Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Go Back   Long Range Hunting Online Magazine > Rifles, Reloading, Optics, Equipment > Gunsmithing


How did you gunsmiths get started

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Unread 08-14-2008, 11:15 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 316
Re: How did you gunsmiths get started

i'm going to be attending the Colorado School of Trades gunsmithing program. its 14 months, 32 hours a week. i'll build a rifle while im there and learn pretty much every thing else.
Reply With Quote

Unread 08-14-2008, 11:47 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 753
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.

Good luck.

Reply With Quote
Unread 08-15-2008, 07:44 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: SW Wisconsin
Posts: 225
Re: How did you gunsmiths get started

Now for me I've been a rifle addict for many years, and it took about 10 years (or more) before I was even in a situation to get a lathe and set up a shop. In the mean time though, I've taken machine shop classes at the local tech school, and a rifle rebarreling class at one of the NRA sponsored summer gunsmithing courses. My full-time job is an Armament Tech for the military (I'm really into it). But really I think what will improve one more than anything is studying, reading, and tinkering around with your own stuff. Hell, I even picked up a sinebar rifling machine that I rifle muzzleloader barrels with and have an uncle that is a good mentor. He doesn't live nearby but loves to talk gunsmithing and machining. He builds and restores antique muzzleloaders, many parts made from scratch, including more than a few barrels on his home-build rifling bench.

Read some of the older gunsmithing books available. There are really quite a few out there, and you'll learn how to do a lot of things by HAND when you don't have the power equipment yet. When you get that lathe, mill, etc... you'll have a lot of sound fundamentals IMO.

It's definitely not something that happens overnight, but it's a great hobby and proffession for the lucky ones...I still need a job for the day to day, but I'll have an enjoyable retirement job in 15+ years.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads for: How did you gunsmiths get started
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
gunsmiths? hawkinpup Gunsmithing 6 09-07-2009 09:28 AM
Top Gunsmiths wildcat Gunsmithing 53 06-02-2009 10:58 PM
Gunsmiths muleyman Gunsmithing 1 04-22-2009 10:57 AM
gunsmiths waylon The Basics, Starting Out 2 01-08-2005 03:34 PM
gunsmiths jadams The Basics, Starting Out 8 09-12-2002 04:48 PM

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:46 PM.

All content ©2010-2015 Long Range Hunting, LLC