Online gunsmithing schools


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jfauc806
July 13, 2010, 10:11 PM
I am very interested in obtaining a liscense for gunsmithing via the internet but I am not sure which schools are reputable/ offer the best learning experience. Do any of you know of a good school, or even better have you actually used a school that you would recommend? Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

p.s. I'm sure that some of you would have the thought: go to an in-person school or do an internship but niether is an option for me as I can not relocate and there is not a school or reputable gunsmith were I live.

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dfariswheel
July 14, 2010, 08:47 PM
You can't get a gunsmith license over the internet.
The "gunsmith license" is actually a Federal Firearms License which you have to qualify with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF).

To get one you have to fill out a lot of paperwork, get fingerprinted and photographed, tell them, all about where you'll be in business, what your security arrangements will be, what hours you'll be open, and pass a Federal investigation.
Working on other peoples guns without the Federal license is a Federal crime.

As for online gunsmithing courses, these are pretty much useless to qualify you to work on other peoples guns.
These courses will at best, to allow you to learn some hobby gunsmithing to work on your own guns.

There are mail order courses, but these too are poor methods of learning a highly skilled trade.
The best way of becoming a real professional gunsmith is to attend one of the big schools like Colorado School of Trades in Denver, or Trinidad Junior College in Trinidad Colorado.
There are others around the country.

Most of the internet gunsmithing courses are designed to separate you from your money, not teach real skills.
Sorry, but those are the hard facts.
Say you own a very expensive Italian sports car and need some work done on it. Would you take it to some guy who learned some very basic auto repair on the internet?

triggerman770
July 15, 2010, 02:37 AM
AAA-men, brother. Especially the parting you and your money. You cannot learn without hands on the gun or the lathe or the milling machine.
then you have to deal with folks that know more than you(then why are they bringing it to me)and the why so much? question. See if there is a gunsmith in your area that will take you on as an unpaid apprentice(that's what got me started) and get the " hands on training". :D

CelticArmory
July 15, 2010, 05:41 PM
There are mail order courses, but these too are poor methods of learning a highly skilled trade.
The best way of becoming a real professional gunsmith is to attend one of the big schools like Colorado School of Trades in Denver, or Trinidad Junior College in Trinidad Colorado.
There are others around the country.

I will have to disagree with you on the topic of mail order courses. AGI has a great course with great instruction. Granted it's not as good as moving to another state, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to get hands on education, but for under four grand, it's real good. The instructors are great, the footage is great and the variety of firearms covered is great. The only downside is that if you don't have the firearms on hand to follow what they are teaching it makes it real hard to learn as you go. HOWEVER, those nifty courses at some university don't leave you with permanent memory. At least the DVD course I can go back through and review as often as I like. If you forget something after attending a school because you never got to use that skill, it's a bit hard to go back to the proff and ask him questions.

There's no way I could ever afford to move my family to one of 4 states with "accredited" gunsmith schools (most are in very firearm unfriendly states like CO, CA and NY) and there's no shop out there that would hire someone as an apprentice. I will never discourage someone from trying to get an education in the best and most affordable way possible, to include taking AGI's DVD course.

People who claim I'm not a gunsmith because I didn't spend $150,000 at some stupid school in Kommiefornia or because I haven't been doing this for big name corporations for 50 years or because I'm not some big name machinist are just crackpots with big opinions. And opinions are like bung holes, everyone has one and they usually stink.

I say if you want to be a gunsmith all you really need is a passion for guns and an ability to learn mechanical tasks. If you don't have tons of cash laying around and don't live in a state that offers a gunsmith course locally, then take a serious look at AGI. If you need guns to practice on, gun shows often have tables full of junk guns that don't work that sell for real cheap.

dfariswheel
July 15, 2010, 08:47 PM
I'm not sure where you got your info, but it doesn't cost "hundreds of thousands of Dollars" to attend a top gunsmithing school.

The reason I say the mail order schools are a poor method of learning a difficult skill is because of employment.
If you're going to go looking for a job after a mail order school, your resume is going to get pitched in the trash.
Just like an expensive car dealer won't hire you to work on sports cars with a mail order degree, few if any companies looking to hire a working gunsmith will hire a person with a mail order degree.

While you can have a graduate of a top school who's a gun butcher and a self-trained man be a top gunsmith, the company doing the hiring wants some kind of recognized verification that you know your stuff.
A degree from one of the top schools is an industry-wide accepted verification.
An AGI degree is not.

If you intend to go out on your own with a self-owned business, all you need is a Federal License. You can be a horrible gun butcher and still open up shop, there's no competency standards you have to meet.
Whether you make it in business is decided by the market.
If you're any good and have good businessman's skills you can make it.
If you have good gunsmithing skills and are a lousy businessman, you won't.

With all that said, whether in business for yourself or working for a business, in the end you have to produce the goods, which is quality work.

Zeke/PA
July 15, 2010, 11:00 PM
Trinidad State ,boosted me into a VERY successful career as a tool &die maker.
Many times in my occupation, I reached back and pulled a Trinidad learned trick to save the day in my "real" trade.
Don't know how it is now but in my day, the Gunsmithing knowledge was there for the taking plus it helped to room with guys with the same interests.
Regards, Zeke, TSJC Class of '61

NCsmitty
July 16, 2010, 10:35 AM
You cannot be a consummate gunsmith without having hands-on experience using the tools of the trade. Running lathes and milling machines requires practice and common sense to achieve a level where use becomes second nature. You cannot get that expertise watching a video or reading lessons, but you can gain knowledge of procedures and tricks of the trade by viewing and/or reading about the techniques. It's up to the person to determine how far that they take that knowledge.



NCsmitty

CelticArmory
July 16, 2010, 12:44 PM
I'm not sure where you got your info, but it doesn't cost "hundreds of thousands of Dollars" to attend a top gunsmithing school.

If you intend to go out on your own with a self-owned business, all you need is a Federal License. You can be a horrible gun butcher and still open up shop, there's no competency standards you have to meet.
Whether you make it in business is decided by the market.
If you're any good and have good businessman's skills you can make it.
If you have good gunsmithing skills and are a lousy businessman, you won't.

With all that said, whether in business for yourself or working for a business, in the end you have to produce the goods, which is quality work.

So what you're saying is that because I have an AGI cert (a course designed and instructed by Bob Dunlap, the guy who instructed and designed the course a Lassen College in CA) that I'm a hack and a crappy gunsmith? You don't even know me. Bull crap. I say anyone can learn in whatever method they learn best in. Yes I agree hands on is very important, but it's not the only way. I took the AGI course and used my own firearms as aids while using the course.

As far as cost, tuition may not be hundreds of thousands, but if you have to uproot your family and move across the country to get to one of your beloved schools then the costs sky rocket. Could you afford to uproot your family and move half way across the country with no job, no income and still support your family while going to school? I think not.

There's no competency standard?!?!?!! Who do you think you are? I take great pride in my work and have a very high standard for quality and care of my customers property. I take great offense at people like you crapping all over people like me just because we didn't go to your favorite school. You're the kind of person who would talk crap about someone you've never met in an effort to run them out of business just because they didn't belong to your little club instead of being friends with them and perhaps helping them along.

In my state, gunsmiths aren't even listed in any phone book or on the job listings. No one hires, period. They all work for themselves. There is no school here, if there was I would have gone. But since I couldn't afford to move my family (not that I want to) I'm not going to attend some lengthy college course.

I chose the method of learning that worked for my circumstance. Do I have the customer flooding my door, no, I've only been in business for a couple years and it's a hard profession to break into if you're not already financially setup and have great places to work (nonexistent here in WA). But I can tell you I haven't had a single customer complain and have gotten rave reviews from most.

As far as experience, that's attained the same way it is anywhere, by doing it. If you work for someone else as a beginner, you're putting their rep on the line if you screw up. I never said I know every thing, or that I was a master at this, but very few are. Every time I come across something new I haven't seen before, or haven't done before, I scour everything I can to learn it before doing it to a customers firearm. Thankfully I have extensive experience in fabrication, metals and composites. The more I get to work on firearms the better I'll get.

As far as comparing to auto maintenance. I would rather take my truck to a shade tree mechanic who learned by doing than some snooty grad that just got his ears wet and has no mechanical skill.

CelticArmory
July 16, 2010, 12:53 PM
You cannot be a consummate gunsmith without having hands-on experience using the tools of the trade. Running lathes and milling machines requires practice and common sense to achieve a level where use becomes second nature. You cannot get that expertise watching a video or reading lessons, but you can gain knowledge of procedures and tricks of the trade by viewing and/or reading about the techniques. It's up to the person to determine how far that they take that knowledge.

NCsmitty

Yes, hands on experience is a must, having the best tools really helps. But things can be done without them, not everything, but most. I have a millers vice for my drill press. I can't afford two grand for a cheap mill, or a cheap lathe, but I can use my $500 drill press for some milling work. I keep hoping that I'll start getting in enough money to take the welding and machine shop courses at my local community college, but sadly I don't have the five to ten grand it'll run me for all of it. I can say I'm blessed with lots of fabrication experience. I certainly wouldn't take a completely inexperienced kid and expect the AGI course to work for them, but if the person already has experience working with wood, fiberglass, metals, adhesives and at least a rudimentary knowledge of the drill press then the AGI courses are a great way to learn the firearms themselves.

The AGI Professional Gunsmith course is 28 DVDs with 4 hours of lessons per covering a very wide range of firearms, common issues and techniques for repair. Bob does say on each video to take machine shop courses and welding courses, something I hope to be able to do. But until then I can do anything that can be done by hand.

CelticArmory
July 16, 2010, 01:36 PM
To the O.P. I would say this. If you don't already have a few years of experience in metal fabrication, advanced composites (fiberglass and graphite), wood working or adhesives, the get the best job you can find learning that kind of stuff in your area. Then go to your local community college and take courses in machine shop (mill and lathe) and welding (particularly TIG and Oxy/Actl). Then join your local gun groups, get hands on with as many firearms as you can to experience them. Attend local gun shows and find spoiled firearms to purchase and practice on. Then look into AGI's professional gunsmith course. It is instructed by Bob Dunlap, the guy who helped develop and instructed the course at Lassen college. Their instruction is great.

FightDiary
July 16, 2010, 06:29 PM
"You can't get a gunsmith license over the internet"


You can get ANYTHING on the internet

dfariswheel
July 16, 2010, 08:57 PM
CelticArmory:

I think you need to calm down or get back on your meds.
NO ONE called you anything.
NO ONE questioned your competency.
NO ONE questioned your skills.

You however have have questioned my knowledge of a business I spent 30 years in, in which I severed as a resource for other professional gunsmiths.

This is a nice gun forum and your opinion is welcome. However, people with only a few posts who have thin skins and get aggressive usually don't last long.

triggerman770
July 16, 2010, 10:35 PM
"You can't get a gunsmith license over the internet"

nope you have to go thru the ATF. there is no such thing as a " gunsmithing License.
I have a county License to do "gunsmithing" I have an 07 FFL and I have a State license for selling firearms. But none of my licenses say Gunssmith.
you can get a bogus piece of paper over the internet or even make one on your printer that is a "gunsmith licese" but it's just that bogus.
as for milling on a drill press.. those bearings are made for vertical thrust
not horizonal thrust and it will soon show up it the work performed on it as the quill develops slop. Ask me how I know.

jfauc806
July 17, 2010, 04:05 PM
I really do appreciate all of the comments...from everyone! It is good to hear all opinions and benefit from all experiences! I am glad to hear that someone in my situation isn't completly without options, at the same time I understand that if my situation were diferent there mught be better options out there! I did know that you couldn't get a license online, I just worded that part of the post wrong. Honestly, what I don't know however is which liscense(s) I do need. I live in Texas and I don't know if there are state requirements or not. Do most states have a state licensen requirement? And as far as federal, do you usually just need an FFL? I know I am showing my ignorance on the matter but I would rather swallow my pride and find out the truth!
Thanks again for the replies and please keep them coming!

jfauc806
July 17, 2010, 04:07 PM
One more quick note, I know that I may be ignorant in the legallities of all of this but I have been working on my own guns and those of friends and family since high school so I am not completely ignorant in the field. Don't know why I feel I need to share this, just makes me feel better I guess!

CelticArmory
July 17, 2010, 09:35 PM
In order to get the ATF FFL license and legally operate as a gunsmith per Federal laws you'll need a business license in your state. Usually states also have licenses for dealer/manufacturer in firearms or ammo. Check with your state department of licensing for all the requirements you'll need to get into business.

I have found with a little searching some schools in TX that have gunsmith courses. They aren't any of the 4 NRA recognized courses, but you could check them out. One is at Everest Institute in Bissonnet (Huston) and another is Lincoln College of Technology in Grand Prairie.

dfariswheel, I tend to get defensive when I'm constantly told from forum to forum that I'm not a real gunsmith or others are told not to come to me for service because I couldn't be a real gunsmith because I didn't attend one of the NRA college courses and don't hold college degrees in gunsmithing or welding/machinist. I bristle when people say you can't do something unless you do it their way.

Your post suggested or eluded that the only people that can be qualified to be called a gunsmith are those that attend one of those colleges and that anyone who takes correspondence courses are "butchers". Well, I took a correspondence course. Your post also suggested or eluded that people who take correspondence courses don't have any competency standards.

The only thing I said directly about you was "You're the kind of person who would talk crap about someone you've never met in an effort to run them out of business just because they didn't belong to your little club instead of being friends with them and perhaps helping them along." I should have quantified that with a "you sound like the kind..." If you were offended, well, my apologies. Every forum I end up joining on and get involved in gunsmith discussions, I always get crap because I took the AGI course. I usually get the smack talk and often someone will actually tell others not to come to me because I'm a hack or a "butcher" because I didn't attend some college or because I haven't been doing this for 30 years with my own machine shop. I mean that's like telling R. Lee Ermy that he's not a real soldier because he didn't attend West Point.

So anytime someone even suggests that it can't be done any other way but one of the colleges or that anyone who takes the AGI course is a hack or butcher, I get my panties in a wad. I see that as a direct insult to my integrity and my profession. I have known a great many people who did some technical or mechanical trade and were very good who never sat in a classroom for it. I've also seen a great many people with fancy college degrees who didn't know their way around a paper bag let alone the trade they went to school for.

I don't know you from Adam, so as far as what you do for a living or what you're involvement in the colleges is, I'll just have to take you at your word. But I did ask a couple questions that you didn't answer (not that I expected you to) but here's one I would like you to answer. What experience do you have with the AGI Professional Gunsmith course and with Bob Dunlap?

dfariswheel
July 17, 2010, 09:53 PM
I once shook Dunlop's hand and read one of his older books. He's a great gunsmith.

I didn't attend any gunsmithing school. I attended a watchmakers school and became a Master watchmaker.
I worked at a store that sort of backed into gunsmithing work and I taught myself how to rebuild and repair Colt double action revolvers to factory standards, since I was interested in them.
We served as a trade shop doing work for other gun stores and for gunsmiths who got stuck on the complicated Colt revolvers and needed a bail-out.

The difference is, I was a trained watchmaker with very high order manual skills, and the tiny gun parts that most people have difficulty with looked like the size of trucks to someone used to working on ladies watch movements.

Too many people asking about internet or mail order courses have little to no skills and expect to be a fully qualified gunsmith after taking one of the courses.
Some can do it, you obviously being one.
Others can't and either loose their shirt starting a business, or are shocked when a employer laughs them out of the store when they show their degree.

I took a long look at the older AGI videos a former customer bought.
While they had some good info, my problems with them is that an inexperienced person who's looking to open his own business or get hired by a shop isn't going to get the hands-on experience a good instructor can give you.
Since no instructor ever sees your work, you have no way of knowing if you're really doing it right, and since no instructor is looking over your shoulder, you won't learn the tips on how to do better, faster work.

If you already have the talent, you can do it this way. The trouble is, my 30 years experience in two highly skilled trades tells me that most people don't, and are in for real disappointment and possible financial trouble.

Jim Watson
July 17, 2010, 10:00 PM
Cold bluing: Master (mirror) $170

Now THERE'S a professional service.

CelticArmory
July 17, 2010, 10:13 PM
When you put it that way, I agree with you. The key is technical skill, aptitude and experience. Schooling is just the details. I envy you that you have met Bob in person, I've only got to communicate with him via email and on the phone a couple times. I love watching the videos of him on Youtube and in my AGI videos. The course they offer is pretty intense and the test, while multiple guess is quite tough (I actually had to take one twice to pass).

Experience is why I suggested that he could purchase spoiled or "destroyed" firearms to practice on. I've been collecting, shooting and working on my own firearms for a few years and have a passion for them. I believe the experience I have in other technical areas (12 years as an aircraft mechanic specializing in hand crafting metals and advanced composites, 2 years as an electrician and 5 years in IT) is what really helped in my ability to learn gunsmithing along with my ability to naturally learn technical/mechanical things. I am a bit of a jack of all trades.

I suppose saying the AGI courses can work should come with the caveat that prior experience in mechanical/technical areas as well as hands on experience with the internal functions of firearms is much needed. As you yourself said, you didn't take a college course, but learned by doing while having a good background with something technical. (I've taken a few watches apart here and there, I think only one still worked when I was done. LOL)

The problem when it comes to learning gunsmithing is that there are very few schools that actually offer it. I wish like heck that every community college would offer at least a very basic course along with teaching the mill, lathe and welders.

CelticArmory
July 17, 2010, 11:00 PM
I see you have stopped by my site, Mr Watson, thank you. I'm not sure if I should take your comment seriously or believe the sense of condensing sarcasm I get from it.

While currently all I can afford to supply equipment for is cold bluing, I can assure you it looks very professional. One of these days I'll be able to have the $2500 hot bluing tanks and chemicals, but for now, that is the service I can provide. I also keep my rates very low. With today's economy, people can't afford the super expensive smiths, but they may be able to afford my rates.

Here are a couple of projects I worked on when I first got started. The Llama was done with cold blue. I was going to sell it, but pulled it because I discovered after rebluing it (it was in rough shape) and repairing things like the safeties, that someone had messed with the feed ramps and ended up exposing almost a quarter inch of the case wall by cutting into the chamber. I have a new barrel in it, but they had cut the frame's feed ramp and now the barrel sticks out. Since it's no longer going to be for sale, it'll become an experiment piece.

http://i561.photobucket.com/albums/ss56/celticarmory/Projects/th_Llama45007.jpg (http://s561.photobucket.com/albums/ss56/celticarmory/Projects/?action=view&current=Llama45007.jpg)

http://i561.photobucket.com/albums/ss56/celticarmory/Projects/th_Custom45002-1.jpg (http://s561.photobucket.com/albums/ss56/celticarmory/Projects/?action=view&current=Custom45002-1.jpg)

I also have a satisfaction guarantee. It's not money back, but I'll do the work until the customer is more than happy with it. So far everyone has been very happy the first time. In other words, if a repair fails or breaks again, I'll either repair it again or replace the part at no charge. If I make a part and it fails, I'll either remake it or replace it. This is for the life of the firearm with that customer. As with anything that gives experience, I'm constantly improving my techniques and I always strive for perfection.

Jim Watson
July 18, 2010, 12:33 AM
The Llama looks like cold blue, all right.
I don't know about the thing in the cigar box and don't much want to.
If you have a satisfied clientele, great, but I am with faris.

We had a shop here that could not afford the hot blue setup... so the operator learned to rust blue. Which is what I hoped you meant by cold blue. He wasn't making much money for his time, but the results sure looked nice.

CelticArmory
July 18, 2010, 03:00 AM
Rust bluing is something I am going to be getting into, as soon as I can afford the materials. It's not exactly cheap and I am barely making rent at the moment for my office. As far as the 1911 in the cigar box it's a SS frame and slide (as I recall the slide was Caspian) bomar cut with Trijicon tritium sights. Rosewood grips. Most of the internals were either Wilson Combat, Les Baer or Ed Brown. The barrel and barrel lug were from EFK and the barrel lug is a compensator. But you wouldn't care about that, you would rather insult me. I use Oxpho Blue from Brownell's at the moment. And no, for the time put into hand bluing parts and firearms, there isn't much money for it. At $33 for a 4oz bottle, the Pilkingtons is a bit out of my price range, but I may get the Brownell's brand. But the hot bluing kit with the chemicals is $2500. It may be a long time before I get that kind of extra cash.

dirtyjim
July 18, 2010, 10:05 AM
you don't have to uproot your family and spend hundredes of thousands of dolars to attend one of the gunsmithing scools. you can get more info herehttp://www.nragunsmithing.com/ .most of the people take the one week and two week courses as time and money allow.

i would also try to figure out what type of gunsmith you want to be. there are a lot of general gunsmiths out there who barely scrape by but there are also a lot of niche builders who are doing very well.
i would also suggest a machining class if your local comunity college has it.

if you do hot bluing it will need to be in a separate building because the fumes rust everthing in the room.

southerndude
August 1, 2010, 12:58 PM
Check the area you live in for a gunshop or smith that may want some part time help. Volunteer to clean customers guns. This will give you experience in disassembly.
Get some of the NRA books/DVD, also Brownells GUNSMITH KINKS series of books.
Don't expect to achive skill over night. Talk to other hobby and pros.
Allow for the B.S. and decide if you really want to learn the trade. Show me a good gunsmith he will admit he doesn't know everything and is always learning.
With all the new models and changes think about specialization.
Good luck

Mac's Precision
August 1, 2010, 04:19 PM
I don't think that a person can do much in the way of gunsmithing without quite an investment in tooling, shop equipment, years of learning skills, AND a LOT of commitment to learning the industry and understanding customer service and business.

I bought AGI's course.....I watched it....I took the tests...I got the certificates. I do respect Bob Dunlap and his vast knowledge. He is a great teacher... Men like him are vanishing...every day...and go unreplaced. Primarily because few are willing to dedicate their entire life to one specific passion.

I Took AGI's course more for validating my understanding of what I knew about guns. I would say that in 20 years of working on guns I learned enough that watching AGI's stuff was quite redundant for me. NOW....my back ground is as a tool and die machinist with a very involved nearly rabid interest in guns and competition shooting. I have been working on expensive machines and tooling for a long time...and have proper training from a tech college. I have been schooled and apprenticed under some VERY skilled (read old and very demanding)life long machinists. Those are skills that most people don't have.

So what I am saying..is that AGI does teach the concepts...the "design, Function and repair" parts of the picture. There is knowledge to be gained there for the novice to guns. I am sure they even will get you a primer on how to operate machines. But it will only go just so far with out proper training. You can't be a good gunsmith without being a great machinist. Not a passible one...a DAMN good one. I routinely cut threads that are quite fine...or square...or metric...I mill stuff with tiny cutters.. Drill holes with bits you can break with your bare hands. I use fragile tooling that if abuse will fail... and cost you the profit on that job. You can't get a hint how to use shop machines and then start milling away on a $300 1911 slide with a Chinese import mill using India tooling.

NOW.... A fresh student with no machines....lacking 20 years of machinist trade experience...no understanding of firearm design limits....cannot compete with a gunsmith that has been repairing, modifying and accurizing guns for a long time. Further he cannot compete with the man that has invested in high grade machines. The fact that I have over $100,000 in shop machines and tooling avails me to do things that a guy with a drill press cannot. That is pretty simple. Can he still make repairs...yes. Can he do it as clean...maybe not. Can he maintain a level of precision with a file that a guy can with a $25,000 lathe. uh....NO.

I get quite a bit of work. I add it to the list...it gets dealt with when I get to it. Some of it is rather easy....and could be done by a guy with a set of screwdrivers and a file. Most is not. It is tough enough to manage a gunsmithing business and stay profitable...when you HAVE the tools... Trying to do it without a hundred grand in tools and machines...would be painful...if not impossible.

It would be a large task..and a nearly impossible learning curve to assimilate precision machinist work, learning firearm engineering, metalurgy and heat treating, ballistics, physics, the list goes on. The want to "be a gunsmith" is far from the willingness to commit your life to getting the skills..and the knowledge that will allow you to be professional enough to inspire faith when a man hands you a $5500 trap gun and says...fix it. Or when a cop hands you his weapon and says ...fix it...my LIFE depends on it..it better work. OR when a hunter hands you a .338 Winchester Mag to repair..and says...I am going Moose hunting...and I want to make sure I don't get killed. He wants to know that you have the skills, espertise, knowledge, experience, licenses, insurance, business contacts, and most of all an ample understanding of your limits. A good gunsmith will know what he CAN do and what he CAN'T. There are some jobs I don't do. I am not the best at it...and can't be competitive with a guy that is better tooled..or experienced. I don't blue...I send it out. I also don't regulate barrels on double smooth bore scatter guns. Not to say I couldn't do both...but it isn't worth it to me. I can't make money on it. I only take work I can do in a timely ....professional manner that I will be satisfied with...and my customers will be satisfied with paying for....and bragging about later.

There is quite a margin between the notion of what it means to be a hobby gunsmith...and what it means to BE a PROFESSIONAL gunsmith. You get to do repairs you don't want...you get to deal with ALL kinds of gun owners....and some aren't that much fun.. SOME are damn demanding. Some are wound up tight.. Some are paranoid. Some expect perfection for $50..or less. Some want you to fix Grandpa's POS single shot Stevens 20 gauge to like new....for cheap. Just because it has sentimental value. You have to understand the guns...the customer and the market...so that you know what is worth fixing....what is worth pouring money into....what is worth a less costly fix. Managing all this while answering the phone ....ordering parts.... answering questions... can be a juggling act.

I have been at this a long while... I know what works...what parts fit....what my customers want...How to do it right the first time. I cannot imagine trying to take a video course and then contend with all the aspects of daily gunsmith work. AGI IS GOOD material...but it MUST be supplemented with proper machinist training...proper welding training... Tons of industry knowledge... History....business skills...and quite a dedication to getting your property zoned...insurance bought...FFL acquired... Accounts set up with all the vendors...Staying on top of billing and paperwork..etc etc etc. This is why not everyone is a gunsmith.. It is a lot of dedication and passion for only a REASONABLE living. Not all the reward you get from your work comes in cash. Sometimes the satisfaction having won the battle has to be part of the payment....because some repairs just don't pay that well.

Cheers
Mac.

cyclesurvival
October 3, 2010, 03:52 PM
I have been repairing and bluing for many years, 3 years in college at Machining.( with over 125 machines) program with certificate, 1 year business courses and been welding since I was 12 and still IM not quite ready to go pro. I blue Oxnate 7 and Oxnate 84, nitride and hot rust blue. I have tons of money tied up in the bluing and now IM looking to go the next step and buy a few machines. I have done manufacturing of parts at home for a few companies. SO the thing, I do not call myself a Gunsmith. If you go professional you have a lot more to do. FFL, Business license, insurance, proper location, security (safes) not to mention all the paper work or computer programs to keep records. so for now IM just a hobbyist. best of luck with you venture, doing the repairs is only 1/4 of the job.

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