The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > The Smithy

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old June 21, 2011, 10:56 PM   #1
oo0juice0oo
Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 50
Colorado School of Trades

Seriously considering attending the Colorado School of Trades, anyone have any experience with this institution? I know that it's not going to turn me into some master gunsmith, but is completion of this course going to get me set up on the right track? I would prefer to do an apprenticeship but they don't grow on trees and I might as well use my GI Bill while I've got it. Thoughts?
oo0juice0oo is offline  
Old June 22, 2011, 10:32 AM   #2
GURU1911
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 22, 2010
Location: SEALY, THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS
Posts: 501
The school has an excellent reputation to train gunsmiths in their 2 year vocational program. However, if you contact the "tech dept" @ brownell's, you should be able to speak directly with some actual graduates of that campus. Pursue your dreams !!!!!

Guru1911
__________________
NRA LIFE MEMBER (1984) & PRESIDENT: S.W. LA. R&P CLUB, LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA (1994-1999)
METALLIC CARTRIDGE RELOADER (1977) & GENTILE CHRISTIAN ZIONIST INFIDEL !!!

"THERE AIN'T TOO MANY THINGS THAT YOU CAN'T FIX, WITH $500 DOLLARS OR A .30-06"
GURU1911 is offline  
Old June 22, 2011, 01:58 PM   #3
mete
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 14, 2004
Location: NY State
Posts: 5,284
One of the very best .I went there many years ago and they still have the fine reputation.
Remember that in a school like that the more you put into it the more you get out of it !!
__________________
And Watson , bring your revolver !
mete is offline  
Old June 22, 2011, 07:27 PM   #4
Dfariswheel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2001
Posts: 6,819
Colorado School of Trades and Trinidad Junior College in Trinidad Colorado have about the best reputations in the industry for turning out stone cold professional gunsmiths.

A degree from either will get you a job interview.
Dfariswheel is offline  
Old June 22, 2011, 10:21 PM   #5
oo0juice0oo
Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 50
Sounds great! I have a tour of the facilities next wedenesday and will probably start initial paper work.
oo0juice0oo is offline  
Old July 7, 2011, 08:30 PM   #6
4T4MAG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 28, 2009
Posts: 143
Any idea on how much the program costs?
4T4MAG is offline  
Old July 7, 2011, 09:15 PM   #7
Edward429451
Junior member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2000
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 9,494
No idea how much it costs, but I do know that you get to build a custom rifle as a school project so start thinking about that and what you would want.
Edward429451 is offline  
Old July 8, 2011, 09:00 AM   #8
oo0juice0oo
Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 50
I have the paperwork lying around here somewhere, but if I remember correctly it's around $18,900 plus around $160 for books and another $3500 for tools and gun parts (also during the application process there's a $300 fee to reserve your spot). The $3500 goes towards anything you make during classes that isn't for a customer gun, you keep. Plus there's the custom rifle build where they said we'll be building a custom Remington 700 with a wood stock and a synthetic stock for it. The part that I'm happiest about is the fact that only about 15% of the course is in a classroom setting, the rest is hands-on.
oo0juice0oo is offline  
Old July 8, 2011, 11:14 PM   #9
4T4MAG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 28, 2009
Posts: 143
For non-military folk what are some of the most "prestigious" gunsmith schools around? After one graduates from one of these schools what would be the chances of actually making a good living? I am really liking this idea of gunsmith school, I have to justify the expense for something other than a hobby.
4T4MAG is offline  
Old July 8, 2011, 11:23 PM   #10
Edward429451
Junior member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2000
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 9,494
Colorado School of Trades is one of the best.
Edward429451 is offline  
Old July 9, 2011, 09:23 PM   #11
4T4MAG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 28, 2009
Posts: 143
Has anyone ever dealt with http://www.americangunsmith.com ? Do they offer the same level of training and accreditation?


oooJuice000 when would to be starting? I am trying to figure out how to pay for it. I would love to go though.
4T4MAG is offline  
Old July 10, 2011, 01:07 AM   #12
oo0juice0oo
Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 50
Apparently they're all full up for classes until around January, so I'll start some time around then. I've seen a couple of the AGI videos before and to me they are okay, but my opinion is that nothing beats direct hands on training and 1 on 1 instruction. Plus at CST you are required to repair/modify 35 firearms before you complete the course (CST runs as an active gun repair shop) and to me this personal hands on experience is invaluable. Also (to answer your question from before) from what I've been told job placement directly out of the school is very common.

Side note: I'm a huge fan of the fact that the school REQUIRES you to be a member of NRA while in attendance
oo0juice0oo is offline  
Old July 10, 2011, 01:04 PM   #13
hooligan1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 18, 2010
Location: Independence Missouri
Posts: 3,247
For what its worth,,, AGI has an uncanny knack for trying to enlist anyone into the ranks of their school, and by that I mean don't solicit that school unless your ready for the bombarding of junk mail and sales pitching,,,,They are relentless.... And the cost was like 4000 to 5000 bucks!!! but not totally "hands-on". The colorado school I hope is more than that. Good luck finding a good trust worthy school or maybe a super gunsmith that is looking for an apprentice may be the ultimate best, really..
__________________
Thanks for coming!
hooligan1 is online now  
Old July 10, 2011, 06:24 PM   #14
Dfariswheel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2001
Posts: 6,819
No mail order or especially internet "school" is in the same universe as the attendance schools like Colorado School of Trades or Trinidad Junior College.

You can pick up some good general hobby information from AGI but it will not qualify you to be a real gunsmith or get you a job in the trade.
If you apply for a job with an AGI "degree" the application goes straight into the waste basket.

In the schools, you have a real master gunsmith looking over your shoulder and telling you that you're doing it right or wrong, and offering techniques to make it faster or easier.
They usually have tests and performance tasks with grades assigned.
If you flat out aren't cut out to be a gunsmith, the attendance schools will let you known, one way or another by poor grades or by simply telling you.

The mail order and internet schools only care if you continue sending in the money.
Dfariswheel is offline  
Old July 10, 2011, 08:34 PM   #15
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,152
If you were a fighter pilot, would you want your plane designed and built by guys who learned from a video course?

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old July 10, 2011, 08:46 PM   #16
4T4MAG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 28, 2009
Posts: 143
After reading more about the "video" course, I can't see how they would have any benefit to me. Having a hands on course would be the only way to go. After attending the course what would be the sort of jobs that one would be able to obtain?
4T4MAG is offline  
Old July 11, 2011, 12:28 PM   #17
guncrank
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 15, 2006
Location: Fern Creek ,KY and Metro Louisville at large
Posts: 317
44
You can get a starting job in a shop , like a appertenceship.
I have no idea of money but it wouldn' be much.
__________________
CW Shooters Supply Inc
1-866-217-5990
Machine Shop and Finishing Services to the trade and public
guncrank is offline  
Old July 11, 2011, 07:35 PM   #18
Dfariswheel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2001
Posts: 6,819
There are a surprising number of places that employ gunsmiths. Among them:

Local gun shops wanting a gunsmith on-site.
Big chain sporting good stores sometimes hire gunsmiths.
Big custom shops that build a lot of guns. These may be rifle, shotgun, or pistols. I don't know how big shops like Bill Wilson hire, but there are jobs in the big custom shops.
Law enforcement departments and agencies hire armorers, the bigger one's often employ full gunsmiths.
There are private companies involved in defense work and scientific research that employ gunsmiths.

A smart new gunsmith gets a job working for someone else for at least a few years. This gives you time to develop your skills, build up a reputation in the trade, figure out what kind of work you want to do, buy the equipment, and learn how a business works.
Remember, a gunsmith in business for himself is a businessman FIRST. Most gunsmiths who fail, fail because they know nothing about how a business is operated.

Go to one of the better schools. At least 6 months before your ready to graduate start looking for jobs. The day you graduate, you should have at least one FIRM job offer.
The clowns wait until graduation day then start looking.
Dfariswheel is offline  
Old July 18, 2011, 04:36 PM   #19
ArizonaRick
Member
 
Join Date: November 1, 2006
Location: Southern Missouri - Ozarks
Posts: 89
87 CST Grad

I graduated CST in 1987. Very good school. All hands on. Work on firearms all day everyday. Expect to spend 200 hours just on making a light-tight dove-tail with only a hand file and bluing a firearm to a perfect matchless finish (the slightest imperfections and you will start over). Skip stock making if they will let you, unless you are speciallizing in it. Cost for schooling was very low in 1987. After getting into D&F I went days (8 hours) and nights (4 hours), in 87 we needed 2200 hours and all of your major projects completed to graduate. Did mostly side work (for cash while in D&F, befriend local shops and collectors and you will get real busy, real fast). You will do alot of blueing and rebarrel work if you work on the school's customer supplied firearms. If you want to make money in this industry, you may want to specialize. Do not go to work for a large firearms importer when you graduate IMHO. PM me if you are looking for more info.
ArizonaRick is offline  
Old July 18, 2011, 09:51 PM   #20
4T4MAG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 28, 2009
Posts: 143
ArizonaRick, Thank you for your comments regarding CST. I have been trying to figure out what I really could do with the training that I would receive there. My fear is that I already have a 4 year degree which is worthless and don't want to spend the $22,000 if there really is not going to be any realistic way to make some money. I have been a real estate broker and financial adviser for
the last 12 years and really need a career change. I have to justify the expense.

Did you specialize while attending CST? If so, what in? What are some of the most money making productive areas to specialize in?

Thank you for your help.
4T4MAG is offline  
Old July 19, 2011, 04:56 PM   #21
ArizonaRick
Member
 
Join Date: November 1, 2006
Location: Southern Missouri - Ozarks
Posts: 89
You are like me

I had a BS in Business from a private university, US Army Commission (ORD Branch) and then I attended CST. Yes, this is hard business to make money at. It is a labor of love. Think business first. Keep your start-up costs very low and your operating cost very low. Consider working for two years for someone else before you hang out a shingle. Buy good quality - used equipment when ever you can. Focus on what is in demand for your market area. Find a "nitch or two in your market". Spend time with the shooting / hunting community and find out what is "in demand". Follow the money. Learn to say NO, in a very polite way. Focus on what your are competant at. Live in a market area that can support you. Sorry, I could not open your PM.

Last edited by ArizonaRick; July 19, 2011 at 05:03 PM.
ArizonaRick is offline  
Old July 20, 2011, 05:52 PM   #22
chris in va
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 26, 2004
Location: Louisville KY
Posts: 12,493
I only have one thing to add.

The local Gander Mountain was hiring gunsmiths for their new store where I lived. After it opened and the dust settled, I had a chat with him about getting hired and he said they only pay $11/hr, and he's completely certified. Said he was lucky to find *that* job.
chris in va is offline  
Old July 23, 2011, 10:52 PM   #23
4T4MAG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 28, 2009
Posts: 143
Has anyone attended or know someone who attended http://www.pagunsmith.edu/faq.php

I am comparing a few schools around the country. Lucky for me, my family is very mobile.
4T4MAG is offline  
Old July 24, 2011, 07:20 PM   #24
Dfariswheel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2001
Posts: 6,819
Pennsylvania school also has a good rep.
Dfariswheel is offline  
Old July 25, 2011, 07:32 AM   #25
Rifleman1776
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 25, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 3,309
We had a fellow who graduated from CST gunsmithing course and set up a shop in my town. He knew nothing about gun repair. He might have been able to put a barreled action in a pre-inlet stock and screw it in place, or mount a scope but that was about it. As far as making or repairing parts, his knowledge was zero. He didn't last long enough to make the first payment on his big expensive milling machine. I believe the best, maybe only, way to become a gunsmith is apprenticeship. Hands on doing it.
Rifleman1776 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.11943 seconds with 7 queries