A good gunsmith should have comprehensive knowledge not only about firearms but also about the tools used to make and repair them.
There are many gunsmithing training programs that can be done online, getting certified is the first step towards becoming a gunsmith.
But, if you are here to learn about the tools of gunsmithing…
Let’s dive right in:
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Article Table of Contents
- 1 #1: Epoxy
- 2 #2: Belt Sander
- 3 #3: Brass Hole Punch Set & Hammer
- 4 #4: Gun-Specific Tool Kit
- 5 #5: Torx and Adjustable Screwdriver Set
- 6 #6: Professional Reticle Leveling System
- 7 #7: Common Workshop Tools
- 8 #8: Engraver
- 9 #9: Safety Gear
- 10 Frequently Asked Questions
A strong epoxy (such as JB Weld or Acraglas) is a vital part of a toolkit of a gunsmith.
Bedding the stock of a rifle and ensuring it shoots accurately is an essential part of a gunsmith’s job.
A high-quality epoxy accurizing compound is an essential part of the process.
#2: Belt Sander
Belt sanders come in many forms, but a standard benchtop belt sander works just fine.
This is a great tool for hand-smoothing rough parts and getting rid of bumps and other imperfections.
#3: Brass Hole Punch Set & Hammer
With a good punch set, gunsmiths can make delicate adjustments to dights and pins without causing damage to the metal surfaces of firearms.
Similar to hole punches, brass hammers can prevent scarring on the firearm body while working on it.
If the gun still has some scuffs, they can be wiped off easily.
#4: Gun-Specific Tool Kit
All types of guns sometimes require a set of specially designed tools added to the standard tools.
Some toolkits have unique tools for repairing, building, or modifying specific guns.
#5: Torx and Adjustable Screwdriver Set
Specialty Torx-head screws, together with regular notched screws, are common for a gunsmith, so special screwdrivers are essential in a gunsmith’s toolkit.
Having a variety of sizes for both types of screws seems obvious, but it’s also a thing that can be easily overlooked.
You may also want to obtain a torque wrench.
These wrenches allow you to tighten screws to the exact tightness easily, without stripping the screw.
#6: Professional Reticle Leveling System
Scope and crosshair adjustment is a major part of a gunsmith’s job.
To set up a scope precisely, a good leveling kit is essential.
Many kits like this can be bought for less than $100.
#7: Common Workshop Tools
Besides specialty tools with specific purposes, gunsmiths should also have more common tools for wood or metal work.
This includes regular wrenches, pliers, hammers, welding tools.
Basically, anything that is used to work on wood or metal does what you want it to.
Some gunsmiths do engraving work on firearms that come through their shop, however, they may require certification with the ATF for this.
Gunsmiths that do it usually use either hand tools, such as files, chisels, gouges, or industrial engravers, depending on the job.
#9: Safety Gear
Just like with any workshop job, protective equipment is a must.
Proper eye protection and gloves for welding and operation of heavy machinery are essential.
Frequently Asked Questions
What tools gunsmiths in the past used?
In the 1700s gunsmiths used a boring bench, a rifling bench, and a pan borer which was made for gunsmiths.
Guns were simpler then, but the tools needed have not changed that much.
They were often using blacksmith tools.
They used metal files, vises, drills, and augers to work on the simple guns that were available at the time.
They also needed some woodworking tools and skills for the stocks.
How much does it cost to become a gunsmith?
You can complete basic gunsmith training in less than a year, at about what a year of college costs – between $5,000 and $15,000.
There are higher levels of classes as well.
If you work for yourself, you will need all the tools that will cost thousands more.
Most get into an apprenticeship or work for someone for a while first.
What degree do you need to be a gunsmith?
You need a federal firearms license to be a gunsmith.
To get that you must either have some years of experience or a diploma from an accredited gunsmith school.
Some state universities and junior colleges offer certification in gunsmithing, and there are schools that offer these classes online.
Being an apprentice with a gunsmith is also a good way to get the needed experience.
Is gunsmith a trade?
Gunsmithing fits the definition of a trade-type job very well.
A trade is a job where advanced training in a specific area is needed, as well as specific skills being developed.
This education is done without the typical four-year college degree.
You must also have some experience before you can work as a gunsmith, which is another hallmark of a trade.
Is it hard to become a gunsmith?
Becoming a gunsmith is not easy, but it is not harder than learning any other trade.
You can learn from someone as an apprentice without any other formal training, or you can take a course at a school.
Beyond that, you need some experience before you work on guns because they can be dangerous.
There is no four-year college program to go through.
Usually, there is a class that takes less than a year, and then be an apprentice.
Read the full guide: How to Become a Gunsmith