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  1. #1
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    Default First time caller asking for recommendations.

    I suppose I’ll start with a bit of background about myself as it’s pertinent to my question.

    I am a Journeyman Tool and Die Maker at an Army Arsenal. I have my own Bridgeport and a lathe, welder, and a respectable woodworking shop at home. I can take firearms apart and put them back together without too much of a disaster most of the time.
    While I am not quite yet at the mid-point of my career, I often think about what I would like to do after I get my gold watch. At least in my uninformed opinion, gunsmithing seems like it’d be an extension of my skill set and would be something I would enjoy.

    My biggest deficit is that, quite frankly, I’m not a gun nut. I own a few and have hunted with them since I was young, but I just never got into all the parts, add-ons, and engineering that goes into them.

    Can anyone recommend reading, training, or resources on the technical aspects of gunsmithing? I think from a mechanical and machining standpoint I should have a good head start, but my knowledge of firearms and their design and history is definitely something that I need to improve upon.

    Thanks for your time.

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    The last general gunsmithing book worthy of the name was "Gunsmithing" by Roy Dunlap first published in the early 50's. It is really out of date because the arms covered in detail are no longer in the market. It is still relevant regarding hand work, parts making, stock making, barrel fitting, etc.


    Today there are a large number of individual books about repair and modifications of any one particular gun manuf. and model. S&W, Colt and Ruger revolvers are well covered. Remington shotguns and 1911 pistols are exhaustively covered. There are likely many more that I'm unaware of. The internet is a huge source of video enhanced gun repair and tuning. Get familiar with the many gun forums and youtube channels. There is a lot of info out there.

    RWO

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    I'd start with a copy of "Gunsmithing" by Dunlap. Gun Digest also published a number of books on assembly/disassembly of many different firearms.

    Steve

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    YouTube channels "Forgotten Weapons" and "C&Rsenal".

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    You won't find a better book than W. Hambly Clark's book "Centerfire Rifle Accuracy

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    Jim Carmicheal's book is OK. Sort of depends on what aspect of gunsmithing interest you? Also, there are NRA courses as some colleges across the US, during the Summer. Iowa has a gunsmithing base with Brownell's and others. I see a guy named Butch at the Indy 1500. He's from Iowa. I don't have contact info on him. Don't know if there would be some out there willing to teach.

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  12. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 75sv1 View Post
    Jim Carmicheal's book is OK. Sort of depends on what aspect of gunsmithing interest you? Also, there are NRA courses as some colleges across the US, during the Summer. Iowa has a gunsmithing base with Brownell's and others. I see a guy named Butch at the Indy 1500. He's from Iowa. I don't have contact info on him. Don't know if there would be some out there willing to teach.
    I was fortunate to have Jim Carmichel send me his personal copy.

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    Thanks for the info! I ordered Dunlap's book last night and I'll check out Clark's book when I'm finished with that one.

    I live on the east side of state and I actually work in Illinois. There are a few gunsmiths in the area that I've reached out to, but a lot of the contact info I have is dated and I haven't gotten a reply from anyone yet. I had read about the NRA courses, but I wasn't aware that they had anything in Iowa. That's definitely worth checking out, though my time to dedicate towards formal schooling is pretty slim.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckwalters View Post
    Thanks for the info! I ordered Dunlap's book last night and I'll check out Clark's book when I'm finished with that one.

    I live on the east side of state and I actually work in Illinois. There are a few gunsmiths in the area that I've reached out to, but a lot of the contact info I have is dated and I haven't gotten a reply from anyone yet. I had read about the NRA courses, but I wasn't aware that they had anything in Iowa. That's definitely worth checking out, though my time to dedicate towards formal schooling is pretty slim.
    A good friend, John Holliger, White Oak Armament is in Carlock, Il. Though his company is an AR place, John has a real love for all rifles and collects the ones from the old Masters. It would be worth your time to visit John.

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    Try to hook up on a Small Business Bookkeeping course.

    It'll serve you well to have some knowledge of the stuff, whether you work Gunsmithing or doing Lawn Care.

    Personally, I would suggest if you want to stay on top of or learn about what's going on in 'gun world', get a sub to the Shotgun News, and watch the advertising therein. Should give you a pretty good idea which way the market forces are moving. Seems to me, that AR-Lego guns are a fairly good thing to know about.

    But I'd bet more guys lost their shirt over not understanding where their income was being made, than have lost their shirt from doing poor work.

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    Several gunsmithing schools offer short classes in the summer geared towards folks like you.

    NRA Explore | Find A School

    I took a week long class at Trinidad State Junior College one summer which led me to a career in gunsmithing.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

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    If you can do it, as mentioned above-Trinidad is the best.

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    The American Gunsmithing Institute publishes a lot of video on Youtube. They also have a large number of self-paced video courses for sale. Not cheap, but it costs nothing to look and determine if their courseware is a good fit for your situation.

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    Also - the "Gunsmith Kinks" books from Brownells have a lot of good tips and tricks. Brownells deserves a tip of the hat for all the great videos and other resources they make available to the gunsmithing community. Go to their website and select the "learn" link at the bottom of the page.
    Larry Potterfield of MidwayUSA also has a bunch of well-made videos on youtube.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butch Lambert View Post
    I was fortunate to have Jim Carmichel send me his personal copy.
    I have to clarify that this book is more for custom rifle work. A lot of neat projects. I did go to TSJC in the early 80s. Good program. It was more geared towards custom rifles at that time. It changed a bit during my time there. It added pistolsmithing courses. I didn't take any. I did do a Colt .45 during that time. A mistake on my part, not to have some pistolsmithing experience. I learned on the job, and then was sent to S&W for training. Some of it is the person attending. I do not know of NRA courses in Iowa. I think Butch in Iowa mentioned someone having a school or courses there some years back.
    I still think the OP needs to think about what aspect of gunsmithing interest him. I will say the best course I took was Bench Metal at TSJC taught by Leonard Bull. Just the part on soldering saved the day more than a few times.

  22. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 75sv1 View Post
    I have to clarify that this book is more for custom rifle work. A lot of neat projects. I did go to TSJC in the early 80s. Good program. It was more geared towards custom rifles at that time. It changed a bit during my time there. It added pistolsmithing courses. I didn't take any. I did do a Colt .45 during that time. A mistake on my part, not to have some pistolsmithing experience. I learned on the job, and then was sent to S&W for training. Some of it is the person attending. I do not know of NRA courses in Iowa. I think Butch in Iowa mentioned someone having a school or courses there some years back.
    I still think the OP needs to think about what aspect of gunsmithing interest him. I will say the best course I took was Bench Metal at TSJC taught by Leonard Bull. Just the part on soldering saved the day more than a few times.
    I met Leonard Bull only a few times while in the short-lived Brownell's third year program. Keith Gipson taught my bench metal and repair classes, and I hear him in my head regularly.

    TSJC still focuses on custom rifle. You must supply your own firearms to work on, and the students younger than 21 can't freely purchase handguns.



    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

  23. #17
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    I understood the OP wants a career in making stuff profitably.

    Recommend high end exotics with modern high end thingies.
    Things with low volume and high value, and few competition.

    From lapping contact surfaces to optics to electronic stabilisation and electronic everything.

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    Iowa valley college has a gunsmithing program and hosts NRA summer classes


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