Interested in starting gunsmithing.

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Hbomb11, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. Hbomb11

    Hbomb11 Well-Known Member

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    Hello all,

    I'm new to the site although I'm a long time reader. I am interested in starting to dabble in gunsmithing on my free time and wondering if I could get some pointers. This is something I would like to start at home and build for myself and maybe one day after I retire from law enforcement do as a supplemental income. I was looking at online courses but nothing much there in terms of hands on training. I'm more of a hands on person. I found this website http://www.becomeagunsmith.com/ . Is this the real deal? Any advice or information on the best ways to get started would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    Not the "real deal". There is no fast, easy and low cost way. Just being able to install an after market trigger won't make you a gun smith. Neither will being able to thread, chamber and crown a custom barrel. A true "gun smith' know many different trades. He's a metal finisher, and there is much more to metal finishing than abrasive blasting and applying CeraCoat, he's a machinist, he's a mechanic, he's a very specialized wood worker and now days he needs to include the skills needed to fit & finish the many synthetics that are available, and I'm not thinking about the "drop-ins", like McMillian, H-S and B&C. There are those who will say "Jack of all trades, master of none". That depends on the capability of the individual and is mostly just a BS excuse for not delving into all facets of the trade. With the on-line / mail order courses there is no one standing there to show you an easier or better way, or the proper way to accomplish the task. The "self trained/mail order types" are what convinced me to attend a full time, 2 year, in residence school. In the end, there are some tasks you may excel at and some you'd rather not take on, or you may be the type that can do it all! Books can help, but there's nothing like personalized instruction/coaching, along with a real good 'dose' of common sense (which isn't so common, anymore!).
     
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  3. Hbomb11

    Hbomb11 Well-Known Member

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    As much as I would love to attend a 2 year program that really isn't an option for me. I live in a very rural area and the closest gunsmith is 2 hours away. I absolutely agree the best way to learn would be personalized instruction and coaching. I doubt I would ever call myself a true "gun smith". I know it's a very complicated and precise trade which is why I would like to start with the basics and slowly progress over the years.
     
  4. livetohunt

    livetohunt Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    In my Opinion that’s comparable to a doctor taking online classes and then being a certified brain surgeon...

    Any type of machining hand finishing etc is hands on.

    I’m far from a gunsmith, but I am a machinist and I’m slowly learning more and more about gunsmithing. If you have no machining experience I would recommend getting a benchtop mill and lathe and learning how to machine first. That’s going to be your biggest hurdle and the cheapest way to get into it.
     
  5. Demonian

    Demonian Well-Known Member

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  6. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    There are NRA Summer Gunsmithing courses, also. 1-2 weeks long, taught by real gunsmiths. These classes are held at several of the gunsmithing schools across the country. Classes from beginner to advanced. A good way to spend a weeks vacation in the summer. You can find out more about these on-line, just www.duckduckgo.com it. By the way, I am from rural America too. Several call themselves 'gunsmiths', 'cause they can assemble a 1911 or an AR,,,,,, and, if ya' don't mind hap-hazard work. In gunsmithing, machining ain't everything (even though I have been a job shop machinist since '74). I do much more then fit custom barrels and brakes, and build custom rifles. Those same guys who like "custom " have high quality handguns and shotguns that need repair/modifications, too. A competent repairman or metal finisher can stay as busy as he wants to be, as can a stockmaker, and not just wood stocks but with those synthetic blanks, too (High Tech Specialties, MPI, Brown Precision just to name a few).
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
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  7. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    There really Is no shortcut to becoming a master gunsmith. There are so many different aspects to gun smithing that some/a formal schooling is a must. Even then, there are things that can't be taught and have to be learned by experience.

    Schooling is only the foundation that you build on, from there you need to be a craftsman in many fields. this does not mean that you can't learn some of the aspects of doing gun work. hands on with a good smith is invaluable and if you truly understand the process and requirements, you can learn over time.

    Unfortunately, There is no time limit as to what you can learn if you are interested in continually getting better.

    The main thing is to go slowly, and be careful not to screw up on anyone's firearm. To be a good gunsmith, you have to train, learn and understand every aspect of Gun Smithing.

    Just don't call your self one , until you are. the world is full of wannabes. and parts changers. Take the classes !!! and you will never be sorry, otherwise, you will make many mistakes and do things the hard way.

    Listen to Shortgrass !!!!

    J E CUSTOM
     
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  8. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    There are genuine gunsmiths out there and a whole raft of bugger gunsmiths. Being a retired toolmaker and shop owner, I dabble a bit but when it becomes serious, I revert to someone I know is competent. I spent 30 years learning my trade and I suspect professional gunsmithing is similar. I know card carrying Journeyman toolmakers that are shoemakers as well. Had a few work for me. They aren't here anymore.

    I can ascertain that pretty quickly.
     
  9. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    If a thinking man pays attention he can learn something new every day, no matter how long he has plied his trade. Any good school will give you a foundation to build upon. Doesn't matter if you are in school to become an electrician, a HVAC mechanic, a doctor or a lawyer. Besides the "good foundation", a good school will teach HOW to learn. But much of the 'how' is dependent on you!
     
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  10. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    I think you answered your own question. As a life long learner, I have a different take on learning opportunities and don't mean no disrespect to the resident experts and gunsmiths. I spent nearly 10 years in the early 1980s doing machine shop works so I know a little bit of what it is involved in the process. We all learn and digress things differently. Online classes (not created equal) is not for everybody and it takes a different form of discipline and learning skill set. Per your goal, you just want to learn the basics as the foundation and progress from there. One has to start somewhere. This reminds me of the parable of the two sons, "It's not how you start, it's how you finish."

    My sister-in-law (not a teacher and has no degree) decided to home school my niece and nephew. A lot of their friends and family (if not all) including myself was skeptical but to make long story short, in May of 2017, my niece graduated from the US Naval Academy with a degree in Nuclear Physics and now an Ensign on a frigate (currently deployed).

    I say go for it and perhaps you can make an arrangement with your nearest gunsmith for some kind of apprenticeship or mentorship on weekends to fill the hands-on training gap. Good luck!

    Ed
     
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  11. Hbomb11

    Hbomb11 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a lot gentlemen! I appreciate the information.
     
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