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Gunsmithing: Training, Career, Salary & More

A gunsmith can perform many procedures on a gun, such as repairing broken parts and making modifications. Sometimes gunsmiths specialize in a particular area, and sometimes they work as generalists. Common tasks include the following:

  • Accurizing guns
  • Adding decorative pieces
  • Adding rifling to a barrel
  • Assessing safety
  • Assessing the accuracy of a weapon
  • Converting to a different cartridge size 
  • Create new and customized parts
  • Diagnosing misfires
  • Installing a new sight
  • Polishing metal parts
  • Producing competition rifles
  • Reboring a barrel
  • Refinishing wooden parts
  • Treating guns with rust proofing

Prerequisite Skills

What does it take to become a successful gunsmith? It’s exacting work, so patience, levelheadedness, and attention to detail are required. Good fine-motor skills are needed, since many of the pieces you’d be working with are quite small. Creative thinking and problem solving are useful for rising to any challenge. 

Some gunsmiths open their own shops, so business skills might be needed. This can be a difficult way to make a living. There may not be a lot of gunsmiths around, but there’s also not a signficant need for them. Many guns are not terribly expensive, and it can be costly to pay for maintenance on weapons. Gun owners may choose to replace rather than repair. Consequently, if you're in business for yourself, knowing good business practices is imperative. You need to be able to attract and keep customers while still being able to earn a living. You’ll have to interact with vendors, manage inventory, and, perhaps, conduct retail sales.

Gunsmiths may be hired by government facilities or businesses. In this case, gunsmiths need interpersonal skills in order to work cooperatively with other staff.

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