Help locating a reputable gunsmith


February 22, 2012, 11:35 AM
Help locating a reputable gunsmith

I haven't visited here in some time, so if this type of solicitation is prohibited, I apologize and will not be offended if my post gets removed by the moderators.

There's a bit of a story behind my motivation here, so I'll flesh it out first in order to establish some context.

I picked up a couple of M91/30s when they were cheap (perhaps they still are), and one turned out to be pretty nice with the possibility of it having been a remanufactured dragoon. I became interested in a forward-mounted low-power scope for it and consequently purchased scout mount hardware that, in theory, does not require tapping/drilling from a fellow I found out about at these very forums (if memory serves).

I installed the hardware and the mount myself being careful to follow the directions as closely as possible but, despite my best efforts, the thing *always* shook loose when I went to the range. I didn't pay it much attention for quite some time as I was preoccupied with some major life transitions, but I picked it back up relatively recently and decided to bring it in to a local shop.

I explained the situation to a fellow at the shop and handed over the directions for the scout mount, making sure to clarify that it did *not* need to be drilled/tapped, and asked for a bore sight as well. When I got it back, it was nice and firm/stable, so I asked them how they managed it (looking to figure out where I had gone wrong). Elementary, my dear Watson! Drilling and tapping, of course! I decided it wasn't a big deal after all and took it out to the range a couple weeks later, eager to shoot (it had been some time at this point).

Well, I couldn't hit a damn thing. I'm not some crack shot, but it seemed extremely unlikely for my skills to have disintegrated so severely and, after taking my buddy and a sighting scope out with me the following week, I am fairly convinced that they hadn't sighted the thing *at all*. Needless to say, I won't be going back there.

And, as it turns out, there's not too many other options where I live. So, with that, I'm hoping to find someone within, say, ~25 miles who might be able to do something with this damn rifle for me. At this point, depending on their input/advice, either actually sighting the scope or removing it entirely and reinstalling the iron sight.

I'm willing to pay, of course.

I live in Gainesville, FL


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February 22, 2012, 10:03 PM
I'm sorry - a little further explanation please. Did you ask them specifically to sight the gun in? Most shops don't, you know. They may throw a bore-sighter on it to get you close but that is sometimes an extra charge as well. If a shop does sight it in at a range, the charge is frequently $50 or more - travel time, labor, gas and ammo expense - and that's only if they are located conveniently close to one.

Your post makes it sound like you didn't, wouldn't or didn't want to sight the scope in yourself - is that correct?

February 22, 2012, 10:43 PM
Liberty is 100% correct. Sighting in is an extra cost option, assuming there is a range nearby. If you didn't ask for it, it wasn't done.

February 23, 2012, 11:18 AM
I explicitly requested a bore sight, and they claimed it had been done. I'm not as avid a shooter as probably most are at these forums so, admittedly, I don't specifically know what can be expected from a bore sight. At the range, over the course of about 40 rounds, I did not hit *anywhere* on target (or backboard, for that matter) at 100yd and was was *extremely* sporadic at 50yd. I did my best to dial it in after that, but returns on effort were quickly diminishing as I did not (and do not) have any type of rest.

For my own comparison, back when the rifle only had the iron sight, my best was a 3" group at 100yd (standing), and I was fairly consistently on-target in general. With this, I assumed that the bore sight either hadn't been done or was done incorrectly. If that was unreasonable of me, then I hope the community will excuse my ignorance. It doesn't really have implications for my purposes here, however.

While it's true that I'm dissatisfied with the local shop (for more reasons than I've covered here), if I made this sound like a rant about this shop or firearms shops in general, I did not intend to. Really, I'm here to find someone in my area who perhaps enjoys gunsmithing as a hobby and wouldn't mind helping me out. My hope is that, without the pressure of 'doing business', the individual who does it because he enjoys it will both do a better job and have more patience with my relative inexperience (read: questions). Again, that is not to say that I do not expect to pay for any help provided; it's just the opposite, in fact.

Secondarily, I recognize that the chances are pretty low that someone in my local region will see this in any kind of timely manner, so if anybody has a suggestion of where else I might try searching (either online or in person), I'd be grateful.

February 25, 2012, 08:35 AM
I know the mount your talking about here, for what there designed for they do OK. the little set screws on the side have to be torked down after the sighting in and paper shooting is finished or it will shoot loose. but it should also be bore sighted with a high millitary spud because of the distance from the scope and bore,than shot on paper at 25 yards,50 and 100.start short and work out.even a lazer bore sighter will get you's all a guess untill you hit the paper.

February 25, 2012, 04:41 PM
Is it perhaps possible that your gun was knocked around a bit before you shot it, after it had been boresighted? All the posters have had very appropriate information so far, but perhaps it's not a disconnect between services, and expectations of results, but rather a simple accidental movement of the entire mount?

The shop, if they did boresight it in their place of business should have a low risk of incorrectly boresighting it...those are fairly accurate, even with poorly fitting studs, because they are self should have gotten you to within 6 inches or so... but nothing is impossible, they could have forgotten to add height adjuster. Look for movements, loose set screws and tweaked mounting or crossed threads. Then go out to 25 yards or so and try a large target, move out from there...

February 26, 2012, 12:21 PM
Netgunsmithdotcom: I try as hard as the next guy to shield the thing from chaos, but sure, that's entirely possible. It wouldn't change my feelings about the shop.

While I appreciate the suggestions/insight, I really do not have the time or resources to dedicate to tackling this myself. I'll continue my search elsewhere while keeping an eye on this thread.


February 26, 2012, 02:56 PM
I model trust as something that starts at near zero, works up slowly, and can come down fast.

Take little cheap projects as test jobs to different gunsmiths.

I guess your project already is cheap and small.

Some guy sent a multi thousand dollar rifle to the pres of the gunsmithing guild, and says he found out a year later it is now wrecked.

Up front, ask how much and how long it will take. Define the task carefully with a drawing or paper work. Call before coming back to see if it is ready. If not, ask when to call again.

Be ready to kiss goodbye the parts you dropped off if an incompetent gunsmith destroyed them.

It he does a great job, make the next project a little bigger and more important.

February 27, 2012, 04:42 PM
Clark: excellent suggestions, much obliged; unfortunately, the rate at which I have projects crop up is probably somewhere around 1x/year

Nevertheless, it's starting to look like I'm going to have to take the thing back, so I'll keep your input in mind.

February 27, 2012, 06:31 PM
Before you take it back, if you have another scope available you might try that. Scopes do go bad, even some with big names.

February 27, 2012, 07:45 PM
I did not hit *anywhere* on target (or backboard, for that matter) at 100yd and was was *extremely* sporadic at 50yd.

You do know that boresighting is designed to put you ON PAPER at 25 yards right? Not the bullseye... on the paper. If you're out at 100 yards right awy, no wonder you aren't hitting anything.

I think you might be prematurely blaming the gunsmith for your own lack of knowledge about the process.

February 27, 2012, 08:20 PM
put a target out at the range at 25 yds, take the bolt out of the rifle, put the rifle in a rest/sandbags and coincide the sight picture from looking down the bore at your target and the picture of looking through the scope..

that should get you on paper..and adjust from there..

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