I love my FFL


December 17, 2004, 09:35 PM
So today, I dropped in at my FFL's to pick up some sling swivels for a kid's rifle. My FFL does a lot of gunsmithing and only a little selling, and dropping by his place is always an adventure.

Whenever I walk into this guy's shop, he hands me a gun to hold. :D I kid you not -- I hand him a rifle so we can talk about changing the sights, and he immediately says, "Hey, wait a minute, you've gotta see this." Disappears into the back room and comes out carrying the lightest hand-built AR I've ever handled. He made it as a wedding present for his wife. (Be still my beating heart...)

When I walked in with my buddy's 1911 to talk about dropping in an extended slide stop, he wouldn't let me hand him the pistola until he'd fetched a very nice revolver out of the display case for me to handle while he looked up parts in the catalog.

I'm not sure if he's showing off his work (with good reason!) or if he's just afraid folks'll get bored while he looks up parts and figures what the job'll cost. Either way, it's kind of amusing and endearing.

In the past year, I've used his services as an FFL several times. Although I've never bought a gun from him, he's always efficient and courteous when I explain what I need to do. He usually charges $20 to run a gun through his books, but when I've had to run more than one through at a time, he's often charged only $20, total.

The man is rarely too busy to pass the time of day when I drop into his shop. But after talking to other folks who use his services, I haven't heard anyone complain about him taking too long to do the work -- quite the opposite. Back last summer, a friend of mine had a gun break down in the middle of a high-intensity class. At lunch break, my friend walked into my FFL's shop and explained the problem. The gunsmith immediately dropped everything else he was doing and got the gun running again -- before the lunch break was even over. That's service above and beyond the call of duty if you ask me.

Another friend of mine went in to ask about changing a part in her 1911. With his permission, she pulled it out of her holster and unloaded it to explain what the problem was. The gunsmith told her he could get right on it if she left the gun in the shop just then ... and then looked at her worriedly and asked, "You do have another carry gun, don't you? You'll be okay driving home?"

Nope, guys, I'm not going to give you his name. If he needed more business, that'd be different. I wouldn't hold out on you. But he doesn't.

So like a good fishing hole or a favorite hunting spot, who he is is my little secret. :neener:

Anyone else found a gem of an FFL or an excellent gunsmith no one else has discovered yet?


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ken w.
December 17, 2004, 09:41 PM
I'm really glad you started this thread.All I ever hear is the bad ones.We need to hear more about the positive FFL dealers in our area. :)

December 17, 2004, 09:53 PM
His name is Ronnie Butler. He has a gun collection that could give the NRA museum a run for its money and more machineguns than LAPD. He charges so little on repairs that I have added a tip so that I don't feel like I'm ripping him off. If you look in the US Army manual on the Garand (TM 9-1005-222-12), some of the photos are labeled "Courtesy of Ronnie Butler."

December 17, 2004, 10:14 PM
ola Pax...honor and the entire concept, of deatail speaks for itself...very important in the way we see, and deal with each other, it reflect on who we are, and our beliefs. my hat is off to you, for your wise eyes, and appreciation of some one who deserves your praise... it never is just the action...it is both the action and its appreciation... merry christmas, the reason for the season...is within you. Arc-Lite

December 17, 2004, 10:38 PM
My local guys, Dave and Walt Rose ... I rate very highly. Not gunsmiths but they do have a guy they use who seems OK.

Best thing is - tho I have bought guns from them (several) I have had way more stuff come in as transfers ... every time .. $10!! Nice guys, pretty reasonable stock and ... they'll order anything I want. They are not savvy on all guns ... handguns is a weak area but if they don't know something they will find out ... they called me once to ask about a specific handgun. That sort of candor counts for a lot.

One other place I wish I was nearer to is Alaghenny (spl?) Trading, Duncansville PA .. forget the guy's names but those who use them a lot always speak highly. I got my Mak from them some time ago and will return if in the area.

December 17, 2004, 10:57 PM

I feel the same way about my FFL. I've moved to Austin, but if I need something, I drive back to Houston to make sure he gets my business.

My father got a referral from a LEO that worked the hospital night shifts for my FFL (he mainly services LEOs). We dropped off our guns for a full take down and cleaning since we had shot about 20k through them. When he found out I was a college student, it was all I could do to make him take my money. I cajoled, pleaded, boasted, but he cut his price in half and would not take a penny more. I told him, "Hey! I've got a job on the side, I can afford it." No way!

His prices are always better or as good as everyone else and never a penny over what he quotes me the first time on the phone. If I want it, he finds it and delivers it, no extra cost. He won't take my money for transfers. Once, he couldn't get what I wanted and gave me back my money and made the transfer from another dealer for free, despite my attempts otherwise.

A good man, no doubt! Which reminds me... It is time to call him about that SBR I want! :)

Everytime I'm there, he shows me something new. Check this out... Look at this... Did you ever see one of these?

December 17, 2004, 11:19 PM
Look at www.benchrest.com, and click on "complete rifles."

Click on either Hoehn Sales or Stevens Accuracy, and you'll find a great accuracy gunsmith. Ron Hoehn lives near the St. Louis Benchrest Rifle Club, and is both a great shooter and the a winning gunsmith (not always the same), and Col. Billy Stevens (ret), also has the same distinction, altho he hasn't been doing it quite as long as Ron...

December 18, 2004, 12:08 AM
I found a guy down in Blakesburg IA that is a master for details!!! It never ceases to amaze me the kind of work he can do. I hate to do any of my own gunsmithing because I compare everything to what he does. He fixes cars, guitars, guns, and tunes pianos. He is a stickler for the details and charges a very fair price.

December 18, 2004, 12:45 AM
He fixes cars, guitars, guns...

He is on man, he must be a God! Nothing beats cars, guitars and guns! :)

December 18, 2004, 07:37 AM
I love my FFL
Sounds like a good bumper sticker. :D

Browns Fan
December 18, 2004, 10:19 AM
Wow, pax, that is awesome. I need to find an ffl like that!

December 18, 2004, 10:57 AM
I had a Couple of FFL y-e-a-r-s ago, Sadly they passed on.

I had to mention them in tribute, because of pax's comment about "here have you seen this?".

Read : Oh take the puppy home - if it don't work out , bring the puppy back.

So you go in to get a few "O" rings for a SX1 or 1100, "hold this, while I get 'em and a manila envelope..." $160 later you leave with a K frame, and the FFL runs out to your vehicle and says "here, you forgot the "O" rings...no charge". :D

Maybe it was buy a dozen "O" rings and get a K frame, free special

My old runnin' buddy does some good smithin' , I am a bit concerned about him and some stuff he is going through. Hopefully things wiil work out and improve, because I just know whom else I'd go to.

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