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gunsmiths here

2082 Views 28 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Dave Sample
I do not want to sound hateful, but which one's have people here done business with? I got burned bad by an internet gunsmith, so I am leary. I saw pistolwrench is one and am sure there are others. If you're here you must be a 1911 fan, so...

[named removed]

[This message has been edited by ArmySon (edited 07-31-2001).]
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Well... Based on how this reads, you may find a few of the Pro's unwilling to step up, and certainly, many of the members handing them over for Public Execution!

Personally, if someone out there burned you, or you had a problem with them that youhad trouble resolving, I don't think it's necessary to "Name" the party publicly, unless there is some specific reason, and even then, it's often best handled "Off-Line" as not to "Incite a Riot" or throw gasoline on the match.

There are at least a dozen Practicing, Professionals who post here, and probably another dozen who lurk... I know that every one of them have done work for someone here at some point, and while most are happy, ocassionally, someone isn't, but that's probably rare... If you really want to find them, just read the forum here in Gunsmithing, you'll quickly learn who is, and isn't, and email them...

You could also post what it is that you are hoping to have fixed, and ask for suggestions, etc, but I'd hesitate to try to start a "Bidding War" soliciting the lowest bidder for the job, they don't play that...

You can also check out the Pistolsmaith's forum as well, many hang out there too...

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This is too great to pass up! I built 1911's for 18-20 years and when it got to the point around here that I was the last one to get the gun after it had been butchered, I quit doing 1911 work for the public. We have or maybe had a school of gunsmithing here at our community college and the damage that was done to some nice pistols was mind-boggling. pistolwrench said we should we should thank the Man Above for these people but I hated going in after them. I'm sure you know that there are many fine 1911 'smiths out there sagging the floors, so don't give up. The best way to find one is ask people who have had great work done" who did it?" Bill Bidwell ( my mentor) would never go into a gun that had been worked on and that is my policy now for the few serious people I still work for. I don't know about anyone else, but I've had a no BS lifetime warranty on my work since I started. I've had two come back. One for a 2 lb trigger for an Ex- green beret colonel, and a bad part that I didn't want to use to start with. It came back at 1700 and was fixed at 1800. Tht's it for 20 years. Every smith I know backs up their work the same way. I would pay attention to what others say about them. That includes me!
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I have personally seen "Pistolwrench's
work and if I didn't build my own I would have Chuck build me a custom or do machine work for me(which he has) with NO hesitation! I have run across some of the so called custom work you alluded to and it is no fun ("NF")to try and correct
. I noticed that you are from Oklahoma. If you are anywhere near OKC, I am in OKC and do custom 1911 work. Maybe I can help you get some of the problems with your 1911 worked out. Sometimes you are better off starting over if the gun has been taken out of "spec" too far...it would be like that Tom Hanks movie "The Money Pit" but w/o the Hollywood ending. Anyway, getting screwed isn't what this forum is about. I would be glad to look at your gun and see if the problems can be corrected, and if I can't do it for you I know the 'smiths that can.
Barry Greyson
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I apologize for naming the SOBs name. He butured my best SKS and charged me dearly to do it. I literally mean he ruined the gun. It never worked again and is now in pieces out in my shop. Not looking to have it worked on. I am not that hard to please and certainly not trying to get work done for nothing. Owned my own business for too long to try to shaft someone else.
What got me to thinking was one of the guys offer to mill a slide clean. My Sistma has such poor markings I would be better off without them there, but there is also some pitting in the smaller area of the slide under the barrel. Can that be fixed? I would probably be better off ordering a new slide. I want better sites too.
bjg- I am about as far from you as an Okie can get, right on the AR line. My son lived in Norman till a couple of weeks ago though.
I have done some custom action jobs on AK-47's but have never "messed" with an SKS so I won't go there. As for your systema, without seeing the pitting and the condition of the slide it would be hard to make any recommendations. It would be like owning a bodyshop and someone calls you on the phone that they had an accident, in their jeep, and they want to know how much would it cost to fix it? The answer is "How do I know?"...that is, without seeing the damage. The pitting you described might come out with aggressive sandblasting to texture the surface, and if sealed with an epoxy or polymer coating might never be visible to the eye. The slide might be able to be trued up and smoothed with surface grinding, the sight cuts made, and sights mounted, and it might look better than new when finished out?
However, I believe the key to a successful project is starting with a good "foundation"
...in this case the foundation is the slide
and the frame . If they are examined and are in "spec" then you have a place to start. If they are not in spec don't use them!!!
Then you and your 1911 'smith sit down and decide what you want, and how YOU want it to turn out... have a meeting of the minds! Otherwise it would be like hiring a decorator to decorate a room witout any imput. You might want an early American Leather recliner and couch and she might give you French provincial(yech!)
And , if you are going to do a project do it all at the same time...those never ending projects that are always in a variable state of development never end up working right when in "transition," and can drive you to the edge! You will never get the enjoyment and sense of personal pride from your custom that you are seeking. Believe me when I tell you that most of the 'smiths that do custom 1911 work put their heart and soul into these projects
and the last thing they want is a customer that that they can never get it right for.
Since you said that you had your own business I'm sure that you understand how important getting it right for the customer is, especially for a one or two man shop.
Well, I didn't intend to get on my soap box here I only wanted to save you some aggravation in the future.IMHO, all The work on the slide and any refinishing can be done by any of the very talented 1911 'smiths that post here, esp. Pistolwrench, EGW
Vickers, etc...
BTW, lets change the subject for a minute ...Do you think OU can repeat its performance of last year?
Respectfully yours,
Barry Greyson
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bjg- Since you are the closest to melet me ask you this. Are you a full time smith? In other words, if I am in OKC can I drop by your shop to discuss my guns future? I know by now you have me pegged as a real @$$ hole, but I simply can't get across what I mean to say here.
I hate to even talk about that SKS, but to prove I am not just she-dogging- It was supposed to be converted to take AK mags.Of course this involves milling out the mag well and welding on a piece at the front for the mag to lock in to. This piece fell off the first time I tried to insert a mag because it was poorly welded( brazed actually). That is far from the only problem. No more about that please.
Imokie, as you are in OK, I would say give Bob Hunter of Hunter Custom a call. Bob is a no BS type of guy. As far as I know he only works on 1911's. Has done work for me, fair priced, good work. There are others, but they are farther away.


"And by the way, Mr. Speaker, The Second Amendment is not for killing ducks and leaving Huey and Dewey and Louie without an aunt and uncle. It is for hunting politicians like (in) Grozney and in 1776, when they take your independence away".
Robert K. Dornen, U.S. Congressman. 1995
1) No,I am not a full time 1911'smith, my primary Trade is Dentistry and I build custom 1911s by referral...
2) No, I do not think you are an ***hole
or I wouldn't have taken the time to respond to your post. I think you paid your hard earned dough for a service you felt you did not get, or did not get, and you were/are upset about it. I took the time to post my second reply to make some suggestions that I thought would help you avoid having a repeat of the first incident.
3)I don't think that any of the 'smiths replying here are of the philosophy " Don't go away mad just go away"...they all want to do a good job for you and get paid for it.
4)Yes, you are welcome to stop by if you call first so I know when you are going to drop by...as a Dentist we only get paid for "grams of enamel removed(LOL)"
...and if I have a patient in the "chair" I just can't stop what I am doing to chat. It would not be respectful of my patients time, my time, or yours to do so.
5) I think that some of these subject could be taken care of through private e-mails, however you did not have one listed under your profile. If you have any further questions that you need answered send me your e-mail address and I would be happy to reply.
...Dr. Barry Greyson...
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Wish you were not so far away, I need your professional services MUCH worse right now than your gunsmith services. Been nursing an abcessed tooth for a week trying to get it pulled. Saturday night I was just about ready to remove it with the .45. I kept thinking about the Lidocain and syringes in my medical supplies.
If you can't find anyone in your area to handle that abcessed tooth let me know and I'll make time to get you "in"...I haven't started on my August "quota" yet and the 'tooth fairy" gets really p***ed if you don't meet your quota!!!
...he's a nasty little sucker(LOL)...
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I am going to disagree.

There are smith's that work only on untouched guns. And there are smith's that will get your gun up and running should you have a problem or a bad experience, or change your mind.

I have seen Chuck post many pictures of work he has cleaned up for people. For me we learn more from guns that do not work than from the ones that do. If the gun is beyond repair (rare) just tell the guy.

If you help a guy out that is stuck or has had a bad experience, or had his gunsmith retire, or go out of business what would you do? sell it? someone has to work on the thing. If you get him up and running where will he go next time?? Not that one is wrong and the other is right.

I would guess if your gunsmith troubleshoots guns and is good at it and does it long enough he will see more than a guy that just builds them out of nice new boxes.

geo ><>
Hey there George,
I see where you're coming from and I agree with you about trouble shooting...and that you learn a bunch from the oddballs that come in the door. I didn't mean to imply that I only build new out of the box. I will do any repair or upgrade that I think I can do competently. There are certain procedures that I don't have the equipment or skill at this time to do such as precision tig welding. I had a client that thought cutting the front strap on his favorite 5" Springfield to take Officers extended Mags with the stop on the front of the mag was cool - go figure. I sent it out to 'Arizona' and had it welded up and the contours of the front strap recut and an ED Brown Maxiwell put on to hold it all together ...I refitted all the internals,put on a E. Brown beavertail, installed a new barrel, function tested it and had it hard chromed...worked out great. We were both very happy with the outcome.
You helped me out about a year and a half ago by fabricating a reverse plug for a 6" slide that was extended so I could cut a nipple on the front to work with a standard barrel bushing. It was just one of those weird deals where the client had accumulated the parts at some IPSC Meets without thinking how they went together...he brought it to me and said Barry would you put this gun together for me?... to run the gun without the reverse plug flange would batter or crack the slide, a standard reverse plug wouldn't hold the bushing from rotating. Nobody made a part like this commercially. So, with the part you fabricated for me I adjusted the reverse plug and slide to impact flush with the frame, and the nipple so it would not put pressure on the bushing and tear it up. Again, you do what you have to do to make the gun run.
I won't go into all the details of my one "skeleton in the closet", but I will say the the one time(5 years ago...I have been doing 'smithing 6yrs.) that I started a project where I didn't look over a gun, and do preliminary measuring before I started the project I was not a happy camper...the gun was not reliable and would jam where you had to use a mallet to unlock it. I had it looked over by 2 very experienced 'smiths(APG members) and they said it would be good for a bedroom gun because you could get 2 or 3 rounds off before it would jam. That was not going tobe an option! So I drove up to Claremore, Okla. and sat down with John Nowlin Sr., and we measured that frame and slide for over an hour until we found out why the gun was out of time and jammed. If I had known what to look for before I started I never would have started the project. So I replaced that(POS) frame and slide at no cost to the client and refit all the new parts to the new frame and slide and went on down the road. For me it was not a matter of dollars, it was a matter of professionalism, integrity, and conscience. I don't tell a client that its going to cost another $540, that he was not quoted before the work was started because I didn't catch certain problems in my original diagnosis. Once I started working on that gun it became my problem, and I wasn't going to let it go out of the shop unsafe where it might let him down when he needed it!
Well, what did it teach me...it taught me
to look at the gun in a different light...it
forced me to expand my knowledge base so I could be more meticulous and not take little things for granted when putting a precision tool together, and it made me as "anal" about 1911's as I am about my Dentistry...
Time to say good night, I'm tapped out...
Later George,
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Interesting comments. I rarely saw guns "NITB" because I realized 18 years ago that I did'nt want anything to do with trying to make silk purses out of sows ears. The guns I built were " Custom Caspians" and I used all new , quality parts . I have never had much use for factory guns because they can't be much with the union help that the factories are forced to use. They really don't have time to do it right. I still love doing a slide to reciever fit with my two lead hammers and knowing that the gun will run a long, long time. I also had a duty 1911 that I built from an Argentine Colt. I checkered it in a weekend, sent it to be hard chromed, staked and drifted some nite lights on it and carried it "on the Job". It was soft as butter, but I knew the slide markings would drive the lawyers nuts if I ever had to use it. I would draw file the slide yourself rather than spending any money on machine work. They really are'nt much good unlees you are going to carry it a lot and shoot it a little. A quote from Eagle's Law. " If it does'nt work when you you need it, you'll never need it again"

[This message has been edited by Dave Sample (edited 08-03-2001).]
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...Love that "Eagles Law" quote Dave...
Is it getting pretty hot up in the high desert?
I was out in Pheonix in April visiting Ed Cameron(Camerons Custom) and while there got to go to Prescott Valley and meet Chuck Rogers(Rogers Precision)...both are wild and crazy guys(LOL)
, but I think Chuck is "crazier"(hahaha)...(gottcha Chuck!).Also got to hold those 2 matching commanders that Chuck posted pics on...would love to visit again soon. I never did get to see Prescott but I saw enough cactus to last me two lifetimes. I couldn't believe how intense the sun was ...everything just seemed
brighter up there...Oh yeh , I also got a tour of Dillion Manufacturing and got to see them assembling some Mini-guns like the one Schwartznegger used in "Terminator"...boy my .45 sure looked puny next to that mini-gun!!
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Hello Imokie,
I don't know what problems you are having with your 1911 but I'll be glad to discuss them with you and see what it will take to fix your gun.
John thanks for the kind words.
Regards, Bob Hunter www.huntercustoms.com
OK OK I have to say this. I am not a gunsmith, but after a career in the military and now being in law enforcement for 8 years I have to admit there are people who call themselves gunsmiths butttt I don't know. I agree with your comments. You can not call someone and expect a "proper answer" without the person looking at the gun. For example you call an auto shop and say I need brakes, how much. The guy says $80.00. However once he gets your car the rotors and calipers are shot, you get a bill for $280.00. Your pissed. It is the same when dealing with a "quality" gunsmith. If you send him your gun for sights and he finds other major problems he should fix them.. Most would probably call you and discuss it. Anyway I think you get my drift. Ask the smith for a couple of references. If he has nothing to hide they will probably give them to you. Go to someone who you have read about in magazines or in this forum. I know American Handgunner profiles quality smiths, and finally you get what you pay for. A $20.00 action job will probably be a $20.00 action job. If your life depends on your gun as mine does a few extra dollars is cheap compared to medical bills or the price of a funeral. Sorry I got long winded
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ld- you are closer to saying what I tried to say. All I meant was what smiths here had other members used and would recommend. As usual I screwed everything up. It seems reasonable that if they work on guns and are here they love the 1911, so that puts them at the front of the pack when someone is looking for repairs or mods on a 1911.
Originally posted by Dave Sample:
I did'nt want anything to do with trying to make silk purses out of sows ears. The guns I built were " Custom Caspians" and I used all new , quality parts . I have never had much use for factory guns because they can't be much with the union help that the factories are forced to use. They really don't have time to do it right. (edited 08-03-2001).]
Boy Dave. And here all this time I thought I was jaded! Wow is me.

I am with you. When a guy discribes his shooting in terms of boxes of ammo he shoots a month he will probably be ok with a SprCoKiPa. It escapes me why one would buy one in the 750. range just to gut it though?

I can't believe with the membership # no one called you on the union quote.
geo ><>
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Originally posted by lawdog1834:
Most would probably call you and discuss it.

Gosh I hope so! remember no good deed goes unpunished.

Anyway I think you get my drift. Ask the smith for a couple of references. If he has nothing to hide they will probably give them to you.
Great! could not agree more. Although I can be amused by a guy walking up to Heinie and asking to have a trigger fitted and by the way can I get a couple references

Go to someone who you have read about in magazines or in this forum. I know American Handgunner profiles quality smiths,
I would respectfuly disagree on this one. First I know a couple guys here that do good work. I have seen it. Just because they have not had a cover or been featured I would hope you would not discount them or there ability.
go with the reference you mentioned, Sure. Yes.

There was more than one fella that had been featured in books and major magazines and has deposit money and frames and guns and no one can find them.

We all start somewhere.

geo ><>
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