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I want to look into doing some p/t work in the gunsmithing field. This would be done through a large outdoors retailer. The toughest thing I've done is lowering the spring tension on a rifle trigger and it went very well.

I've been around machining for many years and I'm mechanically inclined. If I'm around a master full time gunsmith I feel I can pick this up pretty quickly (or maybe not).

Opinions?
 

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That's the classic way to get into the field.

Among the methods of becoming a PRO, (not a hobbyist) are:

Go to an accredited gunsmithing school like Colorado School of trades, Trinidad, Lassen, or one of the other top schools.
The advantages here are, you learn from top pros who can actually look over your shoulder and tell you when it's right or wrong.
A school graduates true professional gunsmiths, not "armorers" or parts switchers, and qualifies you for real gunsmith employment.

Home study courses.
Better than nothing, but not real great.
You don't have the pro looking at your work, so you never really know if you're doing it right, OR if you're any good at it.

One advantage of a attendance school is, if you just flat ain't got the skills or talent, they'll let you know, one way or another.
I've seen a number of graduates of home study courses that were TERRIBLE gunsmiths.

The apprentice method, which is basically what you're talking about is a good way to learn, PROVIDED the man teaching you is any good.
This is by no means certain, since anybody can hang out a shingle and call himself a gunsmith. His being employed at a gun shop is NO guarantee that he's actually competent.

If you want to do this, my advice is to invest a few bucks in as many of the Jerry Kuhnhausen gunsmithing books as you can afford.
Kuhnhausen ran a big factory warranty repair service AND trained gunsmiths for big gun manufactures, the government and others.

His manuals are gun specific.
As example, his book "The Colt Double Action Revolvers: A Shop Manual, volume One" is THE best gunsmithing book ever written on the Colt's.
These books aren't the "usual" shade tree gunsmith books with a lot of general, old-time gunsmith techniques about heating and bending and making parts.
His methods are the methods used and approved by the gun factories.

His are true factory method repair techniques, and cover EVERYTHING there is to know about a specific brand of gun.

These are available from Brownell's, Midway USA, and can be ordered from most online and local book sellers.

At an average of about $30.00 per manual, this is the best money you could spend.

They also sell video's to accompany each manual, but I'd go with the books first.

These books will give you a BIG leg up, AND you'll know the "right" (Factory) way versus the usual old "get it to work somehow" methods that are no longer valid.

I'd select a manual or so that are on a brand and type of gun you're interested in.
No BS, most any real pro gunsmith will have these books in his shop, and they'll be dog eared and greasy from much use.
 

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ALL that 'dfariswheel' said above, perfect and is what I did back in the 60's and early 70's.

I just have to"add" as well as the books , the tools that you will need, can and will cost a LOT!
Finally, you are "responsible" (liable) for ANY work that you do ,if someone get's 'hurt' or injured' and in the end ,our shops had to carry over a $1m of "liability insurance" coverage and we had to have this in any and all work that we did for any of the gun companies we did work for. Keep this in mind, all these prices ,school ,books, tools ,trip and visits and then 'overhead', makes you have to "wonder" if it's all worth it.

Yes, I would never trade the knowledge I learned ,the people I met over the past 40 years ,but today ,it just "ain't the same". Same goes for the shops, it's harder to catch a gunsmith who may want to take you under his wing, as an 'apprentice', they are all in a hurry, too busy or just do not have the 'personality' for the job.
I lucked out as I worked with the gunsmith at another job and he needed help to disassemble, polish and re-assemble guns for the local police dept. so ,"voila" it worked perfect.My job in both secuiry/LE was taking care of the dept guns,as the 'armorer, NOT a gunsmith!. A few years later and I was being "taught" (trained) by Mr Dan Wesson, yes, THAT one, and then Bob Shea, the 'mastergunsmith' from High Standard (our shop did 'warranty' repair work for both companies back then!)
plus I met with and had classes or seminars with 'other 'companies and gunsmiths. It all 'snowballed'.
Would I call myself a "gunsmith"? no, as I never had the 'formal/complete' training like you'd get from 'Colorado Trade' school or such. Learn it ALL!

If YOU want it ,then YOU got to go after it! /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

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Having attended the S&W Armorers school for Revolvers and all models of autopistols with exception of the PPK. Let me say this. I learned parts fitting operations such as timing revolvers and replacing parts on the Restricted List. Fitting the Ratchet assembly was for me, the most complex parts replacement that I have seen - bar none. To merely think a school will teach you all there is to know about a given profession is self deception. Fixing small arms can be a life long learning process. Most major brands of firearms offer some type of firearms repair training and most include a tour of manufacturing facilities. Learning to shape, heat treat and properly manufacture gun parts to proper tolerance/quality makes a person an arms fabricator. I cannot honestly say that not one Armorers school can't teach even the most well versed machinest even more knowledgable on how any given firearm is manufactured or repaired. Just the same, most firearms today restrict parts to those who hold current certification to repair a given firearms line. Most "Gunsmithing" is nothing but minor parts repair or replacement As firearms age, parts become less "available" and only then, parts manufacture (within the constraints of law) becomes quite necessary. Attending any and all factory sponsored courses (which today ranges about 800 hours of training) for the armorer. Many tours within the factories to see manufacturing protocol is a great first step. Even being a tool and die maker with extensive training in fabrication and maching, can never teach you all there is to know about firearms. From reading and actually meeting about various people in the firearms industry. Much is aquired in related education in machining and learned over a long period of time in a manfacturer setting. I don't believe any trade school will ever teach you all there is to know. Perhaps becoming a machinist and applying to work for a major gun manufacturer is a good first step. REBOUNDLEVER
 

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ok guy`s, there are and have been many fine gunsmiths that have never seen the inside of a school. the history of firearms is full of men who were told "you can`t do that" or "it won`t work". there is no magic at hartford or springfield.motivation, desire, selfreliance are the only ingredients that are required.well i might add a little stuborness just for good measure. my 2 cents worth.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
[ QUOTE ]
Finally, you are "responsible" (liable) for ANY work that you do ,if someone get's 'hurt' or injured' and in the end ,our shops had to carry over a $1m of "liability insurance" coverage and we had to have this in any and all work that we did for any of the gun companies we did work for.

[/ QUOTE ]

This gunsmith I've used in the past had me sign a liability waiver.
 

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Thats a helluva gunsmith! What would YOU have done if one of his repairs,had been poorly done,and the gun "exploded",blinding you??

Bud /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
 

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Discussion Starter #9
[ QUOTE ]
If you want to do this, my advice is to invest a few bucks in as many of the Jerry Kuhnhausen gunsmithing books as you can afford. Kuhnhausen ran a big factory warranty repair service AND trained gunsmiths for big gun manufactures, the government and others.

His manuals are gun specific. As example, his book "The Colt Double Action Revolvers: A Shop Manual, volume One" is THE best gunsmithing book ever written on the Colt's.

[/ QUOTE ]

DFW, I'm now Colt-Smithing and having a blast. It's easier than I expected. I started with my New Service (the NS bastard with the SM barrel). I've dis-assembled and reassembled. Removed the barrel etc. "The Colt Double Action Revolvers: A Shop Manual, volume One" is an awesome book. Thanks for turning me on to it.

When I grow up I want to be be just like dfariswheel /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hey, I'm now an addict. That's /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
 

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Next try fitting some new parts. You might switch addictions. /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
 
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