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Thread: What is gunsmithing

  1. #1
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    What is gunsmithing

    A gunsmith should be able to do gun smithing things with minimal issues.

    I emailed Remington about chambering a rifle in a not available at this time caliber, and about installing iron sights on it. They have a dwindling number of repair centers. Its not good days for Remington, looking at the current list I have personally been in 2 that no longer appear on that list.

    Anyway they have 2 authorized service centers in Michigan, but they feel only 1 is capable of removing a rifle barrel, or rechambering, or even installing iron sights.

    Is this become the new standard of the day?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master TNsailorman's Avatar
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    We have more gun "mechanics" these days than gunsmiths. We have one local "gunsmith" who says he is not set up to drill or tap for bases and sights, he does not have the machinery to re-barrel, or to forge bolts. He was suppose to do an actions job on a Model 13 S&W and all he did was put a spring kit in it. It did lighten the trigger pull but it was not as smooth as before he put the kit in it. When I got it home and had a chance to try it out, I wanted my original trigger and springs back but he had already sold them. Needless to say, I won't be going back.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    There's a lot of parts changers out there and a few true gunsmiths. A true gunsmith Old world can take a straight barrel blank turn and thread the tenon ( accurately). contour it and install it. He can drill and tap for sights or scope. He can trouble shoot a rifle and fix it. Basically a true gunsmith can start with a bare action and build a rifle. The ARs Savages and some others have made the assembler more prevalent. Buy a drop in barrel pre chambered and contoured install it, buy the trigger you desire and install it the stock a very little fitting and its good. The craftsman that can take a blank chunk if wood, an action and barrel blank and turn it into a beautiful accurate rifle are fading fast. A friend took a old rifle in for repair ( this rifle is a custom built rifle down to north south screw slots) the "smith called to say it was done and screws were no longer north south he had thrown everything in a pan and just stuck them in as needed.

  4. #4
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    I once found a ww2 lend lease smith and Wesson in 38 special that needed a new barrel. Couldn't find a gun smith who would put a 38 sw barrel on and redo the chambers. "frame wasn't big enough for a thicker cartridge".

    Im wondering if the new warranty policies are a part of it. Ive seen a few that you can even let a gunsmith replace the trigger on it without voiding the warranty.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Simple fact is the few trained gunsmiths left do high end shotgun repairs,dont advertise,and dont have the front door open to riff raff with old 22s,black rifles, and milsurp sporters.....the low end work is left to the hobbyist and lawnmower repairer who needs a bit of off season income.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    toallmy's Avatar
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    I suspect most high end firearm builders , began their journey as ' riff-raff ' tinkering on cheap firearms .

  7. #7
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    Well im seeing lots of "high end custom rifle builders" are doing nothing more then buying the same parts we get from brownells, midway, boyd, etc, and assembling the parts for us into a rifle.

    Any of us can get a howa barreled action for 500, a boyds stock for 250$ or less, a scope for 200$ plus 50$ for mounts, and have a "custom builder" charge you 3000$

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

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    A custom builder would buy the action, check it for concentricity square and sizes, possibly blue print and true it if needed. Turn an fit the tenon threads and shoulder. A good square receiver with proper tenon fit and threads shoulder the barrel spins in by hand goes thunk and will require a wrench or more force to break lose. He will chamber said barrel to 0.000- +.001 headspace with a chamber throat that looks like glass. It will be throated to what the customer has requested. He then fit the trigger and firing mechanism tined to a the desired trigger pull and short lock time. He then contours the barrel and crowns it as needed. Next is the stock work, this might be a semi inletted but more likely is a rough blank he has or has purchased stock is made to fit the customer in length if pull wrist size fore end size. More than likely its pillar bedded or a very precise inletting job. The stock is then finished possibly with many coats of oil hand rubbed in. Screws are north south aligned. all the metalwork is then polished and blued, or finished. There is a reason the built to order rifles ( CPA, C Sharps, DZ Arms, and others) have a 8-10 week wait time or longer. But you get exactly what you want, as to finish, wood grade, barrel length contour, trigger pill ( with in safe limits) and fit.

    Another thing to keep in mind the true custom smith has spent years many years getting his reputation and skills. Then throw in the tooling, Lathes mills jigs fixtures and other things. Then the information base he maintains. Most have a small well used library in the shop. Your not only paying for the rifle but for all of the above in the price. The better the reputation, the more knowledgeable the craftsman the higher the cost.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Today you can still get almost anything done by a skilled gunsmith. You just can't get a top skilled craftsman to work free or even cheap.

    Factory guns built in large numbers are going to be relatively cheap because of the economies of scale that no gunsmith can match. But gun factories will never be as flexible or as broadly skilled as a good gunsmith. So if you do not like paying for good work you can do it yourself or take your chances on a guy who gets by on fast and nasty work.
    EDG

  10. #10
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    contender1's Avatar
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    "Today you can still get almost anything done by a skilled gunsmith. You just can't get a top skilled craftsman to work free or even cheap.

    Factory guns built in large numbers are going to be relatively cheap because of the economies of scale that no gunsmith can match. But gun factories will never be as flexible or as broadly skilled as a good gunsmith. So if you do not like paying for good work you can do it yourself or take your chances on a guy who gets by on fast and nasty work."

    ^^^^^^^^^^^ THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  11. #11
    Sad fact is most people don't want to pay the price for the work. I have guys bring me guns in for work and when I tell them the price they look at me like I'm the devil. And these are guys getting paid $45+ an hour in different trades i.e car mechanics etc.
    It is what it is....

  12. #12
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    I finally got a reply from the only service center in Michigan that Remington feels can do a rebarrel.

    They want me to bring a rifle in and SHOW them what I mean by doing a barrel change out.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    ++1 for knifemaker3.

    I have seen what a real gunsmith can do. Only buy a barrel and end up with a finished rifle.

    I am only a chip maker compared to them and wouldn't dare call myself a machinist.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    The word Smith usually refers to someone that works metal, not a parts changer. In the old days that would be with a forge and file. A gunsmith would be someone that can work with metal and wood and also be a mechanic. Anyone who calls himself a gunsmith should be able to contour, thread and chamber a barrel.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    A really good gunsmith is a vastly underpaid cabinetmaker/tool-and-diemaker, enslaved to his trade by a fascination for guns and their workings, and attaining Perfection in general.

    An acquaintance of mine used to do the metalwork for a custom rifle maker who auctioned his wares for tens of thousands of dollars per. After years of scuffling along at close to minimum wage, he finally escaped and went to work in the modeling shop at the local University so he could make a decent living.

    I would surmise that parts replacement, cleaning, tuning, selling supplies on the side, etc, would be necessary to keep the pot boiling, even for somebody good, at least until he has established a practice. Said practice would need to filter out those who want skilled custom work for minimum-wage prices.

  16. #16
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    leebuilder's Avatar
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    Good question, I am a machinist have paper the says this after a four year apprenticeship and lots of time studying for the trades test and on the job training. With all that I only know so much. I do gunsmith work but he no paper saying I am a gunsmith. With that said I know the operations and work that goes into a well built rifle. I make parts, I heat treat and test I can also make springs.
    So peaple call me a gunsmith.
    I would say I have gunsmith skills.
    I build rifles, with my gear I have limited contouring capabilities but can thread and ream chambers. I can make tooling for jobs ie I have made all my own barrel vice and action wrenches and the adapters for the rifles I work on the most.
    I dont sell parts or accessories I fix guns.
    Maybe we should ask what is a gunsmith customer?
    There are very few customers that respect the "skill" and are willing to pay for that work.
    I dont charge much I only do it to fund my hobby, shooting, casting and fixing guns.
    I get so mad when I get a customer that only wants it for free or knows it all but wont do it because he want someone to blame.
    I dont mind helping out a friend.
    I do things on my own terms, I dont take on jobs I can't do.
    I can smell stupid a mile away. The price is the price. I dont pick up or deliver. If you can find my house or dont want to take the trip to my shop it's not my fault. If your significant other wont let you pay for my skills it's not my problem as are the missing screws you lost or broke.
    If you can't shoot it's not my fault if your barrel is trashed you need a new barrel or a new hobby.
    I am surly at times, cheerful a lot. I love to learn, I will be a student of the rifle till I die or the liberals take them away. I served I know my gun, I know what its and my limitations are. I can shoot, not the best but I can hold my own and I'm the guy you want on your side if need be. I take pride in putting a smile on my customers face.
    If you need work, your buddy's or the interwebs opinion dont fly with me, your words will fall on deaf ears, because where the meat meets the metal is in my shop not yours.
    I like barter but if it dont intrest me not my fault.

    I know I said alot, ranting dont help. Fixing guns is fun!!! Dealing with some peaple isnt.
    Be well
    Last edited by leebuilder; 01-02-2019 at 12:55 PM.
    When you read the fine print you get an education
    when you ignore the fine print you get experience

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Like a CEO once told me. The technical stuff is interesting and is often even fun and easy. Your real problems always wear pants.
    EDG

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Like a CEO once told me. The technical stuff is interesting and is often even fun and easy. Your real problems always wear pants.

    I used to post at Accurate Reloading. You can check out the gunsmithing and custom rifle forums there for lots of photos.
    There is one very good smith named Jim Kobe I believe.
    Another is Duane Wiebe. Wiebe might be called a gun maker since he can build a stock from a stick of wood. Anyway for anyone curious just search google for Duane Wiebe and pick images. You will see rifles that cost as much as a new car.
    There are maybe 6 or 8 guys with his skill in the country.
    There are probably several hundred more that are very good specialists. So far as I know none work for any manufacturer.
    A specialist might only do top quality metal work or bench rest rebarreling only. Another might do only stocks. Some of the top checkering pros are women. Many spectacular rifles are built using these highly skilled specialists. The rifle may have to be shi]ed to 4 or 5 states to complete all the work.

    Manufacturers usually specialize in high volume work for the consumer market. They do not do general repairs or much custom work other than building a deluxe version of their standard catalog items.
    Ruger will not even put a different barrel on a rifle if it changes the original caliber. If you buy a .308 it has to stay a .308. Ruger will not put a .243 barrel on it.
    Last edited by EDG; 01-02-2019 at 02:14 PM.
    EDG

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by crankycalico View Post
    Well im seeing lots of "high end custom rifle builders" are doing nothing more then buying the same parts we get from brownells, midway, boyd, etc, and assembling the parts for us into a rifle.

    Any of us can get a howa barreled action for 500, a boyds stock for 250$ or less, a scope for 200$ plus 50$ for mounts, and have a "custom builder" charge you 3000$
    Anybody who would pay $3,000 for that combo deserves to be parted from their money.

  20. #20
    DOR RED BEAR's Avatar
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    to my way of thinking a gun smith should be able to make the entire gun i will give them a break on rifleing a barrel but i feel that they should be capable of making any part in a gun. we have one local i asked if what they charged for a barrel swap and was told they don't do that . asked about changing springs in my charter arms and was told only if i could find the kit. and this guy is advertised as a expert gunsmith. nice guy but no gunsmith.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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GC Gas Check