How You Chose Your Gunsmith?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by waspocrew, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. waspocrew

    waspocrew Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully this isn't too stupid of a question...I'm definitely not a stranger to firearms, but this will be my first go around with a rifle build. I've already decided on caliber, barrel, contour, stock, etc., but I need help finding the right person to do the job.

    For those who have worked with great gunsmiths, how did you go about finding them? I recently moved from Logan, UT to Richmond, Virginia to attend med school, so I'm a little lost on how to go about this. Any help would be great!

    Without really knowing anyone in the area, I'm having a hard time finding info "through the grapevine". I'm assuming it'd be worthwhile surfing the net, talking to others at shooting ranges/gun stores, but I'm curious to see if there are any more effective ways.

    For those who might be interested, I'd like to take a Rem 700 SPS Varmint 22-250 and turn it into:

    - 6.5 Creedmoor
    - Bartlein 26" SS Rem Varmint Contour, 1:8 Twist
    - Timney Trigger
    - Manners MCS-TA Stock
     
  2. stenger

    stenger Well-Known Member

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    Before I began precision rifle smithing I would choose a smith by customer service. Having someone that you can talk to and is willing to answer your questions is priceless. Don't get all caught up in the CNC hype and flashy web sites. Choose someone who has good references and is customer friendly. One of the best accuracy smiths alive is Gordy Gritters.
     

  3. FearNoWind

    FearNoWind Well-Known Member

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    If you're attending medical school where do you find the time to work on finding a gunsmith in an unfamiliar area? You must certainly enjoy enormous challenges. :cool:
    I choose a gunsmith first by spending time at shooting ranges and talking with the best, obsessive, experienced shooters I can connect with who are shooting custom rifles. I try to befriend them and make a close examination of their equipment and their targets (for the longest yardage available and the shortest - i.e. benchrest shooters). I get the information they will share about local and, where applicable, "mail order" gunsmith services. Most often they'll let me handle, even take a few shots with their rifle. Sometimes that takes me to a local gunsmith, sometimes it's worth the trouble to ship out of state.
    If I can I visit the gunsmiths that were recommended. I'm interested in friendly service but I'll accept a cantankerous old coot who does a masterful job over a nice guy who does sloppy work any day.
    I've known Mel Doyle, St. Maries, Idaho, for more years than I can remember. Clear back when he was in California. He is my "go to" guy for handguns. But I have a local guy who builds my rifles because he's only ten miles away and builds the rifle, develops the best load, and hands it all back to me with 100 yard bug whole guarantees: and his guarantee has never failed.
     
  4. waspocrew

    waspocrew Well-Known Member

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    I might be a little too ambitious, but I'm hoping that finding a gunsmith can be my way of keeping sane and it'll be a good break from studying! :D

    I appreciate your advice and Stenger's! It sounds like I've got some work to do and better stay patient. I realize this is a process one wouldn't want to rush. I'd like to have this be a quality rifle, not something that I can have assembled quickly without attention to detail.

    Thanks again for your input!
     
  5. Rick Richard

    Rick Richard Well-Known Member

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    There are a bunch of builders out there, which makes it very difficult for us folks who are first timers wanting a custom. With that said, develop a list based on recommendations from folks like the folks on this site, research info and narrow that selection. Once you have done this, start calling the builders and discuss your wants and needs. Through discussion and interaction, you will find out rather quickly which builder to choose. This is why I chose Dallas Lane with Lane Precision Rifles.
     
  6. jsthntn247

    jsthntn247 Well-Known Member

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    Look around and find a good smith within driving distance. If you ever need anything for it, he'll be close by and you can go explain what's happening and have him fix it. If he loses/sales your parts and won't return your phone calls, he'll be close by to find him.....
     
  7. waspocrew

    waspocrew Well-Known Member

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    Great advice so far, I appreciate it!
     
  8. Dr. Vette

    Dr. Vette Well-Known Member

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    Good luck with that thought.

    Some analogies from my time in med school 25y ago that are still true today...

    You covered in a day of college what you did in a week of high school, and you'll cover in a day of med school what you covered in a week of college.

    or

    Going to medical school is like trying to take a drink of water from a gushing fire hydrant. There's only so much of it you can take in, and it's coming at you faster than you can handle.

    The only time I spent with firearms while in med school was to deer hunt a weekend or two in the fall, and only because I went to school in the same state I grew up. I distinctly recall getting a deer in my 3rd year while reading a medical textbook, then driving in that evening for a shift in the ER.

    I will be quite surprised if you have enough time to think about shooting while in med school, but that's only based on my experience. :)
     
  9. Rustystud

    Rustystud Well-Known Member

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    A gunsmiths location if local is good but not a limiting criteria. The Brown truck can deliver your rifle to the selected gunsmith within a few days anywhere in the United Sstates.

    Look at the shooting discipline your custom rifle will most closely fit. Find a gunsmith who has winners in that shooting discipline. Do a web search, contact the local better business bureau and the clerk of the local courts office for complaints, etc. If you select a gunsmith find out whose actions, barrels, stocks, they use. contact those vendors and inquire what kind of relationship they have, and if they will give the gunsmith a reference. Ask the gunsmith for a list of customer references. Talk to several gunsmiths in person and/or on the phone. ask them for an itemized custom build contract. A good gunsmith will listen to you first, as your custom rifle is yours. He or she will then give you feed back and suggestions to save you money and heart ache. Both you and the gunsmith have to have a re'poir with each other. The better gunsmith don't have to advertise for work, so they are weeding out potential trouble customers during the planning stages of a build. There has to be a commitment by both parties when building a custom rifle. Expect to wait for the completion of your rifle. Components have to be ordered and delivered before your rifle can be completed. Let your gunsmith purchase all the component for your build, that way there are no questions about the components and easier warranties if there is a problem. There are many great gunsmiths in America do your home work and you want be disappointed. Don't let a bunch of keyboard jockeys influence your build let it be your's and your gunsmith's work, you will be much happier.
    Good Luck
    Nat Lambeth
     
  10. chad8369

    chad8369 Member

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    I've had the best luck for precision rifles and AR's with Snipe Custom Arms in Lexington KY.. and they ship as well!!