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Old January 20, 2012, 04:56 PM   #1
Join Date: December 15, 2006
Posts: 80
Best way to learn the craft of gunsmithing

I am a 34 year old man that has always been fascinated with firearms ever since I can remember, I am good with my hands and for the most part like to do my own work and figure things out for my self. I would like to learn the gun smithing tradecraft, what is the best way to approach this besides the obvious enrollment into a trade school?

I have talked to most of the smiths in my area and have been unsuccessful so far when broaching the subject of my desire to learn their craft. I understand most do not have the time to teach, but I am not looking to be payed just seeking to learn the art.

I am in puyallup and strongly desire to learn from a knowledgeable smith, is there anyone in the membership or someone you may know that would like to pass on their knowledge and skillset to a young man who is willing to listen and learn?
I would be willing to travel a reasonable amount from Puyallup to make this happen.

Thank you for your time, I have met some very nice and helpful people here on TFL.
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Old January 20, 2012, 08:35 PM   #2
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The best way is to move to Ferlach, Austria, and get a three year apprenticeship, followed by 5 years of journeyman work, and two years of master school.
I used to love being able to hit hard at 1000 yards. As I get older I find hitting a mini ram at 200 yards with the 22 oddly more satisfying.
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Old January 20, 2012, 08:37 PM   #3
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Join Date: December 1, 2011
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Well, there's a couple of things you can do.

For starters, take some machine shop classes at your local J.C.
Ditto welding.

Just tell the instructors what you're doing. If you don't, the machine shop guy will probably spend most of the time trying to teach you CNC, and what you need is to learn how to run and engine lathe and a Bridgeport mill. The welding guy will spend his time trying to get you to certify, which would be a waste of time.
The AGI video courses have a lot of good information in them. Won't make you a gunsmith, which will take years. But not a bad idea.
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Old January 20, 2012, 10:25 PM   #4
James K
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,160
In regard to most gunsmiths, it is not reluctance to pass on info, they simply don't have the time. Whether you are paid or not doesn't matter. Some smiths might take you on as a counter guy, to listen to all the BS from the public, but you won't learn that way.

Yes, go to a trade school. Then take courses in how to run a business, bookkeeping, record keeping, compliance with all the laws (not just gun laws), all the licenses (not just an FFL), profit margins, how to calculate how much your time is worth, etc., etc.

Most gunsmiths are like yourself - they want to have fun at their hobby and make money too. It won't work. Unless you decide to be a businessman who happens to work on guns instead of cars or wool rugs or wood carvings, you will fail. And do you have capital to start a business? NO, a mill bastard file and a set of screwdrivers is not enough. One estimate is $100k to set up a gunsmithing business.

And don't do it in your home.

There is a lot more at a thread I started here:

Jim K
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