View Full Version : Home study gun courses

August 1, 2005, 07:29 AM
Ok ,I am gonna get slammed. but I really want to know is there any good home study gunsmith courses. I do not live very clost to any of the schools that teach in person.
I have an interest in learning, mostly for my own info, but also to be able to do the odd jobs, and maybe doing work for local pawn shops...I talked to a couple of owners and was told if I had a certificate they would use me.........
Be nice to me but please be honest.
I am not a young kid by the way, I am 49 and have worked as a Goldsmith,jewelry maker and lots of factory work working with metal.

James K
August 1, 2005, 11:36 AM
OK, no offense meant, but if you had a burst appendix, would you go to a doctor who took a home study course from a book?

Seriously, those courses are not bad, and you can gain some information, but there is no substitute for hands-on experience. You might be OK for replacing parts, but not for any more complex jobs, especially those involving knowledge of steels, spring making, lathe and milling machine work, etc.


August 1, 2005, 12:12 PM
Thanks Jim that is the honesty I wanted.
I do have a fair knowledge of steel working .
I will look for a place to get hands-on but I think one of these courses might get me started

Dave Sample
August 1, 2005, 01:45 PM
I would think that you would learn more by working with a local gunsmith as an apprentice. You are old enough to know how to do the job if given the right instuction and guidance.

I have looked at a lot of these videos and agree with Jim. There is some good information, but not much help along the way. Good luck!

August 1, 2005, 02:11 PM
My 2 cents.
Like you, I have a background working metal, and wood, familiar with lathes, etc. I started with the AGI basic armorer's tapes on specific firearms and found them very good, for me. I then went on and completed their big course. I have been doing business, part time, for several years and plan to go full time when I retire in several more years.
While there is nothing to compare with an apprenticeship, the reality is that few shops will consider it and taking time out from an already busy life's obligations to attend school full time is often not possible.
The best advice I got, and freely pass on, is to know your limitations and stay well within them as you build confidence and ability. Find a niche and specialize.
Contact me direct if you want to discuss this in more detail.
Mike in Michigan

August 1, 2005, 03:18 PM
Thanks Mike, I hope to "grins" learn about air rifles, they are legal here in AZ to hunt small game with and no one that I know of offers any kind of aig gun repair.
One of the home courses show it has several lessons on aig rifles...might be the needed niche.....

Harry Bonar
August 4, 2005, 04:15 PM
Dear smith:
You go right ahead and persue your dream. I've made it a principle in my life to not let anybody else define me - but me!
You'll learn on your own and the excellent suggestion to fing a smith that doesn't have an ego problem and learn from him is first class.
hARRY b.

August 4, 2005, 04:27 PM
i took the modern gun school course and enjoyed it very much. no videos, just booklets and such. you get a decent amount of small tools and supplies. will learn the basics of stock refinishing and checkering. trigger work, blueing and many other things are covered including tips on running a small business. some projects must be returned to the school for grading just like the tests. i think i paid about $30 a month for the course. i have done some work for friends at discount rates and it was enough to pay for the course. i am currently building a custom .243 rifle from a bare vz24 reciever using some of the things i learned in the course.

August 4, 2005, 10:01 PM
Thanks for that info Jeff, I am also looking at that course, I do have talked to all the local shops and smiths and they want nothing to do with teaching anyone, they say they have no time......
So, I will learn on my own and use the info for myself if nothing else, knowledge is something that no one can take away.........

T. O'Heir
August 7, 2005, 12:54 AM
"...I am gonna get slammed..." Whatever for? You asked a legitmate question and are entitled to a legitimate answer. Jim, of course, is right. As he regularly is. Jim posts on more than one forum and is to be heeded before anyone else. Including myself. Mind you, nobody in their right mind even thinks about making a spring. That takes extreme skill.
However, for a guy who just wants to learn, you're better off reading as many books as you can get. Even the most experienced smithy has more money invested in books than he does in tools. There are lots of smithy type jobs that require a guy with time and a touch of skill than you'd think. Scope mounting, glass bedding, teaching reloading classes, etc.
The home study courses, all of 'em, have one big fault. If you don't have the firearm that lesson is about you're at a serious disadvantage. Fixing firearms is very much a hands on thing.
"...was told if I had a certificate they would use me..." Get that in writing and ask what certification they'd recognize. Think contracts.
Does your background include machining?

Joe Portale
August 29, 2005, 12:27 PM
I'm walking into this late. But what the heck. I also do part time 'smiting mainly on 1911's, Browning HP's, Remingtons and Mauser rifles. I learned by the seat of my pants. I did get some advice and encouragement from an ancient gunsmith I knew. But for the most part I learned what I know on my own.

First, use what ever educational materials you have available to you. I think gunsmiths read more than any other trade. There are so many different makes and models iof firearms, no onw can know them all. Second, buy some junkers at the gunshow. Take them apart, see how they work, put them back together, screw up and then put them back together so they work. Congradualations, you just exhibited an expertise more than half the gunsmiths out there. Third, take a machine shop or metal workling class at a local community college. You do not need a huge Clausing lathe or a Bridgeport mill, although they are great, you can get by with less. You do not need a 56 inch Bridgeport to lower the ejection port on a 1911. I do it on a 26" benchtop. Hell when I was younger, I could do it with a dremil.

Do your dreams, no one else will do them for you. You will be happier if you do what you love and make some money than if you do what you hate and make alot of money. Believe me I know.