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Should we limit the term gunsmith? Login/Join 
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Picture of 4MUL8R
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The amateur radio community (found on www.qrz.com) has the same thread. Except they are angry that some people can become licensed as a "general" or even worse an "extra" without real radio knowledge. There is one thread that at last view had over 60 pages of responses about the need for more regulation, more morse code training, more certifications with real testing, and in general a disdain of anyone who would dare be classified anything that they are not. Sadly, I am in that category, having an Extra license credential and no evidence that I can make a ham radio out of a coconut, some aluminum foil, a quartz rock crystal along with a strand of barbed wire removed from the fence featured in the Western "Hang 'em High."

Forums like SF give us the truth. Hamilton Bowen, although "a" gunsmith, actually hires and employs several people to do the work. Quality is his hallmark. CCR Refinishing -- not "certified" but certainly a guaranteed excellent result. Grayguns, as well as Robert Burke are known and revered for their craftsmanship.

What we need is simply "SF Approved" as a statement of excellence. If only we could create that licensing requirement!


NRA Life Member
 
Posts: 3962 | Location: Commonwealth of Virginia | Registered: January 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Just because you can,
doesn't mean you should
posted Hide Post
My definition of each:

Gunsmith- can make parts from raw materials, fabricate or heavily modify manufactured parts.

Armorer- Changes parts, adjusts, light modifications. Sort of like a mechanic would be to a car.

I both cases, buyer beware and check work and references before using. The sort of guns I own, mass produced, are parts changing and I can do that myself.


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Posts: 7511 | Location: NE GA | Registered: August 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If the shop doesn't have at least a mill and a lathe, the discussion about whether or not it is a gunsmith ends right there. Those are not guarantees of competence, but without them you cannot be a real gunsmith in my book.
 
Posts: 2155 | Location: WI | Registered: December 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It frightens me to consider that gunsmithing, as is being discussed in this thread, is a potentially dying art. It will never die completely, but it will surely become more exclusive, and more expensive. I am fortunate enough to live within fifteen minutes of a no-shit gunsmith; he is in his mid sixties. When he stops doing gunsmith work, my area will lose a true asset; and when he dies, almost all that skill and knowledge will go with him. Competent machine shops will always be able to make about anything you could want, but they lack the gunsmith's intuition, when it's firearms-related. I hope that some of these remaining gunsmiths can find a willing/able apprentice, so that the craft can survive. The local guy I referred to has asked me if I want to learn this, that, or the other, but I'd have to quit my job(s) to be able to have the time to do it. I rely on him quite regularly, for my seemingly endless que of projects, and seldom go a month without seeing him. It is gonna suck when he isn't doing it anymore. It makes me legitimately friggen depressed to think about it.
 
Posts: 585 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by benny6:
I don’t really know what I am. I was professionally trained to fix helicopters. In my personal time, I learned how to build guns on my own. I use a lathe and a mill to install heavy M14/M1A and Garand barrels.

I use pull through reamers and lathe reamers to chamber unchambered and short chambered barrels. I epoxy bed M14’s and Garands. I can build a full M14 from a parts kit which requires hand lapping and custom fitting.

Bula defense and other gunsmiths send me their rifles to work on and epoxy bed.

I’ve never had any formal training as a gunsmith and I’m 100% self taught. I haven’t learned how to thread a barrel yet. I haven’t learned how to contour a barrel yet.

What does that make me?

Tony.


Sounds like it makes you a gunsmith.

If you can do the work, it doesn't matter your background or training; that doesn't change that you can do the work.
 
Posts: 6498 | Registered: September 13, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Charmingly unsophisticated
Picture of AllenInWV
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The Army says I am (or was, I've changed my MOS since) a "Small Arms Repairer" and I think that sums it up nicely. I cannot call myself an "Armorer" as that is a logistics MOS and I'm already enough of a POG without getting into Supply. Big Grin


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Posts: 15961 | Location: Cross Lanes, WV | Registered: February 05, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Casuistic Thinker and Daoist
Picture of 9mmepiphany
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quote:
Originally posted by bigwagon:
If the shop doesn't have at least a mill and a lathe, the discussion about whether or not it is a gunsmith ends right there. Those are not guarantees of competence, but without them you cannot be a real gunsmith in my book.

That has been pretty much my experience also.

I've been lucky in my life to have known several pistolsmiths and gunsmiths...they are not the same thing...and have been continually amazed at the number of people who call themselves either, without abilities approaching ones I've seen




No, Daoism isn't a religion



 
Posts: 13792 | Location: northern california | Registered: February 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Man, I'm in awe of Hamilton Bowen. I was reading an interview of him in a gun rag and they had pictures of a couple set ups in his machines. I've served a tool and die apprenticeship and have 41 years as tool maker and I've got to say, his set ups were top notch.

Some of the best craftsmen that I've seen over the years were self taught in their respective areas.

It's most likely impossible to be inclusive to the talented and exclusive to the wanna' be's. I have been severely burn by a guy sporting a gunsmith sign. I spent many hours wondering how I could turn that sign into a suppository.
 
Posts: 344 | Registered: February 05, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sigforum K9 handler
Picture of jljones
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And don’t forget another subsection.

The “Parts Changers”. They are the guys that sell customization by way of installing someone else’s aftermarket trigger kit in a gun.

Not really a gunsmith, per se, but usually lumped into the same crowd.




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Posts: 35720 | Location: Logical | Registered: September 12, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Kept Bum
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I feel that I should post this in honor of a gunsmith I once knew. His name was Charlie Duffy his shop was in West Hurley, NY. Charlie was a gunsmith's gunsmith. Rest easy Charlie.



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Posts: 55 | Location: Out there, somewhere | Registered: May 05, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ammoholic
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When I think of a smith, I think of knowledge. A smith understands what is happening, timing etc, and understands the ripple effects of changing something. It is possible they learned some of that stuff the hard way. Wink

An armorer is someone who can inspect, replace factory parts, disassemble and reassemble, basic stuff with some understanding, but not the level of a smith.

To me a smith is like a (really good) mechanic - a solid scientific understanding, but enough experience to have some art to it too.
 
Posts: 5999 | Registered: February 23, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of sourdough44
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I have to pay tribute to Jack Stoney, Clinton, WI. He passed in 2015 or so, up in his 90’s.

Gunsmithing was his 2nd career, I did see at least one such school attended.

I was looking to get two mid-weight 22-250’s made, I was pointed in his direction. After a few visits, I got on his 3 year waiting list. I would meet at times, going over a few details, mostly about the project. The conversations we had are remembered & cherished to this day.

He was a true ‘old world craftsman’. Besides the two Remington 700 actions, I brought 2 thickly cut ‘birdseye maple’ stock blanks cut by a relative in MI 20+ years prior. He assembled the gun from the action, including forming the 2 stocks out of the blanks.

One tip I use to this day, he was big on being mobile when prairie dogging out West. He said don’t settle for just a bench next to the truck. He showed me his portable(self made of course) dogging seat with a rest.

I can usually change a trigger & such, but don’t call myself a gunsmith.
 
Posts: 5177 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
half-genius,
half-wit
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THIS - is the work of a gunsmith....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ncj3bux7c5o

More - Ron Spomer explains......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMMgffFiShU
 
Posts: 10713 | Location: UK, OR, ONT | Registered: July 10, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Hop head
Picture of lyman
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quote:
Originally posted by benny6:
I don’t really know what I am. I was professionally trained to fix helicopters. In my personal time, I learned how to build guns on my own. I use a lathe and a mill to install heavy M14/M1A and Garand barrels.

I use pull through reamers and lathe reamers to chamber unchambered and short chambered barrels. I epoxy bed M14’s and Garands. I can build a full M14 from a parts kit which requires hand lapping and custom fitting.

Bula defense and other gunsmiths send me their rifles to work on and epoxy bed.

I’ve never had any formal training as a gunsmith and I’m 100% self taught. I haven’t learned how to thread a barrel yet. I haven’t learned how to contour a barrel yet.

[b[What does that make me? [/b]

Tony.



almost the same as me,

I can do and have done most of what you mentioned, as well as 1911/M1 Cabines/Thompson SMGs and most of what uncle sam used prior to the 90's,
including belt fed,

I never served, but was taught by a USAR Small Arms Tech, who did,

I rarely work on anything any longer , but do do a lot of appraisals as part of my job (buy, sell, trade)

I looked into becoming a certified appraiser, and even met a few,

then realized most did not know much about basic firearms, much less any niche firearms

and some numbers I saw a few do on firearms were way off,,,



www.chesterfieldarmament.com
 
Posts: 9390 | Location: Beach VA,not VA Beach | Registered: July 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Hop head
Picture of lyman
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quote:
Originally posted by 9mmepiphany:
quote:
Originally posted by bigwagon:
If the shop doesn't have at least a mill and a lathe, the discussion about whether or not it is a gunsmith ends right there. Those are not guarantees of competence, but without them you cannot be a real gunsmith in my book.

That has been pretty much my experience also.

I've been lucky in my life to have known several pistolsmiths and gunsmiths...they are not the same thing...and have been continually amazed at the number of people who call themselves either, without abilities approaching ones I've seen



soome of the best gunsmiths I have met are actually Machinists,,



in this area, there are few gunsmiths, and only a couple that may be considered general gunsmiths, as in work on everything,

most have a specialty,
one of the guys I would consider a generalist, is also a go to guy for Shotgun chokes (he makes his own)


another that passed a few years ago was one of the big names in Bullseye and PPC



www.chesterfieldarmament.com
 
Posts: 9390 | Location: Beach VA,not VA Beach | Registered: July 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Every field has the know it all's, the do it all's, the get by's, do nothing right, do everything by the book, etc...

Licensing is nothing but a hurdle. There are people who can get a license and can't do the work, then their are people who can't get a license but can runs circles around most others in their field of work.

Some people are book smart, but they may or may not be able to do the work in which they speak.

Making it harder to get into the line of work you want, deflects some from going into that line of work.

Titles mean jack shit when it all comes down to it.
You either have what it takes to do quality work or you don't.

Then you have a person's integrity... some could care less about their work quality (doing just enough to get it done), while others strive to turn out the best product available.

Even if everybody would do a job to thier satisfaction/expectations, everybodies expectations/goals are different.

Good luck with fixing the system, because that would require you to fix the human race.




 
Posts: 9452 | Registered: October 15, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Ironmike57
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I went to a local "Gunsmith" yesterday for a quote on an Apex trigger kit install. He estimated 2 hours and 130.00. And 3 weeks. Gonna keep looking or try to do it myself.
 
Posts: 1640 | Location: Delray Beach | Registered: July 26, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Casuistic Thinker and Daoist
Picture of 9mmepiphany
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quote:
Originally posted by Ironmike57:
I went to a local "Gunsmith" yesterday for a quote on an Apex trigger kit install. He estimated 2 hours and 130.00. And 3 weeks. Gonna keep looking or try to do it myself.

They're easy to do. Watch their videos first and take your time.

I could see it taking two hours if you weren't familiar with the action and you'd never done it.

Took me less than 20mins on an M&P, about an hour on a SIG 320...because I accidentally inverted the FCU in my mind




No, Daoism isn't a religion



 
Posts: 13792 | Location: northern california | Registered: February 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Like a party
in your pants
Picture of armored
posted Hide Post
I learned years ago that its better to pack the gun up and ship it out to a REAL Gunsmith than to have a local hack butcher it,I could do that myself.

I had Ernest Langdon restore my trust in Gunsmiths when he rescued my Sig P220ST after another Well known smith butchered it.

I had Matt Mink build me a fantastic CZ SP01 Shadow.

I wanted a muzzle brake installed on a Weatherby rifle. I sent it to Weatherby, waited 4 months only to find out that they had not touched it. They told me that there was not enough barrel length in front of the front sight to thread for the brake. I expected more from them.
I asked them to pack my rifle up and send it on to another Gun Smith in Cody Wyoming, Randy Selby https://randyscustomrifles.com/
Randy is truly, as he advertises himself, the Real Gunsmith.
He did not hesitate to solve the problem and get his own designed brake fitted and shipped back to me in a proper length of time, all for a very reasonable price. He, and his wife were a pleasure to work with.
I like the idea that I'm using a one man operation. Many times you send stuff off to be worked on by a Pro only to find out the Pro you hired is NOT the one doing the actual work.
 
Posts: 3943 | Location: Chicago, IL, USA: | Registered: November 17, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Little ray
of sunshine
Picture of jhe888
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Who cares?

If there is no regulation, what are we talking about? That is just musing about the meaning of words or mental masturbation.

If there is regulation of who can call themselves a gunsmith, then no. Because who wants more regulation?




The fish is mute, expressionless. The fish doesn't think because the fish knows everything.
 
Posts: 50789 | Location: Texas | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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