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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have spent most of Veterans Day digging through some old (very) posts and wanted to comment in general not specifics.

There are some very negative threads about the professional smiths that I think are truelly unfounded. I personally know and have been friends with a couple of smiths for years and some of the allegations made really stink.

First gunsmiths make too much. Well I don't see it both of my friends have ulimately given it up. Most gunsmiths get into smithing because they love the work. Then business reality sets in after they have opened up shop. Shooters tend to a a pretty miserly lot, yup cheap, myself included. We open our wallets cautiously and want a lot of value. Typical work is some clown going down to the local pawn shop and picking up a ancient rifle for spit then walking to the shop to get sights or a scope drilled and tapped before opening day of deer season next week, and this they expect should cost $30.00 boresighted.

Gunsmiths are modified machinists. Now some simple math from my real work. I don't expect to get any decent machine work done for less than $50.00 shop rate. That includes setup and machine time. If I want tight specification work done I expect a minimum of $65 up per hour, and if I want tool and die work add another $20-30 an hour. Anytime I pay less, I get less and it usually means they are parts I throw across the shop cause they didn't read the prints, or can't hold a tolerance if there life depended on it.

With above real numbers in mind for machine shops, look what we expect out of our smiths for less. Every job they take in is one of a kind, when was the last time you sent 10 pistols to your smith so he could set up once and run you a batch. So each job is set up, then done at a fixed price. These are never cost plus (cost of materials plus their time ) how many of us customers would croak if we heard that. Back to the our gunsmiths are machinists line it really is a lot easier for them to go work for Boeing or Lockheed Martin building airplanes get paid a steady paycheck for a job you the consumer don't bitch about their shop rate. I guess we consumers expect to pay for this on airplanes but won't pay for it on our guns ( must be the fear of falling out of the sky ).

I checked shop rates on having a match bushing installed. Range was $25-40 bucks without the part. Now in my real job that works out to about 15-20 min shop time, depending on the labor rate of my employee. Do you think your smith is going to install a bushing in in that time.........nope I seriously doubt it.

My suggestion is we be a little kinder to our smiths as these are mostly decent guys doing something they love and trying to make a reasonable living at it. Remember to that most of them are married and if they can't make a reasonable living momma will be influencing them to work at Boeing where the paychecks are steady.
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