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On most gun boards threads crop up to do with results from bad gunsmith work - ''bodged'' often sums up the consequences.

I have come to the conclusion that in fact we have Gunsmiths and also Gunmechanics. The true gunsmith - certainly in old days - was the guy who could make about any part - in fact build an entire gun from scratch if so desired.

The Gunmechanic OTOH - often really just wields wrench and hammer and is not genuinely able to do all that folks need. That sometimes means he tries too hard and fails - with bad results.

This is not to do down good mechanics - but my general impression is that ''old school'' true smiths are slowly dying off and not being replaced. Agree? Disagree?
 

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Your absoultly right one there there a few i would let put sights on but nothing else

Then trying to find someone to do something at all is another or do it they way you want it not the way they want it
 

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My problem is any gunsmithing services I might look for would realistically be for my revolvers or for a long gun. I'll just send them to the Performance Center sometime I guess. Basically if it's not a 1911, a Class 3 firearm, or a Glock, you can forget it around here.
 

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There's a mechanic. There's a millwright. There's a mechanical engineer. There's all kinds of PHD's.Then there's a gunsmith. They are a dieing breed. They know the mechanics of guns. They don't have to have any real formal education. Sometimes a trade school. Expierence is their tool of the trade.I've had work done by allot of shops but have only known of 3 gunsmiths. I had some shotgun work done when in Maine. Cast off,legnth of pull reduced,forceing cones relieved,bbls chopped,and regulated(Ruger Red Labels)These guys were great. They specialized in high end shotguns. Mine were the cheapest that they had ever probably worked on. A true gunsmith is ALWAYS worth the money IMO. --------
 

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I'd say you were correct Euc - metal work, machining etc - are pre-requisites I'd say on the road to being a true gunsmith, many skills tho have to be aquired which probably go above and beyond those basic traits - such as almost jeweller's fine filing and honing. Hehe - even some math skills too :wink:

I would always expect the old traditional gunsmith to have been the guy with the solid base as you mention but who then worked for years with a master craftsman gunsmith, learning the trade the hard way. Experience needs learned usually thru doing, not just reading.

QK - fascinating excerpt there.
 

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Considering the completely botched "gunsmithing" jobs I've seen, I agree there's a lack of good smiths around.

Anybody catch the commercial on TV where you can get your degree in Gunsmithing by ordering the appropriate how-to's through the commercial?

The XS Sight installation on my USPc was botched by a smith who said he didn't have right tool to install them. Well, he shouldn't have installed them, considering he ended up slightly mushing the front sight to where it's a big white oval instead of a circle.

Engraving firearms takes some incredible skill, too.
 

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A lot of it's simple money. Who wants to go into a field where people are going to whine about $20 more often than not and there is no way to do things to their satisfaction?

I know of one acceptable one locally. He's nearly 80. I don't trust him on anything post-1965, however. Like the old school gun shop, the gunsmith is generally dying off.

I'd thought about pursuing some formal training, but realized that there was no market for it. I'll stick with being a better than average gun mechanic with some fabrication skills.

There just aren't enough guns that *need* the work any more to support a full-time smith in most areas - or enough $$$ to be made when there is.

The *only* time I've made substantial enough money to consider it is on insurance-company-funded restorations, and those I've gotten quite good at.
 

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**heavy sigh**(there should be a smilie for that)

I am currently trying to determine...with much help from some good folks on another forum...if one of my Colt Delta Elites has been seriously impaired by a gunsmith.

Makes me wanna cry..... :sad:
 

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Looks like the ramp was cut too much.
Went from a misfeed every 2-3 mags to 2-3 misfeeds per mag.

This delta was my first 10mm...I'm not a happy camper.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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."
 

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Betty said:
Considering the completely botched "gunsmithing" jobs I've seen, I agree there's a lack of good smiths around.

Anybody catch the commercial on TV where you can get your degree in Gunsmithing by ordering the appropriate how-to's through the commercial?

The XS Sight installation on my USPc was botched by a smith who said he didn't have right tool to install them. Well, he shouldn't have installed them, considering he ended up slightly mushing the front sight to where it's a big white oval instead of a circle.

Engraving firearms takes some incredible skill, too.
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!)

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. :rolleyes:

Get the shop manuals, get the tools, and (unless it's major machining) DIY. You'll be much happier.
 
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