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Life lessons of a gunsmith:
*Good guns don't need much work & it costs more to fix cheap guns than they're worth.
*Most custom features we used to do can now be ordered cheaper from the factory.
*Most people expect their job to be priority & be done tomorrow, it won't. Good work takes time, patience & careful work, you rush me & quality disappears. I don't do rush jobs, ever.
*It really doesn't affect me in any way if your dream hunt starts tomorrow, I still need the same amount of time & parts to do your custom build or repair. Why didn't you check your equipment a month ago?
*I have no control over how long it takes parts suppliers to ship parts or if they have them. Yes, I can make most parts myself, are you willing to pay me $35/hr. + materials to make them? It may take me 3 hours to make a part I can buy for $3. You do the math. It also delays the next step.
*Most gunsmiths know all the other gunsmiths in the area, we're friends & talk to each other. If you try to work one against the other be prepared to be the guy who no one will work on your stuff. The same applies to complaining about the last one you tried & want the next one to "fix the mess he made"... the new one probably knows more about how you dealt w/ the last one than you do. If you bad mouth the last guy you just insulted a friend. Get lost.
*If a gunsmith has been in business for years chances are he's very good or he'd have gone broke long ago.
*I'm glad you inherited a gun from your grandfather but that doesn't mean it's a priceless treasure I should restore cheaply... if it's not fixable or worth fixing be prepared for the truth, I won't lie to you. I will fix it @ the usual hourly rate but you won't ever recover the cost, unless its a keepsake forget it.
*I spent a years wages (or more) on tools & have to pay for them somehow. Just because I now own them doesn't make your cost cheaper, sorry (but not very).
*Gunsmiths, like auto mechanics, prefer to build fine, custom, high performance, beautiful things... fixing the cheap gun from the discount joint the w/ plastic parts doesn't exactly thrill us. We'll do it for a reasonable price. We do love the occasional ultra custom build or restoring a hand-built antique.
*Your Glock, Taurus, Hi Point, Mossberg, etc. isn't a fine piece of machinery, it's like asking Carol Shelby to fix your chainsaw... although these are the guns most likely to break & need repair. It's also going to cost more than you think it's worth to fix these clunkers.
*If you call to check on your gun regularly you're taking me away from work, I don't get paid to talk on the phone & don't enjoy it anyway.

Just some of the reasons when I retired from the Highway Dept. I also closed the gunsmithing business I operated 5 nights a week + Saturday, sold a couple tons of tools & now spend my time: cruising guns shows, haunting forums, aggravating my long-suffering wife, reading the 500 or so books I've acquired "to read some day when I have time", hunting, etc.. I occasionally help out a few gun shops & work on a few close friends guns but am not even slightly interested in opening another business (despite begging of those w/ broken Taurus, Glocks, Mossbergs, etc.) . I enjoy retirement & am good @ it.
 

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I miss my gunsmith! He was simply amazing, and managed to get everything I ever needed done exactly as I wanted it done. On occasion he managed to sneak in a few special projects of mine. He recently retired.
BTW he was my one and only gunsmith for nearly 15 years, and I had him doing custom work for me regularly. One time he fixed a rare handgun for me on the spot with old parts he salvaged from another pistol one of his other customers accidentally destroyed. He had a huge assortment of cataloged gun parts from other broken down guns that his other customers would give him for spare parts. His assortment of new parts boggled me as well. I never understood why he had thousands of dollars in new parts on hand all the time.
 

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I had a great gunsmith/custom builder in Carson City; moved away 17 years ago so I do not know if he is still working. My last gunsmiths here in Florida have both retired. One retired at 86....he started in his dad's shop at 6, so 80 years of experience. He had a cache of parts for old guns that would rival Numrich. All his tools and equipment were US made from Cleveland, Philadelphia, etc.......
He'd forgotten more about guns than most new "smiths" will ever know.
 

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Retirement good.

Second retirement better.

Now working on the third one... Who knows? How long has this been going on?

Of course, now I'm doing exactly what I want to with nobody else in control of that time I give to others.

It's all about the most precious thing in life. Time. (There's a very manipulative promo or two on PBS about traveling while you still can that always gets to me...)

After two retirements, my time belongs to me.
 

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All of you know I'm into custom built firearms.

I have a world class gunsmith I do business with, he builds my custom long guns and he's about 45 minutes (freeway time) from me.

The last rifle I had built, it took just over a year from start to finish and I never called him or bugged him because I knew from the outset it would be a long time coming and I full expected that.

He would call from time to time just to make sure of things we talked about were being incorporated into the firearm, after all, all of them I have him build are 100% custom builds.

When it was finally finished, he rang me up, I went and picked it up but before I left I shot it on his private range (using factory rounds) and made the comment it shot well but could shoot even better, but then he knew I'd take it home and build a custom load. Shoots light out now, just like every stick he's built for me.

My take is, hand built quality never comes cheap. I haven't an issue paying thousands of dollars for quality and a quality hand built firearm takes a log time from start to finish but when it's done, it will be a functional and asthetic work of art. All of his firearms are.

it's John Pierce btw. I'm blessed to have him as close as he is and blessed that he builds for me. He's very particular about who he builds for and rightly so. He has a stellar reputation and a long waiting list.
 

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One thing to add; as soon as you start doing something for money it is work. Even if it's something you enjoy it is still work and as soon as you have to do it in a specified time it becomes work that you no longer enjoy. Gun owners think working in a gun shop is the greatest thing ever just like motorcycle riders think working in a bike shop is the greatest job in the world. Yes working in a field you have an interest in is usually better than cleaning porta johns.........usually.
 

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Life lessons of a gunsmith:
*Good guns don't need much work & it costs more to fix cheap guns than they're worth.
*Most custom features we used to do can now be ordered cheaper from the factory.
*Most people expect their job to be priority & be done tomorrow, it won't. Good work takes time, patience & careful work, you rush me & quality disappears. I don't do rush jobs, ever.
*It really doesn't affect me in any way if your dream hunt starts tomorrow, I still need the same amount of time & parts to do your custom build or repair. Why didn't you check your equipment a month ago?
*I have no control over how long it takes parts suppliers to ship parts or if they have them. Yes, I can make most parts myself, are you willing to pay me $35/hr. + materials to make them? It may take me 3 hours to make a part I can buy for $3. You do the math. It also delays the next step.
*Most gunsmiths know all the other gunsmiths in the area, we're friends & talk to each other. If you try to work one against the other be prepared to be the guy who no one will work on your stuff. The same applies to complaining about the last one you tried & want the next one to "fix the mess he made"... the new one probably knows more about how you dealt w/ the last one than you do. If you bad mouth the last guy you just insulted a friend. Get lost.
*If a gunsmith has been in business for years chances are he's very good or he'd have gone broke long ago.
*I'm glad you inherited a gun from your grandfather but that doesn't mean it's a priceless treasure I should restore cheaply... if it's not fixable or worth fixing be prepared for the truth, I won't lie to you. I will fix it @ the usual hourly rate but you won't ever recover the cost, unless its a keepsake forget it.
*I spent a years wages (or more) on tools & have to pay for them somehow. Just because I now own them doesn't make your cost cheaper, sorry (but not very).
*Gunsmiths, like auto mechanics, prefer to build fine, custom, high performance, beautiful things... fixing the cheap gun from the discount joint the w/ plastic parts doesn't exactly thrill us. We'll do it for a reasonable price. We do love the occasional ultra custom build or restoring a hand-built antique.
*Your Glock, Taurus, Hi Point, Mossberg, etc. isn't a fine piece of machinery, it's like asking Carol Shelby to fix your chainsaw... although these are the guns most likely to break & need repair. It's also going to cost more than you think it's worth to fix these clunkers.
*If you call to check on your gun regularly you're taking me away from work, I don't get paid to talk on the phone & don't enjoy it anyway.

Just some of the reasons when I retired from the Highway Dept. I also closed the gunsmithing business I operated 5 nights a week + Saturday, sold a couple tons of tools & now spend my time: cruising guns shows, haunting forums, aggravating my long-suffering wife, reading the 500 or so books I've acquired "to read some day when I have time", hunting, etc.. I occasionally help out a few gun shops & work on a few close friends guns but am not even slightly interested in opening another business (despite begging of those w/ broken Taurus, Glocks, Mossbergs, etc.) . I enjoy retirement & am good @ it.
How else would you do it mate? :)

Thewelshm
 

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Lucky to have a local smith, Mike Lau. Specializes in 1911s, but will turn a Remington 700 action into pure butter. I had an S&W and a Ruger 1911 I wanted threaded barrels for. The Glock 21 took a drop in, so I was hoping the 1911s would be similar. They weren't!

While the bushings (luck!!), the barrel/slide fit, and the toggle links were all perfect, the rest of the barrels had metal where the stock ones didn't - and a lot! Mike spent a lot of time shaping the receiver ends of those Wilson Combat barrels to fit. They snug up perfect, and with a few breakin shots, the guns cycle perfectly.

I gave him the guns, he said he'd call when done. I expected 6 months, it took 2. Not cheap! But quality work takes time. Time is money.
 
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