Gunsmiths

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by John J, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. John J

    John J AH Veteran

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    I read of people talking to the gunsmith, having lengthy conversations about what they will do ect. I have not had this experience. I have called a few in the past and they are all to busy to talk and say just send it up, I'll take care of it. I was asking specific questions pertaining to the work I would have like preformed. Needless to say I was not pleased and never sent my rifle. With my recent rifle issue, I am faced with just this problem. A well known name little to no communication other than some emails and an enclosed letter about the problem. When I did call they knew the person who signed for the package, and that's it. They will call me when they unbox the rifle. Is this the norm, cause I'm not to pleased. John
     

  2. GA Hunter

    GA Hunter AH Fanatic

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    Personally I have a couple of different smiths I use on a regular basis. Either of them are more than willing to engage with me and have very interactive conversations about just about anything I have going on.

    My experiences with the “name brand” shops are much like you described.

    Not sure what part of the world you are in but if you’re in the southeastern US send me a PM and I guarantee you I can get you some help.
     

  3. greyfox

    greyfox AH Fanatic

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    I used to 'smith - most of my transactions were face to face and I took care of the guns for gun shops and pawn shops. SOME people call at inopportune times and want to talk all day. Without seeing the gun, no idea what to recommend or how much to expect to pay. Also so many guys are just trying to pick your brain to do it themselves.
    Talking on the phone does not equate to paying bills, unless the gun is on my possession and I'm describing to the customer what to expect.
     

  4. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    What kind of rifle and what kind of problems? Some brands of rifles have unique problems that very few "smiths" want to bother with or work on.
     
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  5. John J

    John J AH Veteran

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    I'll leave the shops name out for now. It's an M 70 in a wildcat 50 cal. Had a live round pop out of the mag when I ejected the empty I just fired. The problem is a known one and the rifle went back to the original smith who made them. I didnt ask price I just want it fixed as I need to prepare for a hunt in 6 months. In addition to the original issue they have an opportunity to make more money on some things I may want to change. I'm all ears for a good gunsmith who will talk to me. I once corresponded with AHR and was pleased. I am between North Dakota and Colorado traveling for work and home. John
     

  6. John J

    John J AH Veteran

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    Anyone use or hear of Bijou Creek? Gunsmith not to far from me I have seen the name around here and there. Not sure if he has a web site but he has a face book page.
     

  7. Von S.

    Von S. AH Fanatic

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    John J.

    I already helped you out with women and now we're on to Smith's.

    Alright. At 73 years of age I am not really interested in new business, but if I were I would be paying the owner of this site the vig he would deserve for advertising .

    I have never liked talking on the phone and to take a call from someone that I didn't know was a rarity it almloa always ended up in a long, drawn out fiasco of someone attempting to engage me in a marathon brain picking of " waddaya think's" from some "woodbe frustrated gunsmith" who has already screwed the firearm up to the point where it was now un useable.

    I got the majority of my business from gunshops who would call me with all the details and for that they made10%. Good for them....good for me.

    Estimates over the phone? Sure! For mounting a scope and bore sighting? Ok! But when I get the gun we find out that either the screws are broken off or the thread are wiped., But of course that part was left out.

    Take the gun to the Smith and do a face to face and remember that for him to stay in business he must charge for his time.
     

  8. flat8

    flat8 AH Enthusiast

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    I’ve used two that I would wholeheartedly recommend. Lee Christianson in Wisconsin for Winchester Model 70’s and Wayne at AHR in Montana for anything CZ. Both men are the absolute best.
     
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  9. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    My one and only experience with a gunsmith was worse than yours. The place wouldn’t even let me talk to him at all. I had to talk to an I’ll informed individual who just wrote down fix stock. Well it looked fixed when I picked it up but after firing a few rounds the problem was back.
    I have had the pleasure of speaking to one of our AH members who is a smith down In TX. He is a nice guy and if I need something it’s going to him!
     
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  10. Lee M

    Lee M AH Fanatic

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    Doesn’t make sense that you can’t speak to someone to have a discussion on what the problem is and to get an idea if they have the correct skill/experience and can fix it. I’m sure that gunsmith would have a different standard if they needed their car, home heater, etc fixed. I’d look for another gunsmith...
     
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  11. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Trust me I’m not going back there! The owner likened it to a person asking to talk to the cook about his sandwich at Burger King!
     

  12. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I will not use a smith or gunmaker who will not speak to me. Admittedly, most of the work I have done is on pretty good guns and the guys I have used are no more interested assuming things than I am having them make assumptions. Almost all my current work goes to JJ Perodeau (great to chat with him at DSC this week). Currently, I want new sights on a double. With discussion, we were able to agree on the correct front bead size and material, and a witness mark on the rear blade. No quessing or worrying on either side.

    I also don’t use folks who can’t turn a gun around in reasonable time. For a while I was convinced all gunsmiths were trust fund babies and just didn’t need to get paid. :whistle: I now know there are a few real treasures out there who do great work promptly. They include a stock man in Maryland, a barrel guy on the West Coast, and JJ in Oklahoma.
     

  13. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    The custom rifle and long range market is on fire. Chambering and fitting a barrel by a well known gunsmith can be six months to a year. Same goes for some parts such as actions and barrels. I recently ordered a custom action. Wait time is four to six months. A gunsmith I know stopped taking orders from new customers, another has a twelve month backlog of rifle builds. It' the old story, fast, cheap or good, pick two. :D
     
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  14. Nevada Mike

    Nevada Mike AH Senior Member

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    My experience in 45 years of working with gunsmiths...

    1. Pick the right person for the job... small repairs are one thing, building a custom rifle or shotgun is another. Ask around to locate the BEST 'smith for the particular job.

    2. Build a relationship with your gunsmith(s)... if he knows (and likes) you everything will go smoother.

    3. Don't haggle over price. The last thing you want is a smith who is thinking what a @sshole you are when he is working on your gun. He may decide that he will not do any further work for you.

    4. Try to make things easier for your 'smith. Shipping the gun, documenting the problem or work to be done, etc.

    5. Be considerate of his time. Don't drop in for a chat about nothing or call to debate some arcane point. He is trying to make a living and I never met a gunsmith who got wealthy from'smithing.

    6. It takes MANY years for a gunsmith to learn all that he knows and to help you with your project. So he might be an 'old guy'. Might be crabby, might be a little hard of hearing. Be patient.

    7. Most of all, be specific about expectations, delivery requirements, etc. He may not be able to get the work done on your schedule. If this is the case, ask him to refer you to another 'smith who is competent. Don't push your job on him and then call every two weeks to check progress.

    8. Treat him like a valued expert and fellow human being.
     
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  15. WAB

    WAB AH Elite

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    I have three I trust and have had significant custom work done. PM me if you need a recommendation.
     

  16. Butch Lambert

    Butch Lambert AH Senior Member

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    Well, I do most of my metal work but have worked with a few smiths over the years. For custom woodstock rifles I like David Christman, Nick Hughes, James Anderson, and Jim Kobe. For Remington work I like Mike Bryant and Pete Peiper. For rimfire Gene Davis. I do not bother my gunsmiths with phone calls. If I ever have a question, damn few times, an email is better as he can read it and not having to quit working in the shop. A gunsmith cannot make money BS'ing on the phone.
    I have been fortunate to work with some great smiths.
     
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  17. Trail Rated

    Trail Rated AH Member

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    This old thread stood out to me because I was just at my gunsmith’s shop yesterday. I have been lucky enough to find a guy who does good work relatively quickly at reasonable prices. He does have work shipped to him, so PM me if you want a recommendation. He is always willing to discuss what I need (that might be because he knows I have lots of old guns and always need something).

    A gentleman should have a trusted doctor, tailor, barber, watchmaker, mechanic and gunsmith. These are all professionals that took me a lot of trial and error to find, but establishing a relationship with each has paid dividends.
     
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  18. Butch Lambert

    Butch Lambert AH Senior Member

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    You need to add your plumber, a/c heat guy, and electrician.
     
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  19. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    The problem when you find a good qualified professional of most any activity, after about ten years they want to retire and then you are back on the search for another- so it's best when you seek a new professional, a very important criteria is that they be several years younger.
     

  20. Butch Lambert

    Butch Lambert AH Senior Member

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    Ray, I understand what you are saying, but my recommended smiths have each more than 20yrs and are still very active. I will also add Lee Christianson to the list.
     

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