Gunsmiths, how many weeks is a week too many?


October 19, 2006, 01:52 PM
I ask because my local gunsmith (who I haven't had any experience with), has had a gun of mine for 4 weeks. He hasn't even looked at it yet. How long should I wait on this guy?

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October 19, 2006, 01:56 PM
Depends. What kind of work is he doing? What's the quality of his work like? Are there any other gunsmiths in the area? Are you wanting something unusual done or dealt with? When you brought him the gun did you ask him for a time frame? Have you asked him recently when he'll get to it?

October 19, 2006, 02:05 PM
This was just for an inspection. When I dropped the gun off, the smith wasn't there, but they didn't give me an indication that it would take a month. As for the quality of the work, like I mentioned, I have no experience with this guy, he's just the smith at the indoor range I sometimes go to. Yes, there are other gun smiths in the area, but since I frequent the range often, I find that convenient.

Anyway, I called and apparently the guy has been done with it for quite sometime and said he called and left a message, didn't get it though.

However, I suppose the question remains, although I will apply a caveat. For a simple inspection/assessment, how long is too long for a gunsmith to get to your gun?


October 19, 2006, 02:54 PM
The gunsmiths I use are normally fully booked for several months in advance, and that's just with regular customers work. It's worse now with hunting season around the corner, everyone waits until the last minute thinking it's only a couple of hours of work, but he has to get through 100 guns before he even looks at yours.

The "best" (well known) 'smiths are often booked 1-2 years in advance.

October 19, 2006, 07:53 PM
It can vary. You bring a gun in to our shop in Feb., chances are it can be done within a week, assuming parts availability. If you didn't get it in to us by last week, you won't be hunting with it this fall. There are exceptions, I try to get the simple stuff done first, cleanings, easy parts replacement, etc. Don't even ask about bluing this time of year, though, ain't happening. It's just the nature of the beast. Perhaps if some of the yahoos would take Ol' Bessy out sometime before the weekend before opener, we'd be able to keep some kind of schedule. I won't even start with the people who don't clean a rifle for 20 years and expect it to go bang.....:rolleyes:

October 19, 2006, 07:57 PM
All I do is refinish, and my turnaround time is four to eight weeks. Water/fire damage can take up to one year. Reminds me of the old gunsmith joke: "In by noon -out by June"

Jim K
October 19, 2006, 08:24 PM
I don't know what "inspection" means. If you want him to look at the gun or maybe check headspace, that takes a few minutes. But if you say, "Look it over and fix anything that needs fixing" that is a whole different story.

Gunsmiths are like other workers, they have different methods. Some will work on a strict first come-first serve basis as long as they can do the work and don't have to wait for parts, etc. Some will take time from a long and complex job to do a quick job. Fine, unless the quick job turns into a nightmare, as they often do.

Others will sit the easy jobs aside to get at them after the big (and high pay) jobs are done. That sometimes means the easy ones don't get done until the customer beats down the door.


October 20, 2006, 10:52 AM
This is great insight into the world of the smith! I didn't even think about there being 'seasons' (i.e. hunting and all) where a gunsmith would be slammed.

Well, it sounds like the smiths of world deserve a little break then. I'll not be complaining soon I suppose...

I used to say 'never piss off your bartender or your cook' and now I'll add gunsmith to the list. Sounds like a good gunsmith is hard to find....

October 20, 2006, 11:02 AM
Sounds like a good gunsmith is hard to find....


October 20, 2006, 12:15 PM
A good smith might have quite a backlog of work to do....BUT, if it were me, (or even if I was the 'smith), I'd try to take a quick look at it, at least, so I could give an idea of the timeframe/cost.

Compare it to an auto repair shop (which I've both worked in and owned)... You try and do a quick diagnosis, see if its a major or minor problem, and work from there. It sometime amazes me how long people wait for gun repairs. If it was your car, you'd expect a turn around time of a day or so, maybe 3-4 days for MAJOR engine work. Few people would expect to wait a month or more to get their car repaired.

October 20, 2006, 12:57 PM
Well, most people use their cars for their intended purpose every day. I hope that doesn't happen to your CCW.

And getting a backup firearm is a lot cheaper than a backup car.

October 20, 2006, 06:13 PM
I just got my Colt LW Commander back from the smith. Had the extractor replaced and ramp polished.

Total time - 8 weeks.

And that was 2 weeks earlier than promised. ;)

October 20, 2006, 08:37 PM
At the shop where I used to work our turnaround time was something like 6 months if you were really lucky or on our "good people" list.

There were some guns, namely an M1A, in for rebarreling that ended up being completed and returned to the owner in just this side of a year. Some rare occurrances took longer than that.

Of course, our long turnaround time was a reflection of the fact that we were a barrel manufacturer, and gunsmithing work was taken as kind of a side service for our good customers.

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