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Old 07-23-2021, 02:31 PM
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Default YOU NEED TO LEARN GUNSMITHING - LIKE IT OR NOT!

The days of walking into your trusted neighborhood Gunsmith (LGS) is coming to a screeching halt! The old timers are retiring, moving, selling, or whatever and just not there for you when you need them. I have seen so many posts on this Forum as of late, asking who they should send their S&W (or other brand) of gun to for repair, refinishing, modification etc.

There are a few LGS left but unfortunately (for the most part with rare exception) their talents, morals and ethics are not even close to the old timers. Then you have the "superstar" GS's that are nowhere locally and the firearms have to go through expensive shipping and insurance, ridiculous wait times, unreturned phone calls and emails, and BIB BIG bucks for the privilege of having them work on your firearms.

I am not implying that guys/gals with two left hands who are just not equipped to do this type of thing take the plunge but many GS-ing tasks are relatively straight forward jobs requiring nothing more than simple hand tools, knowledge and the will to learn.

There is also a learning curve and sometimes novices will botch a job - but that is also known as part of the learning process. Once something is learned it's usually a piece of cake on the next go-around.

So I want to encourage people to push themselves a little and learn how to maintain their own firearms before it becomes "mandatory" by way of new legislation, licensing fees & insurance skyrocket for GS, parts shortages, shipping restrictions, etc. etc. I think it prudent that one should start learning and doing know while the opportunity is still available. Who knows for how long we will be able to ship stuff and buy parts and certain tools.

Now that the components are becoming available for loading ammunition once again, some here might also reconsider Reloading. I do believe that component prices will be fairly normal (or at least the new normal) soon and I did not invent the saying, "strike while the iron is hot"!

Just wanted to get this off my chest and possibly help some people become a little more self reliant. I think we have all learned a few lessons over this past year!
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Old 07-23-2021, 03:48 PM
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I have been a proponent of these ideas for several years now, since here in California, independence has become an obvious outcome of the hostile political climate. People in this state cannot rely on finding a gunsmith or even find ammunition in the caliber they need. I have spoken to many people here and I have tried to stress the importance of independence. The only thing that I would add to chief 38's post is that you should try to stock up on any frequently needed parts for your favorite firearms because the parts may not be available when you look for them.
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Old 07-23-2021, 04:26 PM
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I agree! We really have no general gunsmiths locally so little by little I am learning to do my own work. The hardest part for me was taking a file to metal for the first time, once that "barrier" was overcome I've had fewer qualms about doing relatively minor work on my own guns--no drilling, milling or welding for me, LOL.
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Old 07-23-2021, 04:27 PM
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If everyone took the well intended but I believe misguided advise expressed above it,in itself, would likely create a shortage. If a firearm is used regularly keeping an extra firing pin and springs on hand would make sense but beyond this??

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Old 07-23-2021, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by italiansport View Post
If everyone took the well intended but I believe misguided advise expressed above it,in itself, would likely create a shortage. If a firearm is used regularly keeping an extra firing pin and springs on hand would make sense but beyond this??
A lot of people won't take a gun apart for something that simple. I think that's what the OP was referring to as much as customizing.
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Old 07-23-2021, 06:27 PM
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I think we may be doing a disservice to gunsmiths across our country by confusing the career and skill of a trained, certified and equipped gunsmith, with a gun owner attempting to do simple maintenance and replace drop in parts in firearms.

In fact, the real, and quite critical skill for the typical, untrained gun owner to learn is what constitutes an actual mechanical problem, and whether or not the determined issue is something the owner should attempt to repair.....or not. This becomes even more difficult for the average shooter/gun owner when the internet is flooded with downright dangerous "misinformation" and opinion.

There's an old saying that anyone who represents himself in court proceeding has a fool for a client. Let's face it, we are not trained gunsmiths by any stretch. While maintenance and minor repairs can be well within a persons skill set, and learning these skills and acquiring this knowledge is rewarding, many modifications, changes, and repairs, if attempted by an untrained gun owner, can result in catastrophic failures and even loss of life and limb.
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Old 07-23-2021, 06:42 PM
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Iíve been to the S&W factory revolver armorer school, the Remington 870 course, the Glock course, and some general firearm repair courses. I have many of the proper tools, but . . . I am by no means a gunsmith, and I donít pretend to be. I know enough to mostly keep my stuff running, but sometimes it gets above my head. The same with with every other thing I own that needs maintenance.

In the words of somebody cool, ďA man needs to know his limitations . . . ď
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Old 07-23-2021, 07:08 PM
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Repairing anything mechanical is not for everyone and it shouldnít be. What Iíve found to be true most of the time. Is that those that are the most opposed to attempting their own repairs probably shouldnít do so in the first place. I was tried of the long waits for an action job. So I bought the shop manual and over time 4 gunsmith special model 10s. They where already broken so I canít do any more harm.I learned something from everyone of those guns and they all function perfectly when I was done. Yes it cost me my time and some money. But now I can repair the timing adjust the trigger pull smooth the action. As long as you avoid power tools and take your time most things can be undone. I did the 9422m below with files,sand paper and a sharpie. I didnít khave layout dye. The after is better than the before. So why not try to improve your skill. Just donít start on Elmer Keithís gun and youíll be ok.
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Old 07-23-2021, 07:28 PM
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I think the need is to know your limitations. I have, through necessity (no local gunsmith), taught myself the basic's of S&W revolvers, and 1911 mechanics. I don't hesitate to totally disassemble and perform various (minimal) repairs, adjustments and replacement of parts and fitting. Any other handgun I don't touch. I always make certain I can field strip and clean every gun I own, but I don't attempt much in repairs. Luckily, I have been lucky over the years and have had not many major problems to have to repair. I do have a few machinist, tool maker friends that have helped me over the years.
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Old 07-23-2021, 07:32 PM
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I hope that nobody misunderstands what I am trying to say. I would never suggest that anyone take on tasks that places them in danger. However, I live in a populated area of California, there are about three gunsmith in about a hundred mile radius and with a several month wait for them to work on something, it's just not practical to rely on a gunsmith for minor repairs. Additionally, I don't suggest that people run out and purchase every part for everything they own. I suggest that they have on hand only what they would likely need to keep things running. I have on hand, the tools and shims to correct endshake, firing pins, rivets and rear sight blades. Beyond that, I have relied on finding parts from various sources as the need arises and contingent on my abilities. On occasion, a gunsmith has said that he would do the work if I find the parts. I base the necessities on what I have needed in the past.
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Old 07-24-2021, 12:59 AM
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I would suggest that the one week NRA sponsored courses at Murray State, Piedmont and a couple of other schools are a great way to rapidly increase one's knowledge. Also they make a pretty good vacation.

And to Chief38, my sincerest thank you for starting this topic.
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:34 AM
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I think there is a lot of conflation between armorer and gunsmith, so there's that and we can argue semantics on that front. I suspect the OP was more referring to armorer level work. I'd be thrilled if people even understood how their firearms worked more than half the time.
It's a mixed bag, on the one hand you don't have widely experienced gunsmiths around much anymore and there are years of experience in tweaking up a thing so the timing or alignment is just so, but on the other side of that is the internet where you can find a walk-through of detail strip, parts replacement, and customization for almost anything under the sun, information that used to take up shelves of books and the videos are often vastly better than what books there were, so if you have mechanical aptitude a lot of things are much easier to work out than they used to be.
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Old 07-24-2021, 06:24 AM
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American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) CD's are another invaluable source of firearm information. They usually cover complete disassembly .....assembly....along with general firearm information for a specific model.

I have one for several of the firearms I own. Just for when I need them. Who knows when the antis will pull the plug on YouTube.

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Whenever I find a particularly good video on YouTube, I download it in case one day theyíre not available anymore. I have my own folder with dozens of videos.
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Old 07-24-2021, 08:46 AM
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Ya kin fix everthin wit YouTube an a Dremel.

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Old 07-24-2021, 09:04 AM
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I'm a tinkerer who knows his limitations. I use the myriad videos and manuals. HOWEVER, nowhere have I been able to find ANY info/help/video/manuals for Freedom Arms. I've been looking for years in all the right places..... NADA. I've even posted this concern on various forums, asking if anyone knows why this is so. No one has yet answered that question. It's almost as if the people in the know are afraid to respond, and everyone else is in the same boat as me. Anyone here have any idea why Freedom Arms info is non-existent? (yes, I own two, and have asked FA for detailed assemble/disassembly info... unsuccessfully).
Rant over,
J.
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Old 07-24-2021, 09:07 AM
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While Gunsmith's might take my post in a negative way it was not really meant to rally against them. It was meant to give some who are capable a little push to learn a skill they might or will need in the future and might not be readily available locally due to laws, politics, restrictions on shipping, etc.

First off, many of TODAY'S LGS (I truly hate to say this) are butchers!! I have seen more than a few badly done jobs that left the gun in worse condition than it went there in. Even though they call themselves "Gunsmiths" IMHO they are not.

The old timers who are experienced, ethical and super skilled have retired, moved, or are so backed up they are virtually unavailable to the general public.My only intent here was to suggest that my approach is really the way of the future - but of course I might be wrong. I don't think I am but I hope I am!

What I will refer to as "super-star" GS's (like Turnbull) are so backed up and so so costly many here can simply not afford them or be able to wait over a year to get their guns back! Add the very costly shipping both ways and a repair or mod could cost more than the gun itself!

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Old 07-24-2021, 09:15 AM
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Default Advise I was given by an OLD gunsmith.

Advise I was given by an OLD gunsmith.
Many years ago I loafed and swapped stories a gunsmith with 90 plus years of age. I learned a lot from this man. Some of it applied to servicing my own firearms.

He gave me some good advice - summarized below:

Before you Start:
1) Know WHAT you are planning to do/
2) Know WHY you are planning to do it.
3) Know HOW it should be done.
4 Know IF the work is WITHIN your skill level.
5) Know WHEN to STOP!

You can not undrill an incorrect hole.
You can not replace filed metal.



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Old 07-24-2021, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnnu2 View Post
I'm a tinkerer who knows his limitations. I use the myriad videos and manuals. HOWEVER, nowhere have I been able to find ANY info/help/video/manuals for Freedom Arms. I've been looking for years in all the right places..... NADA. I've even posted this concern on various forums, asking if anyone knows why this is so. No one has yet answered that question. It's almost as if the people in the know are afraid to respond, and everyone else is in the same boat as me. Anyone here have any idea why Freedom Arms info is non-existent? (yes, I own two, and have asked FA for detailed assemble/disassembly info... unsuccessfully).
Rant over,
J.
Owned four at one time, even Bowen told me thereís nothing much that can be done other than reducing the trigger pull and some cosmetic changes. FA is very cautious about owners tinkering with their revolvers, especially the 83. FA was sued because of the lack of a Ruger type hammer block in the 83.

What exactly are you wanting to do?
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Old 07-24-2021, 11:10 AM
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G.I. in 1945 "refrad" troops, took up gunsmithing in school. AT THAT TIME; the certificant was "4 yrs. aprentaceship as a machinest AND 2 yr's at gunsmithing. the best work was done thru the years. God bless them.
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Old 07-24-2021, 12:09 PM
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Hey, ya gotta start somewhere!
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Old 07-24-2021, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry in SC View Post
Owned four at one time, even Bowen told me thereís nothing much that can be done other than reducing the trigger pull and some cosmetic changes. FA is very cautious about owners tinkering with their revolvers, especially the 83. FA was sued because of the lack of a Ruger type hammer block in the 83.

What exactly are you wanting to do?
I would like to completely disassemble my FA's like I do with all my other guns. I clean them thoroughly at least once a year; all except the FA's. Over on another gun forum where I don't like to post (because they don't allow gun sales classified if you can believe that), there was a recent question about how to re-insert the two springs that pop out when you release the grip frame from the main frame (I believe they are the trigger return and bolt springs (and the do pop out). So far, the OP has been given NOTHING and these forum folk are some of the cognoscenti in the single action game. I saw a similar post or two over the year on that same forum and still NADA.... one answer was "call FA". Every gun company has been sued for something, yet videos and detail manuals abound. The question prevails: "Why not Freedom Arms".

J.
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Old 07-24-2021, 07:52 PM
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Iím a mechanic by trade, so Iíve always loved working on fine machinery and learning how things work. Even though Iíve been shooting for decades, I didnít really get past basic field stripping, cleaning and maintenance until fairly recently. The first thing I did was to get a few good books on the subject and start reading about the basics and see if it was something I wanted to spend the time pursuing with the thought of it becoming a full time hobby in retirement. Iíve slowly been branching out in what I do: Iíve done some cylinder reaming and other minor gunsmithing tasks as I slowly acquire the tools. Likewise, about the same time I started reloading because it just seems to go hand in hand with gunsmithing, hardware and software. Today I just made a significant purchase of bullet casting equipment and lead. I see it as closing the circle...being self sufficient and not having to worry about situations like we have witnessed recently.

Now if I could just find the time to do it all! I may have to wait for retirement.
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Old 07-24-2021, 08:42 PM
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I've learned a TON from watching Mark Novak's Anvil Gunsmith series on ewetube. He works on some exotic stuff that most of us will never touch (need a part made for your Maxim?), but his methodology and natural teaching instinct will have you looking at things differently. That plus he's a hoot to watch. Oh, and Ian McCollum sends his exotica to Mark for work. Need a better recommendation than that?

This video is a good 2 minute intro to Mark.

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Old 07-24-2021, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telecaster View Post
A lot of people won't take a gun apart for something that simple. I think that's what the OP was referring to as much as customizing.
I think the OP is right. Over a decade ago, I experienced my first parts issue with a firearm- my extractor broke on a pistol. Not knowing any better and intimidated by the concept of fiddling around, I spent $100 on getting a local smith to fix it. It took over a month, and I was informed that they had to order the extractor from the manufacturer (it was CZ).

Not too long after, the extractor on my OTHER CZ broke. This time, I ordered the part myself for $30, bought a punch, and looked up the process on the internet. Turns out it's simple, took me about 15 minutes.

Years later, I bought a Daewoo pistol on Gunbroker, which had some issues (I detailed them here in a thread at the time). I ended up buying some parts (again, diagnosing from internet sources like here and elsewhere), and successfully repaired that gun.

A lot of "gunsmith stuff" is simple maintenance, I've seen guys drop off guns after hunting season just to have them cleaned. I see zero reason to do that.
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Old 07-24-2021, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by bigwheelzip View Post
Ya kin fix everthin wit YouTube an a Dremel.
You beat me to it!

I was going to say, "I've got a dremel. What else do I need?"
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Old 07-24-2021, 11:35 PM
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I think any gun owner should know how to do the basics on maintenance, pm, and cleaning of their gun/guns. Just like you should be able to at least change your oil, air filter, wiper blades, spark plugs, bulbs, headlights, etc. on your car. You should be able to change out your trigger, replace some springs and pins, replace your firing pin, extractor, etc. We are not talking major surgery or welding here. I have pretty much rebuilt just about everything on a car. When it comes to the computer controlled transmissions, etc. I know when to let the professionals do it. I have rebuilt a transmission, and it worked when I was done. At my current age, I won't do it unless I absolutely have to. I maintain my own riding mower and power equipment. We are not talking about major modifications and customization to your firearm. We are talking about being able to keep your firearm running within your limitations. Besides, just like any mechanical device, the more you know about your tool, the better you will be with it and understand it. The better you will be able to troubleshoot should something go wrong, so you will be better able to make the call of "fix it myself or make an appointment with my local Gunsmith.

Last edited by snowman1967; 07-24-2021 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 07-25-2021, 12:33 PM
teletech teletech is offline
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Originally Posted by RobertJ. View Post
You beat me to it!

I was going to say, "I've got a dremel. What else do I need?"
I know a Dremel is basically never the right tool for the job but I'm bemused by the fact sometimes it's the *only* tool for the job.

I've heard it said that if the government ever want to get serious about gun control they are going to have to start registering Dremels. :-)
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Old 07-25-2021, 12:46 PM
Muss Muggins Muss Muggins is online now
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Like many tools, a Dremel is sometimes the only tool that will fix a particular problem. And also like many tools, there are multiple other problems that a Dremel should never be used to try to fix . . .


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Originally Posted by teletech View Post
I know a Dremel is basically never the right tool for the job but I'm bemused by the fact sometimes it's the *only* tool for the job.

I've heard it said that if the government ever want to get serious about gun control they are going to have to start registering Dremels. :-)
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Old 07-25-2021, 03:29 PM
Johnnu2 Johnnu2 is offline
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Dremel...? Hell.... not one person has mentioned a big hammer... :-)

J.
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Old 07-25-2021, 03:40 PM
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Totally agree.

It's easier than ever to learn basic skills to keep your guns, cars, etc. running. The less time they spend in someone else's care, the better.

And yes. START RELOADING if you like to shoot even moderately! I can't stress that enough.
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Old 07-25-2021, 04:38 PM
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I believe everyone should have some basic gun maintenance skills. Taking A S&W revolver apart and putting it back together is NOT difficult. Neither is changing a spring, rear sight and a few other parts. Many of the parts are pretty close tolerance, but many can be changed out with little trouble. I am all for learning your limitations. But, really most of the parts are just not that expensive. Just don't mess up the frame, The barrel requires some special tooling. Get an old model 10 junker and go to learning. I have a 10-2 that has had 4 different barrels, 3 cylinders etc. It now has adjustable sights and a model 19 357 cylinder and a 2 1/2" 357 barrel. I think I paid $200 for it many years ago and have learned a whole bunch with it.
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Old 07-25-2021, 08:18 PM
terry_tr6 terry_tr6 is offline
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i am always in awe watching a really skilled machinist on youtube. there was a guy on one of these forums who was (I think) mating a demill M1 and m14 half together and making it to shoot .45 or something. he hadn't last I heard, gotten it to function but OMG the machine work he was doing...
But, it is really amazing what you can make with a drill press, some quality files, a good vise, and patience.
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Old 07-25-2021, 09:18 PM
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I would never call myself a gunsmith, but I have had to learn how to do basic part fitting and tinkering on my guns because I usually buy older guns that need TLC here and there. The guns themselves arent worth taking anywhere, and it makes no sense to pay someone for something i can (and should) do myself.

This approach allows me to afford firearms i wouldnt otherwise be able to afford.
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Old 07-25-2021, 10:11 PM
Liftrat Liftrat is offline
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I think Chief38 makes a very valid point about self sufficiency, as do some other posters, though these days it seems it applies to not just firearms, but so many other aspects of life. I can take apart and reassemble all my guns, do almost all the maintenance on my vehicles, keep my house running, and have even changed a battery on an IPhone! (though that’s about my limit with electronics). I find it fun to learn new skills, and, through trial and error, have developed a sense of when to stop and ask for professional help. The previous advice to buy a beater gun and learn on it is invaluable.
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Old 07-26-2021, 11:04 AM
lefty_jake lefty_jake is offline
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I will add one of my pet peeves here, since I think it is on topic for this thread.

Fixing the timing on Smith & Wesson revolvers is not a good first gunsmithing project for someone with no experience. This is a subject I see with some frequency on a number of different forums, and I try to reply to it when I have the energy. There are always lots of people who suggest that an oversize hand is a drop in fix, and it is silly to invest in a gunsmith for this issue. Unfortunately, there are three or four incorrect assumptions in that one sentence.

This brings up an overall issue that applies to working on all types of serious equipment, which is that "you need to know what you don't know." That requirement is difficult, since it contains an obvious paradox. However, it is not an impossible paradox. With experience, one does slowly get a sense of where not to tread because "I don't know what lies there." But early on in the journey, before that sense is well developed, caution is required.

I am actually a big fan of learning the skills to maintain one's own equipment, but I never expect it to be easy or cheap.
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Old 07-26-2021, 02:38 PM
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Real gunsmithing is a lot different than kitchen table repairs. I learned, way back, when on a very tight budget, that I needed to learn how to make simple repairs and do it right. I also learned that when I thought I needed to remove just a little more metal, I needed to stop. Today's modern firearms mostly don't require much gunsmith talent for the vast majority of problems. YouTube can help people avoid pitfalls. One thing I'll add. Whether it is about simple gun repairs or reloading, if you don't have patience, ability to focus and follow instructions, neither is for you!
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