View Full Version : just starting out

October 27, 2005, 03:30 PM
I was wondering. I ahve been into firearms on and off since cub-scouts. Now I'm 31, out of grad school and starting to get more free time (plus the win .22LR I just pulled out of storage).

I would be interested in how to go about learning amatuer smithing?

Any good books/sites/ways to learn to smith? I'm pretty good at learning technical things but never workrd in metal before.

Thanks in advance!

October 27, 2005, 05:53 PM
AGI has a pratical gunsmithing class that they sell. Sounds like it might be the thing you are looking for.

Here's a link:


It is a video course that is taught by Bob Dunlap. He used to teach gunsmithing at Lassen College. I have the professional course and I highly recommend the videos versus a bunch of books or other home school courses. It will show you step by step how to disassemble the gun and diagnose problems and fix the problem. One thing I will add is that a video is a good resource when you looking at a gun you aren't used to and don't have experience with it. I am not saying this is the end all to be all, but it is a pretty good source of information to go along with your own skill and knowledge. Good luck with it.

Harry Bonar
October 27, 2005, 06:54 PM
Good for you. There is no more honorable hobby/job!
Read everything you can get your hands on about guns; one of the best manuals I've ever seen is, A-Squares Any Shot You Want - A-Square shooters manual.
As CNTRYBOY1289 says a good course is good although I never had the money to take one. And, you will learn more by making mistakes than a course could ever tell you.
Remember, there is no such thing as luck although I understand what CNTRYBOY1289 meant - you are embarking on a craft that takes dedication, concentration and good hard work. Go to it!
Harry B.

October 27, 2005, 08:58 PM
I think you understood what I meant about the videos. The one thing about any course you take is the hands on experience of taking it apart and putting it back together and learning the feel of the parts and how they interact. If you don't have the guns the course teaches you about, you won't get the full benefit of the video.

The one thing I have always told anyone that asks me about the video course that I bought is I am blessed by the fact that not only do I have a pretty good size collection, but so does my Father and Father-in-Law. The only gun that was in the course that I didn't have access to was a DA S&W 45ACP. The thing was, my Father-in-Law was a factory trained smith for this pistol since he was the pistol smith for the State's game wardens so he still had all of his class materials from his classes. The rest of the guns on the course, I had one of them to break down and clean up and fix anything that I could find that needed fixing. Most of the time, all I would do was break the gun apart, clean it, lubricate, and put it back together. This was the same job I had when I was working for another gunsmith doing the disassembly and polishing for blueing. Let me tell you, the videos sure made that job a lot easier to do when one came in that normally I would never had fooled with before.

With all of that said, all the videos and books will ever do is give you a basis of knowledge. The hard part is wrecking a couple of guns learning exactly how the gun works and how it goes together. Believe me when I say that you will ruin a few along the way, but most of the time whatever you messed up can be fixed by someone, even yourself if you let someone show you how. I know I had to learn to hard way a couple of times. Hands on working with the guns is miles ahead of looking at a video or reading from a book, but they can all work together to help make the learning process easier. I have a rather large collection of gunsmithing books as well as the video course and I still learn something new about everytime a gun comes in. I learn from places like this forum as well as other websites. No one will learn it all in one book or video, atleast I haven't anyway. I have been doing this kind of work seriously for about 8 years now and I don't know half of what I will know in 8 more years. Good luck with it.

December 11, 2005, 04:26 PM
Sorry about digging up an old post, but I've been hearing a lot of criticism of gunsmithing courses lately (not necessarily on this board, but what the heck, I'm on a roll). Someone referred me to this thread and I thought it would be a good place to get my 2 cents in.

The problem people have with the AGI videos is they expect the videos to teach them EVERYTHING there is to know about guns or a certain gun. The reality is AGI (or any video provider) would have to produce thousands of hours of video to meet those expectations. No one could afford to pay what they would cost to make and sell.

What the AGI videos do is give you a place to start. They let you see how someone does something - they give you a visual imprint. I love them as supplements to books and hands on practice. What I really like about AGIs Armorer courses is I can work on something like a S&W semi, then not see one for years, then if I get one in, pop in the tape (now all DVDs) and refresh my memory.

In our area, gun stores and gunsmiths are disappearing all over the place. I went overseas on a 2 year assignment and came back a few months ago to find EVERY gun shop I used to frequent is gone without a trace. I can't find many people who even remember they were there much less know what happened to them.

If nothing else, the AGI videos and those from other companies, are preserving the history of our sport for future generations and I encourage you all to buy as many of them as you can afford. If my grandkids or their grand kids want to learn gunsmithing and no one is around to teach them, at least they'll have my library of DVDs and tapes to get them started.

I can't honestly recommend anyone choose gunsmithing as a career. There are very limited opportunities to make a decent living doing this type of work, but it is a great hobby and I strongly recommend EVERY serious shooter learn as much as they can about gunsmithing. The more we know, the more we can educate others and pass this knowledge down. The antis love to use mis-information and deceit to promote their goals and an educated gunowner is their worst nightmare.

December 11, 2005, 04:50 PM
Sounds like a noble and fun thing to do, but like someone said it would probally be hard to soley make a living at it. But im sure that depends on where you are at as far as being busy enough to actually be able to maintain a profitable endevor. I was kinda shocked when a few years ago, well actually ten years ago i had a MAK 90 (Egyptian Maddi) and bought a ''fit all'' compensator for it, well i couldnt get the thing on and it needed to be reamed out a couple milimeters in order to fit my Maddi, well needless to say i didnt have the machinery to do it and when i went to my gun shop and asked my guy about local gun-smiths i was surprised that he knew of only one in this area. So i called him and told him what i needed and he said ''He didnt mess with any of those assult type firearms'', so i then took the compensator to a local machine shop because all it needed was to be reemed out a little and because it was for a gun they wouldnt touch it either. So i then just gave up and wound up just giving it too my son and the darn thing fit right on his chinese MAK 90. So good luck but dont quit your daytime job untill you figure out if it is even possible to make any money doing it, but for a part-time just love of the trade type thing it would be great, and i bet your friends that are into guns will love you too. see ya and good luck.

December 11, 2005, 10:22 PM
mdw442 , the Armorers courses are not suppose to be about anything but the particular model gun you have. They don't go into full repairs on them, but give a detailed description of how to break it down and clean it and give a few pointers on how to fix certain problems. If you want the full course on how to fix guns, then the professional gunsmithing courses is what you want. They used to sell videos on a certain gun if you ask for it, not sure exactly what they are doing now though. Give em a holler and find out if you have a question.

December 11, 2005, 10:29 PM
Understand. I was just speaking in general terms. I have most of the AGI courses and am working on getting the remaining. Thanks for the reply.