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What does a gunsmith do?

567 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  A5guy
I am curious as to what you all feel qualifies someone to be a gunsmith. What should he be able to do?
For instance is he a machinist, engraver, stock maker, barrel maker, etc...?
What should he charge an hour?
What should his mark up be on his merchandise?
What services does your favorite smith offer?
This information is for the gunsmiths e-Magazine
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By broadest definition of the US Government: Anyone who disassembles or assembles firearms for pay, barter, trade, or profit.

I am a stockmaker by trade. In this section of the gunsmithing trade, I must be able to disassemble and reassemble a firearm to it's smallest part in order to accomplish my task. James Purdey was THE stocker of his company. He was also the final assembly person who made sure all parts fit and functioned as promised. So a stockmaker, by tradition, must have some knowledge of metal working and its properties.

A good metal man will be a machinest, engineer, draftsman, welder, inventor, polisher, and have some stockmaking ability.

In the past the gunsmith was a jack of all trades and needed to be good at pleasing his clients. That doesn't mean he was not good at any one thing. To stay in business you must make money by making people happy. Those men/women and those ideals have passed because of the desire of customers demanding better results and looks. A gunsmith now needs a good team of people to accomplish the needs and desires of our customers. Those who do all of the work themselves have gotten fewer and fewer each year.

There are still people that can do it all. They are fewer today than 30 years ago. So what is a gunsmith? A person who works on any form other than just artistic. An engraver is not considered a gunsmith even though the palate is a gun. A checkering specialist is not considered a gunsmith because the service is only done to specific part of the gun. A gunsmith may checker however.

Brownell's Inc. has a section in their catalog that is a good cross section of the industry as to pricing and cost of specific services. They are the largest gunsmithing supply house to date and have over three decades of service to the industry. One should check their information as to what is chargable in pricing.

Be advised....these words are my thoughts and my thoughts alone. The Fed's consider me a gunsmith for job classification. I do not work on metal parts of guns unless forced to in order to accomplish my job. Metal work is farmed out or given back to the customer to fix so that the gun is safe to shoot before I complete a stock job. Safety first and last.
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Well stated, DES/TSD.

I could only add that a good gunsmith is getting harder and harder to find these days.
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