Smith has had my rifles for 2+ years. Losing patience...

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by benchracer, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. benchracer

    benchracer Well-Known Member

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    I sent two actions to a smith in the spring of 2011 for new barrel install and action work. I plan to do the metal finish, stock work, and bedding myself. I have done business with him before. I have always been pleased with his work in the past.

    He has now had my actions and my money for over two years. I check in with him periodically to see how things are going, always keeping things friendly, cordial, and brief. He has been telling me for more than six months that my rifles are in work and will be the next ones finished. I am aware that he has battled some health problems, so I have cut him some slack.

    However, I feel that 2+ years is an excessive amount of time to wait, especially when they are not even complete rifle builds. My patience is wearing thin and I want to apply some pressure. I haven't done that yet. If I do apply pressure, I want to handle this with some class, rather than simply being an @$$hole.

    I would really appreciate some advice from folks who are gunsmiths themselves. I feel that some perspective from the other side of the counter would be useful here.

    Is there room for me to take a wise, high road kind of approach in this situation?

    At what point would I be justified in simply cutting bait and requesting that my money and materials be returned?

    I am done doing business with this particular smith, but I don't wish to mistreat him in the process.
     
  2. EddieHarren

    EddieHarren Well-Known Member

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    It sounds, to me, like you need to tell him exactly what you have told us.
     

  3. PhulesAu

    PhulesAu Well-Known Member

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    Screw nice. No excuse is acceptable. Unless 2 years wait was in a contract you signed.
     
  4. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    Your first mistake is dealing with anyone who wants money up front. Once they have your money they have zero incentive to do anything more. If there is to be any early money, it would be to cover the cost of items bought in, nothing else.

    Get yourself a new smith. Worst case scenario, he not only has your money but has sold your assets too. Can't tell you how many times I have heard of this happening.
     
  5. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    Time to go pick them up nicely.

    Tell him you understand his health issues, and do not want to burden him with anymore work under the circumstances.

    No hard feelings.

    However, do not be surprised if he pushes back in which case I would want to lay eyes on the parts you sent him. Would not be the first time for stuff to disappear under hard circumstances.
     
  6. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    Ditto above to long of a time frame, you should at least have one and better commitment by him
     
  7. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    Yes agree with the others. I have been through this kind of crap before with gunsmiths. That was the reason I bought my lathe and mill , got sick of them in general .
    You need to go back and sight your actions as he may have lost them . I've heard the health excuse before , if it was genuine why not just call you and tell you he can't do it.
    I sent an expensive stock to a gunsmith for some minor rail work and later he denied he ever took it . Found out from a friend that it was stolen from his shop because he left it on the counter while out the back and someone nicked it.
    After months of trying to get him to replace it I decided to square up another way which I can't discuss.
    Now I never leave anything with a gunsmith unless they are prepared to write a receipt with full description of the article left . No receipt no work .
    If he still has the stuff then tell him if they are not finished in 2 weeks you are coming back to take your property back and wanting a refund.
    let him know that if you are forced to do that you will discuss his bad service on the INTERNET . They hate the INTERNET as it can ruin their business .
     
  8. Mike 338

    Mike 338 Well-Known Member

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    Might have to just tell him "I'm coming over (in say a week) to pick up my guns in what ever condition they're in". Tell him you'll pay him for what's already done but want a refund for what's not. Maybe he'll finish them, maybe he won't but at least you can take them to someone else. At this point (IMO), it's no longer about the money.

    I too have had my share of excessive wait times, as compared to the quote given by the Smith. It seems like a large percentage of Smiths are taking in firearms and sitting on them with no regard to the quote given to the Customer. I've dealt with 3 different Smiths in the last several years. One I had to give the above ultimatum to, one I still don't have the rifle (3 month quote and it's been 7 months) and the other was right on time with short waits but he didn't offer full services. Smithing's sorta becoming a seedy business.
     
  9. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    One of the ways I learned to speed up a gunsmith on a rebarrel was to learn how to remove my own barrels and strip my own action and bolt.
    That way all I gave the gunsmith back then was the bare bolt , bare action and new barrel . From that point it's a very easy job for them and they can't loose any small parts or swap any parts for worn ones . Of course my next step was my own lathe . Even if I am rougher than a professional gunsmith , it is just way more satisfying and far less drama .
     
  10. benchracer

    benchracer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, everyone, for your advice. My thinking tracks closely with what has been said. I intend to have my rifles and parts returned and request a refund for any uncompleted work. I will go from there once I have everything back in my posession.
     
  11. benchracer

    benchracer Well-Known Member

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    That's what I already do. I generally have the action ready to be worked on when it goes to the smith. In the past, when I have had time, I would do any work that didn't require machining or delicate fitting myself (for example, drill & tap, face the bolt, lap lugs).

    I wish I knew enough about machining and welding to do more of this stuff myself. Still, a really good smith is a true artist IMO. I have no illusions that I could come close to matching what a good smith can do, even if I had the tools.
     
  12. Sully2

    Sully2 Well-Known Member

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    At what point would I be justified in simply cutting bait and requesting that my money and materials be returned?

    Id have gotten my stuff back long before this!
     
  13. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    Well in that case your smith is a real dud. In the US you have lots of good gunsmiths but over here the situation is far from ideal. You can count the good gunsmiths on one hand , over here .
    I thought like you that I could never do it but you can. Now If I can't do a certain job , I buy a new part or I live without it .
    I have watched quite a few gunsmiths work over the years and to tell you the truth they are not as precision as they have us believe.
    I once got the huge bull job about how he fitted a barrel all the indicating and deltronic pins and dialling in . However one time I snuk up to his workshop window and did a bit of detective work and guess what . I watched him whack a barrel into a 6 jaw chuck and just start chambering . All the sales talk was total BS. If you actually spend the time to do all the dialling in an indexing a barrel as you would in a 4 jaw you realise that it takes so much time that they would not make enough money doing every barrel that way .
     
  14. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    I'm no gunsmith, but it don't get no simpler than that ... don't make it any harder that it needs to be. :cool:

    Agree! L:rolleyes:L on the 2 year contract statement. lightbulb