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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many of you guys out there have been through gunsmithing courses? I am thinking of doing one of the correspondence type courses using my Montgomery G.I. bill before the benefits go away. Are these type of courses any good, or a waste of time/scam? Any opinions/information would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Just my opinion,

But unless you go to an accredited school, you are not going to have a proper education.

In Pennsylvania, you have to have a license to be a gunsmith and you cannot work on guns without one. Even just refinishing stocks is against the law without the license.

There is a good school in Pittsburgh, The Pennsylvania Gunsmith school.
http://www.pagunsmith.com/

There are more FFL - Federal Firearm Licenses in Pennsylvania than any other state except Texas..

If your goal is to become a gunsmith and work in this field, then you have to consider where you are going to live and what you are going to do with this education.

A person I know, went to this school and was hired by Mossberg to build custom shotguns for the military and police. Even if he was paid $60,000 to start, it cost $80,000 a year to live in Connecticut or Massachusetts. Within 1 1/2 years, he was back home and went to truck driving school and now drives over the road. He was fortunate that he had a lot of money in the bank from an automobile accident where his parents were killed when he was a small boy. He could afford to loose a couple of dollars.
Most people that lives pay to pay and day to day cannot afford to do that.

If your plans were to work at a store, such as Gander Mountain, this course is good for you.

If your plans were to open up a little gun shop in the basement of your house, then I would advise you to get a different hobby.

The reason why I say this is because when you open a little gun shop, you have to keep records of all transactions and of all guns in stock. Be it yours or your customers that you have to repair.
I believe those reports has to be made monthly.

With the liability insurance and all the hassles, you are looking at spending a small fortune just to open a shop. It appears to me that you do not even want to take time off from work to go to an accredited school. If that is the case, how are you going to feel about having to spend $25,000 - $50,000 in tools and equipment and maybe double that amount to build your own shop.

The course is 16 months - 2 years! You will spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 to attend this school.

My hobbies include bluing and stock refinishing, mounting scopes and re-crowning barrels and small repairs.

If it costs you $15,000 to set up a shop to re-blue 12 barrels a year. You will never make enough money in your lifetime to pay for the equipment and the disposal of used chemicals. You can send all those barrels out and have them done professionally for about $75 each! That right there tells you that there is no profit. Most people will not spend more money than what the gun is worth to have it restored?

I hope that I have not rained on your parade.
 

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#1, #2, #3,Re: Gunsmith Courses

#1). Friend took one of the mail order courses. No videos then. He kept coming to me with surprises in his books --to him-- things I had learned from extensive reading and working with a real gunsmith... Example, the Remington 11 is an exact copy of the Browning A5 made under license from Browning... Parts almost interchange. So you can have a Browning A5 for about 1/3 the money if you find and old, forgotten, misunderstood Rem. 11 ... 1/4 the money maybe... He was not happy, but I tried to humor him... It is not overly complicated AND

#2). You say you want to use up GI bill benefits. O.K. If this is "self improvement"... before they run out and fits your schedule...o.k.

#3). You want to remember that a gunsmith is basically a machinest/metalsmith and a woodsmith/cabinet maker with an FFL (Federal Firearms license). Most community colleges have courses in "machine tool technology" and in "wood working" --NO, probably won't let you work on guns in the school, but-- this will teach you the basics to a general standard and give you job referrals/employment where, if you are any good, you can work while "building your business" as a gunsmith (after you get the FFL)... Much more "orthodox" in todays world, but does it fit your schedule... ???

#4). As said, a specialized gunsmith in todays much lower demand world... takes time and commitment and you will wonder if you should be committed... You will not become rich unless you win the lottery... I never made it... LUCK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the info, guys. After hearing about what all it can entail, I have thought about what it is I am really looking for. I would say that I am looking more for just an education so that I can do some of the work on my own guns, and not so much of the idea of opening up my own shop. I want to be able to tune my own firearms and gain a more intimate knowledge of their inner workings, that sort of thing. I could try and just work on them and learn that way, but if I am going to lose the education money that I paid in anyway, I figured taking an online/correspondence gunsmith course would be a good way of getting at least something out of the G.I. Bill.
 

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If that is what you want to do with the training the AGI course is your best bet.
Working on the committee forming the gunsmith apprentice program has taught me that all of the community collages we have contacted are willing to accommodate the training needs for a gunsmith training course with in their machine tech courses. We found no reluctance to allow the apprentices to work on firearms on campus as long as they were legal and were stored properly. You can use your GI bill to take the classes and get money for tools and living expenses, if you declare your intention to do the apprenticeship program, the program is set up to help those who have to work while doing the apprenticeship outside of the trade. Just something to think about.
 
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