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View Full Version : Gunsmithing apprenticeships?



tomgriffin
08-03-2007, 10:54 PM
I haven't been into airguns for very long but since purchasing my gun and equiptment i have loved every minute of it :D , but the best thing i like about owning an air rifle is being able to take it apart and figure out how everything works and how it can be improved :)

Since my last post on my "engineering" thread i have been researching the art of gunsmithing :) ......but i couldn't find anything about hands on learning or how to go about asking/applying for a hands on apprenticeship in gunsmithing :(

Does anyone know what colleges or uni's are offering courses/apprenticeships for this trade?......:confused: As i haven't had any luck with finding any courses in the UK :(

I really want to find out more information on this trade and will be looking around the area for gunsmiths and asking them if they offer apprenticeships or just learning on the job training without having to go to college.....:)

If you do have any advice (good or bad) then please tell me and could any gunsmiths tell me if this is a "dying trade" (not worth getting into) or if it would be a stable job?

thanks you.....tom griffin :D

bullbarrel
08-03-2007, 10:57 PM
This thread has been running recently.
http://www.airgunbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=177430

MattLin
08-03-2007, 11:00 PM
I've looked high and low and found very, very little. :(

I reckon your best bet is to train in metal work/machining, as in knowing how to use a lathe properly ect.. and go from there, as I'd imagine rifle makers would prefer someone competent in machining before having to teach them to actually make rifles and parts.

Personally, and hopefully, after I've finished this year of college im going to do an apprenticeship as an Instrumental Technician (Already got a sponsor company :D )and at the same time take machining courses or similar, then just see what happens, at least that way I have a decent trade to fall back on/support myself.

Sam Vimes
08-03-2007, 11:13 PM
As stated in the linked thread. Joining the military as an Armourer maybe one of the few ways forward.

pothunter
08-03-2007, 11:31 PM
I think that most training is in-house and, due to the demise of the British gun trade, opportunities are few and far between.
Perhaps an option is to rattle up a stunning CV and send it to the few remaining british gunmakers.
Also think about the different trades in traditional gunsmithing, although many are now "jacks of all trades" the specialist powder burner makers still have individual barrel makers, actioners, engravers, stockers, finishers etc.

I wish you the very best of luck and hope that your search is successful.

ATB

Richard

MattLin
08-03-2007, 11:40 PM
As stated in the linked thread. Joining the military as an Armourer maybe one of the few ways forward.

But also mentioned in that thread - Armourers just aren't taught to the standard a civilian gunsmith is.. :o

pothunter
08-03-2007, 11:58 PM
I agree, an apprentice gunsmith starts by making the tea, sweeping up, watching the master in action, getting the bacon butties, and eventually learns all aspects of the trade from making the pins that hold the locks, through sears, hammers, springs, tumblers and firing pins, lockplates, triggers, barrels, jointing, blueing and heat treating, stocking, fitting, patterning and final finishing.

I really hope the you get to where you want to be, the country needs engineers, far more than it needs social scientists or psychologists!!:D

tomgriffin
23-03-2007, 11:28 PM
I thought i might aswell use the thread i started a while ago rather than starting a new one :D....

I really need/want a job where i can work with my hands and using machines like lathes and mills.....And im pretty sure that a local gunsmith doesn't want to train a new comer about it :(

So i wondered what other jobs are there that use lathes, milling machines and hand tools for forming metal (always liked it a school:) ) as i really do want to get into a trade which involves the above :D

exmoor beast
24-03-2007, 06:54 AM
When I was at school in the early eighties I enquired about an apprenticeship & was told "Gunsmithing is closed shop.." (meaning family only..)I later met a smith who worked for Purdey & he was married into the firm. :( I would have married the fat ugly Purdey girl in a thrice!

u.k.neil
24-03-2007, 06:59 AM
Being a Toolroom apprentice is a good grounding for getting into gunsmithing. Learn all the basic skills.

The only differrence really is that a toolfitter works on tools, a gunsmith works on guns. the principles are the same and guns are not as complicated as tools.:D

Neil

Big Mafoota
24-03-2007, 07:41 AM
Yeah light engineering is about as close to gunsmithing as you'll find ( knowledge and skill wise that is)

My mate's brother is a gunmaker for Holand and Holland and he got into it via the engineering route not the gunsmithing route. Aknowledge of cnc and CAD is also vital nowadays.

tomgriffin
24-03-2007, 03:16 PM
Cheers for your replies :D

So any idea where i should start then.......:o

Should i ask any local engineering companies......there is a gunmakers close (ish) by (Jason Abbot (Gunmakers) Ltd) in thame so im going to write a nice letter (call him after a week if no reply) to him and ask if he would allow me to train with his company as an apprentice :) (might work you never know :o)

If anyone nows of an engineer or engineering company "down south" who would like or may be willing to train me.......then please let me know :)

cheers.....tom griffin :D

MattLin
24-03-2007, 03:28 PM
Find a local college that does engineering apprenticeships, then look around for companies to sponsor you..
You'll more than likely have to spend a year in college.

Its probably unlikely that a firm will just take you on, especially for anything engineering based - Its not like being a plasterer..

tomgriffin
24-03-2007, 03:34 PM
Find a local college that does engineering apprenticeships, then look around for companies to sponsor you..
You'll probably have to spend a year in college.

Its probably unlikely that a firm will just take you on, especially for anything engineering based - Its not like being a plasterer..


I know that a few colleges are doing engineering apprenticeships.....

I think the courses around here work so that your working with the company for 4 days out of the week and the extra day your at college :)

I know that it is highly unlikely a firm will take me on without a college placement, which is why i am also applying for college courses aswell :) (i wouldnt expect a firm to take me on without a placement)

MattLin
24-03-2007, 03:47 PM
Most courses apparently mean spending 1 year in college, then the next year on day release were you only goto college 1 day a week, and then the final year full time. And that after that you'll be with your sponsor company for a set amount of time on contract.

Also on a few engineering things you cant go on site untill 18, so you may have to spend 2 years in college if applying when just leaving secondary school.

hareng
25-03-2007, 12:36 AM
As some have said above at best it would be a few years before you were allowed to work on a gun subject to being competent as well.
Theres a few decent gunsmiths and gunmakers around the Hertfordshire region. Atkin Grant & Lang may be worth a try, i know at least some parts are/will be hand made, they are making guns again. Jason is quite good but dont push him it will backfire. I reckon almost on a weekly basis these types of places are bombarded with such a request and subsequently go straight in the bin. Quite frankly most places are now so small they cannot afford to take anyone on. Add to this the lost time in training someone up based over many years and the amount of lost production probably 60% in first year, you get the picture.
There is a severe shortage of semi skilled and skilled labour up Scotland, three years ago i could have got you something in Glasgow with a highly regarded thriving manufacturer but had to resort to other means.
H&H only employ engineers, the skilled employees were all sacked over 15 years ago like 98% of the rest of the trade, who either set up on their own, retired, emigrated or died. Purdey still have barrel makers.
Wish i could get out of it.

Ray J
25-03-2007, 07:18 AM
Have you thought about the RAOC;) well that was its name years ago.

Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

Ray:cool:

Garvin
25-03-2007, 08:36 AM
You could write to John Whiscombe and offer to continue production when he finally retires. :D

Seriously I also think good qualifications in engineering is the way to start. Good luck to you. :)

tomgriffin
25-03-2007, 11:02 AM
cheers for yur help guys :)

As my chances are very slim at getting a job for a gunsmiths (without workshop experience), what sort of engineer would be my best place to start to build up my skills so eventually i could train to become an apprentice (in gunsmithing)?.......

Some one mentioned tool making, is that making tungsten carbide tooling for various metal working machines?

cheers.....tom griffin :)

Thegreg
25-03-2007, 11:17 AM
No, not exactly! the phrase 'toolmaker' can be misleading, as it doesnt mean 'tools' as you think of them.;) a toolmaker will make and specialise in either press tools, form tools, plastic molding tools (extrusion ect), and the branch that im involved in - jigs and fixtures, the best one in my opinion for the wider variety of work - always something different and challenging!

as for your apprenticeship i dont know how it works down there but i applied to a training school, they gave all your details out to local companies, who if think you look good, ask you for an interview. if you get the job you spend the first year at training, 1 day at college. the other 3 years are spent at your company;) hope this helps,

Greg:)

tomgriffin
25-03-2007, 11:43 AM
Cheers mate, i will research local companies and get a few letters ready :)

Are there any other types of engineering that would give me a good footing to become a gunsmith?:)

Thegreg
25-03-2007, 12:06 PM
mechanical engineering:) toolmaking is just a specialised and highly precision sector of mechanical engineering - machining, fitting etc. you want to get a job as a machinist - manual that is, you dont want to end up a button pusher (CNC operator) CNC programmer/setter however isnt a bad skill to have, im learning programming at the moment;) but make sure you get a good footing in conventional machining.

Greg:)

tomgriffin
25-03-2007, 01:19 PM
mechanical engineering:) toolmaking is just a specialised and highly precision sector of mechanical engineering - machining, fitting etc. you want to get a job as a machinist - manual that is, you dont want to end up a button pusher (CNC operator) CNC programmer/setter however isnt a bad skill to have, im learning programming at the moment;) but make sure you get a good footing in conventional machining.

Greg:)

Cheers mate.......i will have a look on the net to find some companies and colleges who offer apprenticeship schemes :D