Gunsmith thanked me for "letting" him work on my gun


September 11, 2008, 05:23 AM
I meant to post this about a month and a half ago when it happened, but real life got in the way...

My Kimber Custom that I bought more than 10 years ago and has been my primary carry gun for that time and shot an average of two IDPA matches a month since was getting to look pretty worn.

I never gave it much thought because it is 100 percent reliable and way more accurate than I am. But, I rebuilt and refinished a Norinco and was proudly showing the wife the fruits of my labor and she looked at the Kimber and asked to see it. She told me it looked like crap. Then she asked why I didn't rebuild it and refinish it the way I'd like it. Then she said "Do it."

So I detail stripped the gun and picked all the parts that looked worn and ordered replacements. Then I picked the changes I wanted to make. I replaced the springs and pins and added a Smith & Alexander arched mainspring housing with magwell, an EGW oversized slide stop, TruGlo TFO sights (green front, yellow rear) and a pair of grips from Esmeralda.

I rebuilt the gun and took it into the smith for refinishing along with a complete set of springs and an Ed Brown pin set, just in case.

I went to the guy at the counter and began to order my refinish. I wanted the slide in nickel and the frame in blue. The smith came out while I was making the order. The guy reads the ticket to me and says matte blue frame, matte nickel slide.

Meanwhile the smith picked up the gun and was checking it. He taps the guy who is writing up the ticket and says "This is the smoothest 1911 slide I've ever felt."

I'm saying, no, no, no, to the matte nickel. I want high polish all the way around. But, now my pistol is being passed back and forth between four guys behind the counter who are all going "Ooooh" when they rack the slide.

Counter guy says OK, high polish. Then he says "The round parts will me matte." I say "No, I want the whole thing high polish."

"That will cost you $40 extra for the frame and $30 for the slide."

My answer is "I didn't ask that." I want high polish."

I ask when it will be ready and counter guy pulls out a calendar and gives me a date 30 days away. The smith grabs the gun and it says "I'll have it for you tomorrow about this time."

I explained I wouldn't even be back in town for two days, but he says that's OK, the gun will be ready for me tomorrow afternoon. Counter guy says something about all the orders ahead of mine. Smith says that's just crap. He'll get all them out on time.

Two days later I go to pick up the gun. It is gorgeous. I don't even want to touch it it is so pretty. I profusely thank the smith for doing such a nice job. He tells me he is honored that I would entrust my gun to him and thanks me. He thanked me for "letting" him do the work three times before I left the shop.

I was anxious to break out the gun and shoot it, but I had to go to Las Vegas on business the next day. So I took it with me and went to an indoor range. When I took it out for the RO to check it he said "Would you please show clear. I don't want to touch it."

The gun still shoots a one-inch group at any range I've tried, out to 25 yards. And, I've been back in the gun shop three times and each time the smith has come out and thanked me for "letting" him work on that gun.

I've probably had 40 or 50 guns worked on over the years. This is the first time I've ever had a smith thank me for allowing him to work on my gun.

The guys I shoot IDPA with have taken to ragging me pretty hard over my pretty gun, even though they know it is the same gun I've been shooting for years.

But I'm just blown away. I never had a smith thank me for the privilege of working on a gun.

It isnít the best quality pic and it doesnít have the new grips in this pic, but hereís the gun.

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September 11, 2008, 06:35 AM
Great story, and nice picture. I kinda like the reddish grips along with the stainless/black combo.

September 11, 2008, 07:53 AM
I'll take it. PM me with payment instructions.

(Just kidding.)

It's a superb piece.

Mad Magyar
September 11, 2008, 07:57 AM
Good looking pistol, especially nice when it's so reliable...My gunsmith usually has a frown on his face....:uhoh:

Aka Zero
September 11, 2008, 08:01 AM
Honored or not, that smith did a fine job.

September 11, 2008, 09:21 AM
Well who was the smith? Anybody that does good work needs to be bragged on in my book.

September 11, 2008, 09:25 AM
I'll take it. PM me with payment instructions.

Second in line in case that one falls through.:p:D

September 11, 2008, 09:26 AM
Well who was the smith? Anybody that does good work needs to be bragged on in my book.

Absolutely! No need to be discreet. Give the man his due! :)

September 11, 2008, 09:27 AM
Man, great story, I wish I knew a smith like that around here.

September 11, 2008, 09:53 AM

Great story and that Kimber is sweet. I have an early model Classic Custom that's like butter. Have around 5k rounds through it and it's stock except for the hardchromed frame and Black T slide finish.

Mine is lazer accurate and just a joy to shoot.

September 11, 2008, 02:26 PM
NAME AND ADDRESS , he just got stacked up with work.

September 11, 2008, 03:34 PM
i dont know about you guys, but im jealous

September 12, 2008, 05:01 AM
I forgot to mention the really good part. The cost of the high-polish nickel slide and high-polish blued frame, including round parts and small parts on both, was $190. And he had it done in 24 hours...

The work is gorgeous. I wouldn't even touch the gun until I went out to the truck and got my hardshell case to put it in.

Nice gun schmecky. Those older Kimbers are awesome. Wish I'd bought at least one more. I was skeptical of the nickel slide and blue frame, but the wife liked it and she's the one who said "Go ahead, spend the money." And I'm still grinning.

We live in a pretty rural area and there are only two smiths within 100 miles. I won't mention his name, but the name of the shop is Longhorn Trading Company in Bullhead City, AZ. They have a Web site, but it sucks. The site is:

I wanted to do something nice for the smith he did such a great job. The wife and I thought a lot and I ended up getting him some Slide Glide because he had never used it. I figured an expensive bottle of booze would be good, but something that could enhance his reputation as a smith would be better. It was the best I could come up with.

I agree, I have a great smith. It's the first time in my life I've felt I have a good smith who actually cares about my stuff.

September 12, 2008, 05:59 PM
You sir disgust me. Why? Why must I be the voice of reason when it comes to two tone pistols? Black slide shiney frame is the correct way to two tone.

Nice examples like yours really hurt my crusade against the Shiney slide.

How's it shoot?

September 12, 2008, 06:21 PM
So, I gues you got the one Kimber that QC worked on?

That is a beautiful gun.

Savage Shooter
September 12, 2008, 06:23 PM
THANKS A LOT :cuss: Now I have to add ANOTHER gun to the want list just GGRREEAATT.:scrutiny:

seriously nice gun you luckly s.o.b.:(

September 12, 2008, 06:46 PM
I can't claim to be a 1911 fan, but I have to admit yours is inspiring...

September 12, 2008, 06:51 PM
That sure is Purdy!

September 12, 2008, 08:00 PM
I use to didn't care for two tone guns but the older I get the more they are growing on me.
That is a sharp looking piece.

September 13, 2008, 12:01 AM
Couple of beautiful weapons!!

September 15, 2008, 04:13 AM
Shiny slides aren't really a problem. When was the last time you sighted and saw the top of the slide?

It doesn't happen unless you are point shooting. I never see the top of my slide when I aim. All I see is the sights.

It was mostly theory, although I do have one full nickel, high-polished 1911 that I have never had a problem with, but this gave me firsthand experience that it just is not an issue.

I admit the TruGlo sights were a big boon, but when I aim at a target I do not see the top of the slide. All I see is the front and rear sights. In this case they are either fiber optic or tritium.

I know the shiny slide is bassackwards. It is the wife's idea. Part that gets the most holster wear should have the hard finish. It took her about two weeks to convince me to look at it. Then, once I gave it serious consideration, I realized there is no reason not to go shiny up top other than tradition.

I really like the look. From what I've seen at the range, so do a lot of other folks.

In a real big way it is just a reminder that once you have a reliable and accurate gun you should not get rid of it, no matter what. Just make it pretty if it troubles you. In truth, the old Kimber now has somewhere around $1,250 in it. But, that is over about 12 years.

For $100 a year, I'm a happy camper.

September 15, 2008, 08:08 AM
no this is purdy

or this


the dogs called purdy but that is a nice looking gun.

September 15, 2008, 04:54 PM
That's a good looking gun.

Good on you for finding and taking care of what appears to be a GREAT 'smith. Having dealt with some who are of less character, I cherish the few I've found that I continue relationships with and try and take good care of them. Gun plumbers usually aren't rich, so I usually like to tip a little extra for a job well done.

September 16, 2008, 07:52 AM
I know the guys don't make much money. That's why I decided to give him something that could enhance his reputation. I'm just thrilled to find one who does good work and didn't cheat me.

I'm going to ask him out to lunch next week, but I don't want to appear as though I'm a stalker of some other kind of nut. I just want to do the guy right for doing a great job.

September 16, 2008, 11:02 AM
It is a nice looking gun. No one would guess it has tens of thousands of rounds through it. I'd give you flak if your were my shooting buddy too, hehehe.

The slide action is smooth because it has been polished from use and probably kept clean enough that it hasn't been wearing down much. Seems like that gun was a good investment.

I also have to give you props for not using that as an excuse to buy a new gun, hehehe.

September 16, 2008, 11:27 AM
Whoa. Spiffy

September 17, 2008, 07:06 AM
I'm going to buy a new gun anyway...

I've already picked it out, but fixing up a worn but reliable pistol is something I never really thought about. I have to give the credit to my wife. She's the one who convinced me to do the work.

She also OK'd my next pistol purchase, which will be over $1K. I must have married well...

The only trouble with fixing up this gun is that now I'm looking at my guns going "This one deserves fixing up, this one doesn't, this one..."

It's even more fun than buying a new gun because I do all the work except the bluing or plating. It gives me a good excuse to spend hours at the workbench fiddling with guns.

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