Becoming a gunsmith.

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Hollen, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Hollen

    Hollen New Member

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    Does anyone on here work as a gunsmith? If so could u tell me how u got started? I am interested in this as a side job or possibly a full time job! Any info on this will be much appreciated! Thank you in advance.
     
  2. BLCKWLF

    BLCKWLF GrassHopper

    Ditto, what do you have to do to get qualified?
     

  3. series11

    series11 Hail Commifornia Lifetime Supporting Member

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    I would like to be as well but haven't looked into it, but I think there are classes and courses you have to take.
     
  4. Hollen

    Hollen New Member

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    Yea some one told me about online courses but that dosnt sound very legit. I know I wouldn't want some one working on my gun with a online degree. At least not without seeing some work first.
     
  5. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Sponsor Lifetime Supporting Member

    Online courses are legitimate ways to becoming a gunsmith, as most courses send you

    tools, stock blanks, diagrams and books. As you progress, you are encouraged to buy

    fix-er-up-er firearms to help your skill grow. I thought about a degree, but then found the

    AGI DVD's to be more gun specific...I own quite a few of the courses for most of my firearms, such as the

    Colt SAA's, Thompson SMG, 1911a1's, Glock, M1 Garand, Remington 700 series, Winchester 1894, AR15, AK47, Ruger Vaquero...

    and found them quite invaluable when breaking down, trouble-shooting, repairing, and modifying my personal firearms.

    American Gunsmithing Institute: http://www.americangunsmith.com/

    Don't knock it until you try it... ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  6. Hollen

    Hollen New Member

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    Lol not knocking it at all!! I just wanted some input from others. I have seen the agi DVDs they look good. I also was looking at penn foster!! Any thought on that school??
     
  7. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Sponsor Lifetime Supporting Member

    Yes...that is what I was drawing from when I said online courses were legit.

    I looked at Penn Foster among others, but decided I wasn't looking for a degree to

    make money working on other peoples firearms...I wanted to be able to work on my own personal

    firearms and save money !!

    Penn Foster Gunsmithing degree : http://www.pennfoster.edu/gunsmith/


    From the website:


    You’ll get hands-on training in:
    • How to accurize, repair, and customize
    • How to fit and finish stocks and mount
      telescopic sights
    • How to restore antique firearms
    • How to design and install metallic rifle sights
    • How to custom load ammunition
    Tuition is around $650-700 with 0% Financing available .... http://www.pennfoster.edu/gunsmith/Tuition.html
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  8. Hollen

    Hollen New Member

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    Thank you very much.. For your help I will give it some more thought. The online course would be a little bit better for me. I don't have the time to go to an actual school.
     
  9. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

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    FWIW, I got my parchment from Penn Foster, then I worked under a Master Gunsmith.

    I choose to specialize only in pistols, not rifles or antique firearms. My choice.
     
  10. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 RETIRED MODERATOR Sponsor Lifetime Supporting Member

    ^^^ Didn't know that bro...good for you !! ^^^
     
  11. Hollen

    Hollen New Member

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    Awesome man!!! That's what I'd want to do but I'd like to work on bolt actions and ar's also.
     
  12. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

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    Thanks.

    I've mentioned it before, I guess it just turns into a buzzing sound that people tend to ignore....:D

    The only thing I did not do was get my FFL. I hated (and still hate) the idea that I would need to "transfer" my collection to myself when I start off, thereby creating a paper trail leading right back to....me. Also, I would not be able to just sell ARs anymore, I'd have to do the background checks and charge my buyers for the NICS fee.

    And then buzzzz-buzzzzz with the buzzzz-buzzzz-buzzzz or buzzz-buzzz. Don't you agree? buzzz-buzzz....


    (sorry, I'me feeling mischeivious today! had a very good meetup with SeventiesWreckers, and a very good gun class!)

    Cheers!
     
  13. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

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    The biggest help that the Penn Foster course was to me was to help me decide on quality gunsmithing tools and (believe it or not) the names of all the parts of different guns.

    I chose to specialize in pistols because I also teach a CCW course for Nevada CCW applicants. You can generalize (and work on all kinds of guns) or specialize (like I did, with pistols).

    For my own stuff, my rifles and such, I do all my own work.

    Wish I had a 3-axis CNC machine!
     
  14. Hollen

    Hollen New Member

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    Yea the only thing with me is there arnt any gunsmiths around to further learn under.

    But the cnc would be nice not too much you cant do with those things :)

    But specializing in pistols dosnt sound like to bad of an idea.
     
  15. ifish42na

    ifish42na ifish42na

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    I don't have the time to go to an actual school.

    Then you have no business passing yourself off as a gunsmith. Gmafb
     
  16. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

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    Having the parchment and not having a Master Gunsmith to apprentice under (or at least train intensively), will be a mistake. There is only so much you can learn online, you need hands-on work, and this requires guidance from someone who already knows what he is doing.

    To try to shortcut it can (I am not saying will, but can) result in your spending a lot on replacement parts for other parts that have gotten screwed up, and dealing with disappointed and/or pissed-of customers.

    I wrecked one thing, and only one thing, but it was the slide for a Wilson Combat M1911, and it cost me a couple hundred to replace, all because the grinding wheel got away from me and cut too deeply into the rear sight bevel. A momentary mistake, a lesson learned for a lifetime.

    Most gunsmithing work will require reshaping and removing metal from parts. You can watch all the videos in the world, and read all the books out there, but nothing will ever give the correct "feel" of the hands of a Master Gunsmith guiding your hands on the metal.
     
  17. Hollen

    Hollen New Member

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    I completely understand what you are saying. And that's why I haven't just jump into it. If I do do it I want to do it rite. I will continue trying but don't wanna take any short cuts. That's why I wanted to get advice from the guys that have been there.
     
  18. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

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    And another lesson learned: when you receive a firearm for work, ask for the owner's drivers license, and take lots and lots of pictures of the gun, from all sides and all angles, with his DL in the picture. This will save you later on if he comes back and claims you scratched his gun.

    Happened to me on a Romanian AK47, the buttstock ended up with a deep gouge on it (like it got pinched in a door jamb of a car), and I know it was not there when I returned the rifle to the owner....I just couldn't prove it. So for the sake of protecting my name and my business, I replaced the wood buttstock, on my dime, 'coz I had no choice.

    So now, I photograph the guns as I receive them, and my clients get a printed report that has photo documentation of all that was done, and I give them any parts (usually, springs) that I replaced, so they have the originals.

    Oh, also, get a good lawyer to sit down with you to write up your disclaimer. Very important!
     
  19. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

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    You could check around for busted parts from other gunsmiths or from your LGS.

    Buying a 1911 slide that blew up in a kaboom, so you can practice customizing the installation of sights and things, is a cheap way to do it.

    The key is a good knowledge base, and quality tools.

    The Penn Foster program sends you a set of quality gunsmithing hand tools, and I have found the quality to be better than the Wheeler set I bought at Cablela's.

    It's not impossible, thousands and thousands of Americans have done it over the decades, there is no reason why you can't.

    And if you become the only GS in your area, make friends with the staff of your local gun shops and sporting goods stores.

    The gun guy at the Walmart near my house distributes my business cards to anyone who asks.
     
  20. BLCKWLF

    BLCKWLF GrassHopper

    Know of any good schools in Phoenix?