AZ 85258
    Phone: 480-314-2102

    Trinidad State Jr. College
    600 Prospect
    Trinidad, CO 81082
    Phone: 800-621-8752

    Wabash Valley College
    2200 College Drive
    Mr. Carmel, IL 62863
    Phone: 866-982-4322

    Yavapai College
    1100 East Sheldon Street
    Prescott, AZ 86301
    Phone: 520-776-2150
    Lakewood, CO 80215
    Phone: 800-234-4594
  8. Marlinman

    Marlinman New Member

    C3 gave you great advice and i have personally been an apprentice for almost 6 years. Im good at math, problem solving, science/chemistry, not so good with wood but getting better, and from what others tell me im a great welder/machinist. If i were you id try to find someone to take you on as an apprentice. Semper fi brother.

    God didnt make all men equal colonel sam colt did
  9. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    Great advice guys.

    Look at the custom gunsmithing shops. Now look at the local shops that do everything.

    Where do you plan to be in 5 years? To be recognized in the gunsmith field is not an easy task.

    A thousand "Atta-Boys" get wiped out on 1 "Aw-Crap". And the "Aw-Crap" hangs around longer.
  10. rmw

    rmw New Member

    I attended Lassen in the mid 80's and felt I received a pretty good education. They were weak in teaching machining but very good in teaching design function and repair, they also had a very good welding program.Being a good tig welder can give you allot of options as a GS . When I was there B Dunlap was one of the instructors there he is also one of the guys who does allot of the AGI vids and to my knowledge AGI was started by some former lassen grads. I was working for Bob when he was filming some of the first vids and they were basically the design function and repair classes he taught at lassen. That said I really think to be a good gunsmith you need to be hands on experience and to be graded by a teacher and compare your work to that of other students/gunsmiths . If you plan to start your on shop a small business management class or two would help. Another thing to consider is pay/bennifits. Your not typically going to make allot or get medical bennifits. I also have seen brownells has some job placement seminars of some type going on every yr so you may want to contact them and speak to some of there gunsmiths
  11. Wilder

    Wilder New Member

    I went to the Colorado School of Trades a few years back. They have an excellent program, very hands on and self paced. I just think it is way over priced. It will give you a very good foundation to build on. The AGI stuff is great for reference material, and expanding your knowledge, but I would consider them more of a supplemental resource. The school gave me a good start, but apprenticing under a good smith has given me so much more than any school could. It has made getting started in this business so much easier for me having someone there who can answer my questions, or show me faster, better ways of accomplishing a task. Fair warning, you will work long frustrating hours, for very little money. My boss is fond of saying that anyone smart enough to be a gunsmith, is smart enough to do something else instead. I have watched a few people get into gunsmithing with lots of motivation, only to lose steam and go find something else to do after they realize how hard they have to work just to make a living. Only 2 or 3 of the people I went to the school with are actually working as a gunsmith 3 years later. However I find it to be very rewarding, from knowing that hundreds of people in my community are using guns I worked on to defend themselves and their families, or the excited hunting story about using grand-dad's old rifle that I accurized, which is shooting better than ever, and they are hunting with more confidence than before. I love my job, and take a great deal of pride in the services I provide to my community. The schools, books, correspondence courses are all valuable, but nothing beats an apprenticeship. If you can find a smith willing to take you on, save yourself the money and drink straight from the well. It will save you years of frustration to learn from the experience of someone who already has the t-shirts. Best of luck to ya, the world needs more gunsmiths. Semper Fi.
    From what I have heard from smiths who attended them the Trinidad Community College program, and the Pennsylvania School are also excellent choices.