Re: Gunsmithing School?
I made a very good living as a gunsmith after I worked for many years struggling month to month.
I will tell you that I have loved everyday of my carrier.
Decide what you want to do as a gunsmith do you want to be a gun repairman then correspondence school will do what you want.
But if you want to build guns then you will get little from them. look into a gunsmith school like Colorado, or Trinidad, the best would be learning from a smith you respect as an apprentice. If you are in an apprenticeship program recognized by the state or feds you can use your GI bill to pay for schooling, Tools of the trade including books, and some money. I had an apprentice that was 60 years old who paid me to learn until he could do the work and I started paying him.
Check with your local community collage and take a course in machine tech. learn to use a lathe and mill as well as a grinder, learn on manual machines, in many cases they will tailor the class to suit your needs, while your their build fixtures and tools you will use in the trade.
If you want to really struggle try running a business with little or no inventory or with out the proper tools, you will take way to long on a job and not make a dime. Save your money or get a SB loan do it right, you don't need new equipment but you should get tools, machines, inventory, and a good location before you start doing it full time. If you have a local gun shop near you you might be able to rent space from them that would be a win win for both of you.
Take business classes to run a successful business you will need them as much as any other part of the craft.
With the business classes you will learn how to get goverment loans and where to apply for community grants, I know a smith that builds flint locks and got some funding from a state folk arts commission. In many places their are incubator programs ran by the city or county to help start new business, they offer shop space and other benefits.
Get as many books as you can on assembly & disassembly of firearms, gunsmithing, barrel work, chambering, metallurgy, metal coating and stock work. You can find them on eBay and amazon.com at low prices.
Brownell's has a great selection of new books, their gunsmith kinks is very helpful.
Specialize in a part of the trade you like shooting, I have met some great smiths that make a good living doing cowboy action only, others who are shotgun smiths etc...
Their is nothing wrong with general gunsmithing you will work on lots of different guns but it is a little more expensive to get into because of the larger selection of parts and tooling and fixtures you will need.
I would specialize in one or two disciplines at the most.
Go to matches, shoots and any other type of gathering that will get your name out their. Get involved in the NRA, and any other shooting org. that is of interest to you.
Have good ethics in business, don't do work your not qualified to do, and don't take in more work then you can do in a reasonable amount of time, and don't give a time of completion that you can't keep. Never tell a customer his gun isn't worth fixing or that it will not be worth the money it will take to fix it up, Its his gun and it might be a family treasure so give him a price and let him decide if its worth it.
Set a shop rate and stick to it, Brownell's has a price guide that is fair.
Theirs a lot more but I'm old and need to take a nap so I'll let someone else give that advise.
Gunsmithing is a great and honorable trade you will enjoy it. Good luck