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Thread: Is a Gunsmith a recognised trade

  1. #1
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    Is a Gunsmith a recognised trade

    If so and not just a dying art, how would somebody become one?

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    good luck. either get mechanical engineering experience and start up yourself or convince someone to take you on. ive been trying that for a while now.

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    Too old to apprentice, more of a sideways shift (at work I wear a cape and am known as "Super James the fixer of all"


    So a few thread files and I'm off?
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    A few have asked our Gunsmith the same thing. His advice was (and still is) if looking for something like that as a trade, get a similar, more "usable" trade first then move into gunsmithing as a side or hobby. No-one gets rich being a Gunsmith, they make the money elsewhere and do gunsmithing for the love of the job.

    I would usually suggest looking into fine machinery work, Lathe, CNC, welding or similar. These trades can be used as a basis for the sort of work a gunsmith will be doing. (I.E. fine engineering techniques, fabrication and repair with small or minimal tolerances) much like a watch maker, Jeweller etc. Gunsmithing would be like going into auto repair as a headlight diagnostics specialist. You will be busy if lots f headlights fail, but you would be more effective training as an auto sparky. Still capable off the headlight jobs but with the ability to fix a myriad of other things as well.
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    when I was considering trying to do it as a trade a long time ago I was told to do a tool makers apprentice ship

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    Another starting point would be as an armourer in one of the armed forces
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    I was always wondering what kind of things you d learn as an armourer in the nz forces.
    Because you are not going to design new guns!? maybe take apart, clean and maintain existing weapons, which might be great in numbers but small in varieties . Maybe fix the odd broken part with a new part supplied by the original manufacturer of said gun.
    I would not quite call that gunsmithing as such. But again the specialists here on the forum might bring more light to that occupation.

    On the other hand, guys who are lucky enough to do an apprenticeship in gunsmithing in the old British firms are really learning something.
    I believe that the first years at Purdey is dedicated to making all the hand tools you are going to use in you future career:
    That means making your own set of gunsmithing screwdrivers , punches ...etc
    You learn to file,polish, heat treat, solder...ie work your way around metals. You make the wooden handles of your tools...etc

    I don't remember if it is 5 or 7 years but at least when you come out of there you got a really strong base to start your career.

  8. #8
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    I did a 9000hr Army apprenticeship as an armourer. It was awesome until the Styer/C9 come in. You started in a fitter trade first.
    It became just parts replacement instead of fabrication after the plastic fantastic.

    Very useful still I imagine. But when I did it wood was still a thing. I had shit wood working skills but had reasonable fault finding and accurizing skills.
    I completed my trades and changed to the Infantry far more enjoyable as far as I was concerned. Not sure how it is run now.

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    Do what ya want! Ya will anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmynostars View Post
    If so and not just a dying art, how would somebody become one?
    My initial reaction is that if you have to ask then you are not going to make the grade. Firstly, you have to have an intense interest in firearms and how they work, and ideally you would be into this while you are still at primary school. Secondly, you must have the ability to create things out of wood and metal with your hands - this is not something that can be readily taught as you either have the ability or you don't. Thirdly, you should then look at an apprenticeship in the precision engineering field (fitting & turning, or better yet, toolmaking) and look for a smaller shop that is not top heavy in CNC machinery. The ability to use conventional machinery is far more useful than CNC knowledge for gunsmithing. Production work is another story. Fourthly, you should be spending your loose change on old or damaged guns which you can repair and on-sell for a small profit, learning as you go. Good books are an asset, but buy wisely as there is a lot of useless crap out there. J V Howe's 2 volume set 'The Modern Gunsmith' is worth having. The various US gunsmith schools are only of limited value and are no substitute for 'hands on' experience. Finally, don't expect to get rich as a general gunsmith. You will make a comfortable living if you get a good reputation, but you will never be financially 'rich'. Having said that, I look back on my career and am very satisfied with my lot in life, and am still enjoying it!
    Bryan, gadgetman, EeeBees and 2 others like this.

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    Thanks gundoc, just ordered those books-not that I will ever be a gunsmith but with a strong hobby interest I'm building up a small library
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    I managed to down load those two volumes for nothing on the net

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    I was tempted but my better half is a IP lawyer amongst other things so I try not to
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    http://nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/quals/pdf/0346.pdf

    It's a recognised trade in the eyes on NZQA.

  14. #14
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    have an uncle who was trained in the army as an armourer/gunsmith many years ago .....when he signed up he told them that's what he wanted ...they tried to get him to apply for another trade but he told them if he wanted to be a mechanic or some shit he could do that on civvy street. anyway now he spends his days hunched over a miniature lathe with a magnifying glass making and fixing parts for antique clocks and watches that he restores ....he still hunts occasionally.....so he hasn't gone anti gun......just over time the things your passionate about can change.

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    ps im just starting an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering. tool makers and fitter and turn trades dont really exist anymore in the NZ curriculum

 

 

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