Gunsmithing school?


December 1, 2004, 11:35 AM
Well, college graduation is coming up for me. I'm getting out of here this spring with my undergrad in business from the good ol' U of MT. I don't really know what to do, but I've been thinking of gunsmithing school. After graduation I'm moving back to NV, and Lassen Community College is only a couple of hours away. They have a gunsmithing program that I've heard is pretty good. Now, my questions for you are:

1) If you are a gunsmith, where did you get your training?
2) How long did it take?
3) Did you apprentice with anyone?
4) Was it worth it, IYO?
5) What is the hardest part of being a gunsmith?

Also, Even if I end up taking a few courses through them it would still be great because then I could put together my own rifles and customize my guns.

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December 1, 2004, 01:29 PM
1. I was originally a Master Watchmaker. Since I was also always "into" guns, picking up gunsmithing was easy.

2. Still learning even after retirement.

3. No.

4. Definitely yes.

5. Making a living. If you want to make lots of money and have all the "goodies" do something else.
Working for someone else is nice because you do gunsmithing, not paperwork, taxes, and all that goes into actually running a business.

If you own the business you'll spend only a very few hours a week actually gunsmithing. Most of your week is spent doing business functions.

Jim K
December 1, 2004, 02:00 PM
I know I am repeating myself, but if you plan to open a gunsmithing business, do four things.

1) Take a machine shop course and learn to run the basic machines. This will stand you in good stead regardless of whether you get into gunsmithing or not, and many community colleges offer these courses for a small tuition.

2) Go to a gunsmith school and learn the basics of gunsmithing. Apprenticeship to an established smith is an alternative, but those jobs are scarce and low paying.

3) Take a course in small business administration. Too many gunsmiths get into the business as a hobby and go broke because they don't have the foggiest idea of how to actually run a business.

4) Find a source of capital. The day when all you needed was a drill press and a mill bastard file are gone, if they ever were. Opening a gunsmith shop today requires a lot of money. (A set of good headspace gauges for a single caliber runs $70-$90.) You also need a place for a shop and it should not be your house. Zoning and licenseing aside, do you want some nut pounding on your door at 2AM because he wants his rifle fixed to go hunting? Plus, don't forget that you need to eat while you are building the business.

Also decide if you want to specialize (building .45 pistols) or be a general gunsmith. If you specialize, survey the market carefully; it can support only so many people who will do nothing but reblue Campo-Giro pistols.

Did you notice I didn't mention an FFL? That is the simplest part of the whole thing, not the hardest, as some folks think.


4v50 Gary
December 3, 2004, 08:14 PM
I've taken quite a # of classes at Lassen College. Their machinery is worn. The instruction (when I was taking classes) was very good. :)

Dave Sample
December 4, 2004, 02:13 PM
Very good advice from Jim. What is the difference between a gunsmith and a pizza? A pizza can feed four people. It is a very tough way to make a buck in this day and age and I would not recommend it to my worst enemy.

Bill Z
December 4, 2004, 02:58 PM
Hey, it's helping me keep up the interest payments on the loan I took out for the bullets I loaded for last weeks match. :eek:

December 4, 2004, 04:35 PM
4v50 Gary , thanks. It's good to hear from someone that's taken their classes.

Jammer Six
December 4, 2004, 10:19 PM
I've always wondered about that saying... :scrutiny:

How is half a pizza going to feed three people? :confused:

December 4, 2004, 10:26 PM
Oh, and this would be a part time business. I've got a job lined up right now, but they can only employ me part time until I made myself valuable.

Dave Sample
December 5, 2004, 04:18 PM
That is what I did! Part time 60 hours a week and then another 40 in a Patrol Car for money. Boy! Look where it got me? Almost Close to Nowhere! I enjoyed it though and would do it again the exact same way.

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