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Seeking Custom Gunsmith

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by C11H26NO2PS, Nov 27, 2012.

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  1. C11H26NO2PS

    C11H26NO2PS Member

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    Hello THR,

    I am looking for a gunsmith with a surplus of time on their hands to create a 100% custom handgun from scratch. I am able to provide copious details via email, but I will not disclose them over the forum because they are... Laughable...

    I will divulge this much:
    -It will take year(s) to complete; I can wait. Also, I can pay.
    -One-of-a-Kind Longslide semi-automatic handgun
    -Will need to be completely custom designed and assembled.
    -Not a NFA item, but it will certainly almost push the envelope.
    -You'll be challenged in ways that your gunsmithing has never faced.

    If your interest is piqued, PM me, or email me @ furiously.angry.driver@gmail.com
     
  2. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    You might be better looking for a custom machine shop rather than a gunsmith. Most good gunsmiths (and even some not-so-good ones) are overbooked and taking off for a year would be bad for future business.

    A custom machine shop is used to doing exactly the kind of work you want and is not tied to a customer base, plus will have equipment the average gunsmith probably does not.

    You should also check into the legal issues involved, no matter who you hire to do the work. A manufacturer's license might be necessary to keep things legal.

    Jim
     
  3. C11H26NO2PS

    C11H26NO2PS Member

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    Jim,

    Appreciate the suggestion, and I shall endeavor to search. Would a custom machine shop be able to draw up schematics, or would that be on me to draw them?

    I assume if I can get an approved Form 1, then I could get any shop to make what I need, and the only "skiffy" part is the lower receiver.

    Of the many problems I'm facing:
    -Gravestone Milling machines lack the dimensions to cut what I need cut, and a weld-job would be unacceptable.
    -Need the barrel to get plated (could just look to a plater for that, though)
    -Dealing with a near-Wildcat caliber, so I need the experience of a gunsmith to work through issues like sizing.

    I've been looking for a willing Gunsmith for two years. Two years to the day, in fact... So it's not a project I want rushed. If I could find someone to work on it as a side project in between typical projects, I'd be happy (as long as I can see reported progress, naturally).

    -Teddy
     
  4. Flyincedar

    Flyincedar Member

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    You'll definitely need an 07 FFL to produce the lower, since you arent doing it yourself. In that case, you are obviously better off having an 07 do the whole thing, so it all flows together properly without too many irons in the fire.

    On top of that, with an 07 making it, once finished it will have to go to ATF Tech Branch so that they can evaluate your "newly designed" firearm. Who knows how long that could take, before you could even consider taking possession
     
  5. C11H26NO2PS

    C11H26NO2PS Member

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    Flyincedar,

    I've never had an unreasonable wait-time from the ATF yet. And if they say that it's class 3 (which it isn't) then that's one more form for me to fill out.

    Any chance your shop has the time and resources to hear me out in my project request?

    -Teddy
     
  6. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    alright, im curious.....just what are you thinking of having built?

    also, have you tried contacting Gun Smoke (the american guns people)....they seem to have the resources to tackle some pretty custom builds.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  7. TAKtical

    TAKtical Member

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    You will have to keep us updated on this. I couldnt even find a smith willing to chop a full rail trp operator down to commander length. Seems like every good smith in the country is up to their eyeballs in work. Im interested to see who wants to take on your project.
     
  8. BigHossCCF

    BigHossCCF Member

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    As an 07 myself...I'm very interested in "following" this build...
     
  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    My usual response to Internet Projects of this type is that it is going to be difficult to find somebody willing to take time away from regular work on known quantities to do a one off.

    Yours sounds more extreme than most.

    Also "Would a custom machine shop be able to draw up schematics, or would that be on me to draw them?" sounds as if you don't really have a design, just an idea, and the builder would have to do a lot of design and even testing. Of course that is hard to be sure of, what with your embarassment over public disclosure of your hobby horse.
     
  10. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    How much are you willing to pay for someone to do your design (cad) and machining?

    I'm a mechanism design engineer for a large defense company, a gunsmith, and own a machine shop. I tend to build Gatling guns as a hobby.

    You're probably looking at a minimum of a couple of weeks of design time (80 hours), then a couple of weeks of tooling and machining (another 80 hours).

    If you can find someone to do it for you for $50/hour (good luck with that, ain't gonna happen) then you would still be looking at $8,000 plus materials.

    How much are you willing to spend on your project?
     
  11. Byrd666

    Byrd666 Member

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    45

    Being a Designer myself, you have pretty much nailed Minimal cost. Then of course the cost of retooling machines and building jig(s) for the item(s) in question is questionable at best for most shops. Even though it is possible that a Hungry individual might be able to help him him out.


    C11H26NO2PS
    p m me
    I know a couple guys that Might, repeat, Might be able to help. No promises, and it'll prob'ly take a day or six to find out. Read as, gotta find numbers, and find out if they are still in business/working.

    Byrd
     
  12. PowderMonkey

    PowderMonkey Member

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    C11H26NO2PS is a VX nerve gas chemical with no known purposes other than chemical warfare.

    Thought I'd share. ; )
     
  13. C11H26NO2PS

    C11H26NO2PS Member

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    Addressing Interest

    I'm beginning to contact the interested parties who have either PM'd me or requested a PM.

    I have been hesitant to disclose information because I have been laughed at, hung-up on, and (best one yet) : lectured on the myriad ways my project would fail.

    I'll disclose this much openly:
    -Handgun
    -Semi-automatic, Magazine-fed
    -Chambered in a wildcat cartridge

    Responses:
    @M-Cameron: The folks at Gunsmoke are probably up to their necks in requests from all over the world of 'hey couldja build this' from folks who have seen the show. As awesome as it would be to see my build televised, I doubt I have a 'touching emotional story about why this piece needs to be built.'
    @TAKtical: Yep, most smiths attached to the big-name companies are on years of backorders as a result of the, shall we say, political climate?
    @BigHossCCF: Updates will be posted as progress is made and obstacles are encountered.
    @Jim Watson: You're right about 'smiths not wanting to take time from their regular work for a time-sink-project. Why build a frankengun when you know you'll get a set paycheck from polishing a feedramp? (That's not a slight against any gunsmith, I'm just sympathizing with economic certainties of "We do this; We do it well" versus "You want a whatchamacallit attached to the turboflange?"). And the limited disclosure is the result of some pretty emphatic "NO's" that I've received...
    @.45 Auto: As long as I still have the means to fund the project, and I am assured that progress is being made. This is a once-in-a-lifetime build that will be the culminating achievement of my collection.
    @Byrd666: I'll send you a PM with more details. Alex Zimmerman of Guncrafter Industries had some very eye-opening advice, and among the most inspiring: 'Find a semi-retired gunsmith who has the tools to do the job, and is looking for the challenge.'
    @PowderMonkey: Yep, you certainly know your science. Or you can recognize a formula.

    Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to read, and to everyone who wants to stay informed on progress.

    -Teddy
     
  14. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    You could contact Bellmore-Johnson Tool Co.

    Their first catch on a search is as the manufacturer of the Winchester Signal Cannon but they used to do prototype work for High Standard and I think Melvin Johnson.


    Would the Colorado School of Trades gunsmithing department take it on as a class project?
     
  15. C11H26NO2PS

    C11H26NO2PS Member

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    Mr. Watson, Bellmore-Johnson Tool Co. seems to specialize in (or be exclusive in the manufacture of) 10 gauge cannons. Specialist manufacturers have a tendency to have 'found their niche,' and 'change is bad.' At least in my experience.

    As for the Colorado School of Trades... I think I've found where I'm going to college once I get the Bachelor's degree I'm currently pursuing... Colorado is Class III friendly, right? If they would undertake the project, it would be their Design and Function Course, but their curriculum is probably set in stone.
    (Or milled in steel, eh? eh? "Milled," 'cuz they desi... 2 AM isn't too early for puns.)
     
  16. dirtyjim

    dirtyjim Member

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    another problem you will have with a first class smith is they will not want their name associated with something thats laughable, once they have reached that level they can pick and choose the projects they take on.
    they will also have a long waiting list and the only way your going to get on that list is by commisioning the project and dropping a substantial deposit to hold your place in line. so you would be looking at around a $5000+ deposit plus around two years before the project could even start.

    to me your best bet would be to buy you a mill and lathe and start learning how to use them.
     
  17. C11H26NO2PS

    C11H26NO2PS Member

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    @Dirtyjim,

    I could live with a sizeable retainer like that, but as long as I had assurance progress was being made. Progress yields Payment. If I make a down payment, I expect a start effort. Placed on a back burner a few months while they chamfer some Hi-Points and mechanically zero some Arisakas... That I could live with.

    I say 'laughable' in that the difficulty is on par with 'Nintendo Hard,' a gunsmith that completed this project would get a line of one-of-a-kind orders.

    I have neither the mechanical know-how nor facilities to house a mill of my very own. Would that I could? Absolutely. Right after I get my C&R, FFL, SOT, and save the cosmoverse from radioactive Chernobyl superzombies.
     
  18. dirtyjim

    dirtyjim Member

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    i don't think your getting it.
    a smith who is capable of scratch building one off firearms is not going to be chamfering a few hi-points or sighting in arisakas. they have a long waiting list and a high price tag, $10,000+ per project.
    generally you will discuss your project and agree upon a price but in the case of one-off it will more than likely be a time and materials job with a ballpark price unless the gunmaker has built similar projects in the past. you might try to find something similar and see who built it.

    the way the pricing and deposit works is once you agree on the price and the gunmaker agrees to take on the project you pay 1/3 down. all this does is holds your place in line for the an average of 18-24 months depending on the gunmaker until your project comes into the rotation, if you cancel you generally loose the deposit. when its halfway finished you pay another 1/3rd and the the final 1/3rd on completion
     
  19. Flyincedar

    Flyincedar Member

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    Thats definitely a case by case basis dirtyjim. Any custom order in our shop requires a 50% non refundable deposit. We used to do a 20% deposit, but after some cancelled orders that shouldnt have been placed to start with because the customer couldnt afford the end price tag, we went to our current policy.
     
  20. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    If your Laughable Secret Project can be put on a 1911 action, Joe Chambers has done some very exotic work. He built a mirror image pair of guns and had to fabricate most of the lefthanded parts.

    If it cannot, Fred Craig has done some off the wall stuff of his own design. He might be willing to work on your design now that the TCM is in production.
     
  21. C11H26NO2PS

    C11H26NO2PS Member

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    @Dirtyjim: If I could put 33% down with the guarantee that the gunsmith would see the project through to completion or my money back if he calls off, then I would be agreeable to 33/33/33. If for whatever reason, 24 months elapses, and I don't hear any thing back, I think it's reasonable to expect a refund so I could find a different gunsmith. I used Hi-Point as an example of "We have our niche, we know what makes us money, we'll make your One-Off, but only when business is slow enough for us to attend to it." (Silly, Dirtyjim... everyone knows that you don't gunsmith a Saturday Night Special like a Hi-Point...)

    @Flyincedar: Sucks that a bunch of 'customers' ditched out on their builds, and I can respect your shop's bump up to 50% down. That's all pending an Up-Front assessed price from the gunsmith. I expect this build will be a little more fluid, especially in the department of materials costs: "Oh, you wanted depleted uranium, satellite-guided, discarding-sabots... Well, that'll run ya a little more'n what we quoted you at the beginning." (Not that I'm looking for 'SGDSDU,' but I don't know how large of a billet would be needed to make a longslide?)

    @Jim Watson: Joe Chambers's work is quite astounding, and the price tag on his Mirror Image .45's rings about right for the level of work required to make such a Piece/Pair. If I hear back all negatives from the gunsmiths who've PM'd me thus far, I will get into contact with Mr. Chambers.
    Thank you.
    I mean no offense but Fred Craig doesn't seem to be taking orders as I'm looking for in my One-Off. His Super Duty .45 and the Merc M11 are both impressive platforms, but it seems all of his efforts are towards the Micro-Mag at present.

    Additionally, can someone explain the etymology of 'one-off?' I've never heard that term prior to this thread.

    -Teddy

    *Ahem* Gyroscopically-Stabilized Satellite-Guided Discarding Sabot Depleted Uranium rounds, or GSSGDSDU, is the new term that we're coining from this thread. Coming soon to a fighting force near you!
    Armor-Piercing Gyroscopically-Stabilized Discarding Sabot
    Flies Through this tank, and that tank, these buildings and this table
    Satellite-Guidance--most advanced tech of the future
    Input coordinates, pull trigger, flies truer
    Not even within eyesight of the target is the shooter​
     
  22. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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  23. C11H26NO2PS

    C11H26NO2PS Member

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    Thank you, M-Cameron. That was an interesting read. And sates my quota for 'Learn New Things Today.' I tip my proverbial hat to thee.

    -Teddy
     
  24. dirtyjim

    dirtyjim Member

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    if you were to give a few details of what you have in mind for your project other than its "laughable and ninitindo hard"and what you would want it built from along with a little more info on the wildcat caliber you might get some suggestions on builders and material costs.

    i'm also curious to your age, for some reason i get the impression that your under 20.
    i know i drove a few gunsmiths and hot rod shops nuts with my oddball requests when i was in my teens.
     
  25. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    So let's say we decide your project is going to take 2 weeks (80 hours) of design/CAD time and 2 weeks (80 hours) of machining at $50/hour. That's $8000. I'll give you the material free, it's going to be a very minimal part of the costs.

    At $2500 down, that buys you 50 hours of CAD time. That means that I work on it one 40 hour week and one additional day. You're still short 30 hours of design time before machining even starts.

    Now at this point you believe that if you don't come up with any additional funds, and I don't do anything else on your project because I'm waiting on those additional funds from you for 2 years, that I should give you your $2500 back? Even though I put 50 hours of work into it?

    You may want to throw a few business courses in as electives.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
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