Are you in need of a gunsmith? You must choose the right one if you seek his/her specialty. Here are tips on how to find a reputable one.
Finding a Gunsmith Worth Your Time
The majority of gun owners will purchase factory-produced firearms and happily use them as-is for self-defense and sport.
The average gun owner does not have a need for a gunsmith unless they need to repair a weapon, or they find themselves wanting an engraving on a family heirloom.
But for those competing at a high level or those that collect antique guns, the need for a gunsmith – or several, with different specialties – will arise often.
They vary significantly in their skill levels and areas of expertise, so finding and selecting the right gunsmith for you and your project is a tall order.
You may end up traveling several states away to connect with a gunsmith that meets your needs.
Gunsmiths can be broken down by the type of work that they do, but other factors like price and quality of workmanship will play a role in the person you choose to work with.
All gunsmiths should have access to high-quality equipment, and general knowledge of machine shop skills.
The 3 Types of Gunsmiths
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While each gunsmith you come across will have certain skills that shine, they can be classified as 1 of 3 types:
- Repair & Restoration
- Cosmetic Enhancement
- Custom Modification
While the skill level of a Custom Modification gunsmith is significantly more specialized than your average Repair & Restore gunsmith, there is no need to seek out and pay for the highest quality work if that isn’t appropriate for your needs.
You wouldn’t take your Corolla to a Ferrari detailer for an oil change, so don’t over-research or overpay for a simple scope mounting or polishing.
Paths to Becoming a Gunsmith
When it comes time to select a gunsmith, you will want to ask how the candidates came to be gunsmiths.
There are several paths they could have followed or any combination of them:
- Gunsmith Training Program at a community college or vocational/trade school
- Apprenticeship at a shop
Keep in mind that while a certificate program may give you peace of mind that the gunsmith is well- rounded, no certificate or diploma can take the place of genuine interest and hands-on experience.
How to Find Gunsmiths
Before you get to the process of selecting a gunsmith, you first need to find several to consider. The best ways to find one are:
- Local gun shop recommendations
- Local gun shop bulletin board
- Gun club member recommendations
- Gun magazines and publications
- Collector organizations
Try to get several reviews or examples of each gunsmith’s work so that you can determine if their skills and style match your needs. The more information you have, the better.
Selecting Your Gunsmith
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of gunsmiths, get in contact with them – either on the phone or in person, if possible. You’ll want to ask them several questions.
- Where and how they trained in their field
- How long they’ve worked as a gunsmith
- How many jobs like yours they’ve taken on
- Names of references for similar work to what you require
- Specific details of the work you’re requesting and if it’s a good fit for what they do
- Price estimate
- Delivery time
A slightly more expensive and well-known gunsmith may be worth the money if you eventually plan to re-sell your firearm.
They typically take great pride in their work, having a genuine interest in firearms.
Finding a gunsmith who is both reputable and a good fit for your project can be a challenge, but great workmanship is out there.
Doing your research and being clear with your needs will help make the process smooth, and the results exceed your expectations.
Have you worked with a gunsmith before? Do share with us your experience in finding him/her in the comments section!