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Where are the good gunsmiths at?

adamsredlines

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To say I'm frustrated with all this is an understatement. I rarely need gunsmith work but when I do, I generally try to seek out someone who is highly recommended and/or specializes in what I'm looking to have done. I've had 7 instances where I've used a gunsmith and 4 of those have quite frankly been poor experiences. The 3 "good" experiences were pretty basic stuff that I'd hope anybody with the title of gunsmith could handle (one sight install on a Hi Power, one screw extraction on a P365, and inletting bottom metal on a Remington 700).

The 4 others?

1) Minor work on my old Sharps I got from my dad. Searched out a suggested gunsmith on a Sharps forum, a guy in Arkansas was highly recommended by these guys so I hit him up and tell him what I need done. Send pics and get an estimate on price and timeframe and he says 5-7 days to do the work. I schedule a time to drop off the rifle and plan a trip to Memphis around it and on my way back to pick the gun up he's asking me what I needed done. 8 months later, its done. Work was good...but how does 5-7 days turn into 8 months???

2) Sights installed on P226. I got punches but I would rather have it done "right" so I took it to "Gunsmith #1" in Bixby. I get it back and they have been hammered on with witness marks on the side, obviously from a punch. I guess I should have asked but thats a hack way of doing it especially if you're leaving marks on new sights.

3) Custom work on Hi Power. Gunsmith in Arizona comes highly recommended...he says 6 months...somehow that became 16 months. Gun looks good...but the trigger has basically zero perceivable reset in it now. The pull is smooth and lighter, but that's only half the job in my opinion. Hardly what I'd expect from a guy who is supposed to specialize in Hi Powers, and take so long to do a a few basic mods right off of his services menu....not even anything over the top.

4) Barrels threading. Took these to "Gunsmith #2" in Bixby. Rimfire rifles, tell him what can I'm using (which is a dedicated rimfire can) and it gets threaded to AR15 specs (about .75" of thread)...too long of a thread for rimfire which is .400" so the can wont seat on the shoulder. Ok, I'll deal with that...Silencerco sells a spacer for this instance since I guess it happens alot? Get two spacers (I had two guns threaded) and guess what...not enough relief against the shoulder for the spacers to thread down all the way anyways. So now I pissed away $150 to get two barrels threaded and 7 months of waiting on my can to arrive for my annual Prairie Dog hunt and I guess I dont get to use the can this year. That's pretty damn frustrating. So I guess I'll try my hand again with another gunsmith when I get home from Prairie Dogs to get the's f'n things cut and threaded AGAIN and hopefully it goes better this time?

Do I just have the worst luck ever, or are they generally hacks across the board and nobody wants to talk about it? We wont even get into the only experience my dad had getting a Colt Woodsman worked on where the gunsmith had the gun for well over a DECADE and didnt even get the job done. What's the deal with these guys?
 

dennishoddy

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To say I'm frustrated with all this is an understatement. I rarely need gunsmith work but when I do, I generally try to seek out someone who is highly recommended and/or specializes in what I'm looking to have done. I've had 7 instances where I've used a gunsmith and 4 of those have quite frankly been poor experiences. The 3 "good" experiences were pretty basic stuff that I'd hope anybody with the title of gunsmith could handle (one sight install on a Hi Power, one screw extraction on a P365, and inletting bottom metal on a Remington 700).

The 4 others?

1) Minor work on my old Sharps I got from my dad. Searched out a suggested gunsmith on a Sharps forum, a guy in Arkansas was highly recommended by these guys so I hit him up and tell him what I need done. Send pics and get an estimate on price and timeframe and he says 5-7 days to do the work. I schedule a time to drop off the rifle and plan a trip to Memphis around it and on my way back to pick the gun up he's asking me what I needed done. 8 months later, its done. Work was good...but how does 5-7 days turn into 8 months???

2) Sights installed on P226. I got punches but I would rather have it done "right" so I took it to "Gunsmith #1" in Bixby. I get it back and they have been hammered on with witness marks on the side, obviously from a punch. I guess I should have asked but thats a hack way of doing it especially if you're leaving marks on new sights.

3) Custom work on Hi Power. Gunsmith in Arizona comes highly recommended...he says 6 months...somehow that became 16 months. Gun looks good...but the trigger has basically zero perceivable reset in it now. The pull is smooth and lighter, but that's only half the job in my opinion. Hardly what I'd expect from a guy who is supposed to specialize in Hi Powers, and take so long to do a a few basic mods right off of his services menu....not even anything over the top.

4) Barrels threading. Took these to "Gunsmith #2" in Bixby. Rimfire rifles, tell him what can I'm using (which is a dedicated rimfire can) and it gets threaded to AR15 specs (about .75" of thread)...too long of a thread for rimfire which is .400" so the can wont seat on the shoulder. Ok, I'll deal with that...Silencerco sells a spacer for this instance since I guess it happens alot? Get two spacers (I had two guns threaded) and guess what...not enough relief against the shoulder for the spacers to thread down all the way anyways. So now I pissed away $150 to get two barrels threaded and 7 months of waiting on my can to arrive for my annual Prairie Dog hunt and I guess I dont get to use the can this year. That's pretty damn frustrating. So I guess I'll try my hand again with another gunsmith when I get home from Prairie Dogs to get the's f'n things cut and threaded AGAIN and hopefully it goes better this time?

Do I just have the worst luck ever, or are they generally hacks across the board and nobody wants to talk about it? We wont even get into the only experience my dad had getting a Colt Woodsman worked on where the gunsmith had the gun for well over a DECADE and didnt even get the job done. What's the deal with these guys?

Anyone can attach a shingle to their title to call themselves a gunsmith but that title is well deserved if one is capable in the multiple skills required to achieve that title.
A great trigger smith may decide to branch out and not have those skills for other things they are trying to accomplish but is making bucks. Unfortunately those screw ups cost them the entire business. Learning on the job with internet reviews doesn't cut it.
Lots of variables in why these smiths are so slow, but as I understand it, they are overwhelmed with business.
Don't know anything else but rely on comments from those wanting work in forums.
If its a glock, go to glock forums.
If it's a winchester, to to those forums.
It may take a bit or reading, but that is where I would go for a specific firearm.
That being said we have some stellar gunsmiths on this forum. You just have to search.
 

Seadog

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IMHO I would rather have machine work done by a good machinist than a gunsmith. This depends on what the work is also.
The problem to my understanding is machinists are not allowed to work on guns unless they are licensed gun Smith which interns means you have to hold an FFL license. Most of them won’t touch it with a 10 foot pole
 

Snattlerake

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Anyone can attach a shingle to their title to call themselves a gunsmith but that title is well deserved if one is capable in the multiple skills required to achieve that title.
A great trigger smith may decide to branch out and not have those skills for other things they are trying to accomplish but is making bucks. Unfortunately those screw ups cost them the entire business. Learning on the job with internet reviews doesn't cut it.
Lots of variables in why these smiths are so slow, but as I understand it, they are overwhelmed with business.
Don't know anything else but rely on comments from those wanting work in forums.
If its a glock, go to glock forums.
If it's a winchester, to to those forums.
It may take a bit or reading, but that is where I would go for a specific firearm.
That being said we have some stellar gunsmiths on this forum. You just have to search.

As I read it he did on the Sharps Forum and from the High Power thread he created he did his due diligence by going to the forums specific to the firearm for help finding a smith. He selected wrong?
 

retrieverman

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Here’s my bad decision gunsmith story.
For my 1911’s, I use a gunsmith in Ohio, and he does great work but is slow. I wanted a front sight changed out on my Baer Thunder Ranch but didn’t really want to pay shipping and wait for something so “simple”, so I took it to a local shop with a “gunsmith”. The guy says “no problem, I can put sights on a 1911” and takes my gun in the back. I start hearing banging like with a hammer and punch then an “OOPS”. THE GUY PERMANENTLY DENTED THE SLIDE ON MY GUN WITH A PUNCH. He was apologetic, but what was done was done. I took my gun and left, and I ended up sending it to my buddy in OH.
The moral to the story as adamsredlines can attest is to research and vet your “gunsmiths” carefully, because they’re not all created equal.:censored:
 

adamsredlines

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Anyone can attach a shingle to their title to call themselves a gunsmith but that title is well deserved if one is capable in the multiple skills required to achieve that title.
A great trigger smith may decide to branch out and not have those skills for other things they are trying to accomplish but is making bucks. Unfortunately those screw ups cost them the entire business. Learning on the job with internet reviews doesn't cut it.
Lots of variables in why these smiths are so slow, but as I understand it, they are overwhelmed with business.
Don't know anything else but rely on comments from those wanting work in forums.
If its a glock, go to glock forums.
If it's a winchester, to to those forums.
It may take a bit or reading, but that is where I would go for a specific firearm.
That being said we have some stellar gunsmiths on this forum. You just have to search.

So what do you do when you go through the process of seeking out people specific to their craft, that are highly recommended by forums specific to that gun, and they still come up short?

And as far as timeframe...I can appreciate that they're busy. I'm not an unreasonable man here, either. They say 5-7 days...I'm not on the phone on day 4 asking when I can pick up my gun the next day. Nor am I on the phone at any point in the timeframe estimated. I'd THINK though, that the only person who knows how much backlog a Gunsmith has, is themselves, and they should be able to at least somewhat reasonably guess a timeframe. They say 5-7 days...I think its safe to expect a phone call within two weeks or hell even a month...but no....that's not how this goes.
If you're backlogged 8 months, tell people that. Lying and saying a week only makes the situation worse as now you have additional work piled up that you'll eventually get to.
 
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