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Old February 23, 2011, 02:23 AM   #26
BigBob3006
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If you're serious about being a gunsmith, write the University of Colorado in Tinidad, Colorado. This is an excellent school. I'll bet their available on the internet.
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Old February 23, 2011, 04:10 AM   #27
phydaux
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I'm middle aged, I have a job I don't like that gives me no satisfaction, and that offers me no free time to pursue hobbies or spent quality time with friends or family.

A few months ago I started seriously considering a mid-life career change to gunsmithing.

After doing a lot of research, I determined that it would take a minimum investment of $20,000 and at least a year of full time study/practice.

At 45 years old and with a wife & a mortgage to support, I just don't see this as a possability.

I wish you luck in your endevor. For me, this will be just another dream that died.
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Old April 26, 2013, 12:51 PM   #28
Grizz12
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another bump - Since the economy and state of this once great Country has taken some drastic turns since the last post thought it would be interesting to see if some of the original posters are still around and what their views are now concerning gunsmithing, especially since I want to get into it.

I own a small business now and its very successful but I want to do something I enjoy. Someone earlier mentioned that being happy is more important than having money, I agree and now I'm looking into gunsmith schools (the one in PA is looking good so far).
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Old April 26, 2013, 04:24 PM   #29
257x50
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With all due respect to military weapons folk, Most of it is function.

A Purdy is form and function.

I'm a machinist, worked in a custom pistol shop, and respect both.

A missed file stroke on a century old mint Colt SAA is different than the same miss on a fighting weapon.

And the S&W 500 isn't the first 50 they have looked at. ;-))
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Old April 26, 2013, 05:35 PM   #30
257x50
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One very important thing....

Ignore "Son of Guns" and their clones.

Total BS
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Old April 27, 2013, 06:29 AM   #31
ClydeFrog
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PA School of Gunsmithing in Pittsburgh PA....

The 2 top gunsmithing trade schools/programs Im aware of are in CO & in metro Pittsburgh PA. The PA training program is called the PA School of Gunsmithing. I think.

The other class in CO(near Denver I think) is also considered worth the $$$ or time. Bill Lauthridge, of www.Cylinder-slide.com offers professional level skill training & classes.

For handguns & pistolsmithing, I'd consider the www.AmericanPistol.com site. The members or guild may guide you in finding the best course or school.

If I recall; the former gunsmith/shop exec: Vince from Discovery's popular Sons of Guns unscripted show said he went to the PA gunsmithing program in Pittsburgh.
I lived in Pittsburgh from 1995-2000 & considered using my GI Bill $ to become a professional gunsmith(pistolsmith).

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Old April 27, 2013, 08:34 AM   #32
4V50 Gary
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Some comments

Military armorers vary in skill, depending on their level. Some are parts swappers. Others are fully trained in some areas of gunsmithing (note: gunsmithing tends to become specialized nowadays and there are some guys who do nothing but build rifles, others who work on particular handguns, some who do nothing but shotguns, repair specialists, engravers, blackpowder rifle builders, etc.). I know one gunsmith graduate who enlisted into the Army and was promised a billet in the Army's Marksmanship Team as one of its armorer. He had to attend boot camp first.

Schools are a good place to start and their graduates vary in the level of skill and knowledge. As to which is best, that depends on the skill and adeptness of the individual student too. Some students are just better than others (therefore the worst graduate from the best school may not be equal to the best graduate from the worst school).

Gunsmithing school graduates are probably best off seeking employment from others. First, no one really graduates as a "master gunsmith" and are really only journeymen upon graduation. Second, by working for others, they don't have to start from scratch including developing a business plan, getting a loan, develop a marketing plan, developing a client base, etc. Instead, when they work for others, they trade their labor for money. So, while they work for someone else, they can accumulate experience in the field and build up capital for their own enterprise. BTW, there is no shame in not having your own business. Some folks just aren't businessmen and there are plenty of good gunsmiths who work for others.
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Old April 27, 2013, 11:29 AM   #33
Dixie Gunsmithing
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Gunsmith Training.

You can do a correspondence program, but you really need to do an apprenticeship after it, as hands-on experience counts for an awful lot. They never mention this on the ads about these schools. Believe me, I went this route over 30 years ago, but apprenticed under a gunsmith who knew his stuff.

Next, not all courses are the same, and some would teach you some mighty unsafe things, as I have looked over a few available now.

If I were to recommend two, the first would be Modern Gun School, who actually makes you do some bench work for a grade. Next, would be Penn Foster, who is the same as the old North American Gunsmithing School, in Scranton, PA.

The rest, sorry, but I wouldn't recommend them.

Now, if you have the time to go to a professional brick and mortar school, then you can look into Yavapai College, Piedmont Technical College, Piedmont Community College, Murray State College, and Trinidad State Junior College. I also know there's one in Pittsburgh, but I heard they taught that it was all right to color shotgun frames with a torch, instead of properly case hardening them, so I reserve my judgment on them.

If you go to a brick and mortar school, then you can probably find a job right out of school, but with the above correspondence courses, you'll need to have work experience with them.

If you start your own business, you'll soon find just how expensive this work is, and that nobody will want to pay you what you're worth. You will find out just how high business overhead is, and when you charge for it, customers will balk.

These TV shows on the Discovery channel are not showing the many customers who take their gun, and walk out, and its not all glory either.

My last piece of advice is to learn to run a lathe, and a milling machine. You would do better to have a 36" lathe, and a small mill to make parts and tooling with. If you want to do refinishing, I advise you to learn how to make the finish match the factories, or else, you wont be doing it very long.
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Old April 28, 2013, 11:58 PM   #34
James K
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One good start would be to search this and other gun sites for "gunsmith" and "gunsmithing" and read all the information already posted. Most of it is excellent and with different viewpoints from beginners to skilled craftsmen.

Jim
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Old April 30, 2013, 10:56 AM   #35
Harry Bonar
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gunsmiths

Sir;
Virtually, all gunsmiths die poor!
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Old April 30, 2013, 02:17 PM   #36
Grizz12
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Quote:
Sir;
Virtually, all gunsmiths die poor!
nothing wrong with poor
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Old April 30, 2013, 10:38 PM   #37
Ricklin
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I've been poor and I've been rich........rich is better.
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Old May 1, 2013, 07:19 AM   #38
Dixie Gunsmithing
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I ought to mention American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI), too, as they do offer a video course, which is conducted mainly by Bob Dunlap. I have watched, pretty much, the entire course. They cover things that a correspondence course does not cover, or cover well, and I didn't care for the hot caustic bluing video. They use a different system to Brownell's Oxynate 7.

What they do show, that is good is:

Making springs
Heat treating and case hardening (a must)
Assembly/disassembly/operation using cut away guns
Hot water bluing
Sear systems (a must)
Rebarreling/chambering/headspace (another must)
Bedding a stock (by Darrel Holland)
Plus, they have a machine shop and welding course video.

If you can find this as a used course, it will be very much cheaper, but you will not be able to take the exams, nor get a diploma that way. However, it would be good to compliment a correspondence course with.
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Old May 1, 2013, 07:33 AM   #39
Grizz12
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Quote:
I ought to mention American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI), too, as they do offer a video course, which is conducted mainly by Bob Dunlap. I have watched, pretty much, the entire course. They cover things that a correspondence course does not cover, or cover well, and I didn't care for the hot caustic bluing video. They use a different system to Brownell's Oxynate 7.

What they do show, that is good is:

Making springs
Heat treating and case hardening (a must)
Assembly/disassembly/operation using cut away guns
Hot water bluing
Sear systems (a must)
Rebarreling/chambering/headspace (another must)
Bedding a stock (by Darrel Holland)
Plus, they have a machine shop and welding course video.

If you can find this as a used course, it will be very much cheaper, but you will not be able to take the exams, nor get a diploma that way. However, it would be good to compliment a correspondence course with.
I'll keep my eyes open for these tapes but I would never try to pass myself off as a gunsmith without serious hands-on experience from a school. The tapes will give me a much better understanding of whats going on before I get into school
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