View Full Version : Becoming a Gunsmith

December 2, 2005, 10:05 PM
I know there are prorbobly alot of threads about this topic BUT I wanted to know a few things:

1) Is there any reason for someone to want to be a gunsmith nowadays after hearing alot about different problems it seems like it isnt worth it :(

2) If you go to college for Tool and Die will that help to become a gunsmith ?? :confused:

3) Is there a way to be registered as a gunsmith eventhough you dont do it for a living ?? :confused:

4) What qualifications would someone need to call themselves a "Gunsmith" ?? :confused:

Thanks in advance :D


December 3, 2005, 12:07 PM
Let me take the tool and die question first. Will this help you become a gunsmith, No, but it will make you a better gunsmith when it comes to making parts and tools and you will certainly have knowledge of how things work in reverse which will very useful. I would even suggest that you become a tool and die man and go to work when you have the degree. While in school, take courses in machine shop and welding if your school has that available. A 2yr college or junior college may be the first school I would go to and see if they offer a program for machine shop and welding because these will certainly be needed when working.

The next question is whether most smiths think it is worth pursuing. That is up to you as with all jobs. Don't go into it mislead though. Some smiths have a hard time getting away from their work and some have a hard time getting work. A lot of smiths that don't take business courses have run their businesses into bankruptcy. I might suggest that you specialize in one particualr part of smithing that you like and concentrate on that like rebarreling.

You can get a business liscense and do this part time if that is the way you want to do it. I might suggest to you that you become certified by a school and get your FFL and start out advertising in the gun shops with business cards. Offer a free gun cleaning to anyone that brings you the card. You will get a lot of folks that come in for the cleaning that will end up needing some other work done and you will get to see folks face to face and they will see the quality of your work. A lot of folks frown at this because you will be doing a good bit of free work. Don't look at it that way, look at it as an investment that will get folks to return to you later on because they got to meet you and you did a good job.

If you want just a quick course in gunsmithing that will get you certified, check out AGI. Here's a link for you to look at:


It will be a pretty good course that you can take and go right to working on guns while watching the video. Now, it's not going to give you everything you need to know and you will learn things as you go and as you do more work. I think this course is designed to give a man the basis to work in a gun store or begin to work in a shop on his on. They have more advanced classes available that in California gives you a college level certification because it is taught by retired instructor from Lassen College.

The tool and die work could be your main job and then you could have the gunsmithing business on the side. The two could go hand in hand and provide you with years of enjoyment. Good luck with it.

December 3, 2005, 12:18 PM

Thanks for the reply :)

I am starting tool and die January as a matter of fact and I always wanted to learn to become a gunsmith but after reading what gunsmiths had to say about there jobs here it makes me feel like not bothering. :o

Tell me can a Canadian Living in Canada get a FFL so he can send stuff to other FFL's in the US if need be ?? :confused: In Canada we can simply use insured and sign on delivery mail to send guns from person to person no FFL's needed :D

Same basic question about AGI I have seen there site but would that be good for me being in Canada ?? Will that quilification have value up here ?? :confused:


December 3, 2005, 08:52 PM
I didn't even notice you are in Canada. There is no way a Candian could get the FFL since it is issued by our Federal govt. Without knowing much about Canadian law, I would approach it the same way as in get a certification in smithing and a business liscense, and good liability insurance. I wouldn't try it without either just to help protect yourself. The rest goes that I said. To help start up a business, you need to advertise. The best way to do that is by doing the business cards and a free cleaning which will get the folks to meet you and you can show them what kind of work you are capable of. There have been a lot of tool and die men that become gunsmiths and do quite well simply because they understand the need to specialize. If you specialize, you will be one of a few that offer a particular job instead of being a smith that will take any job that won't make much money, which is I would imagine the smiths that you have heard being disgruntled. Good luck with it.

December 3, 2005, 09:26 PM
Country Boy,

Thanks for the reply :D

Well I like your idea on specializing. If I do specialize I'll probrobly specialize on Remington Firearms and Muskets/Traditional Muzzleloaders. :)

Reason for this ?? Simple they are the types of firearms I like and my working as a gunsmith is based on the fact I would like to do this part time so why not specialize in what I like ?? :D

Tell me making custom replacment parts for a rifle based on a part someone gives you can that be considered something a gunsmith can specize in ?? :confused: With my tool and die training I'll probrobly be able to mill/lathe up a new part if someone cant get a hold of it what do you think ?? :confused:


T. O'Heir
December 4, 2005, 01:17 AM
DimitriS, Sunray from gunnutz here. Hi. Despite all the BS from our government and the whining from industry about not being able to find skilled tool and die machinists, when you get out of the course you'll be an inexperienced FNG. Just finding a job as a machinist will be difficult. Employers are whining about not being able to find experienced staff, not just machinists. Few of them will take on an apprentice without government funding either. And they still whine about not being able to find workies.
All that aside, an FFL means nothing here. It's a U.S. dealer's licence. The only thing you'd have to worry about, as a Canadian, is U.S. Customs and U.S. importation rules. Mind you, I seem to recall hearing of Canadians who did have an FFL, but that may have changed. I think it was guys who were buying and selling firearms at U.S. gunshows long ago.
There's no such thing as a 'registered' gunsmith here. Nor are there any qualifications to call yourself a gunsmith. There is or used to be, a 'dealer's carry permit', likely changed to a dealer's ATT now.

December 4, 2005, 01:40 AM
T. O'Heir,

Actually I am planning on joining the Navy after this little delay as a Electronics Technition, I passed the Aptitude Test, the medical and the interview but shortly after I had a injury with my left sholder I cant apply too much pressure and being 220lbs and 6ft 2 its hard to do the 19 or what ever amount of push ups they wanted me to do now so I am delaying my application and getting some college in me and they said it was ok and a good idea :)

I always wanted to learn to be a Tool and Die and this is more of a personal eduaction I want to learn I am actually not planning on working as a Tool and Die worker :)

There's no such thing as a 'registered' gunsmith here. Nor are there any qualifications to call yourself a gunsmith. There is or used to be, a 'dealer's carry permit', likely changed to a dealer's ATT now.

Thats interesting. Well I am going to look at AGI courses just so I can have some "paper" backing to me claiming to do gunsmithing work :)

Thanks for the information! :D


December 4, 2005, 01:47 AM
You might find a niche in building locks for the muskets you like. Right now, there are enough supply houses that have parts, but the day when no one will have a part for particular guns and will need a new one built are fast approaching for some guns.

A tool and die man will be at an advantage simply because of his training. I am not familiar with your economy, but it would seem that someone would hire a tool and die man and train him if he is going to work for you for a good while. I know that industry is fast moving toward CNC, but I believe there will always be a need for the specific field. Good luck with it.

December 4, 2005, 01:59 AM
Country Boy,

Thanks for the reply. :)

CNC isn't good. Takes longer to input the dimentions (for me and others I know anyways) then it takes to do a quick drawing on a peice of paper and write down the dimentions then make it all by "hand" :p Mind you for building alot of the same part it would be faster and cheaper :)


December 4, 2005, 12:17 PM
If you're interesed in a long-term career that offers the possibility of a good lifestyle, then I'd say that you'd be misdirecting your tool and die skills (assuming you ever have such skills) if you tried to use those skills in gunsmithing.

Very few gunsmiths make very much money. You'd be better off with a career in the Navy then with trying to start a gunsmithing business from scratch...from an economics perspective.

December 4, 2005, 12:39 PM

Thanks for the reply :)

See I dont want to do this gunsmithing job as a full time job or anything. I love working with metal and the like so I really want to get myself a little hobby shop while I am in the Navy so I can do metal work. :D

The Gunsmithing is something I figure would be fun to do on the side, more of a hobby then something actually planning on living with the income you know what I mean ??

Even if the "bussince" made 0$ in income (after calculating all the costs) it would be more of a hobbie so it wont matter to me. :D


Harry Bonar
December 12, 2005, 02:44 PM
Dear shooter:
Listen to Rivers!!!!!
Harry B.

December 12, 2005, 03:31 PM

Ok I'll lisen to him but gunsmithing seems fun and something I'd like to do for a hobbie :p


December 14, 2005, 07:31 AM
The Navy is a great place to start learning to be a gunsmith. That's where I learned. I started out as a machinist mate but I hung out with the weapons guys all I could. I qualified on every piece that would shoot and learned them like the back of my hand. My second enlistment I changed to gunners mate and luckily got on one of the last battleships where I got to learn some real guns and I was sent to a few small arms and 16 inch maintence and repair schools.
I then went in the army and was the only one around that knew how to work on M1's and M-14's. That was nice. I got lots of M-14 and M-60 reworking time building up for the war.
Then I did a civilian gunsmithing school just for the heck of it and to learn the business side of it as soon as I got out. Learning the business like was already said is mandatory. You will go under if you can't sell what you do.
I've been doing it part time along with running our ranch and being a full time mechanic shop foreman for 3 years now. Next month I will be full time gunsmith, full time rancher and ditching the mechanic job. I have the business and good customer feedback to do it now. It takes time but if you keep the customers needs ahead of yours you can do it too.

I don't recommend any of the mail order gunsmith courses either and don't have much faith in certifications. They don't authorize you to work on guns. Not down here anyway. They are just a piece of paper. A good full time gunsmithing school is what you really need with hands on experience if you don't already have a lot.

Hunter Customs
December 14, 2005, 08:55 AM
I believe Chuck Rogers was the one I heard say this " what does a large pizza and a gunsmith have in common, they will not feed a family of four" I would say that's pretty good words of wisdom.

Learn all the machinist skills you can, become a good tooler and you will not have any trouble finding well paid employment. You can start working on guns part time, than if your business gets well established and you want to be a full time smith, go for it.
Good luck in your endeavors.
Bob Hunter

December 14, 2005, 02:36 PM
Thanks Dan and Bob :D

Well I guess I'll do it slowly. I was thinking about taking armorer courses in the Navy if possible. And I'll probrobly stick with it being part time for a long time seeing as I want to be able to support my family once I start one with my girl and not worry about bills atleast till the kids older :cool:

Well thanks for all the replys. And where can you do gunsmithing courses that arnt mail order ?? :confused:

And I realize that they are probrobly not really worth anything as most mail order schooling isnt but wouldnt it be better to try and learn it just for the sake of learning if your going to be doing the job just to get more backround and understanding even if the paper they give you is really worthless ?? :confused:


December 14, 2005, 02:50 PM
What a hard one. All i can do is share info about it in accordance to what goes on where i live. Around here smiths are a dying breed. Weather or not you could actually make a living doing it would presumely depend on the demand in your area. I would think one would have to do it out of your love of the firearms world, as opposed to just doing it for a pay check. I would think it would be a scary endevour just like any hands-on trade, meaning with how much you would have to charge for your skills to make any money with factory guns and all of the technology that is incorporated into them these days. In general for the amount a smith would have to charge to ''accurize'' a gun he could probally order a custom shop model for the same money. But you might do OK with repairing firearms, if you are factory certified that is, as to not void a warranty on a firearm.

December 14, 2005, 03:04 PM
I was thinking about doing gunsmithing to maintain/repair firearms that may or may not be covered by there warrenty anymore actually :)

Reason being is that most people will just ship off there rifle or shotgun to the company/arthurized repair shop while under warrenty. But most hunters I know warrenties are expired before the gun fails. :p

How do you get factory certified ?? :confused:


December 14, 2005, 03:16 PM
I would start by contacting say like Remington and I would think thet they could possibly give you answers, they may even have a program that they offer. I will go farther out and say that you could probably get a grant from the Government to get into a smithing program. I mean a buddy of mine is a state certified tattooist and he had two apprentices that he was paid by a grant to train these two boys, where the two boys obtained this grant or what ever it was actually called i dont know but im just saying if it can be had for friggin 'tattooing'' it can sure as heck be done for smithing. Check out the state's educational programs and i'll bet you will be surprised.

December 14, 2005, 03:18 PM

Well I'll call Remington after I am done my tool and die program as this is a hobby I can wait :).

And as for state grants no can do I am in Canada :D