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is there really much of a career in firearms?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by deann, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. deann

    deann oregon Active Member

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    does anyone know if there much of a market in firearms as a career change? just wondering, love to hear all feedback.
     
  2. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The firearms industry as a whole is a pretty broad industry, with hundreds of career paths... everything from sponsored shooters to machinists to engineers to marketing specialists to IT to business management and a hundred things in between. What specifically are you interested in?
     
  3. deann

    deann oregon Active Member

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    ive considered gunsmithing/machinist,been an iron worker for24 years,my true love are guns and at 42 i really want to go a different direction. sounds crazy?
     
  4. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Doesn't sound crazy at all.. I almost just made a huge career change myself, mid-life.. but my employer rejected my resignation and offered me more money than I could walk away from.

    I now make a lot more money- Sweet!
    But I still hate my job- Lame.

    ---

    As to the industry... gunsmithing has never been a lucrative career. For every gunsmith that's manage to spring forth, there are 10 that pittered out in 8 months and are now iron-workers. I'm not saying it can't be done, there just isn't a huge demand for it around here. I gunsmithed as a "side job" for several years, up until about a year and a half ago... I primarily built custom ARs, but also did all sorts of other services. Granted, I never advertised myself (was my downfall for my day-business, too, that), and was pretty narrow in my specialty, but it never turned any kind of profit- just kept me busy on the weekends and helped pay for my shooting sports hobby. In the end, with all the expensive custom jigs and specialty tools, it probably barely paid for itself.

    If you're really interested in getting into the industry, I'd start looking at other avenues... research and design is an incredibly enjoyable field, in the gun industry... but you're looking at an engineering degree. Machining might not be that hard to get into, but it doesn't pay very well these days, now that China can make the part and ship it to you for less than a machinist can whip it out here stateside. But at least with machining, you won't be limited to the gun-industry, if the market sours.. An experienced gun-part machinist can walk into any shop making anything and get right to work- machining is machining, in any industry. The difference is tolerance- the skill of the machinist, not the type.
     
  5. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Junction City Active Member

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    I think there is a career in about anything. You just have to have the willingness and drive to make it happen! A solid financial reserve always helps. There will always be somebody who wants firearms and smithing. Even when the government takes them all they will need people to work on theirs!
     
  6. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    As someone who was a Custom Knifemaker for 14 years I would ask. What is your business background? Have you ever done a set of books? paid your quarterly taxes? Empolyed someone? Whats your business plan? How much money would you have to borrow? How long would it take to pay it back?

    Making knives was the easiest part of being self employed. It was all the other crap that made the process a living hell.

    OH and do you have any trouble working 80 hours a week for 30 hours worth of pay?
     
  7. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    Like any small business you need to find a 'nitch' Having been self employed before I certainly understand all the aforementioned but I suspect gunsmithing (in it's typical definition) would probably not be something that could carry you full time and would have to a part of a larger undertaking. I learned this the hard way when I was in business as the business I started eventually led to something much bigger and more profitable but I was able to maintain the original as a part of the whole picture. We all see and hear the success stories of those who start something and experience immediate (and continued) success with their basic plan but that is the exception rather than the rule.
     
  8. deann

    deann oregon Active Member

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    no,but for what is worth iam a superintendent for asteel erection company,and have been for 9yrs., so i get the long hours little pay.the burden of responsability being on one person,dead lines, commitments,logistics,etc,etc. and the bottom line!! my job ends when i close my eyes,sometimes...so in many ways i do get it.like now going through drawings,change orders and R.F.I's... of the clock.
     
  9. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    OK next question what training do you have in the field of gunsmithing? What equipment do you have.

    A gunsmith just opened shop here in Silverton. but without a suitable lathe and milling machine he's not able to do anything I can't do at home. Even though he is a school and military trained gunsmith.

    SO until he has the equipment and has worked with said equipment I'll keep my gunsmithing projects at home and watch. You only get one chance to thread a barrel and install it into a receiver properly.
     
  10. Angie

    Angie Reno, NV Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I think there is a career for just about anything if you are passionate and dedicated to offering a quality product. We have been heavily into off-roading and keeping lands open to the public for 20+ years. For the past 5 years, it has been our bread and butter. First with off-road race promotions (my husband dreamed up an event and 3 years later, it was the biggest off-road race in the nation for spectators, outside of super cross). Sold that and now we do consulting and marketing for the off-road race industry and land-use groups. Most people only dream of making a living off-roading. Like I said, it takes passion and a quality product. You can do it with anything.

    Very good friend of ours just opened a gunsmithing shop in Vegas.
     
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  11. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I must call BS on some of the above,save Angie's post.

    We are without a gunsmith up here in the Sequim area.Well we have 2 that do only the jobs they want,when they want to work.
    The one we had left for Spokane. So Spokane has a new,very good gunsmith that does quick work instead of taking forever to get your gun back!

    He did have a Navy pension and the wife works for homeland security or such.And he does have some pretty impressive equipment.
    But I can't really tell you how much money he made.
    The other guy in PA seems to be making a decent living.He's paying rent and driving a nice truck.
    I believe you can do well with gunsmiths....IF you are a great machinist.And are very knowledgeable about guns. Just because you know something about guns,can disassemble and clean most guns and can turn a rod down on a lathe,doesn't mean people will drop their $2500 guns off at your door.
    So until you have a following,it will take some serious cash to keep the doors open.
    Every business has had people come and go after a few months .There is never a good time to start a business.It's always a gamble
    Now I would guess it wood be the same for opening a gun shop.Until you get some customers through the doors,you'll pay rent from your savings.

    I have a decent pension,so working at a gun shop would afford me some nicer guns. I don't guess it would pay the mortgage and feed a family very good. But I'm always a proponent for changing jobs for less stress . Heck just for the change

    Good luck
     
  12. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    How about magazine manufacturing?!
    The Saiga .308 still needs a good aluminum/stamped steel mag.
    Csspecs is ok.. but I want more testing.. mine are just too clunky and I'd like it do be a little more durable.

    Easy weekend job right there!
    Saiga12forum, AR15.com, WarriorTalk Forum, Akfiles..etc There is a huge demand, but only for a decent product.

    If you could come up with a poly mag with a steel cage/locking lugs/floor plate like the circle 10 but for around $35-$45 you could make some money. Just a thought.
     
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  13. ORSECTRAIN

    ORSECTRAIN Sherwood, Oregon Member

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    "Armed Business" since 1985 and counting ...

    I worked sales for six years in a gunshop/range pay was not so hot, but LOVED going to work and actualy quit another better paying job to do it.
    It is not like work if you are doing somthing you love to do and getting paid for it.

    YYMV,

    Respectfully,

    ORSECTRAIN
    "Be Safe out There!"
     
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  14. revjen45

    revjen45 Snohomish County Well-Known Member

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    Does your wife have a good job?
     
  15. deann

    deann oregon Active Member

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    thank you all for your input,looks like ill keep puting up iron and keep collecting and sooting on the side. doesnt sound that bad to me really, one pays for the other and much more.