True gunsmithing - dying art?
This is a discussion on True gunsmithing - dying art? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Frame......
November 2nd, 2005 12:38 AM
November 2nd, 2005 09:37 PM
I have had the pleasure of knowing two exceptional 'smiths.
I met my first after a hack at Gander Mtn did a trigger job on my Colt 1911. When I picked the gun up, I did a functions test and tried out the new trigger; it had hammer follow every stinking time. I paid for parts only, and started asking around for a good smith.
I was referred to Ron Lebrasseur, an older gentleman in Ripon, WI who specialized in 1911s and Smith wheelguns. We sat down in his kitchen over coffee and discussed what I wanted. Since it is a 75th anniversary model, I wanted to keep the option to return to stock. He fixed the trigger job, installed new hammer, sear, grip safety, bbl bushing, and controls, and polished the feed ramp and generally cleaned up the action. It turned out slicker than heck, and all for about $150. A class act, he has unfortunately passed on.
The second was Charlie Adamson, another older gentleman in Lawton, OK. He was a retired LTC, commanded a Bn in Vietnam. He did a trigger job on my M70 Winchester, cut the stock to fit, and installed a decelerator pad. He also bedded the action after we took it apart and found that it had been moving in the stock. Turned a so-so shooter into a sub-MOA tack driver, when I do my part. Unfortunately he too has passed away.
I count myself lucky to have been able to do business with these two gentlemen. Both were honest and fair, and truly a pleasure to watch at work. It is unfortunate that there are so few of these artists still around.
"Speed is fine, but accuracy is final." - Bill Jordan
November 2nd, 2005 10:37 PM
yep , a dying breed. Today's society is one of disposable ,replaceable items. Also, with the tighter tolerances and lack of large machine shop access to many or the knowledge to machine parts makes smithing a dying art. I can fix and replace lots of parts myself, even machine a few, but by in large I replace parts. Cheaper and easier than trying to make from scratch.
November 3rd, 2005 02:45 AM
1952 - 2006
I think there are still a lot of good smiths out there, you just can't find them locally most of the time. If you want a job done right it's going to cost you money. You are going to get what you pay for and good smiths aren't cheap or found in your local gun shop.
Locate a good pistolsmith by going to the Pistolsmiths Guild. No they aren't cheap and you will have to wait. As my holster maker Sam Andrews says, "They aren't cheap, but they're slow."
Heroes are people who do what has to be done, when it has to be done, regardless of the consequences
"I like when the enemy shoots at me; then I know where the ******** are and can kill them."
DE OPPRESSO LIBER
November 3rd, 2005 11:15 AM
XS Sights don't require a tool, only a double-safe, 90 degree, file for final fitting. Which makes me wonder, hmmmm, was it someone in the Smyrna/Murfreesboro area? If so, I'd bet it's the same fellow who managed to break off a spiral-flute tap in the aluminum receiver of my 1201FP (nearly impossible to do, unless you have a serious palsy!)
Originally Posted by Betty
His fix: "Well, Ah couldn't shatter it (duh! It has 40% more steel than a 4-flute), so I put a dab of cold blue on the base of it, and a touch o' aluma-black where Ah gouged the rib....." I took it home and used Brownell's stainless steel epoxy and a 40 lpi file, and you couldn't tell where it was. That required real thought and care-in-effort, though.
Get the shop manuals, get the tools, and (unless it's major machining) DIY. You'll be much happier.
November 3rd, 2005 01:55 PM
I know several good gunsmiths, probably because one of the best schools in the nation is only 85 miles away, Trinidad State Junior College. They teach the full gamut of gunsmithing, including engraving.
One of their best students ever (I've heard) is Bill Sturtevant. Bill's shop is only about two miles from my shop. The first time I was ever in his shop, he was holding a billet of steel. I asked him what it was and he said "It's a bolt action rifle". He builds bolt actions and single shots from scratch. Most of his customers are professional hunters. He also does his own bluing, case-hardening, and stock work.
A knifemaker friend of mine once commented "I bet Bill could build a double rifle". So the next time Bill was in my shop, I asked him if he thought he could. He said: "Sure, I've built a few".
One of the most beautiful rifles I've ever seen was a single shot Bill built. It was like a Ruger No. 1, with a color case hardened receiver, octagon barrel, and a highly figured stock. I think it was in .416 Rigby.
November 3rd, 2005 05:03 PM
VIP Member (Retired Staff)
My are you the lucky one - to have a grade A genuine gunsmith so close. There is one round here that ''seems'' to have a reasonable rep' but have yet to discover a real traditional top class guy.
I reckon they are in places at least - getting as rare as hen's teeth.
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
- a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.
November 3rd, 2005 06:28 PM
Downside is, I can't afford his work. I do get to admire it though when he brings a rifle in for engraving.
We also have a 1911 guy who builds rifles occasionally and another who builds high dollar 1000 yard benchrest guns.
And then there's Jack, the old curmudgeon. He does hot bluing for some of the other smiths and does general repair. "All I get to do is fix broken junk."
November 8th, 2005 09:19 AM
If it was that guy in Lavergne I'd really like to know. I've been planning on having him convert my Mossberg to a defensive package and would rather not have it destroyed. Also had been planning to have him replace any needed pistol sights as needed.
I know there's a 'smith in Hendersonville too but I'd prefer not to go that route if possible. PM me if you'd prefer not to mention his name openly.
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