Flaky gunsmith


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Pripyat
July 7, 2013, 10:19 AM
I dropped off a 1911 to get a new safety and beaver tail fitted. Never used this Smith before. He told me 4-6 weeks. I wasn't thrilled but left the weapon. I called 8 weeks later and he apologised and said 4 more weeks.
Called 6 weeks later and he said 2-3 more weeks. That was a month ago.

Should I assume this guy is very attentive to detail and leave the weapon with him or assume incompetency and go retrieve the firearm?

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jaguarxk120
July 7, 2013, 10:28 AM
Go get your 1911, at this point no one knows what he's done to it!!

col.lemat
July 7, 2013, 11:00 AM
He missed the dead line three times. It's not going to get done.

Pripyat
July 7, 2013, 11:39 AM
Weird thing is the Google reviews of the business are good. When he missed the first time he apologised and said he had 3 guns that he had to work on nonstop for 2 weeks. That made me think "well at least he is thorough and ensures he does a good job". But this is getting ridiculous.

JohnM
July 7, 2013, 11:54 AM
Go get it back. Enough is enough,

Fred_G
July 7, 2013, 12:32 PM
Anyone can post reviews. I would get my gun and find another smith.

AlexanderA
July 7, 2013, 12:37 PM
What we have here is an attitude problem on the part of the gunsmith. Get your gun back and never darken his door again. Life's too short to have to deal with this nonsense.

Pripyat
July 7, 2013, 01:06 PM
Yeah - he has all the parts too. He just needed to do some shaving. I'll get it back this week. Unfortunately due to the panic the other Smith in town has over a year lead time. :(

I should also mention that the second or third time I called he said he would try to "put it in front of some of these others". That really rubbed me the wrong way because that is probably why I don't have mine back - he is putting others in front of mine :/

witchhunter
July 7, 2013, 01:14 PM
If someone works on a gun nonstop for three weeks, what would the cost be? He might be busy or he might be a flake. My guy takes some time, but he is busy. When it is my gun's turn it gets done and back to me. The only hold up is waiting on parts or if he gets to go hunting somewhere.

351 WINCHESTER
July 7, 2013, 09:18 PM
When I was in business and I made a promise I always did my best to keep it. Find someone else.

Jim K
July 7, 2013, 09:24 PM
Any smith who has to work on a gun non-stop for weeks either doesn't know what he is doing or can't estimate a job, or is taking on more than he can handle. In any case, I would look for another smith.

Jim

Pripyat
July 7, 2013, 09:31 PM
Yeah... Going to get it tomorrow. I hate it but I will do the work myself before I wait nearly a year for a competent smith to do it. I just needed the beaver tail trimmed.. I had already done the majority of the shaving for the safety. It would engage but the fit with the sear was tight and the safety wouldn't snap in and out of place like it should. I will at least learn more doing it myself. I understand the risks BTW. This was going to be the first time I ever paid a smith to do work on a gun for me. I was only paying a smith because I also wanted my sear and hammer stoned and I don't have a jig.

rcmodel
July 7, 2013, 09:44 PM
We had a so-called gunsmith here in town for about 5 years like that.

He talked a good game, until he got the gun apart in boxes in the back room.
He had guns in pieces stacked clear along one wall.

Then he gave the customers the same run-around you are getting.
People finally wised up and stopped going to him.

Then he filed for bankruptcy, and they locked the doors.

A lot of people couldn't get their guns back.
Then some that did ended up with the big parts of their gun, and the little parts of somebody else's still in boxes and paper sacks!

rc

sage5907
July 7, 2013, 10:13 PM
My experience is that a lot of people who work alone in skilled trades have that sort of attitude problem. It has nothing to do with age because it affects both the young and old alike. Some of them take more work than they can do. Others can't seem to figure it out that they have to get a job or two out every day to make a living. Others live on the deposits and never do the jobs once they spend the deposit money. The ones that make a successful living are more organized and don't take the jobs unless they think they can get the work done when promised. They usually charge higher prices for their work. Bottom line, take your work to someone who's dependable and pay the higher prices even if you don't like their personality.

Jim K
July 7, 2013, 10:27 PM
There are many reasons for delay in delivering work, some valid, some not.

I have observed over the years many gunsmiths who have gone out of business. Here are a few of the reasons:

1. Spending time BSing with customers rather than working on guns. Hire help for the front counter and work on guns.
2. Taking on idiotic jobs like working on junkers whose value is far less than the cost of the work. (The customer will refuse to pay the bill.)
3. Getting involved in a customer's "project". If the guy wants to convert his .32 rimfire Tramps Terror to .454 Casull, let him; don't waste your time on silliness.
4. Breaking/losing parts and having to order or make replacements.
5. Tackling a job without knowing how to do it. These are usually self-taught smiths; schools teach at least the rudiments of most jobs.
6. Not having the equipment to do the job or not knowing how to operate it.
7. Farming out work to other gunsmiths or to large specialty shops. Not only is the smith at the mercy of others, if the customers catch on they will simply eliminate the middle man and go directly to the other guy.
8. Failure to understand even the rudiments of running a business; the worst in this respect are the gun hobbyists who can get immersed in a discussion of Victory Models when they should be working on guns.
9. Failure to post and keep regular hours. One smith had his shop in his home and a pretty young wife. Customers found the shop door locked for hours in the middle of the day. Soon they didn't bother to come back.
10. Sheer ignorance or stupidity. There is no licensing test for gunsmiths, so some folks think all that is needed is an FFL and a few hand tools. They screw things up badly and the word gets around. Worse, they create a dangerous situation and someone is injured or killed. The result is bankruptcy or even a prison term.

Jim

Pripyat
July 7, 2013, 10:36 PM
I was a little weirded out when I went to his shop. I have never been to a place of business where I had to knock to get in (A recent trip to San Antonio taught me that this is not abnormal in big cities). I rang the bell and there is a ferocious and large dog that went nuts. Owner put the dog up and let me in. The instant I step inside I am next to a work surface that is around 20 feet long and 3 feet deep and stretches down the wall. There are probably 10 -15 guns completely disassembled with their parts scattered all along the work surface. I was thinking to myself, I could walk out with a spring and this guy would be screwed. Thinking back I definitely need to get my gun back.

Pripyat
July 8, 2013, 12:57 PM
Well crap. Took my lunch break to drive to this guys shop and get this:

186133

col.lemat
July 8, 2013, 02:41 PM
I expected that. Try and make an appointment, and see how far that goes. Ha Ha
Honestly It's time to call the cops. I had too on one of mine. Over a year and a half later I am still trying to get it back dealing with the Calif. Dept. of Justice.

Pripyat
July 8, 2013, 02:58 PM
The hand broken off the clock really makes the pic. :/

I am going to call and see if I can get him and find out when I can catch him at the office..

morcey2
July 8, 2013, 03:02 PM
The hand broken off the clock really makes the pic. :/

I am going to call and see if I can get him and find out when I can catch him at the office..
Tell him you have another gun to bring in. If you tell him you're wanting to pick up the original gun, you'll probably never get a straight answer.

Matt

Fred_G
July 8, 2013, 07:30 PM
Tell him you have another gun to bring in. If you tell him you're wanting to pick up the original gun, you'll probably never get a straight answer.

Matt
I like that, sneaky. But a dang good idea.

Pripyat
July 8, 2013, 08:01 PM
I called earlier and he said he was sick and at the Dr office. Going to swing by again tomorrow..

Fred_G
July 8, 2013, 08:19 PM
I hope the doctor is more punctual with his work than the gunsmith seems to be... :)

bannockburn
July 8, 2013, 08:59 PM
Pripyat

By the time this "gunsmith" might get around to working on your gun, you could have finished gunsmithing school and done the work yourself.

slicksleeve
July 8, 2013, 11:46 PM
When I was young my Dad and I dropped a 16 gauge double off at a dealer who "knew a good smith." After about eight months, we went looking for it. The dealer said, "the tag fell off, we didn't know who that shotgun belonged to." Right. We ended up taking it to someone else, who actually fixed it. Now that I'm grown, I think I could have just fixed the problem myself.

BigHossCCF
July 10, 2013, 03:51 PM
You know...as a gunsmith myself, this was a really good "read". I'd go even further to say it's a good "wake up call" to how far behind, I myself...have been getting with my workload. Thank you Pripyat for the rant...I needed this...something that only some of my customers will appreciate in the end.

Looks like I have much work to do... (thankfully, your gun was not in my shop!)

Jim K
July 10, 2013, 04:07 PM
Many gunsmiths began as gun hobbyists and simply cannot adjust to the idea that a business is for making money, not chatting all day about guns.

Another problem is that too many gunshop owners have no idea how to run a business. They post on sites like this, asking what they need to be a gunsmith besides a file and an FFL. They have no idea how to get business licenses,, file zoning applications, get capital, do bookkeeping (my wife will do that is a common reply), keep records, or any of the other jobs that involve running a business, not just tinkering with guns.

The first place I worked, one of the other guys asked about time off to go hunting. The boss put him straight: "If you want to go hunting, take all the time you want, because you don't need to come back. As long as you are in the gunsmith business, you don't go hunting - you fix the other guy's gun so HE can go hunting." Pretty hard, but professionals in any business don't take off in the middle of the busiest time of the year; if they do, they either get fired or, if they own the business, go broke.

Jim

Jim Watson
July 10, 2013, 08:35 PM
Then there is the flip side. A good gunsmith will get so much business as to be permanently behind. The guy refinishing my smoke and water damaged guns was slow and is now slower, just from the press of work he feels he can't turn down.

Jim K
July 10, 2013, 11:13 PM
Right, that is also common, but again, a factor in business is knowing what work to turn down, and how to do it with tact and diplomacy.

Also, farming out work is not desirable but I am not totally against it, only in doing it as a general practice. In fact, some specialty work should be farmed out (with the full knowledge of the customer); no general gunsmith can (or should) tackle everything.

Jim

vaeevictiss
July 10, 2013, 11:35 PM
A while back i wanted nothing more than to get into the gun(smithing) business. Ultimately i would love to be a part of something well known and cutting edge doing design or machining.

I hated my job (still do for the most part). But i also have a good friend who is a class 3 dealer and owns his own shop mainly building rifles, ar's, and 1911s.

I asked him how he got into it and he simply said "love of guns". I figured, well <deleted>, me too.

We got to talking more and he said how owning the business really changed guns for him. It was no longer a hobby, but a career. When he got to mess with guns, it was a customers. When he finally gets around to recreational shooting... It's not as fun as it used to be for him.

Add that to all the stress of owning a business, and i decided my current job was good enough.

I have a lot of respect for guys in the business, but i have also decided to teach myself things up to and including machine work to help take a load off him. If there is something i just can't do or have the time for then i take it to him.

I still don't understand why people waste a gunsmiths time to mount a scope. It really isn't hard with a level and some feeler gauges

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus

rcmodel
July 10, 2013, 11:45 PM
It was no longer a hobby, but a career. It's not as fun as it used to be for him.EggZactly!

And that's the part most people who want to become gunsmiths don't quite understand.

When a gunsmith gets the time to go shooting?

It's to test fire someone else's gun he worked on.

And it has to be someone else's gun.
Because he probably had to sell his own gun collection to pay the rent & bills some months.

rc

vaeevictiss
July 11, 2013, 08:31 AM
Yea, i was really surprised to find out just how little he makes.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus

Pripyat
July 11, 2013, 08:32 AM
Sadly, I ended up leaving the weapon with the guy. I showed up yesterday and was mesmerized at a M1 he had sitting out and got distracted. I forgot how pissed I was.

Anyway, I asked for my pistol and he said that it was three guns away from the one he was currently working on (I saw his card stack and it was indeed in the first couple). He said that he should have it done by Friday. I know, I should have gotten it but I really don't need a new project. I have multiple spring kits at the house now I haven't had the time to intall. And I really want my gun back...

Fred_G
July 11, 2013, 08:40 AM
Well, hopefully he will get it done for you.

morcey2
July 11, 2013, 11:26 AM
... He said that he should have it done by Friday....

Did he specify _which_ Friday?

Pripyat
July 11, 2013, 05:19 PM
Oh gosh..

He just called and told me my gun was ready. BUT the safety is not fitting in there correctly so I need a new one.

He said it gets in this position sometimes that causes the hammer to only fall to half-cock. Or maybe he said it binds at half cock when you try to cock it sometimes. I really didn't understand what he was saying. Important thing is that it is interfering with the operation of the hammer/sear. Is this legit? It is a rock island armory mil spec 1911A1 and the sear and Beavertail are both supposedly drop-in wilson combat pieces.

Just got a call from him while I was typing. He called RIA and they are sending a new safety free charge under warranty. Again, is this legit? How will thee new one be any different?

Jim K
July 11, 2013, 05:25 PM
"He called RIA and they are sending a new safety free charge under warranty. Again, is this legit? How will thee new one be any different?"

Strong suspicion: He messed up installing the first safety and took off too much metal, so he finagled a new one from RIA and will have a crack at messing that one up. Maybe he will get it right this time.

When you get the gun back, make sure you check it over carefully; if you are not sure how, find someone knowledgeable to help you.

Jim

Pripyat
July 11, 2013, 05:35 PM
But.. This guy is a licensed gunsmith! :banghead:

This makes me so sad. That pistol is, by far, my favorite weapon. Cheap but not a single misfire or FTF in several thousand rounds. My original sear developed a pit in it where the hammer engaged the sear.I stoned it flat but I wanted a more long term solution as the hammer pivot hole was not square with the hammer. All I wanted was a new hammer and sear..

Sob story over.:(

Fred_G
July 11, 2013, 06:26 PM
Wow. I tried fitting a safety in my 1911, and I messed up the safety. But, I am not a gunsmith. Hope you get your gun back soon, and as posted above, make sure it is checked out.

triggerman770
July 12, 2013, 09:43 AM
But.. This guy is a licensed gunsmith!
means nothing. all you need is a business license and an FFL(the business license takes care of the proper zoning) I have these..but I also apprenticed with a gunsmith for about 5 years. as for the safety Jim K was right. the other possibility is he didn't understand that these must all be fitted,especially of the geometry of the fire control system has been altered via new parts etc.

Taurus 617 CCW
July 12, 2013, 10:45 AM
I fit a 1911 safety about two months ago for the first time and it went fine. I adhered to a couple of principles.

1. Measure twice, cut once
2. A little at a time, check fit often

If one has an understanding of how the mechanism works, it is much easier to fit a part properly. It seemed difficult before I started but felt confident after it was finished. Sounds to me like the guy screwed up and doesn't want to own up to it.

Jim K
July 13, 2013, 11:49 PM
.. This guy is a licensed gunsmith!"

To hang out a sign for a beauty parlor in this state, you need a beautician's license and have to pass a pretty rigid examination, proving you know all about cosmetics, hair dyes, hair treatment, manicures, etc., etc.

To hang out a sign for a gunsmith shop, you need an FFL and a hook to hang the sign on. No tests, no examinations, no way for the customer to know if you are a second John Browning, or another Bubba with a big hammer.

Now admittedly, most of us oppose the idea of state licensing and testing of gunsmiths because it could (WOULD) be abused by the state police to eliminate all gunsmiths. Still, the fact is there is no way to know whether the gunsmith is competent or not, experienced or a newbie.

You find out after you give him your prized gun to work on and maybe even after you have paid him.

Jim

4v50 Gary
July 13, 2013, 11:59 PM
What Jim K says. There are no licensing or certifying authority for "gunsmith." Opps, let me correct that. The ATF licenses gunsmiths. However, the ATF does not have any standards for skill level or training of gunsmiths. To the ATF, it's about knowing who is authorized to work on other people's firearms for pay.

Fred_G
July 14, 2013, 01:04 AM
Makes me appreciate my local gunsmith. Crusty old dude, but seems to know his stuff. Don't know his time for major work, but he fixed the barrel link pin on my RIA 1911 while I waited. Charged me a whole $5. Need to go see him about fitting a safety on my Remington 1911.

Jim K
July 14, 2013, 01:52 AM
Another aspect of "gunsmithing as a business" is to not make things look too easy. I am glad Fred got his gun fixed and at a great price, but I hope he doesn't want that kind of service all the time.

I remember one time when a customer brought in a 7" barrel Ruger .22 auto that he had dropped and the bolt would not retract. The boss brought it back to me and I waited until the customer left before I rapped the barrel on the bench. That fixed the problem and it took about one second. But no way was I going to let the customer know what I had done or how easy it was. I didn't know (or care) what the boss charged him, but everyone was happy.

A side issue is that had the customer seen me "abuse" his pistol, he would have been shocked. (Auto body shops won't let customers watch while they adjust car doors, either.)

Jim

Fred_G
July 14, 2013, 02:04 AM
Another aspect of "gunsmithing as a business" is to not make things look too easy. I am glad Fred got his gun fixed and at a great price, but I hope he doesn't want that kind of service all the time.

I remember one time when a customer brought in a 7" barrel Ruger .22 auto that he had dropped and the bolt would not retract. The boss brought it back to me and I waited until the customer left before I rapped the barrel on the bench. That fixed the problem and it took about one second. But no way was I going to let the customer know what I had done or how easy it was. I didn't know (or care) what the boss charged him, but everyone was happy.

A side issue is that had the customer seen me "abuse" his pistol, he would have been shocked. (Auto body shops won't let customers watch while they adjust car doors, either.)

Jim
I got lucky, I fully expected to leave the part with him for a week or so. I guess he was in a good mood, and felt like doing some inexpensive work.

I rarely need a gunsmith, but he is the one I will go to. And have recommended him to friends.

The gs did me a favor, goes a long way in my book.

Plus, he had Nancy Pelocy toilet paper in his shop... Would have had no problem paying $20 or more for the repair.

Price, speed, quality, pick any two of them. I just got lucky.

Pripyat
July 18, 2013, 06:37 PM
He just called and said the pistol was ready. But, he said that he needed to test fire it but he doesn't have any .45acp bullets. He just needs 8 for a clip to ensure the gun is functioning properly. I really wanted to just tell him to forget testing it and that I would just have another smith check it but I figure I will let him finish what he started. I am going to take him some bullets next week and then pick it up the next day.

But wait. There's more!
He said that he had to do quite a bit of fitting to the beaver tail and the new safety from RIA. He said my pistol took most of the day to complete since the new safety did the same thing the original did by interfering with the hammer/grip safety. He asked if I minded paying $20 more since he had to order the new safety (after telling me on the phone he wouldn't charge extra for fitting the new safety from RIA) and he had originally expected all my parts to work together. I told him we would talk about it when I got there.

What. The. Heck.
A 4-6 week 70 dollar trigger job has turned into a 90 dollar 6 month+ headache.

Edit: I just reread my post and realized it sounds too crazy to be the truth. But none of this has been fabricated.. :(

BBBBill
July 18, 2013, 08:10 PM
Well, you might not want to out the guy, but at least post a location (within 50 mile radius) for folks to avoid.

Fred_G
July 18, 2013, 08:20 PM
If he has to test fire it to see if it is fixed, how does he know it is fixed? :banghead:

Again, good luck with this. Hmm, you could charge him $20 for the ammo... :)

Pripyat
July 18, 2013, 08:27 PM
Asking for extra $ OR asking for a clip of ammo may have not been asking too much. But really? Ammo AND $20? I wanted so badly to remind him off how long he had my weapon in the first place.. But I'm sure he knows..

Fred_G
July 18, 2013, 08:42 PM
A clip of ammo? You sure this guy is a gunsmith? Just joking. :neener:

jblackfish
July 18, 2013, 08:46 PM
We live........and we learn. Hopefully you'll get a gun back that's usuable. If so, count your lucky stars because it could have been a disaster. Good luck!

Keeperfaith
July 19, 2013, 01:35 PM
@ Pripyat, WHERE is that gunsmith so I NEVER use him. I live in San Antonio. I've used Nagels before and they take a long time (always busy) but they get the job done and it's well done.

Steve

BigHossCCF
July 22, 2013, 03:34 PM
Don't know how you did it (had the patience, almost of Job) Pripyat...but you Sir...are a good customer. That "gunsmith" was lucky to have you as his customer...

jblackfish
July 22, 2013, 03:43 PM
Pripyet, So did you get your gun back? I couldn't tell from your last post whether you'd picked it up or not.

Pripyat
July 22, 2013, 03:50 PM
I am taking him bullets tomorrow and picking it up later this week. I made the comment earlier today to a coworker that I would give him $30 more just to get my gun back without hassle. That way I can say I learned my lesson and go on about my life as normal.

El Viejo
July 22, 2013, 03:55 PM
I hope everything works out for you and you are very happy with what the guy has done with your 1911, and I guess - lesson learned. Next time, do it yourself or else find a new gunsmith.

Godsgunman
July 22, 2013, 04:14 PM
Pripyat,
You are one patient man, I take my hat off to ya. I consider myself to be pretty easy going and patient, and most people would attest to that, but if I were in your shoes I would have found someone else a long time ago and wouldn't have given him a penny.

Pripyat
July 25, 2013, 12:58 PM
I went to pick up the gun up although I called ahead to make sure I could just pick it up without providing ammo for him to test fire with. When I picked it up he asked for $10 more and actually had already printed a receipt for $10 more.. I think the most interesting part is that he told me that since I am relocating he would be willing to pay the gunsmithing fees at a different location if I found a problem with his work. I interpret this whole situation as the guy is a very good person but a not so good gunsmith.

Functionally everything seems fine. Will test this weekend.

Pripyat
July 25, 2013, 01:09 PM
Well geez. It looks like I will be taking it to another smith or taking more off the safety. When I push up on the safety it doesn't snap into place like it should. Below is where it stops unless you force it:
186735
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/07/26/uvezuqyg.jpg
Also note the scratches on the frame between the safety and hammer. Near the slide. Those were not there before and are clearly through the parkerized finish.

jblackfish
July 25, 2013, 01:53 PM
Good grief! Run from this guy and never look back. He has NO IDEA what he's doing and he is FOR SURE in the wrong business. He needs a job doing something harmless and he needs to do it for someone with a brain as his boss.

Sure sorry this happened to you - hopefully you'll find someone to help you get it right but it's gonna cost you unnecessary time and money to get there.

Fred_G
July 25, 2013, 07:53 PM
Wow. Well, at least you got your gun back.

Pripyat
July 25, 2013, 08:27 PM
I didn't mention.. He quoted me 70-80 dollars for the work. When I got there and saw my gun case on the table I walked up to it and there was a sticky note on it that had my name and a cost of $80.90 on the bottom of the note. I pulled out 81 dollars and he said "no, that is the total I wrote down the day you brought the gun in. $90 is the new total if you don't mind."
He then hands me a receipt he had already printed for $90. Despite me telling him we "would talk about" the additional charges when I got there.
Not to mention who tells someone something is going to cost 70-80 dollars expecting to charge them $80.90?

BBBBill
July 25, 2013, 08:58 PM
You were far too kind with him. Not to say you should have blown up on him, but he needed a little firm educating about his attempt to learn on your gun at your expense.

Fred_G
July 25, 2013, 09:08 PM
I would have lost it on him. (politely of course.) I would just stay way away from that dude.

col.lemat
July 25, 2013, 10:57 PM
I knew that no mater what, the time would come when you would just be glad to get the pistol back weather fixed or not. Next time go with your gut feelings and first impressions, there were subliminal warning signs that you did not follow.

LeonCarr
July 25, 2013, 11:14 PM
What is his name/the name of his business?

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Field Tester
July 26, 2013, 12:36 AM
I've been following this thread from the beginning and feel so bad for you man. I think you should have been a bit more firm with him. You seem like a wonderful person, that doesn't like confrontation and avoids it at all costs.

You'd be doing your fellow shooters a great service by naming this "gunsmith".
If I were you, I'd be taking that "gunsmith" up on his offer for someone else doing the repairs.

alsaqr
July 26, 2013, 10:32 AM
Good grief! Run from this guy and never look back. He has NO IDEA what he's doing and he is FOR SURE in the wrong business.

Bingo!!!!

IME: Some of these guys are gunsmiths like Jethroe Boudin is a brain surgeon. One of them hung a pipe wrench on the magazine tube of a friends Model 12 shotgun and crushed it.

HexHead
July 26, 2013, 11:12 AM
To the ATF, it's about knowing who is authorized to work on other people's firearms for pay.

No, for the ATF it's about knowing businesses that are receiving other people's firearms.

HexHead
July 26, 2013, 11:25 AM
Everything else aside, the guy buggers up the finish on your pistol and then wants to charge you more?

He should have comp'd you the repair and apologized profusely.

He's lucky if you don't take it to a competent smith to fix the safety and refinish the frame and take him to small claims court to reimburse you.

CraigC
July 26, 2013, 01:14 PM
I think most of the problem is what has been covered, you have a lot of guys running gun shops who love guns but don't know how to run a business.

This is why I don't fart around with "local" gunsmiths. The gunsmiths I trust are known nationally and I know plenty of guys who have used them. Sure, it might cost a little more to have Jim Stroh (former treasurer of the APG) or Hamilton Bowen do the work but I know it will be done right and lead times are usually pretty accurate.

jblackfish
July 26, 2013, 01:19 PM
What is his name/the name of his business?

Just my .02,
LeonCarr
I'm not saying you need to spread this guy's name all over the internet but, if someone (especially) in the area where this guy "operates" asks for his information, I hope you PM them the info. Also, this guy needs to be reported to any "gunsmith in your area" list that you might locate now or in the future to prevent your fellow shooters from going through the same agony you've been through. (My opinion) Good luck in getting his screw-ups corrected.

Pripyat
July 26, 2013, 01:41 PM
The business was near Greenville sc. PM me for the business name if you are local and want to avoid this guy. I'm not wanting to turn this into a slander type situation.

This guy isn't worth my time. If I was broke or if the weapon was more valuable I would be more pissed than I am now.

I hate my attitude towards public service people... I have had nothing but bad experiences paying someone to do something me. I do all my own car maintenance including mounting/balancing my own motorcycle tires due to bad experiences. I ONLY took this gun to the guy because of the safety issues involved. But I got bit. Should have spent the $90 on a sear jig. :mad:

Jolly Rogers
July 27, 2013, 01:11 PM
This is a disappointing repair. Plus it is not a difficult job. I would send it to another smith to have it redone and send the bill to him with a request for reimbursement. And I would post the pic and function of the install as a stand alone post...not a gripe ...and ask for a critique of the repair with his business info in the post. He should have handed the gun to you and said " no charge, I am not satisfied with the work and it took too long".
Joe

Pripyat
July 30, 2013, 01:18 PM
So my dad kept referring me to the Smith he has used his entire life. While visiting home I took the RIA to him. He said the safety was definitely not finished (needed more material taken off) and said he would take care of it and write me a receipt. I'm very interested to see how the other smith reacts to me asking him if he will own up like he said he would and pay another smith to right his wrong.

AmateurSharpshooter
August 2, 2013, 01:07 AM
"The business was near Greenville sc. PM me for the business name if you are local and want to avoid this guy. I'm not wanting to turn this into a slander type situation."

I live in Taylors, SC, a stone's throw from Greenville, SC. I seriously would like to discuss your experience with this guy, I may very well have been bitten by the same guy. I brought a like-new Thompson 1927A1 to him to fix the barrel because the original one came loose after a couple hundred rounds thru it. After he had it for 3 weeks, he tells me he's going to need to replace the barrel because he cannot break loose the Cutts Compensator to tighten it. He had "special ordered" the barrel and a new Cutts Compensator. When I came to pick it up, I noticed vise marks all over the ribs of the new barrel. I commented on them and he said 'that's the way it came from the factory.' I asked to take the old barrel that was on the weapon and the same vise marks were on the old barrel. Mind you, these marks were deep enough to make the metal shavings stick out and poke you. I made him file them down and blue them on the spot. To this day, it still pisses me off, because the bad work still shows on my weapon. I came so close to calling him a liar.

Furthermore, He took two and a half months to complete the job. The reason it took him so long to get my weapon finished is because all the gun shows and events that I went to and/or participated in, he was there too. He is definitely more interested in making his presence known out in public than being in his workshop doing what he's bad at. I have no problem outing him, his name is Larry Smith of Larry's Gun Repair LLC, 403 Miller Rd. Ste C, Greenville, SC 29607. Seriously, I will never darken his doormat ever again.

Pripyat
August 7, 2013, 12:08 PM
Holy crap.. Same guy (Larry), same business (Larry's Gun Repair).

I jumped on to post that the competent gunsmith just called and said that they fitted the safety but the sear allowed the hammer to fall occasionally when the slide cycled the next round.

This freaking sucks. I buy a new hammer and sear and it looks like I may have to buy another. I told the new smith to fix it right so I can get some closure. FML

jblackfish
August 7, 2013, 05:45 PM
Pripyat, Not only is this guy a menace to gun-smithing (and your gun is a great example) - he's producing dangerous work! I would certainly approach this guy with the invoice for the work from the smith who fixes it.

...and, I hate to be suggesting anything for you to do but I think you'd be justified in making your experience known as far and wide as you feel comfortable with just to warn people in that area away from him. Just be sure to limit your comments to your experience exactly and I don't see how he could come back at you legally. Personally, I would NOT be treated like this by anyone without publishing it! (just my thoughts....)

Zeke/PA
August 10, 2013, 03:35 PM
Fortunatly! I'm STILL able to do most of my own Gunsmithing. Iam a '61 Graduate of TSJC and a Journeyman Toolmaker to boot. The crackpot "gunsmiths" have merely to run their mouths.

AmateurSharpshooter
August 14, 2013, 01:19 PM
Holy crap.. Same guy (Larry), same business (Larry's Gun Repair).

I jumped on to post that the competent gunsmith just called and said that they fitted the safety but the sear allowed the hammer to fall occasionally when the slide cycled the next round.

This freaking sucks. I buy a new hammer and sear and it looks like I may have to buy another. I told the new smith to fix it right so I can get some closure. FML
I strongly suggest writing a google review on this guy. Search 'Google' and 'gunsmith Greenville, SC'. His list is at the top. I just wrote mine. My bad, his name is Larry Williams...

sauer1911
September 1, 2013, 01:40 PM
Why didnt you just send the gun to RIA? Or atleast ask them to refer a local gunsmith to work on your 1911?

Pripyat
September 3, 2013, 01:04 PM
I didn't take it to RIA because they are the reason I am in this situation in the first place. I have pictures of how off square the hammer was to the hammer pin. Besides, I wanted a trigger job which isn't something I would take a gun to RIA for. Also - This thread isn't about what I could have done. :p

So the drama continues. I went to pick up the RIA and the bill was $193. I got a call that after the thumb safety was trimmed that said the hammer was falling when the slide was racked. I told them to do what it took to fix it. They charged 91 dollars for a hammer and sear (Nighthawk) and over 100 for the labor.

I call Larry and tell him what has happened and asked him to call the gunsmith that did the work so he could pick up the bill. He calls back after speaking to the gunsmith and said that he wasn't going to pay for the parts but would pay for only the labor to fit the thumb safety. He said that the other gunsmith must have taken material off the sear/hammer causing the hammer issue because the hammer was not falling by itself when it left his shop.

I asked, "So could the safety have been contacting the sear causing it to not fall since it needed trimming so badly?" His response: "No, the thumb safety does not contact the sear. It simply lodges itself between the hammer and sear keeping the hammer from being able to fall. :banghead:

He then started claiming that he didn't even touch the sear/hammer although I took it to him for a TRIGGER JOB. Not to mention the sear I took him needed the primary and secondary angles stoned into them. They were unfinished. He kept asking me if it was light enough when I went to go pick it up (it was very light) and talked about how many times he took it apart/put it back together to get the trigger pull light enough. He is going to call back shortly after he receives the bill via fax. I asked him to talk to the gunsmith about why it is their fault that the sear and hammer that came from him couldn't be fitted to work in the handgun safely. :(

Fred_G
September 3, 2013, 07:03 PM
Jeebus... Do you have your gun back yet? Hopefully after all the BS, you will be happy with the gun.

Pripyat
September 3, 2013, 08:40 PM
Well Larry never called. I feel a little bad that I put the other Smith in the middle of this fiasco...

I didn't pick the gun up because when I saw the bill I knew there was no chance he would pay me the $193 but there was a good chance he would work with the gun shop. I told Larry that he could call the shop and work with them to pick up the tab. Shortly thereafter he called and said he wouldn't pay for anything more than the labor to trim the safety.

I will drop in the gun shop this weekend possibly to see what ended up happening.

Pripyat
September 4, 2013, 08:42 AM
I was thinking about this this morning.. He told me originally that he needed 20 dollars more because he had issues getting all the parts to fit together - I mentioned this earlier in the thread. He got the new safety in and the parts still would not work together properly.

But when I talked to him yesterday he at first denied even making changes to the sear/hammer and when I said that I knew he modified them because I took him an unfinished sear he said that you don't take material off the hammer OR sear to do a trigger job. You just polish the surfaces. When I dropped it off I specifically said that I wanted him to stone the primary/secondary angles in the sear. I asked him specifically if he stoned the primary and secondary angles on the sear when I picked it up and he said "yes". What a piece of sh*t. :cuss:

I got really frustrated with him on the phone and actually started showing my anger. But I withheld since I really hope he picks some of the tab up..

BullfrogKen
September 4, 2013, 09:47 AM
But I withheld since I really hope he picks some of the tab up..

You know, I don't see that ever happening.

It sucks, but perhaps you might want to just pay the 'smith who fixed the mess out of your pocket - the full bill - and let this yahoo Larry know you settled it in full. Whatever he decides to reimburse to send to you.

Otherwise you're going to have this yahoo saying, "Yeah I sent that check off," with the decent businessman never getting the balance settled.

Pripyat
September 4, 2013, 10:48 AM
My intent is to pay in full next time I drop by the smith's shop and whatever check Larry may send I will just use as a store credit. Their prices are pretty high so I wouldn't otherwise buy anything from them unless it was a dire emergency. But I want to show some appreciation to them for dealing with Larry for me.

DammitBoy
September 4, 2013, 11:10 AM
I feel your pain sir. I had a 1911 I took to a gunsmith who was also a friend. After a year he had still not finished the work, but had all the parts there. He said he could not do the work because my pistol was not a standard 1911.

This after he assured me for a year that everything was going well with the custom build. He did several things right, he just never finished the project. After I picked up the gun and parts I decided to tackle it myself.

An hour later I had all the parts installed and the gun runs like a dream. I decided this guy was neither a gunsmith nor a friend...

MartinS
September 4, 2013, 11:48 AM
These people seem to know how to use you.
As to "I'm not wanting to turn this into a slander type situation." If it's true it's not slander.

Pripyat
September 4, 2013, 01:04 PM
These people seem to know how to use you.

Had more to do with the fact that I felt like posting the business name here made it much more likely that he might catch wind of this thread and definitely not make my gun right and surely not pay to fix the damage.

But when AS had dealings with the same guy and guessed the business name that changed that.. This is also the reason I haven't made a Google review yet. Going to wait and see if Larry pays to make it right. Not that him paying would change the review any. I just doubt he would make it right if he knew I had already exposed his shotty dealings to the public.

LeonCarr
September 4, 2013, 07:59 PM
Sounds like you have waited long enough for both the use of your properly fixed gun and your "Larry will make it right" payment.

The longer you delay in exposing his substandard skills and business practices, the more time this guy has to mess up someone else's gun.

If you want money back from Larry, take him to Small Claims Court.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Pripyat
September 4, 2013, 09:21 PM
I'm not waiting on him to pay. I didn't pick the gun because I thought that was the only chance he would pay anything. I don't go by the new Smith's town but maybe once every two weeks. I won't be shooting for at least another 3 weeks (if not 3 months) as I'm in the middle of relocating so it is just a matter of time before I go pick up the RIA regardless of if Larry picks up any of the tab.

I agree about letting the word out sooner rather than later.. I will have to post my Google review some time late this week or early next week.

tgford58
September 6, 2013, 04:00 PM
I was looking at the photo. Did you not want the beavertail radius cut on the frame? Please be careful on who you have fit a thumb safety. They still make my pulse elevate anb I have done quite a few of them. It is all that stands between you and a long scar down your leg. There are some very good 1911 smiths out there that can make this all work like it was supposed to. If the price is too low, typically the person quoting isn't that established.

Pripyat
September 6, 2013, 05:55 PM
Sadly I doubt I will ever trust this gun as a carry weapon. I have faith in the new smith but it just won't be the same. What was once my go-to for dependability has been compromised. I don't know if the finest smith could cause me to trust that weapon after Larry hacked at it. I considered letting a buddy have it at the shop cost but I would never forgive myself if they got hurt with it. So I will pick it up and either make it a range dedicated weapon or sell it with a warning.

BullfrogKen
September 6, 2013, 06:04 PM
Did you pay the 2nd 'smith for his work yet?

Pripyat
September 6, 2013, 08:20 PM
Haven't made it over there yet. My new (been there 2 weeks) residence is inconveniently located remotely to everything. The closest smith is a 30 minute drive towards nowhere. And I work most their open hours. So my only chance would be tomorrow but I have other plans. It will probably be next weekend.

1stCavLRRP
September 6, 2013, 08:26 PM
You SOUND like a reasonably intelligent (if a bit soft-hearted) person; go to HalfPriceBooks (or any other book vendor you trust), find yourself a copy of (the long since out-of-print) Hallock's .45 Auto Handbook, educate yourself, and restore your confidence in the weapon you love.

BullfrogKen
September 6, 2013, 08:31 PM
Won't the US Mail deliver your check to him?

He fixed your gun very quickly. Some 'smiths won't even touch another's shoddy work. Pay the man.

Pripyat
September 6, 2013, 10:34 PM
I have a 4 year EE degree from one of the top 10 engineering colleges.. Struggled but I made it through. I really may pick that book up. I have had a passion for the 1911 platform ever since I picked up the RIA as my first handgun back in high school.

As for paying the other smith, he knows my family really well. He has told me at least half a dozen times that there is no rush to pick up my weapons from him. With my last job it wasn't uncommon for me to be out of town for 4 weeks straight so I made sure to let him know in the beginning that he may not see me for a while after dropping off a weapon for work. So I'm not too worried about him. He has been an established shop since before I was born.

stressed
September 6, 2013, 10:43 PM
Hmm, sounds like your standard bodyguy when doing vehicle restorations.

1stCavLRRP
September 6, 2013, 11:36 PM
Good, you'll enjoy the read then--it's got most everything you'll need to know about the internal workings of the 1911 (standard function check procedure is on page 26). Haven't met a gunsmith I trusted who didn't have a copy lying around. Same here but my degrees are in Math; have two nephews who are ME's but only one went to Mines (my alma mater).

Pripyat
September 6, 2013, 11:39 PM
That book was fairly hard to find at a reasonable price but I finally got one on order. Really excited to crack it open. I'm a sucker for out of print books. Especially technical ones.
I did a polish job with a dremel on the stock sear/hammer but I didn't really know what I was doing other than trying to leave the original shape and strictly polish. You guys have me tempted to go get the RIA tomorrow..

1stCavLRRP
September 7, 2013, 12:00 AM
Me too, especially 50's vintage Math Analysis, and I think you're gonna love this one.
You need a good set of well-dressed stones to do sear work, got my from Brownells back in the 80's before I discovered Midway. Had most everything I needed along that line by then so I can't tell you much about Midway's gunsmithing products. BTW, whenever I've done a trigger job on a 1911, I've always used what he calls a 'sear spring pattern' on page 141 as a starting point template for all three springs and it's always put me with VERY close to where I wanted to be (using John Masen springs).

Pripyat
September 7, 2013, 05:55 PM
Well I woke up this morning thinking about the RIA. Drove 45 mins (I estimated poorly earlier in the thread) to pick it up. The owner wasn't in when I went in last time and only picked up one of the two weapons they were working on for me. I explained what was going on and come to find out they never sent the bill to Larry. They thought I was sending it and I thought they were sending it. :/

Anyway I picked up some other semi-pricey items just to show my appreciation and paid cash as I feel that is the only way to show true appreciation to a small shop. The owner of the shop said he would personally call Larry and talk to him and see to it that he gets a copy of the bill if he wants it.

I told the owner that I was done with Larry and that if he paid anything great. If not it isn't a big deal. So we shall see.

BigHossCCF
September 9, 2013, 12:26 AM
So I'm not too worried about him. He has been an established shop since before I was born.

Pripyat, I know you said earlier in this thread that this is/was not a "what you could have/should have done" thread...but one question: With what you said above in post #100, why didn't you take your gun to this guy in the first place? Was it his/their fees or the distance at the time? I'm just curious...thanks!

Again, like I've said before...I'm sorry you've had to deal with this...hoping you get this behind you SOON!

Pripyat
September 9, 2013, 02:50 PM
Long story short: I just moved back home. I was living in Larry's town (4 hours from my hometown) and just dropped by during my lunch break one day. He had good Google reviews and was a "certified" gunsmith so I didn't have any reason to believe he was incompetent. My wife and I just got in a temporary living situation in my hometown maybe 2 weeks ago. We are 45 mins from the new smith now (the one my dad has always used).

Al Thompson
September 9, 2013, 03:41 PM
Who's the new 'smith? Nothing wrong with giving him a boost. :)

Pripyat
September 9, 2013, 04:46 PM
Southland Gun Works in Darlington, SC. Directly across the road from the Darlington race track (NASCAR).

There are actually 2 great smiths in the area. There is another shop, Darlington gun works, whose smith, from what I've heard, is world renowned for building custom rifles. I called and asked if they sold lower receivers the other day and the woman said, "No, we don't sell or work on AR-15's". Shocked me. I guess they have plenty of business working on long guns..

Al Thompson
September 10, 2013, 07:11 AM
There are actually 2 great smiths in the area.

Yep. I've done business with Jim several times over the years, good folks.

Pripyat
September 10, 2013, 10:53 AM
So do you just happen to live near Darlington or is he just that good?

BTW I haven't heard anything about Larry. Half expected Mike from Southland to call with an update. My attitude regarding the whole situation probably led him to believe I did not wish to be troubled about this situation unless something significant happened (they got a check in the mail).

Pripyat
September 15, 2013, 07:06 PM
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/09/16/ugy6ajyp.jpg

Very neat book. Thanks for the suggestion. So simple yet contains loads of good info. I never knew what the significance of the barrel link was until today..

Pripyat
September 17, 2013, 10:44 AM
So I will be driving through Greenville throughout the next couple days. Larry obviously hasn't sent any money to the new smith. Should I drop by? Also - Would it be illegal to record our conversation without telling him?

jdooner
September 21, 2013, 02:58 AM
{{"I remember one time when a customer brought in a 7" barrel Ruger .22 auto that he had dropped and the bolt would not retract. The boss brought it back to me and I waited until the customer left before I rapped the barrel on the bench. That fixed the problem and it took about one second. But no way was I going to let the customer know what I had done or how easy it was. I didn't know (or care) what the boss charged him, but everyone was happy.

A side issue is that had the customer seen me "abuse" his pistol, he would have been shocked. (Auto body shops won't let customers watch while they adjust car doors, either.)"

Jim}

When he asks what you did you tell him it was a 'trade secret'.

Pripyat
September 21, 2013, 06:26 PM
Well I made it to the range with the RIA today. Functioned flawlessly as usual. The trigger isn't anywhere near like I would like it but that is why I bought the 45 auto handbook. It has some creep to the point that the trigger would jerk back a mm or so but it would take just a little more force to get the hammer to fall. If I was doing quick follow-up shots I didn't notice this at all. Here is a clip of 7 at 15 yards, standing with about 2-3 seconds between shots.

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/09/22/pa2yjuby.jpg

Nothing to brag about but consistently consistent. God I love this gun. :D

Fred_G
September 21, 2013, 09:09 PM
You finally got it back and are enjoying it. What a long strange trip it's been... :D

OT, but might sell my RIA and R1S and try out a used prancing pony. Shot it a couple of weeks ago, first four shots were touching each other at 7 yards..

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