I'm a semi-stay at home dad, that works two other jobs as well as watching my 3yr-old. I have recently become infected with firearms as a hobby. I'd like to see if I can turn it into a business.
I have been looking a gunsmith schools, and I can't seem to find real info on the good vs. the bad. An online course works very well for me as I work odd hours. But are these course's worth it? Can I actually become a gunsmith and make a living with it? Which one's should I avoid? Many sound too good to be true.
Example, PSU (phoenix state) claims to train you in 6 weeks to a master level with your choice of secondary like reloading, and get you a state and local license with an FFL for $250.
Others charge alittle more, some much, much more. (4k+)
Then there are community colleges with aren't in my area, so that would be a huge problem, housing, tuition etc.. I don't mind work hard for it, I just don't want to work in vain.
Any info would be beyond helpful! Thanks in advance!
I currently have the privilege to have a gunsmith as a mentor while I am learning as much as possible regarding gunsmith skills. I am a novice /wanna be gunsmith.
As I see it, it is not so simple to follow this road via internet school , to become a gunsmith, you need to be multi-skilled, you need to have skills and knowledge about milling machines, drilling machines, tig/mig/gas welding skills, hand-equipment /machine equipment skills/knowledge, design and artistic skills, a lot more other type of skills to enable you to solve problems, re-loading knowledge and you need to know the law regarding fire-arms and the use of fire-arms.
As you can see it is a very broad spectrum you need to cover, I do not think it is possible for a school to cover all this in six weeks period. Go to the nearest gunsmith in your area and ask him to assist you, that maybe the surest way to become a gunsmith.
I have a link you can take a look at where I am busy building/restoring a .375 H&H Magnum, there are already a few skills you need to acquire, it is not impossible, but start at the right place and you will enjoy every moment.
I have had a guy attending there do work and it was awesome. He spent some time moonlighting at Schneider barrels lapping barrels. IMO take a Machining course first then go to GS school. When I finish my BS in Network Admin I am taking a weekend machining course. I will start by making form 1 suppressors for myself, threading my own barrels, building AR's and 1911 ETC maybe go to an armorers course or two here and there. I figure after 15-20 years Ill get sick of fixing servers and have amassed enough equipment to get started gunsmiths. Only problem is there are no smith close to me whom I trust to apprentice under.
"Let glorious acts more glorious acts inspire,
And catch from breast to breast the noble fire!
On valour's side the odds of combat lie,
The brave live glorious, or lamented die;" - Iliad, Book V
Machining skill is important, but isn't the 'end all/be all' of gunsmithing. There's a hugh difference between "todays' machinist and the old school guys that 'grew-up' with manual machining. Most small gunsmithing shops use manual machines. Being a 'machinist' won't make you a stock maker, it won't make you a metal finisher (machinists expect what they make to be 'sellable' right off the machine, no hand work involved), it won't have you ready to hand fit a part or re-solder the rib(s) on classic double. There's much more to being a gunsmith than machine work. What the schools have over the correspondence/interdnet courses is you have a real gunsmith looking over your shoulder to advise you and show you easier/faster/better ways to get the desired results. Just because a guy happens to be a machinist doesn't make him a gunsmith....
"Shoots real good!": definition; it didn't blow-up in my face. 1993 graduate Montgomery Community College 2yr. gunsmithing program
Machining skill is important, but isn't the 'end all/be all' of gunsmithing.
No it isn't but it is the one skill which requires a shop, the machines and the instructor in order to learn. It's much simpler and less costly to take these courses at a community college than it is to acquire the machines and try to teach yourself. Most of the other skills we learned in school are bench techniques and metal joining. Unless you used a stock duplicator some of this was done on manual machines then a ton of hand work at your bench. I write a program now and do most of the inletting on my mill.
With two jobs and a 3 year old I'd say your time is full no matter how excited you get thinking about gunsmithing. I suggest getting some books from the library and some DVDs to get started studying as much of the generalized information as you can. You Tube for the great majority of stuff you find there is useless. There are some well done pieces surrounded by a ton of crap. There are also some very good websites which have tutorials which might help with some techniques and problem solving.
Start small. Try doing some simple repairs. Things like wood or metal checking is in demand and can be done in your spare time at home with little investment. Timing and tuning revolvers is another task readily learned and accomplished at home. There is really no need to be the best all around gunmaker these days. In fact, they are getting scarce. Find out what you really enjoy doing and head in that direction.