Custom rifle wait times

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by maninthemaze, May 27, 2015.

  1. maninthemaze

    maninthemaze Well-Known Member

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    What is an acceptable wait time for a custom rifle? And how accurate are the gunsmith with wait time estimates?

    On January 9th, I ordered a barreled action from a reputable gunsmith with decades of shooting (benchrest) and gunsmith in experience. I was given an estimate of 6-8 weeks. I was told that since it was just a barreled action and not a complete build, it wouldn't take very long. At the 8 week mark, I called and checked on the progress. I was told that they were still waiting on the action from Stiller. Ok, I get that. They have no control over there vendors. They told me they were expecting them in about two weeks. I waited a month and called back. The smith told me that all the parts were in, all they had to do was put it together. I wait another month and call again. They say it will be done in two weeks. I wait the two weeks and call back. The smith says that they will be working on Saturday to get caught up on some of their backlog. My last time to talk to them was 5/14. And now, they just transfer me to their customer relations person ( the gunsmith's wife).

    If they would have told me, up front, that the barreled action would be done on June 1st I probably would have ordered it anyway.

    I guess what I was wondering is. Is this normal with gunsmiths?

    Thanks
     
  2. rharfo

    rharfo Well-Known Member

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    My wait is approaching 6 months on a 4-5 month delivery estimate. Smith is waiting for the Manners stock. Nothing I can do but chew a few more finger nails off. The smith has responded quickly to all communication so there's nothing else to do but wait. In your case they should not be making promises and should keep you up to date. It's just good business!
     
  3. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    I rarely buy the excuse BS. Gunsmiths understand delivery time variability and the good ones let you know what the variables in timing are, or confirm them before commiting to a delivery date.... Maybe I'm getting too old and ornery.
     
  4. Edd

    Edd Well-Known Member

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    I would get my parts back and find another Gunsmith.
     
  5. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    The best way to answer you is, Each Gunsmith has "His" way of building rifles. Some build many at one time and others build them one at a time. If the smith builds more than one rifle at a time, you share the time with these rifles.

    If one at a time it should only take 1 to 3 weeks if he has all the parts to complete the rifle before he starts.

    Parts are the problem in most cases and beyond his control to some extent, but he can expedite
    in some cases.

    The main thing the gun smith should do is give you a completion date based on the delivery of all the components and stick to it.

    Some hate to give long delivery dates in fear of losing the job, But honoring there commitments
    is more important to most.

    I tell vendors, "Don't tell me what I want to hear, tell me how long Before I get the item"
    And if they don't meet there schedule, they go to the bottom of my vendor list and are only used if there are no other options.

    Another thing is never pay 100% of the money up front. You should pay for all parts up front and pay labor as work is done or at completion.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  6. maninthemaze

    maninthemaze Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies. The hardest part is the horrible time estimates. Like I said if they would have just told me that June 1st, I'd have my rifle, I would have ordered it anyway. I have called a few other gunsmiths to see what their time frame was, most were 2-3 weeks once they got the parts. So I am in a dilemma. Should I just get the parts that they have ordered and take them to another gunsmith in the hopes that they honor their time schedule. Or wait and hopefully they get it done in a few weeks.

    I did manage to call today. Once again the person who answered the phone, the one who takes the orders and does all the load developments, had to transfer me to the customer service person. He said that I should leave her a message and she would call me back, which never happens. I told him that she won't return my phone calls so he gave me her cell phone number. I asked if I could just buy the parts that they have ordered, he said no problem. Anyway, I called the lady's cell phone and left a message. I'll give until Monday afternoon to return my phone call. Then I'll call and just have them send me the action, barrel blank and trigger and be done with them.

    Anyways, Thanks for the replies.
     
  7. Varmint Hunter

    Varmint Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Based on your posts, it's my opinion that your gunsmith is totally dishonest and his services and responses are inexcusable. Being a little behind in a work schedule is one thing. Blowing off your paying customers is another.

    I'm favorable to posting our experiences with gunsmiths and industry related vendors on-line, both good and bad. Its really no different than product reviews posted on Amazon or Cabelas.

    Others may disagree but it is one of the few ways we can protect each other from falling victim of the same nonsense. Conversely, it aids good providers in acquiring more business.

    Just my two cents.
     
  8. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    The one custom barreled action I have had done was by a reputable guy many people on here would recognize. He quoted a date about 5 months out when I mailed him the receiver. I got a notice that it was on the way back practically the day that was quoted.

    If my experience had been like the OP, that would be the last time I would use that smith. At my job I am accountable for meeting the deadlines I quote. I see nothing wrong with holding others to the same.
     
  9. bruce_ventura

    bruce_ventura Well-Known Member

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    I don't see why gunsmiths should be held to a lower standard than other businesses. A delivery date promise is a matter of integrity. If a vendor is going to be late, I expect to be contacted ahead of the deadline to make sure the delay is acceptable. I expect the vendor to expedite his suppliers if possible, and use 2-day shipping to help make up for lost time. That's how I operate with my own customers.

    So where the hell is this gunsmith's integrity?!? He shuns communication and passes the buck. When you actually reach a human being there, they won't even be straight with you about what is actually being done to complete your work. God help you if you had a problem later on and needed this outfit to rework something.

    Giving him until Monday to return your nth call is generous on your part. On Monday he should provide a tracking number for a shipment containing the parts, either assembled or not.

    And when you receive the parts and confirm they are in good condition, please post the gunsmith's name.
     
  10. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    There are a lot of GOOD gunsmiths on this site and in defense of them Something has to be said
    for those that DO honor there commitments.

    We do hear about good ones but not as often as Bad ones. (I hope this does not mean there are a lot more bad ones than good ones).

    When going into a build/Partnership with a gunsmith, a certain rapport should be developed and a
    good plan for parts and deliveries. This normally takes several conversations (Preferably in person)
    but sometimes this is not possible so the phone is the best means to convey your goals and wishes.

    Remember it should be a partnership. A good client is just as important as a good smith when it comes to a good experience,and once that trust is developed It should be a very good/fun endeavor.

    Lots of Gunsmiths enjoy what they do and can really get into a build if they have a good client.
    but if Gun smithing is just a job and the client is unorganized or unfriendly there is little hope that the build wild be fun.

    There is nothing like hearing from a client about how well they like the rifle and how good it shoots
    to an interested gun smith that loves his work. Repeat business is one of the best ways to tell if the Smith/client relationship is good.

    Remember the 6 "Ps" of any job , Proper Planning Prevents P!&& Poor Performance.

    Just My Opinion and on behalf of the Good Smiths.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  11. Edd

    Edd Well-Known Member

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    I haven't had much experience with Gunsmiths but I'll tell about my last one.

    On October 22nd 2014 I contacted, by email, a Gunsmith about threading, chambering, installing a brake, and making a Wilson seating die for me. I had all the parts except the die blank, he had a blank. He told me the work would be completed no later than the end of February 2015. I spent a few days boxing the parts, he received them on November 5th. On Friday November 28th he left a message on my answering machine saying the work was finished.
     
  12. 87predator

    87predator Well-Known Member

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    Here's one for you guys.
    December 13,2013. Ordered and paid for barrel blank and chamber job. Barrel showed up August. That's when he had all the parts. Last I heard from him was this may telling me all he needed to do was finish dies. Needless to say, three weeks and no contact. I'm about to pull my hair out. He has two actions, both were supposed to be trued. One for that build and another just to get done.
     
  13. maninthemaze

    maninthemaze Well-Known Member

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    Well, I called today and talked to the customer service person. She was very very rude and just passed off that I was calling again. I asked her to just ship the barrel blank, action and trigger to me. She responded with a very hateful "I'll need an FFL to ship it to", to which my response was. I emailed you that information 3 weeks ago when you promised it would be done. I had to remind her that I'm not paying for the cut, crown, thread and chamber charge. She says she'll be shipping everything this week. I guess I'll wait and see. Thanks for all the posts. It gives me hope that there are still decent smith's out there.
     
  14. joshua99ta

    joshua99ta Well-Known Member

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    It's just part of having something custom made. I dropped an action and barrel blank off at my smith on December 19th and I just picked it up 2 weeks ago. I was told I was looking at a 6 week wait bc I supplied the parts. My parts got misplaced for a while and were found around the middle of February and sent off to get the spiral fluting(they are not able to do it yet) done and stayed there until the end of April. But I finally have my hands on it.