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Gunsmithing - Apprenticeship

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by Glock Jock, Jul 16, 2016.

  1. Glock Jock

    Glock Jock Wilsonville , OR Well-Known Member

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    Hello! I am very interested in turning my love for firearms into a new trade and currently looking for a Gunsmithing Apprenticeship and or AR-15 building in the Wilsonville area (or not to far away) and wanted to ask the folks here if they could suggest some leads for me to pursue. I work as a mechanical/assembly technician Mon-Fri 10-6 which I have a lot of experience with and would love to find a position for Saturdays as an apprentice learning from a professional. I have called around to a couple shops and have gotten a good response from people but no luck just yet and thought posting a thread here would generate some good leads as the people and information on Northwestfirearms.com is always reliable.

    Any help would be appreciated! Thanks ahead of time :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016
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  2. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    The only real apprentice programs I know of are in Europe. You learn everything from the ground up. Not just assembling. Turning blank barrels, inletting stocks. Building parts from scratch. Best gunsmith I ever knew trained in germany for 4years. Saw him start with a 98k and build it into a takedown with double set triggers, a claw mount scope, and a checkered walnut stock. Everything built from scratch.
     
  3. Glock Jock

    Glock Jock Wilsonville , OR Well-Known Member

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    There was one shop here south of Portland that had already taken an apprentice on so they declined. I don't agree that it is a European thing.
     
  4. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Sub Light Speed Well-Known Member

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  5. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    When My Grandfather was an apprentice you stood by a master and watched for a year, when you were 12 YO. Then you forged iron into steel, then you made a cube of steel/ made a sphere from that cube, then you case hardened that sphere, then you turned that sphere into a clock spring.
    After that your training started, You would have paid the equivalent of $6000 just to get to that point, and there was no tenure because each master signed-off on your abilities
     
  6. F2CMaDMaXX

    F2CMaDMaXX West of Portland from England Bullet goes where now? Staff Member Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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  7. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Good luck to you, Jock!:)
     
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  8. Timbertodd

    Timbertodd Aloha Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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  9. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    My advice is to marry a gunsmiths daughter.
     
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  10. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    At the end of the day, you need to go to a school for a few years. Somewhere like Colorado school of trades, mt. Lassen, or Trinidad junior college (which would likely be my choice at the moment). Once you finish a two year program, you are ready to go to work for an established gunsmith and learn the real trade. You have something to offer at that point beyond an ability to sweep the floor. Having done it, very few people are ready to have their own shops fresh out of school.

    If you are serious about becoming a gunsmith, and are unwilling to go to Europe for a real apprenticeship in Ferlach or Germany, that gives you the best opportunity.
     
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  11. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    Hey now my girls are not old enough!

    It's best to get the basics down and out of the way first. I highly recommend taking machining classes at the local community college and learning how to thread on an engine lathe. And learn to do it well. Learn to drill and tap holes, all the basics would be a great start. Or maybe you have all that down already?
    To be honest there isn't a whole lot you will learn about gunsmithing working on AR-15 rifles. Unless your troubleshooting. But it is a great platform to learn on. Every single step can be studied for function, action/reaction etc
     
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  12. NWCustomFirearms

    NWCustomFirearms Vancouver, WA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    Mine is only 16... and I have lots of guns and know lots of people who have lots of guns lol

    I get several calls a month from people looking for apprenticeship. One out of about every ten calls is looking for a true apprenticeship, the other 9 want to learn the trade AND get paid 45k a year to do it. I have one apprentice and that's enough. Best advice, and what I tell everyone, is what Velzey said, take a machining and welding classes at your local community collage and then check out a gunsmith school or an apprenticeship if you can get one. AGI video series is also not bad for general info.
     
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  13. Glock Jock

    Glock Jock Wilsonville , OR Well-Known Member

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    Learning to build AR-15's would be an awesome start as well as machining and welding. This is something to fill my spare time and learn useful skills in something I really like. I will just keep looking until something works out. Thanks
     
  14. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Lots of community colleges offer night classes for trade related work for people who work but want to further their training or earning potential.

    If you plan to eventually become even a hobbyist gunsmith, be prepared to shell out some huge finances (unless you have a machine shop already) - an artist is only as good as the tools they are working with...
     
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  15. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Sub Light Speed Well-Known Member

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    Joe13 is right, This is what I did when I retired! I found a deal on a mill and a lathe, and got both plus a ton of tool's! I also went to welding school and got my certs! Now I am taking a few machine classes at the local trade school! I just got my self a really nice MIG/TIG?heliarc welder and am starting a mobile welding/repair business specializing in off road equipment repair! So learning is a fun challenge and will eventually pay me back for the costs of gear and tools!
     
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  16. CHLChris

    CHLChris Portland Metro East Love me some guns! Bronze Supporter

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    I listen to the Modern Rifleman Radio podcast and one of the hosts has been going through, I think, the Sonoran Desert Institute. Every episode he talks about his current projects. He is not building AR's but taking, for example, a Mauser action and turning the barrel from a blank, making a stock from a blank, lapping a bolt, etc. It has been a lot of fun listening to his projects over the last few dozen episodes. They joke that it is the Modern Gunsmithing podcast.
     
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  17. transittech

    transittech PDX Well-Known Member

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  18. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Nice find.

    Pay's so little though:(.

    That's about what I started at as an electrical trainee 20+ years ago:eek:.
     
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  19. kato pup dog

    kato pup dog Hermiston Active Member

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    Gunsmithing and ar-15 are not used together. Most anyone with mechanical skills can build, disassemble and rebuild an ar. If you aren't able to take a block of steel, machine it to within 0.001in, treat the steel properly and have the concience to find flaws in your own work, don't attempt to become a gunsmith. It is not an easy field to work in and one of little return. I have a couple friends that are phenomenal gunsmiths and they both urged me not to try. I am a fantastic welder, machinist and mechanic. Gunsmithing as a field takes years to get anywhere financially and the beauracratic BS the gooberment seems to toss in ruins what little cash you may make. These guys are right when they say take the college courses. Mt Hood community college in Gresham has a decent program.
     
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  20. netcarrier

    netcarrier Portland, Oregon Active Member

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    Hey GlockJock,
    I have studied with American Gunsmithing Institute. If you have a little time you can spend, like a few hours a week. This maybe the thing for you. If you would like to know more, Please give me a call, I will tell you more about and also show you how they it works.
    Tony 503-260-3906 or Email me netcarrier@yahoo.com
    :D
     
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