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Hi, I have asked this before, but I'm in search of more information. I want to become a gunsmith. Broad catagory I know, but can any gunsmiths here, please tell me some of your experiences, how you got to where you are now, some challenges you faced, what I can expect to earn, etc etc. I'm considering two diffrent careers right now, one is a forensic ballistics expert. The other is a gunsmith. And I have two schools picked out for both. Just please share expiences and advice. Thank you so much. ~ joe
 

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I’d go into forensics and train in gunsmithing on the side. There’s schools, American gunsmithing institute, and other materials. I took some forensics classes and they are very cool. The hands on training and in-depth look into cases was very interesting. It will be hard to pay the mortgage starting out in gunsmithing so start in forensics first.
 

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Rarely happens and if so, you will have to have your own means of support for at least 2 to 3 yrs.
I owned an indoor range for a long time and watched as young men came and went into the gunsmith room with my old timer. Only one that I can remember stayed the course and is a successful smith today.
Look at what the others have said. Forensics first and bring the gunsmithing along.

UF
 

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If you are truly good enough to be a real professional smith then you are good enough to get a job that pays real money. As the older guns wear out and break the price to fix them has become so high that most are just set aside to rust. A gun has to be worth fixing and most everyday guns are now more cost effective to replace. A proper cleaning in my shop is close to 100 dollars for for a simple double barrel. 75.00 an hour is a lot to spend on a simple 22 rifle. My local shop where I used to smith for 20 years had two very good smiths a few years ago. They were both hired away by the tool and die trade. They are actively searching among gunsmiths.
 

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Gunsmithing is not exactly a high paying job.
One of the problems most gunsmiths face is recognition of their training and work.
By far the best way to go about this is going to a recognized gunsmithing school. (the two year in house course is best) But at what cost? I think my training with room and board was $40,000.
All this for a job that may pay a little more than minimum wage unless you own your own shop. And then there is location, location which many people forget to take into consideration. I live in a town of just under one million people and every GOOD shop here has failed. (Canada)

Go for the forensics and keep the gunsmithing as a hobby.

Just a note , don't let the word hobby scare you. I know several " hobby" gunsmiths that do fantastic work but don't want the hassel of working regular hours or working for someone else.
 

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I’d go into forensics and train in gunsmithing on the side. There’s schools, American gunsmithing institute, and other materials. I took some forensics classes and they are very cool. The hands on training and in-depth look into cases was very interesting. It will be hard to pay the mortgage starting out in gunsmithing so start in forensics first.
You will spend years and allot of money before you make any money at smithing.
Mike
I agree, forensics as a career and gunsmithing as a hobby.
I agree with these guys, gunsmithing basically covers the bills but thats about it, you need to be in it for a while and have a good reputation in order to be profitable. also if you plan on running a one man show you will be over welmed. if you want to make money get into the specialty stuff hand engraving, customizing, custom finishes, etc. and even then you have to gain a reputation and be well known to be able to make a living. my 2 cents study forensics and do gunsmithing as a hobby if really interested.
 

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Just to say to all the hobby gunsmiths if you are doing work for friends you better have the proper insurance one mistake and you can lose every thing you own.
And in some states doing this without insurance (And proper lic.) can cost you time in the poky.....
I pay over $3000.00 a year for mine. And get inspected by the state every time I reup my Lic.
Not to mention the inspections from state, ATF, insurance co. And local LEOs.
Mike
 

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What about the Army or the Marine Corps as a armorer, plus you would have the GI Bill. Butch
That's fine for a young man but the poster is not that. And the military only teaches you about there guns nothing else.
Then there is years of school after 4 to 8 years in the service.
then 5 to 10 years working for someone then years on your own to build a rep. that will make you money.
If you are not 18 years old your idea will not work.
Mike
 

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i like this forum, i see there are alot of like minded individuals
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you all, but another question of mine. What about going to big time shops, traveling isn't an issue, and working as an armorer? And continue studies. I'm going to finish up highschool in early June, June 7th, and I'm trying to get all this stuff figured out. Thank you all once again!!
 

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I hope you mean APRENTISE not armorer.
To be a armorest you need to go to school and take tests.
And do it for a while.
At lest that was how it was explained to me years ago.
Being a armorer is like being a journeyman in a trade.
Mike
 

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I hope you mean APRENTISE not armorer.
To be a armorest you need to go to school and take tests.
And do it for a while.
At lest that was how it was explained to me years ago.
Being a armorer is like being a journeyman in a trade.
Mike
Oh okay, well, I think that if I do forensics work it will be ballistics I have a love and a vast knowledge of ammo and bullet types and how they are made,used, what they do in the body, etc etc. part of that love for gunsmithing came from my machinist class in vo-tech. Do you believe that this is possible, as well as doing
Gunsmithing. Or do you have suggestions on becoming some type of ammunition specialist?
 

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You are looking to start a career in a very limited field. It will be hard to actually find a job doing what you want. Sadly there is more to life then doing what you want. There will be expenses, and maybe a family down the road. None of know you or your abilities. We don't know if a college education is in your future. My best advice is to find a field that is large enough to find work in and major in that. There are many things out there that can lead to what you want in time. None of the jobs you mention are going to take on fresh out of school and put them right to work. If you really want to screw up your life go into politics, I hear that is working out great for a lot of folks these days.:D
 

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I have personally only ever met two people that were ballistics experts.
They both started their carers as cops. Maybe that is something you can look into.
 
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