Would gunsmithing be a good second job?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Sako7STW, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Sako7STW

    Sako7STW Well-Known Member

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    In my current job I currently work 12 hour shifts. I work a 7 days on and 7 days off schedule. I really enjoy tinkering with my guns and have thought about this as a good way to do something I enjoy and make some funds for my gun habit on the side.

    Good gunsmiths are hard to find in this area it seams. I think I would do well. So my question's are;

    How much equipment do you need?
    Whats the best way to get good training? Schools?
    Is the money good enough to be worth my while?
     
  2. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    After 20 yrs. in the business, I'm here to tell ya', there is no end to the tools question. There's always something else to make or buy in that department. If you're going to 'smith for others you'll need to be licensed. Get some of that NRA sponsored liability insurance, too. Get some professional training. Over the years, I've met up with more "self trained" that are no more than hacks, although, I've met up with a few who are darned sharp. Don't expect to satisfy your "habit" with big earnings. Many suppliers don't offer substantial 'dealer discounts', only a few do, or, your price is based on the volume you order. Ya' gotta' love it!
     

  3. stenger

    stenger Well-Known Member

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    To do it right you need about 25000+ in tools a building and countless other costs. Also you are going to need insurance and a manufactures license which also comes with more fees. As stated above you can make a little, but you must love the work or you wont last!
     
  4. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    The question I have is:- Will you still love tinkering with your guns when you spend most of your free time fixing someone else's guns and not enjoying yours ?
    I don't know any Plumbers that enjoy Plumbing as a sport or hobby on their day off !
    Just another view from another angle that may be worth considering.
     
  5. Hired Gun

    Hired Gun Well-Known Member

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    If you want to wreck a perfectly good hobby, make it your job. That's the only thing that keep me out of adult films.
     
  6. tinman13kup

    tinman13kup Well-Known Member

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    It would be a losing proposition unless you had a lot of people looking for a gunsmith in your area.

    Right off the bat, you need to check your local and state laws and meet those requirements. Depending on where you live, it might not be anything, but when you get to the federal level, you will have to get a manufacturers license from the batf. If you have no real business, it's difficult to justify the cost. Still, it shouldn't be a deal ender if you really want to do this.

    Next, you will need to invest in a mill and lathe. You don't have to have a cnc machine, but a dro setup would be recommended. The lathe should be large enough to accept turning a barrel on centers, and the tooling required to operate the machine WILL easily exceed the costs of the lathe. Still, you might be able to get a decent lathe/mill and basic tooling for under $10k if you search around. Just try to avoid the chinese junk. Look for R-8 tooling on the mill, and cooling/lubricating systems are something you really want.

    Next, you will need an assortment of hand tools. Cheap screwdrivers that do not fit well will surely mar the screwhead itself and possibly the firearm. People don't like that. Also, pipe-wrenches should never be considered as gun tools:rolleyes:

    You will need a space to set up the workshop then. Since the lathe and mill are pretty heavy and require a solid foundation, a concrete floor is essential. You will also need a safe to store the guns in, so figure that into the equation.

    The majority of the work you are likely to see will include re-blueing, crowning barrels, drilling and mounting scopes, barrel swaps (need headspaced), and the inevitable "my gun is inaccurate, fix it", and the "learn how to shoot" response is not an answer.

    Try going to this site and nose around. It might help you decide if you want to pursue this Gunsmithing
     
  7. etisll40

    etisll40 Well-Known Member

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    I read these posts and agree, enjoy it as a hobby cause if you are a gunsmith, it's a business and takes that much time and energy and funds. I've tried a 2nd job hobby, golf club making, I lost my time to play. I gave up the 2nd job and play golf for fun now. If I looked for a second job hobby with firearms, I'd invest in (land) build a shooting range with a re-loading room. You can then shoot re-load for yourself or others, shoot more, have competitions and such, maybe hire a gunsmith, sell firearms and when you all are through with it, sell the land!

    volume baby volume. The ammunition business is where the money is!

    I may still build a golf driving range or firearm range! Time and money... Don't waste either.

    2cents
     
  8. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I would have to say, It is a great hobby but a terrible job.

    As a hobby, you can work when you want/feel like it and take your time to do the very best work
    at the lowest price possible.

    As a job, making money is the main objective and in some cases quality sufferers,discount parts are
    used and customers are not always the priority.

    Of corse there are exceptions and some Gun smiths are able to keep quality up and cost reasonable.

    Schedules are the main problem when doing smithing as a buisness,

    Tools are a big expense no matter whether it is a job or hobby.

    I would recommend trying to find a part time job in a gunshop and trying the work first and letting the
    business Handel the problems and cost.

    Learn the craft first and then decided whether you want to buy the equipment and go out on your own.

    Sounds cynical, but its just my opinion.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  9. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    I've seen it mentioned twice, now. A "07 Manufactures License" for gunsmithing? Since when? A new ruling I'm unaware of? I attended an ATFE "training and informational seminar" about a year ago. Much discussion about the differences between gunsmithing and manufacturing. I've seen nothing about this in the 'news letter'. Please provide a link to this 'ruling' on the ATFE web site, so I can see it. A 'second job' with a range, commercial reloading, and a gunsmith would get to where 'custom golf club building' went,,,,,,, to a full time job,,and much deeper into the need for liablity, thus adding to overhead costs. Much deeper in regulations, also.
     
  10. tinman13kup

    tinman13kup Well-Known Member

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    You may be correct on the exact requirements, but this is from ATF Pub 5300.4

    (I1) Is a license needed to engage
    in the business of engraving, customizing,
    refinishing or repairing
    firearms?
    Yes. A person conducting such activities
    as a business is considered to
    be a gunsmith within the definition of
    a dealer. See Item 16, “Federal Excise
    Tax” in the General Information
    section of this publication.
    [27 CFR 478.11]

    Then you have the other requirements of taking transfers of guns. Not such a big deal if the owner stays with the gun.
     
  11. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    I went to the ATFE site myself, and found no 'new' rulings. Read, in its entirety, ATF Ruling 2010-10. Then, if there are questions, contact ATFE to determine which license is needed for what activity. Your post doesn't define which license is needed, Dealers or Manufactures, just that you need to be "licensed". I am reasonably familiar with the 07 Manufactures License as it is the one I operate under. I build custom rifles and offer them for sale to the general public. At one time I did operate under a Dealers License, as I only built using customer suppied receivers. The OP probably isn't thinking about this end of the business anyway. He's probably thinking about repairs and modifications to a customers gun.
     
  12. tinman13kup

    tinman13kup Well-Known Member

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    I am not claiming to be an expert on this, and I really don't think anyone wants to take that responsibility, but the BEST thing to do is contact the batf and get some sort of determination from them.

    What I posted was copied from the atf reg book, and you are correct, it really doesn't spell out exactly 'what' license you need, only that you need one. Sounds pretty typical of government regulations to me:rolleyes:.

    The fact it spells out refinishing and repairing firearms would fall right in line with the OP.
     
  13. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    The Rulings define the Regulations. Contact BATFE for the particulars, and then you might have to pry the info from them. I gotta' raise the BS flag, though, when someone says ya' gotta' have a Maunfactures License to gunsmith. There's enough misinformation floating around the net, as it is.
     
  14. Hairtrigger

    Hairtrigger Well-Known Member

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    No One says you must start with a full blown shop and 50k in tools.
    Perhaps trigger work, stock modification, scope mounting...pick jobs that suit your abilities from an extra room and grow the business.