Your thoughts on do-it-yourself gunsmithing?

Discussion in 'GSSF' started by PlayboyPenguin, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin

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    In another thread we were discussing project guns and a forum member mentioned that people rip into him every time he mentions working on a gun himself. That made me curious as to what opinion most hold of the practice of "do-it-yourself gunsmithing."

    I myself do a lot of DIY gunsmithing. I love to buy guns that have seem better days and restore them to their former glory. Sometimes this just involves cosmetic work and other times it requires a lot more. Sometimes you are just reshaping metal and resurfacing the outer steel. Other times you are replacing missing or broken internals, refitting internals, or repairing mechanisms.

    I have one Colt I have spent a lot of time on. I have done every home procedure to improve it's performance you can think of doing. I have altered the trigger, changed bushings, smoothed and tuned internals, etc. Now I absolutely love the gun and it has on more than one occasion held it's own against much more expensive 1911's in bench tests. However, I do not think I would carry it. Not because I do not trust it. It is just that I would hate it to fail on me when I need it knowing I would have only myself to blame since I am the one that messed with it so extensively. I just feel I have taken it from "everyday use" reliability to "bullseye gun" reliability due to the tighter fitting of some parts and the more sensitive trigger. I think there is a different level of acceptable reliability and performance in those two very different fields.

    I will carry a gun that I have modified slightly. I carry a Glock 33 that I replaced the slide and barrel on (as well as some other small parts) and I trust it. I did have to do some milling on the inside of the new slide to remove some imperfections for it to work properly but I am now confident in its reliability. So maybe I am a bit of a hypocrite, but I feel the Glock has more margin of error. I did not tune it up like I did the 1911...I just replaced some parts.

    So what are your feelings on this topic? Do you feel it is okay to do some work? Do you feel it is okay to completely overhaul a gun and still carry it? Do you feel it is okay to do what you want to a gun as long as it is not going to be carried? Do you feel a gun should only be tampered with by a professional? Would you trust a gun like my G33 that has had such extensive part replacement?
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  2. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    Best I can recall I have taken a gun to a gunsmith maybe 5 times in 50 years.

    I work on them myself and have had to fix peoples guns after they took them to a gunsmith.

    The main thing when working on guns (or most anything else) is don't get in over your head. Don't end up doing more damage than you fix.

    One thing that makes me shake my head is where someone buys a new gun, takes it apart (for no good reason) then can't get it back together.:upeyes:
     

  3. malleable

    malleable

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    I've seen some frightening work by hobbyists with a Dremel.
     
  4. armorplated

    armorplated

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    Wasamatter? You got kicked off the High Road. Get kicked off the Firing Line? Cause I thought we got rid of you.
     
  5. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin

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    That is the first rule that I give to people when they ask my gunsmithing advice..."NEVER use a Dremel!" Or any other power tool for that matter to do shaping or polishing. Do it by hand. It takes longer but you do not end up over-doing it. The only time a power tool is needed is when something needs milled to a perfect round.
     
  6. Bowtie

    Bowtie NRA MEMBER

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    I have more faith in my own work than most gunsmiths..If I cant do it and do it right then I dont. That way I know everything I do is done right...Make sense?
     
  7. repoman1984

    repoman1984 under the pully

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    As a former professional machinist/fabricator I'm proud to say I've done some extremely elaborate projects before and if given the proper tooling could piece by piece build most of the guns I own from scratch. I'm blown away by stories of people not being able to assemble an AR lower receiver even with instructions. There is nothing wrong with dremels the problem is people grab the heavy grit stone when they should be grabbing the cotton/rubber wheel with light rouge. Later this month I plan to tackle my first AK parts kit build if its not too ugly I will post bragging pics.
     
  8. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin

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    But most people do not possess the control to use a power tool like a Dremel properly even with the right attachments. It is much better to do it by hand. I vise and a "shoe-shine" technique with strips of emery cloth is a much better way for novices to learn IMHO. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. dosei

    dosei

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    I've always done my own work...but then here is what I have to do it with...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ...and a couple decades of experience using it to make plastic injection molds. So I trust my own work. Do I trust other people's DIY 'smith work? No, not much. I'm even cautious of work done by gunsmiths. There are some gunsmiths that are artists/craftsman, and there are some gunsmiths that would make a bad blacksmith cringe. As a result, I don't by guns that have been 'smithed. And I never will unless I knew exactly who did it, exactly what they did, examined it myself, and the gunsmith that did it is one of the few I trust.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  10. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin

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    Doesi,

    What is your address? I am coming to live with you for awhile. Make sure that the guest bed has sheets of at least a 500 thread count and that you have plenty of Frosted Flakes, Pepsi, pork rinds, and Sardines on hand too before I get there.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  11. fiasconva

    fiasconva

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    Not being the most mechanically inclined, I do not want to screw up a good firearm by not knowing what I am doing. Once I learned how I could probably fix one. BUT, my grandfather had a saying, " 2 kinds of people go into the back of a watch, watchmakers and fools." I kinda feel the same way about my guns.
     
  12. harleyfx69

    harleyfx69

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    yes i do my own gunsmithing,
    and i also try to help people out here when i can,

    and in the real world too,

    although i am a younger person so my "advise" is often ignored or completely berated that i dont know what i am talking about ..
     
  13. american lockpicker

    american lockpicker License to Il

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    Good advice.
     
  14. harleyfx69

    harleyfx69

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    i use a dremel / flex shaft quite often,

    id really like to see you hone a cylinder or chamber by hand ..
     
  15. eddief4

    eddief4

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    i have done a few little projects. nothing as intence tho.
     
  16. Cheseldine

    Cheseldine Texan

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    I have no problem with people fixing up their own guns, but as I am not very knowledgable about it, I leave it to the professionals. If I did extensive work on one of my guns I would carry it if it was reliable.
     
  17. Jason D

    Jason D INFRINGED Silver Member Millennium Member

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    I think that every self-respecting gun owner should have a basic knowledge of gunsmithing. They should also have the smarts to know when they are in over their head.
     
  18. byf43

    byf43 NRA Patron Life Member

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    Well said. Well said, indeed!


    I've done some gunsmithing on some of my firearms, but, nothing that I would ever carry.
    (Except for my Gold Cup. I fitted a new hammer, sear and grip safety in it, a couple of years ago. It works quite well, thank you very much.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  19. RonS

    RonS Millennium Member

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    I find it amazing that so many people are afraid to work on a gun, but will tear a Chevy 350 down and rebuild it. There aren't too many guns that are much more complicated than an old time carbureator.

    It's a piece of equipment and a tool, not some kind of mystical artifact.
     
  20. harleyfx69

    harleyfx69

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    except when you badly rebuild a old school chevy 350 with a carburetor it doesnt have the potential to kill someone when you did a trigger job on your 1911 and you took too much metal off or reprofiled it wrong,

    and then it proceeds to slip off and fire,

    or when your firing and it wears down even further it turns into a machine gun