Gunsmith School

Gun Smith School: Train to Be a Gunsmith

gunsmithingPeople who have a passion for guns often decide to learn how to be a gunsmith.  This can be a hobby or a career for them.  A gun smith school is the best place to acquire the skills of an expert gunsmith.  At a technical school for gunsmiths, you will learn the basics of firearms and gun repair.  You will also learn how to accurize and customize guns at a gun smith school.

Gunsmithing is a skill that requires a lot of training and practice.  A gunsmith is someone who repairs and rebuilds firearms.  Gunsmiths can also specialize in a particular gunsmithing skill.  He can be a custom gun builder or stock maker.  Gunsmiths can also specialize in certain types of firearms such as antique guns or rifles.  Many of the gunsmith’s basic skills and advanced techniques can be learned at a gun school.

It’s important to keep in mind that gunsmiths usually work with top-of-the-line firearms or antique guns and rifles that their owners want customized or restored.

How to Train to be a Gunsmith

gunsmith school nraThere are three types of schools that offer gunsmith training.  It is possible to find a gun training program at a community college.  However, not all community colleges offer gunsmithing courses.  You can search online for gun smith schools at community colleges and find out what gunsmith training programs they offer.

There are also private colleges that offer specialized training in a number of careers including gunsmithing.  The training programs in this type of gun smith school are often short but extremely focused.  Oftentimes, the gunsmith program in a private college offers courses that will help students to become a master gunsmith. The NRA (National Rifle Association) is affiliated with several colleges that offer short term gunsmith school.

Online gun smith schools where you can learn to repair or custom-build guns can also be found.  Penn Foster Career School and Ashworth College are both accredited for distance learning.  Unlike other types of gunsmith school, online schools do not provide hands-on training.  However, students enrolled in an online gun program have access to course materials.  They are also mentored by an instructor via the internet.

The biggest disadvantage in an online gunsmith school is that there is no instructor around who can provide the guidance a student needs for hands-on training.  Gunsmithing is a skill that requires learning the correct techniques in repairing, restoring or customizing a gun.  A skilled instructor can demonstrate and teach the finer points of gunsmithing.

gunsmith schoolEnrolling in a gun school is the first step to becoming a gunsmith.  Many gun smith schools offer a variety of courses and programs to choose from.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that you have to hone your skills through constant practice.  The school or program should be able to provide plenty of practice time for students at the school’s workshop.  If you are enrolled in an online gunsmith school, you may be able to work at a local gunsmith shop or perhaps in your own workshop.

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Choosing a Gunsmith School

gunsmith schoolWhether you want to become a gunsmith as a hobby or a career, you have to register in a gunsmith school and train to become one.  Not only should the gun school offer an excellent gunsmithing program, but it should also have a well-equipped workshop and skilled instructors who can provide hands-on training to students.  There should be plenty of time for students to practice their skills in the workshop.

Courses in gun smith schools cover different types of firearms.  To provide the best training, the gun smith school’s workshop should have a wide range of tools and equipment.  The importance of hands-on training cannot be overemphasized.  Thus, the school you choose must have qualified instructors and experienced gunsmiths who can supervise as you learn how to repair, restore or design a gun.

Tuition fees at gun smith schools vary.  Expect to pay upwards of $10,000 for a gunsmith training program.  Online courses typically cost much less, but remember that you will not be able to benefit from supervised hands-on training at a workshop.

To be able to register at a gun smith school, you may be required to have a high school diploma or GED.  Students must be at least 18 years old.  Some gun smith schools also require a mechanical aptitude test.  A background check for criminal records may also be done by the school.

Popular Gun Smith Schools

Gun smith schools do not offer a bachelor’s degree program in gunsmith technology.  What they offer are certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree programs in the field.

Some of the more popular gun smith schools in the country include:

gunsmith school yavapai• Yavapai College of Prescott, Arizona.  This gun smith school is recognized as a leader in gunsmithing technology.  The college offers an associate degree in gunsmithing.  Students can also enroll in a two-year gunsmith certificate program.  Students at this gunsmith school work with rifles, handguns and shotguns.  Much of their time is spent in the school’s machine shop where they learn how to make stocks and refinish metals.  Students also learn how to customize guns.

pennsylvania gunsmith school• Pennsylvania Gunsmith School of Pittsburgh.  This is one of the best schools that offers a master gunsmithing program.  Again, focus is on hands-on work.  Students at this gunsmith school learn how to disassemble and reassemble firearms, design stocks, and customize handguns and other firearms.  They also learn techniques for bluing, polishing, filing, gauging, etc.    The course program takes 16 months, preparing students for an entry-level gunsmith job.

• Penn Foster Career School.  Online gun smith schools offer affordable programs for gunsmith technology.  One of the most popular online schools for gun smiths is Penn Foster Career School.  The school offers a diploma program for gunsmithing.  Students learn how to repair and customize firearms.  The gunsmithing course also includes restoring antique firearms and fitting and finishing stocks.

• Ashworth College.  This is also an online school where you can enroll in a gun smith technology program.  It offers a diploma program in gunsmithing.  Students learn how to troubleshoot and repair different types of firearms.  The coursework includes basic firearms maintenance and accurizing.

Gun smith schools can be found all over the country.  If you want to become a skilled gunsmith the first step is to register at a reputable gun smith school near you.  You can also enroll at one of the many online gun smith schools.  Keep in mind that you need to practice your skills with hands-on training if you want to become an expert gunsmith

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Video of an Actual Gunsmith School

This video is an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse inside an actual gunsmithing school. The room where the gunsmithing work is done is huge and contains hundreds of different gunsmithing tools.

The master gunsmith, Gary Holloway, from the prestigious Pennsylvania Gunsmith School, does a great job of explaining the kinds of things a gunsmith would work on in regards to restoring a gun. Things like mildew, rust, pitting, dents, and worn surfaces can all be removed or restored by a gunsmith who knows what to look for and how to use the right tools.

This particular video focuses on the students using hand tools to learn what needs to be done prior to moving into using power tools.



And for those of you who like to read, here is the transcript of the above video:


Gary: This is typical of firearms that come in and you can see that this gun has been out in the barn or out in the garage. Can you see the fungus that’s actually growing in to the finish on the wood? You can see the rust pitting. You can see scratches. There are some dents in the barrel that will need to be addressed right here where it has been dropped.

The bottom, that’s typical of the trigger guards that come in to the school and you can see the amount of rust and wear where people have handled it for years and years. This is field wear where people have used this firearm, carried it for years, hunting or in their performance of their work. This had been out in the barn. The firearm suffered a lot of neglect. So he’s trying to restore it and get it looking back like it did when it left the factory, if not better. They’re going to pick out and know all the flaws in the firearm that maybe the customer would not be aware of.

You can see the rust pitting in the barrel but the true crown, the area that affects the way the firearm performs is right here, right where the edge of the bore comes out and meets the rounded surface of the crown. As I rotate it and look at it in the light, I can see the flaws and he is learning to see them now too.

It needs a little bit of work right here, Nathan. OK. Just a little mark right here. You see this mark and this mark? Those will come out.

When he’s done with his final polish, it will be smooth and shiny and then with the bluing put back on it, it will look brand new because they have to learn how to take them apart, do all this tremendous work, refinish them completely and put them back together without scratching them; and if they scratch them badly enough, as a teacher, I won’t grade their work. I will have them totally take it apart again and redo it and try it again.

Student 1: One simple mishap is putting a pin back in and the punch slides off the pin and scratches the receiver. Now you’re back to square one without a receiver. You have to start it all over again. So you really, really have to take your time. When you tear it down, you don’t want to lose parts but you can be a little bit more sloppy. This, there’s no room for error whatsoever. None.

Gary: Like I did earlier, we were looking at a barrel and I was showing them how to [0:03:07] draw a file and work around the lettering to get some of the extra pitting out of here without destroying the lettering which takes away from the value of the firearm and the interesting – because the stampings on these barrels and everything, it’s what makes the firearm what it is. If I remove it, then we no longer know that it’s a Stevens firearm and what the caliber is, where it was made.

We want to leave that on there. Learning to do it so that it’s all intact and it doesn’t look like it was destroyed because I want their work to be of such quality that people who look at it are impressed. When they’re done refinishing a firearm and they give them back, a lot of people are tremendously pleased because when the firearm came in, it could have been literally rusted and showing definite signs of neglect and they get it back and it looks better than they can ever remember it looking in their lifetime.

We’ll walk over here and we’ll take a look at one that just got finished today. The barrel was literally covered in rust. The entire barrel was rusted completely. Bright red and brown rust crusting the entire surface of the barrel. I’m just teaching them right now in semester one the metal preparation and the metal work, the metal finishing.

So what he had to learn to do was get all of the bad rust off of here, all the pitting and then polish it, the entire barrel, and this was all done by hand. This was not machine-done. We take baby steps. If I can teach them to do this metal preparation by hand, when we move on to using power tools, the buffers and grinders, now they’re able to blend both handwork and the power tool work to get an even better finish but they understand the skills necessary to do that work. It doesn’t seem like much but something as simple as a trigger guard like this, completely rusted and pitted and to be polished by hand with all those irregular shapes.

Student 1: I’ve pulled it apart and cleaned it up and even after just the initial clean-up, it looked tons better and I don’t even believe it’s the same gun. I’m the one that did it, quite honestly. He has been doing this I couldn’t tell you how many years. So if you can get Gary you’re in good shape.

Gary: If I set the bar here, I want them to reach that bar. I’m going to set the bar another notch higher. I want them to strive for the best that they can be but if you can still take an old military Mauser or rip it down and just take the action, rebuild the action like a commercial Mauser, re-barrel it, restock it, make it look like a $10,000 gun, that still the success that goes into building something like that is immense.

Yes, there’s the monetary gain in just like any profession but there’s a lot of sense of accomplishment and pride in the fact that this is a very unique job and that when you’re one of the few that can do it, that sense of accomplishment is quite nice too.

This is really enjoyable because I do enjoy coming in here everyday. I enjoy all the things that are going on. It’s always interesting. It’s always new and refreshing.

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The Responsibilities Of The American Gunsmithing Association

The Responsibilities Of The American Gunsmithing Association

American Gunsmithing AssociationAs early as the 1990s, gunsmiths and firearm enthusiasts have been receiving invitations and offers through the mail for a membership with the American Gunsmithing Association, or fondly abbreviated as AGA. “Membership” in this sense means a magazine subscription to the group’s official publication called “American Gunsmith.” Six issues for people living in the United States cost $19, while the same number of copies is priced at $24 for Canada residents and $28 for anyone living in other countires.

Though the group has yet to have an official website, we can get valuable information about who they are (including their mission statement and their objectives) from online sources such as their official blog, their publication’s website, and a few gunsmithing forums.

What are the presumed responsibilities of the American Gunsmithing Association?

As a group dedicated to gunsmithing, AGA provides members with gunsmithing tools and techniques specific to different types of guns. This is done through their publication, “American Gunsmith,” which is delivered right at a member’s doorstep every month. In each issue, there are expert articles that contain step-by-step instructions to follow, images and resources to check out, and schematic representations to pattern from.

Some of the specific techniques and processes that members can learn from include the following:

  • fabricating replacement parts,
  • anodizing aluminum,
  • checkering their designs,
  • working with hammers and triggers,
  • how to keep your firearm from becoming a paper weight
  • how to renovate a .22 rifle

All these information come in handy when a gunsmith wants to repair his firearms, perform an upgrade, or enhance his knowledge about gunsmithing.

Overall, members are taught how to work independently. Many of them want to learn how to create or re-create guns in the confines of their home, but they do not know how to get started. But with AGA, they will know which equipment to use, what software to consider, and what kinds of issues they need to address.

Through the AGA’s blog, which can be found at, members and other readers will be updated about the different issues concerning gunsmiths and possibly gun owners in general. With the topics covered and discussed in the blog, you can say that AGA is teaching gunsmiths to be responsible gun owners.

Last, through their AGA membership, gunsmiths can get discounts, savings, and other price reductions from gunsmithing shops and services.

AGA should not to be mistaken with AGI, or the American Gunsmithing Institute, as some people do. The AGI is a learning website that gives every firearm enthusiast an opportunity to hone their gunsmithing skills. At the moment, the site offers three courses that include machine shop, welding, and gunsmithing courses.

American Gunsmithing Association PublicationsWhen you choose to enroll with AGI, you will have to do it online. Upon registration, you will be given access to their instructional videos that you can watch anytime. Some of the topics these videos have include how to build or customize all types of firearms such as handguns and shotguns.

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