Top Gunsmiths.

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by kc, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. kc

    kc Well-Known Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    I spent at least an hour reading the rants and raves on who is the best Gunsmith and who was not listed..
    Guys as my first post I have to say to make a great shooting rifle it starts with the barrel, a good action (blueprinted)a stock that is of great quality the tolerences +or- and a person who knows someting about using the tools to build a great shooter. Than there is the sights if there not squared with the action you might as well start all over, because most of what you started has just been flushed. get it right the first time, if you have a scope and its not in proper leavel dont expect a 1000 yard shooter.
    My first rifle I built, my Brother and I used the tools at his shop, its a tool and die company. The tolerences were so tight I worried about doing something wrong..We used a Remi SA a Lilja Barrel an HS Precision stock a Burris scope and built my first .223, its a woodchuck killer
    and yes it will reach out to 500 yards and it works great! At 100 yards I can keep five shots in an area the size of a dime. Now I know most of the names mentioned but never had the pleasure of shaking there hand, I have read and been told of there great work as smiths
    but alot of my work is done at Williams Gunsight in Davison Michigan..I can walk to the range it so close.
  2. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

    Jul 1, 2002
    Thats great.

    their are guys out their that can build guns to shoot with the best of them maybe even set some world records and nobody has ever heard of them and some are house hold names ,their are some guys out their that are claimed to be the best and after seeing their work I woulden't let them work on a sling shot !!!

    I personaly can build and have built guns that will shoot in the .1's at 100yds , after your first shot you can't tell your hitting the paper anymore , I'm not saying I'm the best I'm saying that nobodys ever heard of me ,I don't build guns now as I don't have a shop.
    I have the pleasure of living close to a fella that builds guns that contend for world records , the builder himself has some records to his name and is a hall of fame shooter , Don Geraci , probably never heard of him have you? , he guarntees his guns to shoot 3/8" if you can shoot that well , anymore he only builds for a select few people by appointment only.

    I understand what your saying and agree 100% , all I can say is that once you find a guy that'll do work to your spec then stick with him.

  3. Rimfire

    Rimfire Well-Known Member

    Jul 14, 2007
    Well said
    I've shot in matches alongside some great shooters who build their own riflles and you wouldn't know it unless you asked. They are humble people who can build an awsome rifles and back it up on paper infront of people. Most wont build for other people, but if they would I'd let them build for me even though they are "no names"

    I also had a big name do work for me which ended for the reason you stated, not doing work to my spec. When a trusted smith worked on the same gun / action I found out the the threads were not cut but it was on the bill. Another rifle Mod. 70 went to Africa with me to find out the trigger pin worked it's way out a month after it was worked on. And a friends 300 Rum came back with a tight neck that was not asked for. I got stuck neck turning for him so he could still make his hunt. I often hear this smiths name and would love to warn people that he talks a good game and granted he can shoot, but most likely wont be ther one working on your rifle if it goes to his shop.

    I don't like the term top smiths because there are many others out there just as good that will never be on the list. Mine is on the list of top smiths but wasn't when I started using him. I think he is on the list for doing quality work to the specs asked for by his customers. Are there better smiths hell I couldn't tell you. All I know is I get what I ask for and his work is as good as the next labeled top smith.

    A lot of different people win auto races and I know the same mechanic doesn't build all their engines
  4. NesikaChad

    NesikaChad Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Hitting the nail on the head

    You all are spot on.

    As a gun maker myself its been my experience that the line between gunsmith and marketing strategist becomes blurred when promoting ones self. The ego tends to take over and as time goes on, the sear that controls the mouth wears and it starts to double and eventually go full rapid in a run away fashion.

    The November 2007 edition of PS featuring Norm Chandler's thoughts on his fancy new sniper rifle that no one wants kind of summarized(s) this best I think.

    All to often we hear, "Best, finest, most accurate, legend, legacy, etc. . .only to detect a slight taste of bile in the back of our throats upon initial contact with these masterpieces."

    I once saw a collection of current production shot guns offered at the 2005 shot show for a bargain basement price of $400,000.00 that still had jitter bug sander marks on the stock wood. They coated the things with a bottle of lemon oil in an effort to hide it. All it did was serve as a dust magnet.

    How could this be I was forced to ask.

    I say this when engaged with a customer:

    "I don't claim to be better than anyone else, but I will say what I offer is unique."

    "I don't make accuracy claims as I equate them to a penis measuring contest."

    "I will/can say my guns have won Olympic, World, International, and National level competitions in a variety of disciplines."

    "I can say I receive nice comments regarding fit, finish, and end line user level performance."

    Experience is never cheap.

    Back to the story, ya'll are right. Keep the egos on safe and just let a product sell itself.

    Keep well.

  5. Supermag

    Supermag Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2006
    I definetly don't have a dog in this fight, not owning a custom made rifle (yet) or building rifles. I will say one way to judge the top smiths is by the consistancy of the product they put out. Everyone gets lucky sometimes and that may be with a single gun that sets records or whatever. The trick is building every gun out with the same standards you used to get that one gun. I think of it kind of like reducing your standard deviation (I know way too much stats classes).
  6. LewisH

    LewisH Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2007
    Don Geraci? Yes James, anyone who was ever interested in benchrest has heard of him.

    We don't have any benchrest competition here in So. Calif., but I used to read the literature for the tips on case prep, accuracy reloading, etc., and Don Geraci's named turned up again and again.
  7. eddybo

    eddybo Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2007

    You oughta meet Mr. Don he is a real character. I think if he could find 40 lbs of the old GI powder and 10k old euber bullets he would still be racking up HOF points. He got all of his points in a 9 year period. I doubt anyone will ever gather more points in such a short period. His house is like a shrine to accuracy. With numerous world records hanging in his reloading room and pictures of all of the great shooters that he was friends with adorning the place it is a history lesson for any shooter.

    I saw his name on Nesika's website one day and was going to give him a call but forgot about it. As luck would have it I met him at a restuarant by pure chance and didnt realize who he was until after I had received an invitation to come shoot with him. That chance meeting turned into a good friendship despite the 30 year age difference. He is one of the greatest guys I have ever met. I have learned so much from him in the past year that sometimes I feel I should be paying tuition.

    Sorry if that was more than you wanted to know about the old goat but I guess I am feeling a little meloncoly today. He told me that he is going to quit traveling to BR matches and only shoot the local circuit.

    BTW on a brighter note he started shooting long range a couple years back. His first ever 600 yard group measured .890 ctc (that was with a gun he built that is for sale on this forum right now, Rbelotes 6mm Stolle).
    He still kicks butt in ARG (rimfire benchrest for group) and set 3 or 4 new ARG world records this year, so I guess the ragin cajun will rage on a while longer. I bet that if he sets his mind to it and catches some good conditions that he is going to set a f-class record before he quits that too. I wouldnt be surprised if he pulls off a 600-60x, and if he does I will feel that no one deserves it more.

  8. E.Precision

    E.Precision Active Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    I believe there are no best gunsmiths, there are simply too many known and unknown to even worry about comparing. I do believe that some marketed better or different to become well known, but doesnt mean they are better gunsmiths. What I looked for was consistancy, price, know their stuff but dont say they are the best, and service. I havent heard of some gunsmiths on here or other sites before though.

  9. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    I might as well get my 2 cents in to this thread.

    To me the mark of a good Gunsmith is his desire to make each
    rifle/pistol better than the last, (It may not be possible but he tries)
    and his interest in what the customer wants/expects and then follow
    up on how well the weapon is performing.

    Some times the well known smith loses sight of what made him/hers
    reputation in the first place.

    After all is said and done the customer has the last word and one aw$h!t
    wipes out any attaboys.

  10. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

    Jun 13, 2007

    Boy you hit the nail on the head.

    I just ask for the smith to be fair, competant and honest and tell how much it is going to cost (really) and when it really is going to be done.

    I have dealt with enough over the years to learn who builds what I like the way I like and that means a lot to most people and treats me as a valued customer,. Not just the next $ to walk thru the door.