View Full Version : 1st gunsmithing experience - comments

October 6, 2006, 04:19 PM
I have an old Colt .22 WRF Police Positive snubby (Serial #393xxx) that was in need of hammer repair because it was pushing off. A gunsmith associated with a large (not to be named) outdoor outfitter did the work. Initially, I was told that it could be in the range of $150.00 but there was a $20.00 non-refundable fee just to identify the problem and then they would know the exact amount. I told them I would gladly pay the $20.00 to identify the problem but if the total cost exceeded $60.00 not to repair the revolver. Lo and behold the repair suddenly dropped from the $150.00 down to $65.00 so I said go ahead and they re-fit the trigger nose and hammer notch.

I guess my question is - - Wouldn't a good, reputable gunsmith be able to identify a problem like mine and pretty much already know he was about to extract an extra $85.00 from a guy who would probably not know the difference?

Your comments and/or suggestions for future gunsmithing needs are welcome.

Regards - -


October 6, 2006, 05:11 PM
" COULD BE in the range of $150 " He probably meant 'as high as'. A gunsmith should never assume what the problem is . In your case maybe the trigger but also maybe other parts. How old is the gun [can you get parts ?], how has it been treated, has it been 'home gunsmithed '? That the price 'suddenly dropped " means nothing . He apparently found a fairly simple problem. Any gun taken in by a gunsmith should be completely inspected and test fired. That is the ethical way and the liability lawsuit way. BTW gunsmith insurance is very high !

James K
October 6, 2006, 05:17 PM
First, just about every other type of technician charges a fee of some kind just to diagnose the problem. Sometimes it is deducted from the repair cost, sometimes not. Try taking your TV or VCR in for some vague problem and you can expect to pay at least $25 just to check it out. Or call someone to look at your washer and you will pay a service charge just for coming out.

One reason is simply that too many folks take in something for repair, have the problem diagnosed, then decide either not to have it fixed or try to do it themselves, so the repairman spends time and expertise and gets nothing. Hence the "diagnostic" charge.

Now, as to the specific problem. If the Colt was "pushing off", that is the hammer could be pushed off full cock without the trigger being pulled, I can't tell without spending some time whether the problem is the hammer, the trigger, the spring, or something else. Also, I can't tell from the outside whether the problem can be fixed easily, or whether new parts will be needed. If it is the hammer, and someone tried before to fix it and ruined the part, it is very unlikely it can be fixed; a new part will be needed. But no one can tell that from looking at the gun.

Fixing a problem with the single action notch is a very tricky repair, requiring careful welding, time-consuming fitting, and re-hardening. If the trigger is involved, the problems double.

Frankly, your $60 offer was pretty low. They must not have been busy or needed the work. I might note that that would just about cover the price of parts (if they could be obtained) if both hammer and trigger were needed. To fix the existing parts, would, IMHO, cost more as the work is touchy and tedious.


October 6, 2006, 06:13 PM
Have you asked around about the gunsmiths reputation? What kind of customers does he have, are they all satisfied? Do guns ever have to go back to fix the same problem?

The shop I work at, you ask ten people about what they think, and 8 of them will say "Buncha jerks! Dropped my gun off and when I called to see when it was done, they snapped at me "Did we call you yet? No? Then it aint done!"

Ironically the same shop moves more merchendise in a month than most other local shops move in a year or more. And guess who the other shops send their customers to when their garage gunsmiths mess up? You guessed it! Our shop!

James K
October 6, 2006, 11:21 PM
I remember the guy who wanted his rifle drilled and tapped for a scope. When we gave him the price, he told everyone in the place how his brother-in-law had a garage and would do the job for free and how we were a bunch of crooks.

He came back later, more than a bit subdued. The holes looked like the footprints of a drunk in the snow. Not only were they not lined up, but the spacing was wrong. We welded up the holes, drilled them correctly, and reblued the gun. Of course, he then said that we charged too much and that his brother-in-law had just had a bad day. You can't win.

(BTW, I never took my car to that garage, either.)


Metaloy Industries
October 7, 2006, 08:36 AM
I have yet to work on a gun that was doing exactly what the customer said it was doing and /or even the type of gun the customer said it was. Most smiths know this and quote accordingly. You never really know until you see the gun and inspect the problems associated with it.

October 7, 2006, 09:24 AM
Have read all of your replies and after checking your profiles there is no doubt you all know your stuff.

That is what is so nice about this forum. You can throw just about any gun related questions/problems out there and get some free and expert advice from the people in the know.

Thanks for the the good information and for sharing your expertise.

Regards - -


October 7, 2006, 11:29 AM
My Philosophy on this is, I don't work on anything that if I make a mistake it can cost me my life. I let professionals do their job, and I will do mine. So, If my gunsmith needs his computer fixed, I'm all over that, but he gets to work on the pistols.