Gunsmithing school online yes or no?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing Forum' started by Billy9mm, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. Billy9mm

    Billy9mm Member Supporter

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    I am considering taking an online course fron Penn-Foster and was wondering if anyone had any advice? Iwant to retire in a few yrs{5 to 8} and I'm looking at it as a side to some extra income.
     
  2. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    I encourage you to peruse this noble endeavor.

    I am not a gunsmith but........there is such a hands-on aspect to smithing that I don't think I could "learn" the profession on-line.

    I've been a gun-tinkerer for more years than I care to remember and still consider myself just a pudknocker.

    Just remember nobody gets rich gunsmithing. Let me clarify that statement; there are as many rich smiths as there are pro basketball players. A lofty fraternity to aspire to, but it takes years of training and someone with mad skilzz.
    It would however, make a great hobby or addiction enabler! Beats the sh1t out of shuffle board. [​IMG]
     

  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    The on line courses are fine, as long as you only repair guns on internet forums. :p

    Seriously some of the home study courses are rather lame. I am a HOBBYIST smith- being a true smith (not a parts replacer) requires a knowledge of metal working, wood working, and how to use tools. Pretty much a tool and die maker, with good furniture making skills.

    Do some in depth research on the course (google is your friend) before you sign up for anything. I would look around for a true smith that would like to have an unpaid part time apprentice, as well as any independent study.
     
  4. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    If you are a veteran, check to see if the VA may help go in-resident.
     
  5. Jesse17

    Jesse17 New Member

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    This is something I too have thought about doing, not on-line though. I would just like to learn as much as I can for my own hobby purposes. But I don't think there are any classes close enough I could attend without missing work, and that's not an option in the next couple of years.
     
  6. masterPsmith

    masterPsmith New Member

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    Not worth the effort and a waste of money. If you are serious, check into the resident schools, such as Lassen, Colorado School of Trades, or others. If you know a good gunsmith, you might also inquire about donating time in shop in return for instruction. Some smiths will do this, but most will not. Remember, gunsmithing is hands on learning, not book reading or keyboard banging.......

    Jim..........
     
  7. Billy9mm

    Billy9mm Member Supporter

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    being able to work and go to a school is not possible right now. that is why considering online course. I have 4yrs in railroad machine and 12 yrs in auto machine. I do have a small milling machine and lathe plus other tools and such in my shop here at home. plus i have enough guns of my own to practice on. some of the fellows i work with bring a gun to me every now and then to do a serious cleaning and very minor repairs. but i do want to take a course to get a more detailed knowledge. besides this is not going to be a full time job just a sideline for when i retire.
     
  8. Car54

    Car54 New Member

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    Just curious, is it A.G.I. that you're looking at?
     
  9. Billy9mm

    Billy9mm Member Supporter

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    The schools that i looked at so far was Penn-Foster and Sonoran Desert Institute
     
  10. willshoum

    willshoum New Member

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    No such Animal

    Go for it, I get the freebees from the gun schools, But you can't beat hands own experience. Seeing how you already have guns to practice on, plus the machining part you are off to a good start. Unless you are like me and can't find your a$$ with toilet paper!!!! Iv'e got over 35 yrs. in the machine shop bidness, weld every thing rebuild every thing, But to save my a$4 I can't remember what went where. ANY HOW WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE......:D
     
  11. pb1371

    pb1371 New Member

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    I enrolled in the penn-foster program thinking that it would be a great way for me to learn a lot more about guns and how to fix them. Honestly this was a pretty big mistake on my part. That program is by no means designed for someone with a beginners understanding of a guns function. There aren't many videos with the program and you can call a teacher if you want but honestly I didn't know enough to know what questions to ask them. In my opinion gunsmithing is really a more hands on thing to learn. But the course really does have a lot of information. If you really know what youre doing then i say do what you want. Another plus is that it is relatively cheap to do online verses a school
     
  12. DrFootball

    DrFootball disappointed & disgusted, But DETERMINED... Lifetime Supporter

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    Which was why I choose that one. But to go one and get machining classes has become a problem here. I'm in the 6th month of an 18month wait, and by that time the classes that are almost walking distance for me now will be 19 miles away in Prescott by fall of 16. I can start them where they currently are in Fall 15, but there are 8-3 & 4 credit classes and one 6 Credit for the final Grade of a 60 total Credit Associate Degree in GunSmithing, with advanced classes to go for a B.S. in Firearm Science and Design.


    Sent from my iPad using Firearms Talk
     
  13. pb1371

    pb1371 New Member

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    Is everything going to yavapai college?
     
  14. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am in the same position, but I think I will go gun seller route rather than gun fixer. I haven't gone to a gunsmith since the only really master I went to died many years ago. I can usually find the parts I need on-line and replace them until I get it right. J.B. Wood's books are my best friends forever. I will only work on my and my son's guns; too much liability to fix someone else's gun.

    To become a journeyman tradesman, of nearly any variety, it usually takes at least four years of study and apprenticeship. Gunsmiths also need keen eyesight and steady hands, somethings I am losing as I age. Neither can I imagine how you would learn to machine metal or wood from a computer.
     
  15. JDallas5

    JDallas5 New Member

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    From what I have heard the online stuff is something to not even consider if you are wanting to become a pro gunsmith or work for a shop. If you want to become a gunsmith to get money and such I would recommend an actual physical school like the one in Colorado, Prescott Arizona (Yavapai which is said to be the best in the nation but if you wait currently for four years to get in) I also heard there is one in North Carolina but I never visited it. I went to the one in Pennsylvania and it was extremely ill organized and crowded, it seemed that if you were going to work on a rifle, half of the rifle would be on someone else's work place. I was fortunate enough to know what I wanted to do while I was still in high school so I applied for Yavapai in my freshman year and visited it in my junior year. Compared to the school in Pennsylvania, Yavapai is extremely clean and roomy with your own table and work space.

    I start school at Yavapai Monday! I feel I will already be outmatched in knowledge and skill that others will bring to the start of school but that why I'm here, to Learn what I want to do for the rest of my life, making my hobby a profession.

    I traveled 1800 miles to be here, I left my family, my girlfriend, my home back in Ohio to follow my dream so I'm gonna see how this works out! I hope for the best!


    More prepared than most. Less prepared than many.
     
  16. WebleyFosbery38

    WebleyFosbery38 New Member

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    My take on it is to Master any trade, you need to learn and train under a master in that trade! Online basket-weaving is OK, Online Machining and milling, not so useful and prolly not that safe! Guns arent nearly as dangerous as mills and lathes, stall your mill by dipping your cutter a 32nd" deeper than it should be and all the sudden your Bridgeport gets legs of its own, watch out!

    Academia would like us all to believe that any certified School is AOK to learn an occupation from. Trades are more than just facts and figures, they are very tactile and if your not getting the hands on, your selling yourself and your future customers short. I went through a complete and very arduous Apprenticeship program in a TV Shop for 10 years before I was qualified as a full Technical Electronics Journeyman, becoming a Master has taken another 20 and Im not even sure I qual at that. The Schlogg to Journeyman was very hard, my bosses were tyrants, they paid poorly and it was void of any benefits other than learning and an occasional free lunch but it was worth the price of admittance 10 times over.

    Anyone serious about embarking on a new trade must understand that there are not many of them that dont take many years to become proficient in, if your ready for the income, be ready for the pain before you reach a place that is pleasurable. I do believe time spent learning from a Master face to face will be much more effective than a box of books and some training videos.
     
  17. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    online gunsmithing? depends on the person. only each individual can decide whether an online school would be beneficial or not. everyone has different skill levels and experiences. someone coming from a strong mechanical, machining, or tool and die background might be able to get through with an online class. someone who has never worked on anything mechanical, not so much.

    people learn at different speeds and under different methods. some are able to read or watch a video and self teach themselves new methods or techniques. some need someone mentoring them and showing them each step to learn how to do something.

    no one here or anywhere else can evaluate you skills and abilities but yourself. take an honest assessment of them and then you can make an informed decision as to whether it's best for you or not.
     
  18. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    I vote no. Sorta. If you want to do it for yourself, for something to do, sure. If you want to do it because you want to work on my guns and get paid for it, nope. Good gunsmiths are hard to find. I don't know a single one. It's also a very hands on trade, with a lot of skill involved, depending on what the job is. That skill cannot be gained from anything online. If I walked into your shop, and found out you were trained online, I'd walk back out, no further questions asked.

    Having said that, attention to detail and the customer is probably one of the more important items you need to have. Too many trades people don't do this, and end up with pissed customers. This is my experience with so-called "gunsmiths".
     
  19. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    i agree to a point. if a person had a strong mechanical background and had been tinkering on guns for years and was good with it and his hands, and used the online classes to augment his learning, i can see it being uselful.

    but someone just using it by itself and just starting out, i would agree with you wholeheartedly.

    gunsmithing is a very hands on learning to master proficiently. it takes years to learn to be a good gunsmith. and an online course is no substitute for years of actually doing it.
     
  20. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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    Quite a stretch there I'm afraid. The only way a Bridgeport mill is going to get legs of it's own is during a severe earthquake. :p

    But yes, machinery AND guns have the potential of becoming lethal under the control of the wrong hands.