Want to start gunsmithing.

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing Forum' started by RustyShackleford101, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. RustyShackleford101

    RustyShackleford101 New Member

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    In the future I want to pursue a career as a gunsmith. I am just wondering what path I should go down. I've been working on guns as a hobbyist, doing basic stuff like detail strips, replacing parts, putting on scopes, bedding actions, etc. I'd like to take a course that basically covers the whole deal. Is AGI a good, accredited program? How much does their most comprehensive course cost? Are there better options than AGI? I'd like to be able to do advanced things like checkering, timing, metal finishing, etc, as I'll be going into business for myself. Any advice at all about how to learn myself up and get started will be very greatly appreciated.
     

  2. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    Have the FFL, business license, blessing from the local law enforcement and zoning administration, liability insurance, LLC setup, and lawyer on retainer.

    The best way to have a small bundle of money is to start with a large bundle.

    What you want to do is possible, but be prepared for slow times.

    (Hint: at least get your FFL if you are doing work for others now.)
     
  3. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Maybe this will help:

    http://bestgunsmithingschoolsonline.com/

    Learning of any skilled trade takes time. Usually at least four years of study and on-hands work. Once you do that, you will be set for a career that will be profitable and rewarding. Cutting corners will usually end up in less than optimum results.

    If I were looking for a gunsmithing school, I would look for one associated with a community college or a vocational technical school that was part of a school system.

    The "for profit" guys are just that. They are happy to take your money and couldn't care how it works out for you. They can leave you in debt and working outside of your chosen field.

    Good luck! We need good gunsmiths instead of jack-leg parts changers.
     
  4. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    Which is exactly how EVERY gunsmith makes his money - - by changing parts.
     
  5. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Part changing can be done by apprentices, jack-legs, and pawn shop clerks. There is a bit more to being a Master Gunsmith. A Master Gunsmith can make a part, a stock or a match barrel from a blank. These smiths are few and far between. The very last one in my area died recently and he will be very much missed.

    The difference in a "parts changer" and a Master Gunsmith is like the difference in growing a petunia in a pot in your parlor and managing a thousand acre farm.
     
  6. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    You have to realize that my statement is totally correct that ALL gunsmiths make the bulk of their income by 'parts changing".
     
  7. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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    Agreed. But a "parts changer" will change a part, and that's where the job ends. A "gunsmith" on the other hand will check the new part for the proper fit, function and safety and make adjustments as needed before releasing the gun back to it's owner. You can't do that without knowing exactly how each particular gun was designed to function and how the parts interrelate to each other.
     
  8. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    Anyone can do some smith work on guns, but that does not make them a gunsmith.
     
  9. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    No one is arguing that there are good gunsmiths and bad ones just like in every other profession. I have a pet peeve about what some think is a derogatory term by calling the bad gunsmiths 'parts changers' when, trust me, that IS how all gunsmiths make their money. Plus there are gunsmiths starting out that while maybe trained and intelligent lack the experience to know everything about every gun. There are NO young 'Master Gunsmiths'. Every gunsmith has made mistakes, if he says different I would say he is a liar. It is how he handles his mistakes that makes him a fair businessman or not. And no one knows everything about every gun. I was a gunsmith for many years and there are many different guns that I never worked on or even cleaned. And yes there were a couple times where guns had me stumped, I freely admit. I never was one to just start changing parts to see if that fixed the problem.
     
  10. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I guess you are just going to beat your point to death. Ok, we get it, gunsmiths change parts; a fascinating revelation.
     
  11. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    well if a gunsmith is checking out a gun for a problem and he finds a part is broken or worn, what does he do? he changes that part out.

    the difference between a gunsmith and a "parts changer" is huge. a gunsmith will diagnose the problem, then replace only what needs to be replaced for the gun to function properly and safely, and afterwards verify his repairs. a "parts changer" just starts throwing parts at the problem until it's working agian, many times not knowing exactly which part actually made it work properly. a gunsmith also looks deeper into the problem, determining whether something else caused the broken or worn part, or whether it was just a sign of normal wear and tear.

    a gunsmith and a mechanic are very similiar in appoach to repairing things. i have seen lots of so-called mechanics, that were nothing more than "parts changers". i have prided myself over the years in diagnosing problems and repairing them, while looking into the reasons for the failed part, so if their were other issues other than normal wear, i could correct them as well.

    maybe in your way of thinking, a gunsmith is some who crafts a gun out of parts, metal and wood. in some ways you would be correct. such people are craftsmen as well as being a gunsmith. but just because a person can build a gun from scratch, doesn't mean he's not a compentent gunsmith.
     
  12. molonlabexx

    molonlabexx New Member

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    I will do a video soon of some tools that I started out with and what I recommend.

    If you are building firearms, you are going to want an FFL.

    AGI is from what I hear a good school and I was knee deep into the program and went with another. Their basic program is $4,000 for 108 hours of videos and some books...
     
  13. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    if you are working on firearms for other people and charging for it, you have to have an FFL.

    http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/gunsmiths.html
     
  14. St8LineGunsmith

    St8LineGunsmith New Member

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    I would suggest sighning up for a machinest course and learn to mig (Perferrably TIG) at your local tech school and take an on line course like Penn Foster.
    if you can read a blueprint and can operate a mill and lathe you can make a gun and gun parts.
     
  15. molonlabexx

    molonlabexx New Member

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    Best thing to do, and this helped me out a lot, start reading everything you can about guns. NRA magazines, articles. Learn how they work, the most common problems with a firearm, and the most desired upgrades. Call around to local shops. Ask if you can observer the gunsmith. If the guy likes you, he may just make you an apprentice. Shop work ethic and passion, and also be ready to make good coffee and quick food runs for the smith, we love food runs. Make sure they guy isn't a kitchen gunsmith. Learn everything. Start working on guns on the side, but not for cash. In reality you should be careful doing small side projects without an FFL but usually as long as you are not accepting payment or building AR-15's for cash, you should be fine.