Real time custom gun assembly

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by BMF, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. BMF

    BMF Well-Known Member

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    I have a question for all you gunsmiths out there. How long does it take to assemble and chamber a custom rifle once you have all the components ?
    Thanks Brent
     
  2. Browninglover1

    Browninglover1 Well-Known Member

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    Most smiths charge about $500 to true the action and thread and chamber a barrel. If you assume that they work on $75-100/hour shop rate (pretty common rates) it should take them between 5 and 7 hours.
     

  3. BMF

    BMF Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't sure, buts that about what I figured too. Thanks

    On a side note.......then why the heck does it take " my smith" 2 yrs to complete my build when he's had all the components for we'll over a year and my deposit (75%) for almost 2 yrs.

    I know, I know..........but still, it's frustrating. I guess if I get a good product, it'll be worth the wait.
     
  4. squeezenhope

    squeezenhope Well-Known Member

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    Probably should not let this out, but I had McWhorter build me a rifle during an apparent slack period and had it at my dealer nine days from the time I placed the order. Obviously all materials were on hand, but they still had to do some machining, assemble, cerakote the action and paint the stock. Makes you wonder about some of the excuses some gunsmiths come up with.
     
  5. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Everyone will probably come up with a different time line because of the way they do business.

    Actual work time also depends on the equipment each one has, the amount of work they have,
    the requirements of the job and the conditions of the supplied parts.

    If nothing requires fixing, changing and everything fits perfect. (Which is almost never) actual
    machine time is 8 to 10 hours, assembly and testing is another 4 or 5 hours.

    So ultimately 2 weeks is possible or less if the smith only works on your rifle (Most have many
    going at the same time).

    I would have to say that 3 months should be max. years to build is ridiculous.

    2+ years is absurd

    The main piece of advice I would give anyone is to never pay 100% of the money up front (It
    removes any incentive to finish on time). Cover the key components (barrel, stock, trigger and
    muzzle break. and pay the labor when you pick the rifle up.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  6. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like his way of saying he doesn't want your business ?

    Why does a barrel maker take 16 weeks to make a barrel and another 8 weeks to fit it to your action ? Of course, neither process takes that long. There is probably barely an hour in the making of a barrel including lapping when you figure it sells for $350 including material. Cutting the shoulder back and adjusting the thread diameter can't be more than a couple of hours either.

    No what is happening is that there are a gazillion people who's jobs are prioritized over yours and yours stays on the shelf collecting dust.

    If I were you, I would take a drive and go get your components and money back, if the parts have not already been sold to someone else...

     
  7. BMF

    BMF Well-Known Member

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    I know my project got put on the shelf and brushed off for more important projects. Personally I wouldn't even have a problem with it taking a year or a little longer, but when I was originally told 6-8 month......that's where my frustration peaks. It's just plain lying to get business.

    I've thought about getting my components back, but he's out west and I'm in Mi so im kinda screwed there. I have no doubt my build will be top notch, according to the people that have used his services.

    I also agree with JEcustom, 3 months should the longest (after they get all components). I could even accept 6 months. But the few machinist / gunsmiths I've delt with so far have all been the same. They tell you a completion date and it takes twice as long as they told you. Then they blame it on the component manufacturers. So I had a buddy that got all the components himself and gave them to our gunsmith, and guess what. You got it, it's not the components after all. It's a prioritizing issue.

    I wish more gunsmiths where as responsible and forthcoming and the ones I hear from on this forum.
     
  8. Coyboy

    Coyboy Well-Known Member

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    Well since I'm getting out of the business let me give you guys a little tutorial on the process I used to manage my workload, and prevent a log jam in the process. For some people organization is not always there strong point, in this business it is a must,and unfortunately some excellent rifle builders may lack that skill.

    I made a point of scheduling all my semi/custom builds, so as a down payment (ie firm commitment) came in for a build, that was already written up, it was given a completion month somewhere down the road based on what rifles were "already on the books"
    The trick was to book months with a certain number of builds that I KNEW I could finish. I took the stance that I would rather under book a month. That would give me lee-way to catch up if for some reason I fell behind. Then about every 6th month I scheduled nothing, more "catch-up time" if needed. Doing this I kept 90% of rifles delivered in the month they were assigned to be delivered. If I needed work during a catch-up period it was easy enough to move every-body up on the schedule, or fill in time with re-barrels for the competitive shooters I serviced. Or pick up some little jobs. Doing this allowed me to continue to brake installs one week per month, as outlined on my web-site for those installs.

    So it was truly a mix of long term commitments to full builds and allowing time for the fast turn-around items like bedding jobs, brake instals ect.

    Now customers expectations can be much different based on how they went about the project. If you ordered all your parts and had them in hand, I would try and fit you into some slack time if that was at all possible. If it weren't, you went on the end of the list with the guys who I ordered parts for. because why should I push there builds back when they have been waiting, and the guy with the parts in hand demands a 4 week turn around?

    Other things that could hold up a build that many customers fail to consider;

    Parts orders, times can vary wildly on my orders from suppliers, I may be quoted 8 weeks and it ends up being 20. I have had stock makers lose an order and after waiting 16 weeks you call them and they lost it, then they take another 16 weeks to get it to me. It dosen't happen often but it does happen.

    Reamers, I may have to order a new reamer for your project, or may have to send my reamer in for resharpening, depending how the work load lays out if your rifle was due in 6 weeks and my reamer needed a touch up I would rather send it in for service that may take 10 weeks than to cut your chamber on a dull or failing reamer.

    Another thing some customers fail to consider, If you e-mailed me in January and asked about my lead times and I assured you you would get a rifle ordered today before sept 1st. But then you failed to follow up quickly and waited until March 1st to get the down payment in, guess what Now your rifle just got bumped by the 10 other guys that contacted me and got the down-payment in ahead of you.

    Interruptions, The single owner operator really needs to manage his time well, customers demand open access to there smith but this also slows the production of your rifle and the dozens of other rifles he is committed to building. Calling to BS or ask about loads during the middle of a work day is purely inconsiderate of your rifle smith time. Send it in an e-mail so he can report back at his leisure, and off machine time.

    Job changes in mid stream, about 25% of customers request a change mid-build, even just the addition of a single part can cause a delay, Know what you want when you place the order, I have been in the circumstance where a guys rifle is in the month of completion and now he wants a fluted barrel, guess what He just delayed every-ones build by 1 hour, thats what I will waist, talking to him on the phone and boxing up his barrel to send it back to the barrel manf. to flute. not to mention the delay he just caused the barrel maker in his shop, to rework an already out the door item. I currently have 2 rifles that were done 3 months ago sitting in the shop waiting for NF scopes, because the customer ordered them last minute and here I go again on suppliers lead times.

    I by no means intend this to be an excuses for the smith who takes 2 years when he told you 6 months, this is just a brief outline of what the smith is going thru on his end that customers may fail to consider. Food for thought when you order your first or next build.
     
  9. BMF

    BMF Well-Known Member

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    Interruptions, The single owner operator really needs to manage his time well, customers demand open access to there smith but this also slows the production of your rifle and the dozens of other rifles he is committed to building. Calling to BS or ask about loads during the middle of a work day is purely inconsiderate of your rifle smith time. Send it in an e-mail so he can report back at his leisure, and off machine time.

    Excellent point ^^^^
     
  10. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    +1

    My recommendation is to first, have a clear understanding of what you want the smith to do
    and that he understands BEFORE HE STARTS.

    Do not make changes without understanding that it WILL delay the completion of the build.

    E mailing the smith to check on progress is OK, But the smith can /should keep you up dated
    on the progress. (Not every little thing just the Big stages). Two or three times during the build
    should be enough.

    Note; Some smiths over book and this is impossible if they want to finish anything so again, find
    out what his work load is and what his schedule is for completing you rifle and make sure he
    understands that you expect him to honor the deadline and for him not to tell you something
    that is not achievable.

    Honesty is the best policy and if you don't like the time, you still have the option to go somewhere
    else.

    Building a custom rifle should be exciting. And poor schedules and communications can ruin the fun
    and turn it into a very bad ordeal.

    So Make sure every aspect of the build is clear and agreed on before starting and if the time line
    is not followed you have the right to remove your parts and only pay for what was done.

    And once again DO NOT PAY 100% of the money up front. Pay progress payments for work that
    has been done and it will go much better.

    Just some advice for first timers (Most of the people that have had multiple builds know the best
    way to manage a custom build).

    J E CUSTOM