No home smiths or self taught guys with machinist backgrounds
Wow. Here's a question for you...
What do the following people have in common?
Jim Clark Sr.
Jim Clark Jr.
and about 99% of the American Pistolsmiths Guild
have in common?
Answer: To the best of my knowledge, ALL OF THEM ARE SELF TAUGHT GUNSMITHS.
One gentleman I know is named Ed Masaki. He is a quite modest, Hawaiian gentleman in his 70's now. He started off as a watchmaker and jeweler.
Sometime between doing that, serving in WWII and now, he decided on accurizing pistols for competition.
He's not too well known if you don't shoot NRA Conventional Pistol. But if you do, his work is legend. I was fortunate to befriend this gentleman; I own two of his handguns. Both are flawlessly executed, and both will hold a 1.5 inch group for 5 rounds of .45 ACP--at 50 yards. Yes, I said and meant YARDS.
His custom pistols sell for almost as much used as they do new--which averages about $1700 each.
However, he is the most pleasant and humble man I kinow. At Camp Perry, OH, for about the last 4 years, he has been holding classes on how to build target 1911 pistols. The cost for attendance? FREE. Walk up to him, and tell him about a problem with a pistol. He'll tell you how to fix it--FREE.
As others have said, lose the attitude, fella.
I'm a self-taught gunsmith. But I will never make money off the things I work on--simply because I love to work on guns, and I never charge enough to offset my time. Within the last month, I fixed a Taurus revolver--for free--and two Smith and Wessons--for free. I have helped repair quite a few handguns and rifles at the range. My wife's nephew had a Mossberg with a horrible trigger pull. I asked to see it; an hour later I handed it back to him with a clean 3 lb. pull--without touching ANY of the sear or hammer contact surfaces.
I've been actively working on--and studying the science of firearms, ballistics, and the internal workings of guns--since I was 8 years old. That makes 42 years.
I have had three military arms rooms where I did LOTS more than the TM called for to keep our unit's weapons in working order.
I'm also my Department's armorer.
I have contracted out for bluing some folks' guns--my specialty in that aspect is polishing and flaw removal.
And, I am the first to admit that I don't know enough about guns. I believe that if I was paid what I was worth as a smith, $10.00 an hour would be great!
Get humble, guy. Most of the REALLY good gunsmiths I know don't want your resume--as a matter of fact, show them attitude, and you're out the door.
Perhaps you should go and apply at Holland and Holland, overseas. I hear that their test of skill used to be quite simple. They weren't interested in your education--they simply handed you a block of steel and a file--and told you to create a 1" cube. No measuring tools--just your hands, a good file, and a piece of steel.
Can you do that?