question to gunsmiths and custom gun owners

spitfire_er

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Aug 2, 2009
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224
Location
Southern MN
Before I started doing my own work, I had an old mauser action sitting in the shop for 3 months just to true it up. I finally got it back and sold it unfinished to another party.

One of my current projects a .243-06 Improved is going on 5 months mainly due to waiting on a barrel. Took about 3 months to get my Rock Creek barrel (looks great by the way). Including my wood stock work and finishing, I'll have about 2.5 weeks of actual work time time finishing it. That has been stretched out over the past couple months. It's almost finished, hope to shoot it by next weekend.

I agree though with a promised date if all the parts are there, especially if it is a composite stock that does not need a finish applied.
 

chache

Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2010
Messages
19
Ok, ok. The conclusion to the story goes like this...

I recieved the gun middle of last week as promised (for once). Mounted my scope and loaded some rounds that would serve as barrel break-in bullets and also to fireform my cases to the chamber for load development.

Shot the gun today at my range and was thoroughly impressed. After sighting my scope and finishing the break-in process, I then proceeded to fire the remaining (40) shells cleaning every 5. When it was all said and done, all that remained was one ragged hole in the center of the target.

Needless to say, I am very happy with the rifle. Although, the process to getting here was a very stressful. The lesson learned is...next tme I do a build or upgrade another rifle, I will THOROUGHLY research the gunsmith I'm using.

Thanks to all who gave me advice and perspective on this thread!
 

John Pierce

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Aug 26, 2011
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I wish to respond to your delema by explaining what I do as a manufacture of Custom Actions and Building rifle with same.

In all due respect to all Gunsmiths, most are one man operations and (not making excuses for there individuale performances) they some times get really back loged.

I will explain what we do to bring to the customer a product in a timely manner.

I will break down the time line as we have experienced.

1) What do you as a customer wish to have your action request be configured ? When can I deliver?

2) What barrel and manufacture do you choose ? When will they deliver?


3) What stock have you choosen? When can they deliver?


The list goes on.


I, for example, need 4-6 weeks to make your product as you wish. The barrel manufacture can be out 8-12 weeks depending....

Stock makers , well, 6 to 15 weeks depending....

Best case...as I see it...

Providing you can purchase barrel, stock, trigger straight away..1-2 week delivery... lets say! from suppliers that stock said items... you should be able to put together a rifle in 5-8 weeks ...this again depends on work load ahead of you.

A year.. no way!!!! get the time line first before forking out cash.
 

Nieko

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Jan 30, 2011
Messages
116
I am very frustrated with a build that I started on 1/15/10 with a reportable smith.
I supplied a new McEdge stock and $1000.00 to get started. He was to order the Pierce short repeater, r-basix trigger, and #3 fluted Broughton. I was promised the rifle by June 2010. Last word I received in email from his wife on April 2011 was that he had a few more ahead of you then he would be on yours. I have called and left messages and emails since and have had zero responses. I just can not believe that people can do business this way. I am a building contractor and I have to communicate with my customers on a daily basis, it would be nice if they could respond to me once every couple of months and let me know where I stand.
 

blipelt

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The one thing most don't understand about the communication is the time it wastes. When emailing, calling etc. are you being charged for that time? You should, nothing I do pertaining to work I am not paid for. I am pretty sure everyone else gets paid for their time also contractor, salary, or hourly. My father was supervision for one of the largest construction companies in the nation.

Most gunsmiths get to wait on payment from customers, wait on components for builds. Have customers change their mind and it is all acceptable. They are affected by everyone.

If timeframes are such issues to people why don't they order and pay for the components themself, have them on hand and then contact the gunsmith? There will be much less of a time error. Or do like I do, pay for the rifle in full and when they call go and pick it up. Usually my waits are no less than a year to a year and a half. I never plan to use a rifle until I have it in my hands with the load development done. Just makes sense to me.

I know a friend who ordered a bartlein barrel he was told 8 weeks he got it a year later. I know how long it takes to build a rifle. I also know how much more money they could be making using his skills elsewhere.

Brent
 
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chache

Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2010
Messages
19
I respect your opinion...but, taking the 5 minutes or less to send an email every month seems acceptable. It shouldn't kill your daily productivity to send a couple of brief update emails. If that is the case ... it would worry me. Having good communication is just good business and in the long run it will keep a business successful for a longer period of time.
 

blipelt

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Yeah two to three minutes each, more like 10 to 15. It isn't like they know you by name and have your build memorized. How many customers do you think they are working with at a given time? My friend it is usually 20-50. Not to mention the other gunsmiths they do work for and manufacturers. Ask a good gunsmith how many rifles they work on in a year. Then base it off a five day work week(260days a year). Take out the 10 major holidays and well you get my point.

I have always wondered why people need to be kept in the loop. I did it when my house was being built. Not because I wanted to be kept in the loop. I didn't trust them. Top builder in the area, and I still went through on my days off looking and the craftmanship. It was a bid, and having extensive knowledge about bidding thanks to my father. You want to do as little work as possible and get paid as much as possible. Essense of "making money". Well when building a rifle you are hourly not a bid.

People have money invested. I hate to tell you but you don't have a dime invested with the gunsmith unless you paid in full. You more than likely paid for the components and that is all. Which are yours if you decide to go elsewhere.

Are gunsmiths going to stay in business if they have poor comunication? I am betting yes as long as they put out an exceptional product. Especially the ones who build their own components. Muzzle brakes, time actions, build jigs and adjustable collet systems for lathes.

Brent
 

rscott5028

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Apr 18, 2010
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Allen, TX
Yeah two to three minutes each, more like 10 to 15. It isn't like they know you by name and have your build memorized. How many customers do you think they are working with at a given time? My friend it is usually 20-50. Not to mention the other gunsmiths they do work for and manufacturers. Ask a good gunsmith how many rifles they work on in a year. Then base it off a five day work week(260days a year). Take out the 10 major holidays and well you get my point.

I have always wondered why people need to be kept in the loop. I did it when my house was being built. Not because I wanted to be kept in the loop. I didn't trust them. Top builder in the area, and I still went through on my days off looking and the craftmanship. It was a bid, and having extensive knowledge about bidding thanks to my father. You want to do as little work as possible and get paid as much as possible. Essense of "making money". Well when building a rifle you are hourly not a bid.

People have money invested. I hate to tell you but you don't have a dime invested with the gunsmith unless you paid in full. You more than likely paid for the components and that is all. Which are yours if you decide to go elsewhere.

Are gunsmiths going to stay in business if they have poor comunication? I am betting yes as long as they put out an exceptional product. Especially the ones who build their own components. Muzzle brakes, time actions, build jigs and adjustable collet systems for lathes.

Brent

Brent,

You make some good points. But, it is a free market and different smiths will stand out for a variety of reasons. ...good or bad

I was referred to a top smith in the area about 2 yrs ago for a simple rebarrel job.

I could hardly get the guy to return my calls to place the order. So, I quit trying to contact him. I figured that if he was too busy to take the order, then he wasn't going to communicate on down the road.

I recently found out from the guy that referred me that he had to go elsewhere because the smith was slow and didn't communicate.

I ended up buying my own lathe and haven't regretted it. It takes me as long or more so to do the work myself because I have a full time job and family. But, I always know where I stand.

There are other smiths in this forum that I beleive do excellent work. They somehow find time to respond to questions and answer their phones. It's a choice they make in the way they do business and it either pays off or it doesn't.

-- Richard
 

blipelt

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Richard I understand what they are saying. Having my 10th custom rifle being built I have alot of waiting hours logged. Is it exciting? yes Is it frustrating? yes Do my calls get returned? No Do I get special treatment paying in full or the gunsmith being a good buddy? Not a chance.

I also know what happens when you order a cone bolt face from PTG and get the wrong product. Wait When you order a fluted barrel from the factory and it comes in not up to your gunsmiths standards. Wait for someone to fix it at no cost to you. I also know what happens when your action body comes in with a round top instead of a flat. Have the action manufacturer make the 20moa base because of the mistake and wait a little longer.

I also know when I built my first rifle according to my smiths rec. on components. It didn't feed well(before wyatt box was out) and within 300 rounds it starts shelling jackets on bullets. At no cost to me we decided to change the short action 7wsm into a 6X47lapua. The Lapua build I just paid for became my 7wsm long action. My smith ate a barrel blank, new bolt, chamber thread crown and finishing. They might fall short on communicating but they stepped up to the plate when it mattered. I offered many times to pay or even half I was refused. I guess you can figure out why we became good friends. We had more in common than I could have ever dreamed.

Brent
 
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chache

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Nov 1, 2010
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Agree to disagree. Needless to say even though I was built an exceptional rifle, I won't be using him again. Maybe, if he was my friend and I could just drive down, it might have been a different story. Although, my job was a bid job with the agreed upon stipulation that regular communication and a met timeframe for completion be part of the contract. If this wasn't realistic he could've easily told me to go elsewhere. You see I, pre real estate bust, was one of those top builders in my areas. I regularly dealt with people similar to the self description you gave. Imagine if your house took 12 months to finish instead of the promised 8 or 9. And all the while you never received a phone call to tell you why...
 

Nieko

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Jan 30, 2011
Messages
116
Chache, I completely agree with you. I have since found a gunsmith in my area that has turned out some great work for me. I am also in the process of buying a lathe and get this, my smith has been helping me get going on building my own rifles.
Now that is some unbelievable customer service in my opinion.
 

blipelt

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Central ND
Guys it was brought to my attention that my above comment could be taken as an insult. My apologies, that isn't what I meant. The job security is mine. I work in the energy industry. It hasn't been a good year.


Brent
 

chache

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Nov 1, 2010
Messages
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No apologies necessary. I respect everybody's opinion as long as it doesn't become personal. No worries.
 
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