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Thread: Gunsmith Questions

  1. #1

    Gunsmith Questions

    This thread is being created for any questions about gun smith work, such as how to repair, modify, or enhance gun performance via machine shop work. Anyone and everyone is free to enter questions - hopefully Chuck and others who are capable of doing this kind of work can provide some helpful suggestions or answers.

    (I suspect that one of the most basic questions is how to find a good local gunsmith..... )

  2. #2
    Watching other people take apart and clean their guns, I got to wondering if maybe they should be sorting out "why" some parts seem to get so dirty, or "why" the gun has issues. The following four photos were taken of my Colt 45 ACP a few days ago, right after dis-assembly, and before cleaning. Some areas seem to be getting "worn" more than others. I was wondering if this is completely normal, or if it means something needs to be adjusted. Anyone have any ideas?

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  3. #3
    Word of mouth is probably the best way to find a good smith. Find one that has customer references and what type of work they had done. If a guy mainly works on pistols, id hesitate to let him chamber up a benchrest barrel. If you need your 1911 worked over, find a guy that works them over on a regular basis. Talk to other guys that had similar work done that you want done. If I needed my 1911 Kimber worked over, I wont be calling my BR smith. Just like I won't be calling my eye doctor to work on my teeth..

    As for your 1911...not really sure what is considered normal wear. Call around, find a good 1911 smith.

  4. #4
    Chuck, thanks for the advice. I do know a few people around the Miami area who are into shooting, and I'll see if they have any advice. If that doesn't work, I know there are places where I can have work done via "mail order", which will make it easier to look for customer feedback. I wish I had your ability to do things myself!!

    I did find one "do it yourself" article: I've read through it, and while I do get the feeling that maybe I could do some of these things, the smarter thing to do "might" be to have a professional do it. I need to find some free time tonight to re-read the article slowly. Apparently there are lots of "wear areas" on a 1911 that need to be checked. .....more later - got to run.

  5. #5
    That looks to be an interesting how to on the 1911. I will have to take some time and read through it. Maybe I can fine tune my Kimber.

  6. #6
    I met up with my nephew today - he has a Kimber 1911 and he likes it very much. When I got to shoot it (only a few rounds) I also liked it. Today, he showed me a video he found on how to completely disassemble the frame. You probably know all this inside and out by now, but I'll post the link here anyway:

  7. #7
    Steve Talley
    Mike, Midway and especially Brownells has some really good softbound books that could be considered as shop manuals for the aspiring gunsmith.

  8. #8
    Thanks, Steve! Any books in particular that you would recommend? Right now I'd just like to understand more about what these guys do. I don't know if I'll ever be good enough to actually work on something.

    I've been overseas for half a year - haven't been to a shooting range in forever! I probably need to re-learn a lot of things I used to feel so comfortable doing. Maybe next week I can head back to the range.

    Just curious - do you do that sort of work yourself? If so, how'd you get into it, and how difficult did you find it to be? Does one have to be a machinist to understand these things, or can a hobbyist pick up enough knowledge to become competent at it?
    Have Camera, Will Travel

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  9. #9
    Steve Talley
    I picked it up through watching my Dad at first, and then venturing in to things on my own. The old adage measure twice, cut once kinda comes in to play. I've got a couple projects that I'm about to start working on once I finish my internship for my degree. I'll see if I can remember to take pictures of the progress, and post some details about what I've done. If you've got the patience to work on an rc car, guns are no different.

  10. #10
    I think you're lucky to have learned the basics from your dad. Even if you don't yet know all the details, at least you've got the basics worked out.

    I'm sure you're right - if you have patience, and some basic skills on "how to use the tools", the rest may come easily. I suppose I should follow what I did with R/C - I had one car to "race" (well, drive faster than I otherwise do), and other(s) to mess around with and try things out on. If I did things that way, I ought to buy an inexpensive 1911, and get fully used to working on it - total dis-assembly, and re-assembly. Then, one piece at a time, maybe follow your earlier advice, and buy some precision parts that need to be fitted to the gun.

    Something else I need to learn, is how the parts are supposed to work with each other. If an R/C car pushes, or spins out, or turns to the side when accelerating, we all have a good idea on how to correct it. With a gun, it's all new. Let's say it's an auto, and the shells are "sticking" rather than being ejected properly, or the gun is jamming in a different way. I'm guessing your dad would have known what kinds of things to look for that might cause this to happen. I'm not sure how much can be learned just by reading books......

    Please do post updates on your projects! When you get done, and you've answered any questions, you'll have all the material (text and photos) to make an article out of it, perhaps to submit to one of the gun magazines!).
    Have Camera, Will Travel

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