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In the last couple of years, I have gotten to know a few garage gunsmiths. People who practice gunsmithing from the love of guns; not for the money. Garage gunsmiths love to bring back old guns to a shooting life, some guns brought back to exhibition standards, but most to shooter standards, and many for affordable guns that young kids can purchase at the gun club for clay shooting.

I must say that I have yet to meet a "smith" that I didn't like and respect, and I have yet to meet a "collector" that I didn't like and respect, but collectors are worthy of another post.

If there is any one thing that I have learned from these "smiths" is the fact that there are few badly designed shotguns, and, primarily, most semi-auto shotguns will always function properly with scheduled maintenance.

With our automobiles, I think we all learn to replace the fan belt at 60,000 miles rather than wait for it to break at 75,000 miles. We know the fan belt will eventually break so we replace the fan belt to prevent the problem in the first place.

If a person applies that same method of operation to shotguns there is a sea of wonderful shotguns to be used in hunting or clay shooting.

It was recently demonstrated to me as to how to use a repair kit on a Winchester 1400, and you can buy these guns kind of minty for $150. Replacement kit for parts is $60. What a wonderful gun for learning clay shooting.
 
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"It was recently demonstrated to me as to how to use a repair kit on a Winchester 1400"[/quote]
Could you describe how to uninstall the plastic feedthroat (magazine throat) and reinstall the new one, please?
 

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Well, since I can't get an answer on the 1400 Mark II, Do you think the Remington 11-48 16 ***** mod., that I found in my father-in-law's closet after he passed away years ago and I've yet to shoot it, would be a decent all around upland game/clay gun? It's recoil action, not gas, in great condition.
 

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Interesting notion regarding gunsmiths. I must be the contradiction to the norm, because I on the other hand, have met more gunsmiths that I didn't like than ones I have. The problem is, when someone gets a set of screwdrivers from Brownell's they think it makes them a gunsmith.

In my opinion, the true art in it's most puerly defined form, is becoming extinct. The gunsmiths of yesteryear that own and operate their own shop are being replaced by correspondence-course flunkies who work for peanuts at Gander Mountain and similar stores. They simply don't know anything and for the most part, are hacks.

I agree RemII that their are probably a better grade of garage gunsmiths who operate for the love rather than dollars or fame. These are the guys who will (or already are) the next generation of firearms artists.

My advice to anyone seeking a good gunsmith is to be careful. It takes more than a set of Brownell's screwdrives and brass drift punches to make a good gunsmith. It's in their soul.
 
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