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Thread: A dying breed

  1. #1
    DennyCrane's Avatar
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    A dying breed

    I am afraid that good gunsmiths are a dying breed.

    You don't see that many new, young guys getting into it. It takes a lot of investment, and I think it can be hard for the average guy to make a living ONLY doing that. Where I am at, there are a couple of older guys doing it. But once they are gone, that's it.

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    Hal8000's Avatar
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    Yeah, kind of like the fellow that repairs shoes and leather goods... We are a throw away society!

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    Funny you should mention that. I mentioned to a co-worker that I had a pair of dress shoes I really liked, and maybe I would get the sole repaired, instead of buying a new pair. He laughed for 5 minutes and asked why I wouldn't just go get a new pair of shoes instead...

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    Hal8000's Avatar
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    Well Dang man, when tennis shoes cost over 100 bucks, why wouldn't a person want to get them fixed! I hate breaking in a new pair of shoes... I've had a pair of Rocky's repaired 3 times by our local shoe repairman... Like you were saying, this fellows old, and his get along is not getting along so well anymore, and he has no aprentice... When he's gone, that's it! It's a crying shame!

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    armen is offline Junior Member
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    Gunsmithing school

    On Monday I'll be taking a Beretta armorers course at Montgomery Community College in NC. I took their 'trigger and action jobs' course last year. The school offers a full time 2 year program in gunsmithing that seems to be pretty busy. I agree that it takes a lot of time and money to get started and not an easy way to make a lot of money. The class last year was a mix of pro gunsmiths, retired guys who do this part time, and enthusiasts.
    I plan to continue taking classes there and do gunsmithing part-time some day. I realize it just doesn't make sense to do it for a living here (NJ) and now.

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    Vom Kriege's Avatar
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    Very true. You just don't see TV repair shops, shoe repair places, and the like much anymore. At least not those run by anything but old timers.

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    I needa take an HK armorer's class - Could make a killing afterwards, since there are so few of them...

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    I'm emailing you something you may like, Shipwreck

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor
    I'm emailing you something you may like, Shipwreck
    Got it - appreciate it

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    Guess I'm not following your drift ~ all the gunsmiths I know are youger men.

    Well, we've got a couple of old codgers here in Memphis. But nationally there's Dave Clements, Doug Turnbull, and Gary Reeder, just to name a few.

    But I'm one who prefers the experienced. I have always said I want my doctor and my pastor to be older than I. That's becoming a little harder to work out lately, it seems.

    Bob Wright

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    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    And, on the topic of footwear repair.....

    Not too far from me is a cobbler's shop owned by some Russian immigrants. I had a pair of Justins repaired there, new soles (not half soles) and heels for $80. You'll not find a good pair of boots for triple that price. Well, maybe triple.

    Bob Wright

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    Well, I gotta admit - in my area - the gunsmiths are old guys - I don't see any young guys getting into the field around here - There may be a few "famous" ones that you can mail your guns to. But, I'm talkin' about local guys.

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    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    Most of the "local guys" I've encountered are really just repairmen. They can replace broken parts, refinish stocks and things like that. Here in Memphis there has been H.L. Highsmith, who emerged from the Ark with Noah. And Ed Mason and Sons. Ed is about my age and is nearly retired, but his son Bob is continuing in the business. They have the shop to make parts and do custom work. Other gunshops here have the repairmen who can replace parts or re-blue guns.

    But, for custom barrels, cylinders, case hardening etc., its a good idea to find one of the "famous" gunsmiths and go with him. I've just had a .357 Magnum rebuilt into a .44 Special, with case-hardened frame done by Dave Clements, in Woodlawn. VA. And of course Hamilton Bowen over in East Tennessee who builds up some of the finest custom handguns around. Depending on what you are looking for, its still out there.

    Bob Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hal8000
    Yeah, kind of like the fellow that repairs shoes and leather goods... We are a throw away society!
    I'm lucky there. Got a good shoe/boot repair place just up the road from me. All my co-worklers want to know how come i only have to buy new boots every 3-4 years......... :-D :-D :-D

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    To be honest - if I need a smith in town, it is usually just for repair work. They (these guys) have their place too.

    True, if I wanted something serious done, I'd probably deal w/ someone far away - like a refinishing job, new barrel, etc).

    I don't usually deal in issues where I am doing something that major, however. I may change the sights - that's about it. POSSIBLY a trigger job. For the most part, I need nothing else - if one of my current guns break, then I just send it back to the factory.

    I know there are some serious 1911/revolver smiths out there, like you are talking about. But, I don't have the cash to buy one of their $2000+ 1911s.

    There are only two local smiths here - both are old guys. When they go away, then that's it for here. That is what I was referring to.

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