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My guns (third try to get this to work right, Aaaargggh!)

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Unread 01-31-2007, 12:00 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 753
Re: My guns (third try to get this to work right, Aaaargggh!)

Actually, the Warner rear sight is pretty robust. They put up with quite a bit of abuse. The money you spend for one though encourages you to take care of it.

Alan's sights are little Rolex watches in my opinion. the elevation and windage screws are ground threads, not turned on a lathe. When set up on an inspection plate and checked with an indicator, there is no backlash. The bores are all honed to fit the guid pins. The clicks are very smooth and positive. He does a very, very nice job on these little guys. Awesome product!
Chad Dixon
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Unread 01-31-2007, 12:16 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
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Re: My guns (third try to get this to work right, Aaaargggh!)

I read through this afterwards and find myself thinking that I'm coming off as a little "pissy." <font color="blue">NAH!! I liked your tone. You made your point well. </font>

I didn't fully catch on to what you were saying about CNC vs duplicator, but I'm kind of slow that way [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] Plus I couldn't keep a stock that good looking after a day at the range let alone several days in the mountains. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Unread 01-31-2007, 08:18 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Black Hills,South Dakota
Posts: 669
Re: My guns (third try to get this to work right, Aaaargggh!)


Just as you wouldn't go to the nice steak house with your own cut of T bone shoved in a zip lock bag, I wonder why gunsmiths allow customers to show up with all the parts for a new build.

You can't do it when you have your car worked on by the dealership. . .

Chad Dixon

[/ QUOTE ]

I work for a heavy equipment dealership and we'll be more than happy to work on,build any of your heavy equipment you supply parts for. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms -Samuel Adams
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Unread 01-31-2007, 10:53 AM
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Re: My guns (third try to get this to work right, Aaaargggh!)

"Just as you wouldn't go to the nice steak house with your own cut of T bone shoved in a zip lock bag, I wonder why gunsmiths allow customers to show up with all the parts for a new build."

I can tell you why....... Some of us have to put together the project in a peace meal fashion by getting the components when our budgets can afford them. Once they are obtained, we then deliver them to a gunsmith so that he can apply his machining and assembly skills to the job without getting finacially involved in the order processes and/or going through the headaches from suppliers of the stocks, barrels, actions, triggers, scopes, scope rings and bases......

Most of the custom gunsmiths I have dealt with, salivate for these types of deals. All they have to do is assemble the components delivered to them. And, the gunsmith does not get any cancellations after the order. And, that is why I have all of mine done that way. It just keeps the process very streamlined.

One more point. If the prospective owner furnishes the components, he does not have to pay the excise tax for the entire gun.

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Unread 01-31-2007, 04:28 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 753
Re: My guns (third try to get this to work right, Aaaargggh!)

I guess that is kind of the point.

You go to have a vehicle worked on, you pay more for your parts. We know this, we don't like it so much, but we grin and bear it.

I've been told by more than a few successful business men that in order to make a profit on parts, a minimum of a 40% true mark up needs to be charged. It's not worth staying in business otherwise. (true 40% being the cost divided by .6)

So, what happens to the gunsmith who makes no profit on his parts? He's getting at best a ten to fifteen percent break point if he/she buys enough components from a given manufacturer.

To respond to your direct comment regarding a gun smith drooling over a box of parts. He might be drooling because you are right. It's the best he can do cause he knows it's not worth his time to order parts when he will only make ten to fifteen percent mark up. He's loosing money by ordering parts because his machines are not running which typically bring in a minimum of a dollar for every minute the spindle is rotating. If this is correct, it's not drooling, it is uncontrolled salivation from strangulation.

None of us really want to spend 500 bucks for a barrel we know costs 300.00 I agree. At the same time though, how does the gun smith make the money, just labor?

How many other businesses can afford to run this way?

What happens when a customer wants a wildcat. Conventional wisdom is that he buys the tool and then hangs on to it. Maybe the gunsmith pays for half and hangs onto it to use for other guns that come up later down the road. What happens when it is the 6mm "who's it this week" that chambers two guns and sits for five years? He spent money to have one more piece of inventory (delicate inventory at that) to track and maintain in case you come back in need of a set back and rechamber cause of a cooked throat.

In a mainstream machine shop, if the customer requires special tooling for a job, the customer pays for it and it goes the shop owner afterwards.

I'm not trying to fight, just wondering (cause I'm a bit young at this I will admit) why the gun building trade is so different. My job at the shops I worked at was to get rifles built, tested, and delivered. I am pretty good at that. these are questions I have always wondered about because of experience in other fields. Automotive and aerospace machining.

this is a sort of poll because down the road I will have my own shop. Building the rifle is not my challenge. Superior Customer service, fair pricing, and keeping a guy from feeling like he got bent over is.

I'd much rather have an argument/debate in this setting and learn something from it instead of loosing a customer/deal due to my ignorance.

Didn't mean to offend and I am guilty of perhaps not being more up front about what I was trying to say.

Regarding excise tax. I think that law may have changed a bit. Prior to leaving Nesika, I recall a newsletter being published by the BATF stating that if a gunsmith went so far as to hang a new barrel on a gun, he was going to have a manufacturers FFL and that the gun, regardless of whether it was the exact same caliber, contour, material, etc. . . was going to be subject to the excise tax again. I know it raised a bit of a stink because it sounded like double taxation.

Please don't quote me on this, as I never personally saw the document, but I remember the plant manager discussing it at length and that none of us as Dakota Arms/Nesika were very pleased about it. It effectively cuts the legs out from under a lot of people in this trade at the hobby or part time level. Your buddy who does a little home smithing is now a felon if he hangs a barrel on your rifle.

Just be careful and please check everything out. No need to wake up the beast.

I was told also that a well known gunsmith who's name is tossed around in this forum often, had found this out the hard way and is right now fighting a nasty litigation with the BATF over an alleged failure to charge/account for the tax. Again, I can't confirm this, but it is what I was told.
Normally I would not have put much stock into this, but the specific mention of this person's name caused alarm. I think it would be worth investigating, just for peace of mind if nothing else.

Please, be careful everyone. It's not worth a trip to the butt house for five/ten years.

Chad Dixon
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Unread 01-31-2007, 05:29 PM
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Re: My guns (third try to get this to work right, Aaaargggh!)

"Your buddy who does a little home smithing is now a felon if he hangs a barrel on your rifle."

He is my buddy, but he is a full time custom gun business.

As long as the customer owns the components, the repair of re-barrelling a rifle with new barrel due to a barrel that is shot out is not considered manufacturing. Smiths who are not manufacturers seem to prefer it this way from my expereince.

Custom gunsmiths probably spend more time actually rebarrelling actions and changing stocks than building guns from the ground up. There are a lot of used custom guns that have very good components that just need to be tweeked to be as good as a new custom build.

As far as figuring out how to supoprt the gunsmiths for them to make a good living, I will leave that up to those who aspire to do it. I am sure it is possible, many of the top BR smiths in the country are doing fairly well. I keep my gunsmith on retainer so that when I need to get a new barrel chambered, threaded and crowned, it will get done as I stand there and watch him do it. Usually within a week.

You can't really expect for somebody to not pick up good deals on barrels, actions, stocks etc to ultimately put them together into a very nice rifle. If you are not prepared for your customers to reuse their actions and stocks when the barrel is worn out, then you might want to re-think the venture.

I know a lot of guys who have done the following:

Guy #1 is interested in a new barrel. Guy #2 is interested in a new scope. Guy #3 is interested in a new action. Guy #4 is interested in a different stock. And, at the shooting match they are attending, a brand new rifle is being sold that meets all of their specifications and desires. Boy I have seen this at almost ever match I have shot at. Anyway,

If guy #1 wanted you to install the new barrel he took off of a new gun that was unfired would you do it?

If guy #3 wanted you to barrel and stock his new action would you do it?

If guy #4 wanted you to restock his barrelled action would you do it.

My point is that you will find that you are probably doing more piece work than total rifle builds. The point of getting a good action and stock to begin with is for it to be a lifetime investment. It should provide an excellent platform for the specific shooting discipline much longer than the shooter participates in shooting.

For instance Tony Boyers' original Shilen actioned rifle was recently sold and it is still as competitive as it was ten years ago.

There will come a time when the market is saturated with custom actions and/or the industry cannot supply them quick enough for the demand. During those instances, folks will buy used guns and have them configured to their liking and if you are not willing to do it since it is not a ground up build you will be losing out on a lot of business. You may even spend a lot of time correcting factory gun problems.

I grew up around my dads' business. He owned a production comany that produced packaging machinery. So I am well versed from time in his machine shops.

For what it's worth, I have it from a good information source that a lot of the Surgeon Rifle companys work is actually contracted out. One of our ex-farmers down here is one of their machinists/gunsmiths. He also builds custom rifles that would rival any that you could come up with for comparison.

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Unread 01-31-2007, 10:21 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: North Bend, Oregon
Posts: 1,476
Re: My guns (third try to get this to work right, Aaaargggh!)

While their not Weatherby's they are not too bad for home made.

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]Just kidding [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

Good luck in your new venture.
Some kids want to be a fireman or a doctor to help people. I wanted to be a gunsmith.

NRA Life Member and I vote.

Only accurate rifles are interesting.

Gordy and Brady.
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