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Thread: Real gunsmiths

  1. #1
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    Real gunsmiths

    Been thinking about this for awhile, and a post by @gundoc prompted me.

    How about we start a list of “real gunsmiths” I.e. folks who will actually manufacture small parts, tune actions, refinish metalwork, the whole service. Not people who fit suppressors or the odd barrel and have “gunsmith” above their door. No disrespect to them, they fill a niche, but just so folks can find people with old school skills to fix things that aren’t an off the shelf item.

    For avoidance of doubt I have no stake in this, and as such will refrain from offering names. I will say I’ve used one “real” gunsmith in the last 10 years, all other work prior was by guys now retired. I’ve also used the fitter crowd and got good service and they did as they said they would do, so no complaints there.

    Please don’t turn this into a bun fight!
    Tentman, mikee, chainsaw and 1 others like this.

  2. #2
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    Good thread to start , but it would be good also to specify what is the speciality of that gunsmith. I.e rifles, shotguns, stockwork, metal work, metal finish, barrel regulation...etc firms like holland and holland employs specialists in each category of the component of the build of the gun. Gunsmiths who can carry all those tasks at a high level are rare but do exist but they also charge the price for it....and not every customer is able to pay the price or is willing to pay the price for that level of work.
    mucko likes this.

  3. #3
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    Great Idea for a thread - I suspect a good deal of being called "a real gunsmith" is choosing your customers, or another way of putting it, only taking on jobs where you can meet the customers (realistic) expectations.

    There are two gunsmiths (that I know of, there may be others) in NZ who are capable of doing high end work on Mauser rifles, and they produce results comparable with the original Oberndorf Mauser Sporting rifles. I have had work done by other Gunsmiths (also possibly technically competent) who were not able match the original results aesthetically or in terms of finish etc.

    Some of it is training, but I suspect a lot depends on a passion to learn, research and gain experience to do good work - for many projects having a bit of "art in your veins" will also be a big help. There are a couple of young gunsmiths out there that I've run across that in due course will be getting projects from me as a test of their ability. If they meet expectations on less challenging jobs they will get trusted with the expensive stuff later. I think its important spread ones projects to allow those starting out to get ahead.
    csmiffy likes this.

  4. #4
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    Please do name people, that’s kind of the idea. I just didn’t want to make it sound like I was just setting up the thread to push anyone’s business...

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    Well, the gunsmith who worked on that 700 nitro express in the latest gun shooting magazine seems to know what he does, also he got a bit of work commissioned in UK. I ll dig out his name tomorrow.

  6. #6
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    This is not going to be easy. @ 7x64 even your caliber is old and how many folks decide oh ma I need to build / buy one of those now Truth is all we need ( we’ll probably 85 % if not more is to buy a nice late model firearm.
    Get it suppressed with a good crown ,buy a great scope and rings and then we shoot better and further than all the old crap.
    Then we learn a bit and reload for it using magical Accurate new reloading gear and it gets oh me oh my even more accurate.

    So shock me being a precision engineer/ famous gun Smith is becoming a thing of the past. The new stuff is crap. Today I could only get 10 out of 10 shots in a 50 mm square box so I must need a “gunsmith “ to fix my rifle. A side from large cal long distance we don’t need them any more

    Custom rifles that go great yep Hunters nope The gear being sold daily is mostly deer o clock. Spend 2 grand you are in the spot without the help of some one who’s going to rape you..

    For the long range shooters yes get that service. But also get ready to get raped at worse or spend heaps at best to be how much better ??? Seen plenty of new comers out shoot the “money guys “
    "This is my Flag... Ill only have the one ..

  7. #7
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    Real Gunsmiths, you mean work likes this
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    Happy and shooternz like this.
    It's all fun and games till Darthvader comes along

  8. #8
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    Allen/Allan Carr has a great reputation. I've never used him, but will soon. Seen some nice pics of his work.

  9. #9
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    Just asking, is there a formal training / ticket in NZ that you can assume someone has earned, if they say they are a [qualified] gunsmith?

    (Of course there are lots of people out there with experience and skills, patchy or otherwise)
    Guns don't kill people - drivers do.

    The Hedgehog Preservation Society

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    I have had excellent work done by Allan Carr on a "classic rifle" genre project.

    Dave Ward of Dovedale is also in the "artisan class" in my opinion, his restoration including much metalwork and rust bluing of my Mauser Kurz is top notch work comparable to anything I have seen done by overseas "name" Gunsmiths

  11. #11
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    @Happy - People have custom rifles (one can spend from nearly zip customising a Tikka T3 to tens of thousands on a blued steel and walnut masterpiece) built for a variety of reasons. Its perfectly fine to treat your firearms as tools, but like any belief, its a mistake to assume everyone thinks the same. My custom rifles go hunting all over NZ, in the toughest conditions, I don't feel I have to baby them although I respect those who like to build "safe queens". For what its worth I run a 7x64 to, it may be old but my one pokes out 162 A-Maxs into 12-20mm groups as regular as clockwork at 2820 fps, I can take it to 2950 fps but the accuracy goes off a little. I don't think that gives anything up to much less than a 7mm Mag.

    I've used this saying before here but it bears repeating, "for somebody who doesn't have the price of a Rubens original, there may be some merit in a Playboy centerfold" (Philip C Bolger). However its never a good idea to disparage someone else's tastes.

  12. #12
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    Happy you are correct to some degree with much of the off the shelf stuff being quite good these days for the $$ but their still will always be demand for good gunsmiths. Especially with pistol shooting, the mainstay of top end shooters pistols are still based on 100 year old, designed 1911's and later hi cap mag 2011's. To get absolute accuracy these are custom built and barrels fitted to tight tolerances. This is still old fashion craftsman and most impressive some of the results with a 38 super grouping at 50 yards from a 6" barrel handgun.
    mikee and Happy like this.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cordite View Post
    Just asking, is there a formal training / ticket in NZ that you can assume someone has earned, if they say they are a [qualified] gunsmith?

    (Of course there are lots of people out there with experience and skills, patchy or otherwise)
    Only NZ defence force Armourers have a formal nzqa qualification as far as I know.
    There is no formal training outside the defence force unless someone of repute and qualification offers an apprenticeship.


    I am pretty sure Robbie Tiffen has both NZ Army and a gunsmith qualification out of the UK.

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    Tikka7mm08 likes this.
    Do what ya want! Ya will anyway.

  14. #14
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    Allan Carr and Mitch Maxberry currently. Din Colling was good but has sadly passed away.
    Allan does superb stock work as well as top rate metal work.
    Mitch was trained in the states and builds very good tube rifles from Remington actions and has done some very good work on Mausers and Savage lever action rifles for me.
    7x64 likes this.

  15. #15
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    The Collings boys do pretty good work for the $$$'s.
    Mike in Whakatane, Ross (Collings & Bradey) in Carterton.
    All of the lads shot competitively while Din was alive, Mike still competes regularly, Ross not so much, unsure about Steve.
    I've got Ross' first attempt at a metal stock system, with which he won the Ballinger Belt back in 1993.
    RH Cast is a bit more than suits my narrow shoulders, so will be checking with him, before I try and DIY it to fit me better.

 

 

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