Re: How did you gunsmiths get started
This is my opinion, and since it's America I get to share it.
CST is a waste of your time and your money. I was the production manager for Nesika Bay Precision prior to coming to Iraq. All six of the employees I had were graduates from CST and it showed. In three years, all but one had left.
Dakota Arms, Inc. hired one of their instructors and the guy, in addition to being a raging booze addict, was incompetent and a danger to himself and others around him.
One of the employees there, also a graduate from that school, shot himself (TWICE) while test firing rifles in the ballistic "snail". He was too lazy to follow procedure and vice the barreled action and while testing double rifles he inadvertently set the second barrel off while the gun was in recoil, blasting the face of the snail and fragging himself in the process.
Bear in mind he was the first one to do this (let alone the second) in the company's 24 year history.
I have no personal beef with the place. these are just observations made on personal eye witness accounts.
Trinidad however seems to have a pretty good program. I know three people that have graduated from that school and they all do pretty nice work. I know of a couple well established and very respected gunmakers/barrel makers that are also products of their school.
Trade schools, IMO, aren't about education. They are about job placement.
If you have the money to go to a school like that, then its reasonable to think that you'd have the money to relocate to a top notch gun maker's location and beg a job off him for $2.00 an hour and work for two years learning.
I'd make a good wager that you'd come out ahead on your education and financial status. I'd also suggest/encourage you to go to a machine shop that specializes in small production run jobs and tool making. You want this because you'll see a bigger variety of work. Not just long, mundane jobs where you make love to the green button on the machine while fantasizing about suck starting a pistol because you're so bored. Making guns isn't hard, but it isn't something everyone should be doing either. Machine work plays a very large part of it so it certainly helps to know set ups, speeds/feeds, cutter selection, and how tools behave when chewing through different kinds of material.
In four years you could/would seriously be a leg up on a lot of people in this trade.