finding a decent skilled gunsmith?


The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
I guess Was spoiled , for about 32 years I dealt with an older highly skilled gunsmith,(BOB) who owned and ran a gun shop (HIALEAH RANGE in florida ) he had a complete machine shop on the stores second floor and he was a highly skilled machinist and he employed a second machinist.
I'd call him up and explain what I wanted to order (brand/ model etc. ) he would quote a price and Id drop off a healthy deposit, or the full price and the particular gun, or work would generally appear , or get done or parts etc. would arrive shortly
or what I wanted to modify or have sent out to have customized and without fail he would just say, bring it down, or lets see what your referring to.. etc and it got done in a very efficient way, not only that, but his rates were always surprisingly reasonable and the time frames were generally rather short. unfortunately , a few years before I left florida BoB sold his shop,
and a few months later passed away, he was very much missed by many people!
especially because the new owners were no where near as skilled or as willing to take on special projects, or repair work.
well I moved to texas a couple years back... and I like to deal locally and get to know who I'm dealing with, ideally make a new friendship, with a skilled craftsman, and at least locally I find that the local gun shops willing to order new parts, or guns but ONLY specific brands and they seem very reluctant to do things like replacing barrels even if I supply the new barrels or just ask them to sen the rifle out to a place that specializes in replacing barrels. needless to say I find that a bit frustrating, (money or time is not the issues, its the reluctance to do anything that's not a cash transaction thats over and done on the spot, its like they don't want to be bothered if it will require physical work, tools or knowledge or require shipping out the gun for a second party to do the work!
" this guy seems to have an attitude of , IF its not in the show case we are not interested"
I get the strong feeling that the "GUNSMITH" is more VENDOR of firearms and accessories than a skilled and knowledgeable craftsman.
I've tried to find a NEIGHBORHOOD gun shop ', as I hate dealing with the local big box shops,
like BASS PRO, or CABELAS as most of the counter guys are clueless minimum wage employee's,
many have no idea what they are talking about, and are young and virtually skilless.
most start any conversation, with DID you buy it here where's the receipt, as if the only potential action is to verify your purchase and maybe make a refund... gunsmithing work is not and never will be an option.
Last edited:
I have been trying to find a local gunsmith to do the MOST BASIC GUNSMITHING SERVICE ever- mounting a front sight on a rifle barrel. I would think that drilling and tspping two holes and positioning a front sight would be a basic service any gunsmith would perform. I sporterized a Mosin Nagant ( dont hate me they made millions of them...) and shortened the barrel. I got a set of safari style iron sights but i dont have taps that arent tapered so i cant thread shallow enough for the mounting screws. I would rather not ( i.e. not going to) mail the the assembly to have it done. The local guys all said they wouldnt do it. They only want to bolt things on AR projects or put laser sights on Glocks.
yes that seems to be the way things are in many if not most of the local shops I have visited also,
when I was younger you would generally get charged what you might consider a rather high fee,
but at least the work got done (usually quickly and properly)
And sometimes it was a cool spot to hang and talk gun talk with other enthusiasts. Soak up wisdom see how things are done. Now its just a retail shop with employees who have to refer to a price chart that you have to explain to them . Just like speed shops used to be then and now. I blame the interweb....
yes I'm afraid your correct, so many people no longer want to learn the skills required to work with both their minds and precision tools
Education is a good thing, but not being able to do manual labor in anything you do will be the downfall of trades.
Can't wait till you order a robot to do the work.