View Full Version : Best way to get into gunsmithing?

06-08-2010, 04:27 AM
I am 24, a native of WV and am interested in gunsmithing, I am curious of how to get involved in the trade. Does it require school, or is it something one can pick up themselves. I don't have much money to work with, but really want to consider this as a serious hobby and possibly a profession.

06-08-2010, 05:52 PM
Buy old broke guns cheap and fix them.

06-09-2010, 10:00 AM
Buy old broke guns cheap and fix them.

That's VERY good advice... let me add to it to BE CAREFUL,

...and if you do any gunsmithing work for money, or for someone else, GET YOUR FEDERAL FIREARMS LICENSE FIRST to stay on the right side of the law....

Good luck...

06-09-2010, 12:16 PM
Find as many books as you can on the subject of Gunsmithing and read them cover to cover, many times. Build a good reference library on the many different types of firearms so you can identify by sight or if not from memory, a place you can look to try to identify the firearm in question. Once you know what you are working with, half the battle is won.

Never try to disassemble a firearm without looking at its exploded diagram or some reference book that has disassembly instructions. There are many guns where if a lever or other part is not in the correct position for disassembly, the gun will "lock-up" and many, many hours are required to fix the mistake. Fore knowledge can save many hours of needless labor. For a start, Gun Parts Corp. has a two volume set (under $25) which shows exploded diagrams for hundreds of different firearms.

I been gathering and collecting firearm books for almost 50 years and I think I have several hundred gun books in my library.

Tim The Grim
06-09-2010, 12:33 PM
You can also rent videos from http://smartflix.com/ . They have metalworking as well as firearm related subjects. Their collection of AIG videos is pretty good but a lot of times they are back-ordered so you have to wait a while to get them. I have rented 7 of the AIG series and found something to learn in all of them.

06-09-2010, 05:45 PM

I believe the correct phrase should be Simper fidelas Illigitimi non Carborundum.

Be always faithful and don't let those with unknown fathers win the day.

Gary P. Hansen

06-13-2010, 10:16 PM
any suggested reading material?

Rusty Marlin
06-14-2010, 03:04 PM
Most anything by Frank DeHaas.

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=229873, MidwayUSA "Building Your Gunsmithing Library" Book Edited by Larry Potterfield and Reid Coffield

This book rates books 1 thru 5 stars, anything with 4 to 5 stars would be a good place to start.

My sugestion would to become a machinist first. This will teach you the skills. Then become a gunsmith, to learn the art.

06-14-2010, 03:24 PM
Welcome, from another Mountaineer!

In addition to the above advice, study each part of a pistol or rifle as you take it apart and learn what function each surface, angle, diameter, etc performs in the operation of the weapon. Imagine what happens when those features change thru wear, abuse, dirt, etc. To be able to fix anything well you need to fully understand the entire assembly, then you can start the repair process. This advance study will prevent problems that you could possibly cause during your repair.


06-18-2010, 02:00 AM
I don't know how you are fixed for money....

But...that being said you can do what I did....and go through a mail order training certification course. Google American Gunsmithing Institute. It is fairly expensive...but I find that I am much more competitive and productive as I have all the knowledge to understand firearm design, function and the industry accepted repair methods.

A guy can do a lot of damage to customers guns if he doesn't know all the skills. The more you know about every design, brand and caliber options the better you will be at making money. I have been at this a while and have quite a lot of experience with firearms, Occasionally I find myself having to go back to basics and trouble shoot systems to resolve problems.

It is critical that you are honest with yourself and your customers so you don't get in over your head. Further someone recommended that you get an FFL.. YES...for sure. Don't get your behind in a wringer with the law. As a repair professional you must know the law and where you stand when toying about with customer guns.

Also...investigate your local zoning and requirements for business insurance as your homeowners policy will drop you like a hot stone if they find out you are exposing yourself and property to liability.

No intention to scare you.. but better well informed than caught behind the 8 ball with a lawsuit.

I am happy to share what I learned in getting in the business and give you tips if you like. Message me and I'll pass my phone number to you ...we'll chat.

My gunsmithing company is a full time business for me.


07-13-2010, 11:55 PM
I bought a Canon Power Shot camera at the pawn shop for $30 and I take photos of disassembly. Then practice disassembly and assembly.

08-03-2010, 09:57 PM
I bought broken guns from pawn shops and gun shows throughout the 1990s.

I bought used parts from Numrich.
I sold the guns I fixed on consignment at a pawn shop.

After a while, you may get better at buying and selling guns than at fixing them.

08-04-2010, 07:30 AM
There are many specialist areas that may appeal or just a general gunsmith.
Best way to learn is hands on, forget the classes and books, get thrown in at the deep end.
Of course you will need to be mechanically minded even though some look and are primitive in operation.

Many guns have never ever had schematics and parts unavailable, these would have to be hand made- fancy pushing a file?
General concensus is that people under 40 wont have seen a file being used and cannot comprehend parts being made that original way, 99% of the time better than machine made. Again another area.

See if you can get a job at a gunsmiths and get paid for it.