Learning Gunsmithing - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Learning Gunsmithing

To start off I have a full time job and I am looking into ways to make money on the side without being under the thumb of the managers of my job. I have always liked hunting and firearms and can't think of anything I would rather do. I was looking into getting certified through AGI since it is something I can do on my off days. Does anyone out there have experience with their professional gunsmith course? Was it helpful and did it give you enough knowledge to start gunsmithing on your own? Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 06:04 PM
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Re: Learning Gunsmithing

AGI has some great videos, but I would NOT hang out a shingle and start wrenching on guns without any formal training. Most of gunsmithing is becoming an experienced machinist. You literally could injure or kill someone if you make a mistake. There is a fine accredited school in the Pittsburgh area, I would look into that , Just my opinion.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 06:13 PM
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Re: Learning Gunsmithing

I'm at the other end of PA. My gunsmith graduated from PA Institute of Gunsmithing near Pgh 10 years ago, and he is a super machinist. You might want to look them up

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Learning Gunsmithing

As I noted I have a full time job. I have also heard they have 1 1/2 year waiting list. I wanted to use that as a start possibly apprenticing under someone.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 07:10 PM
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Re: Learning Gunsmithing

Apprenticing could be the way to go if you can find someone willing to take you on. On your end, at least in the beginning, you probably would not get paid. Thats still cheaper than paying to learn at school. Its a high skill job, and it takes years to get even close to good at it. I was priviledged to know one of PA's best for 25 years, and the things he could do were incredible. I was in his shop once when a guy from Penndot showed up with a huge brakedrum off some machine. They could not get the part for days, and were in a heck of a pinch. He heliarc welded that thing and turned it down to spec for them, and I'm sure there was never an official PO for his services, but they knew he could fix anything. "Garage" type gunsmithing is something to avoid. Learning the trade correctly is the way to go, and it won't happen fast. Good Luck to you !

"Be nice, until its time to not be nice" (Patrick Swayze...Roadhouse)
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 09:46 PM
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Re: Learning Gunsmithing

If you decide to become a true gunsmith making parts etc then becoming a machinist is necessary but if you plan to do just gun repair (putting new parts in)etc then the AGI system would be a good idea IMO.I was planning on getting their proffesional course as well once i have the $4,000 lol

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-27-2012, 02:17 AM
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Re: Learning Gunsmithing

I wish it was something i could of got in to ata younger age. Gunsmithing to me is machinist work. These guys are nuts in the tight fractions they work in. Fractions of the thickness of one hair on your head could mean the difference of a good or bad chamber job. I do have a lot of respect for a real gunsmith of what they can do. There is of course a big liability with it. Back in the 80's a very famous gunsmith went thru a terrible lawsuit that was very costly. He built a custon gun and the jack*** customer had it loaded in his basement touched off a live one hit something caught the house on fire. Liability went back to the gunsmith due to he did a trigger job of course making it lighter. The court felt it shouldnt of been adjusted below what remington set it out of factory. Didnt matter the customer was at fault. Its a very serious business if i was going to learn the trade it would be first class all the way. Good luck to you.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-28-2012, 02:40 PM
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Re: Learning Gunsmithing

As mentioned, a gunsmith and a parts changer are two different things. I don't know what your machining background is, but if you don't have any background, I would consider trying to take a night class at a Vo-tech or something. If you can use a vertical mill and a lathe you will have trouble becoming a gunsmith.

My dad went to the PA Gunsmith Institute about 22 years ago and loved it. The first 3-4 months is nothing but learning how to use a file. Other than the screwdriver, the files is the most used tool in his shop.

I'm glad I have my own personal gunsmith as I would not let anyone that had a gunsmith business in the area where I grew up touch one of my guns based on the work that I had seen done.

If you can find a quality gunsmith that will allow you to apprentice, take advantage of it. However, realize that this person probably had to pay to go to school and that they are not in business to train other for free.

Good luck in your search as if you can find someone, you will probably enjoy it.
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