Gun goes to a Gunsmith... you find it was used and dirty

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Jun 25, 2009
What would you do?

There is a part of me that wants to rip them a new one, especially since the service was OK at best... now this just pushes it to bad service.

The work was good and the price was good.... But now I am thinking I will have to talk with the Manager/Owner friday.

The work involved had nothing to do that would require them to test it out.

My guns are not clean, their so clean you could sell them as new. I pick it up and went to go take it shooting today and notice signs of it being fired... so i look down the barrel and you can tell it was fired, and im not talking barely fired. They eiter shot some dirty stuff or fired a lot. I shoot 200rds per trip on average and it looked far worse.

Hmmm.... Maybe im overreacting?

How would you feel?
I would expect it to be dirty and would be upset otherwise. My 'smith knows to leave the gun dirty thus proving he DID fix it AND test it. I can not imagine sending my gun off to the 'smith and him not needing to test fire it...
It was to Bobtail the grip of a 1911 and put on a new Main Spring Housing. The gun was pristine when i brought it there and its been fired a lot since.

That job has no reason to fire it afterward to test function
I wouldn't be to happy either, no reason to do test firing for that job and it sounds as if they did a lot of it.
I would have expected them to test fire it. They made a change in the gun, its proper function needs to be proven.

How can you tell its been "fired a lot"? Different ammo leaves different crud, maybe what they use is dirtier than what you use. With the price of ammo these days, if they did fire it a lot, your lucky there wasnt a surcharge to cover the cost. ;)
Bobtailed and new main spring housing and you don't think it should be test fired? :scrutiny: To each his own, but that's what I had done in '06 to my commander. I would not even think about accepting it back from the 'smith if it were not test fired. Maybe your 'smith enjoyed "test firing" a little too much ;), but it does give you piece of mind that it works. I would not sweat it too much, but that's me. ;) As long as you are happy with the bobtail and finish that's the important thing.
I go along with distra, some guys are pretty, well different about people using their stuff but maybe you should bring that up prior to the work. He might have said if I don't shoot it I don't work on it, then we might be having a whole different discussion.
Its not like he slept with your wife, if I took my car to a shop and they ran 1/4's with it at the track thats one thing but even if he took it to a match and ran it through the paces you have a gun total checked out by a smith you considered competent an there is virtually no life reduced on your gun.
a bobtail conversion is not simply a cosmetic change. a bob tail msh uses a officers length main spring. this can affect slide velocity, hammer speed, strut tension, etc. it could affect feeding, cycling,ejection, cause excessive frame battering, ft fire, etc.

with the cost of ammo these days, the quality of ammo used to test fire was probably adequate to the task, but probably very dirty. the number of rounds fired was probably less than you think. next time you have work done, you may ask specificaly if they plan on test fireing it, and ask that they clean it up afterward.
That job has no reason to fire it afterward to test function

you must have a different understanding of what the job entails

having the frame bobtailed, changing the MSH and mainspring would have a major impact on function and's part of the action after all. i would think it was a matter of test fire, adjust, re-test fire until the timing of the action was correct.

i would also be upset if they hadn't confirmed that their work hadn't affected the function of the gun...this is a 1911 for crying out loud, timing is's not like having work done on a Glock or even a Sig.

most smiths i know personally...only 3 or 4...would either decline to work on a gun or refuse to warranty their work, if you didn't want them to test fire it afterward
and ask that they clean it up afterward.

i'd be interested in seeing their "flat rate" on that ;)...i'll bet the "watching while i work" adjuster kicks in.

i got a gun back from a smith a while back...a good smith with a 4 year wait list...and you could tell that he test fired it. he even call during the work to ask which load i wanted the sights set for...i was very impressed
Um, how about talking to the guy? Ask him how much he shot it and why. You know, communication.
You can tell them in the future not to test fire it, but then they will tell you that they will not warranty the work. Take your choice.

Probably he was useing a known [to him] load,that was reliable.given the amount of crud,probably loaded with Clays. mostly smiths will let you clean it,it saves you money [you can tack on an extra 1/2 hr of labor if you want it cleaned] and it gives you visual evidence he has had it in his hands,and found it reliable.
if you think about it, the work would have actually been better if the smith had used ammo which was known to cause problem with guns...always prepare for the worst
The gun has to be test fired, any reasonable gun owner would understand that. Him not cleaning the gun would show you he did in fact test fire it. Any modification demands a test firing, and not just one round. Speak to the gun smith if you have any questions, ranting on line solves no problems.
Kingofthehill- IMHO you are over-reacting a bit here. Take a breath calm down and think in a more rational manner. As someone that has messed a bit with 1911's I would have been tweaked had the Smith NOT test fired this gun. The MS and MSH are very key parts to the function of your firearm as noted by earlier posts. That Smith might have dirtied your gun (but since you are having it bobbed I'm going to assume you carry it) may have saved your life in a critical situation by making sure your gun will fire.

Also lets look at it this way-- If you bobbed it you destroyed collector value (if it ever had any) by modifyng the frame. Test firing a 1911 liberally will not cause singnificant wear so no value was lost. Clean her up and enjoy your carry gun!
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I kind of doubt that the smith put many rounds through your gun.

It's not like he never gets to shoot a 1911.

did they charge you for ammo?.
Maybe you should have told him that it's a safe queen and that you never plan on firing it before you gave it to him. I'm sure he would have understood that its main purpose is to take cool photos with various holsters and hollow point bullets in a tactical arrangement.
Just piling on at this point, but, I would fully expect it to be tested before it was returned.
With that modification it NEEDED to be tested. And with the cost of .45 ammo I doubt it was fired very much.
Test firing policy

At my shop all guns that have internal work done must have a test firing done so we can make sure that the gun is functioning correctly under the pressures of firing and recoil. As for cleaning afterwords, we'll run a patch threw the barrel and wipe it down. If the work order has a complete clean and oil than we'll reclean after test firing since the customer paid to get his gun back to him clean after the work is performed.
have we beat on him and his one supporter enough?

we've all made mistakes in communicating what we want when having work just teaches us to not take things for granted the next time. maybe also to have a better understanding of what we're asking for and what it entails.

i usually have discussions with a smith before having work done, not just about the work but also his philsophy of how guns should work or be used. if we have a meeting of the minds, i have faith in his work and decisions he'll make along the way without having to monitor his progress
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