Gunsmithing costs, D&T receiver for scope bases, too much $$


August 1, 2006, 06:19 PM
I know things in general cost more now than they did last year or ten years ago. But checking out the cost to have an older .22RF rifle drilled and tapped for scope mounts brought me sticker shock.

The least expensive gunsmith I could find to do the work locally was $20 PER HOLE. :what: Since I need 4 holes total drilled for the 2 bases that is $80 for the entire job not counting the cost of the bases and any taxes that might be charged.

Am I the only one that thinks this is a little steep for this kind of work? We’re not talking about one of the extra hard Springfield receivers here. Just a relatively soft metal .22 rifle receiver.

I sat down and honestly tried to figure what the costs would be. Figuring $30-$45 an hour for labor that still leaves $50 to $35 dollars for broken taps or drill bits. That's a lot of taps and bits. Am I just being the picky cheapskate that I know I am or is this just how expensive gunsmithing services have become?


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August 1, 2006, 09:24 PM
Rob a good scope mounting of drilling and bases should not be over 80.00 unless mount is a special order or one that the company is proud of ! Especially on a 22, unless its some really hard metal it should be a simple task.

August 3, 2006, 05:04 PM
Rob, consider the following...It's not the drilling of the holes that takes the skill or time, it's the placement of them. Whoever quoted you the $80 knows that he'd better take his time in doing this. We've all seen scopes that were just a little off center, and/or holes that didn't quite line up. Hopefully, the guy who does your job has invested in a Forster sight mounting jig ($280), an accurate drill press and good drills and taps. After he does the job, he'll check it with alignment rods. You have to help pay for all this stuff when you have the work done. A good scope mount job is well worth the $, a bad one is worse than a curse.

August 3, 2006, 06:54 PM
GeorgeR - I absolutely understand what you are saying. I'm paying a "Professional" to do it *right*.

That's why I figured $35-$45 an hour. This seems like what a decent gunsmith might charge for his work on an hourly rate. I do not know how many hours it would take to do the actual drilling and tapping. But guestimate that someone who does this for a living should be able to do it in 1hours time. Again this is a basic older .22RF rifle. Not a hardened receiver rifle

Even with an hourly fee of $50 that still leaves $30 for equipment/parts amortization. No matter how many times I try to justify an $80 charge for this work I keep coming up with the same thought that this is way high.

But then again I am a self admitted cheapskate and maybe this is just how much gunsmithing currently costs. That's why I made this post.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


August 3, 2006, 11:42 PM
$20 a hole is what I charge and that price is not coming down.
Fixtures, drills, taps, and headaches add up real fast, and I have to be absolutely certain that all the holes are perfectly located and straight and cut with full depth threads. Then I get some basket case that the owner started on with his Black and Decker and a 10-24 tap, canya fix it for me cheap?


August 4, 2006, 07:00 AM
Sam thanks for your comment - if it seems like I am knocking gunsmiths as being greedy, I am not. I like the profession and wish I could be one.

Itís a free market economy, one which I enjoy the benefits of, and anyone should be able to charge what they want and can get for their services.

From a consumer's perspective I try to get the "best deal" I can. When something is not priced along the lines I feel it should be I can always look for another source of the item or service.

What I am trying to get a hold of is *why* D&T'ing a screw hole, is what I would term such an exorbitant amount of money. Maybe $20 per hole is not that expensive for this work, I don't know as I do not work with metal for a living. That's why I am trying to get feedback here.


August 4, 2006, 09:19 AM
When I was a kid back in the '50s there was a part-time gunsmith across the street from my grandparents. He could do his own D&T, but he got my uncle to do it when he was in town. My uncle worked for DuPont as a quality inspector in the model shop (checking prototype dies for making nylon and rayon against the blueprints and such) and liked fooling with precision work - he's the only person I've ever met who liked to sharpen scissors, but I digress.

Anyway, the point is that the gunsmith could make more money on other jobs instead of what amounted to a handful of pennies per hole back then.

And there really is more to it than drilling a hole and running a tap into it once.


August 4, 2006, 11:06 AM
Drop by your local Toyota dealer and see what his labor rate is. Mine is $100.00 per hour. When I first started in the office machine repair business we were charging $35.00 per hour, and that was in 1970 in smalltown Waco, Texas. Highly skilled craftsmen are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Finding one that is good at his craft isn't easy, and when you find one be prepared to pay him for his services. Also consider that you are not just paying for the guys time, you are paying for insurance, electricity, water, advertising, the jigs, fixtures and tools mentioned above, etc. etc.

August 4, 2006, 03:08 PM
Tooling costs big $$$. I have thousands invested in gun tools. For drilling holes, Forster jig, drill bushings drills, taps, drill press (in my case, a mill), cutting fluid. Small drills and taps are often good for only one or two jobs on a gun before they are too dull to use (Hope you don't break one off in the hole).

Dale Taylor
August 4, 2006, 06:20 PM
Buy cheap, get cheap result. Does barrel need to be removed? You don't want hole into chamber...Does he have jig if he removes barrel?

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