Gunsmithing was a time-consuming and meticulous profession before the Revolutionary War. Gunsmiths had to be skilled in metal work, wood work, metal casting and be artistic. Creating a new firearm would often take up to 400 hours of labor. Gunsmith shops were usually crowded with materials, equipment, gunsmith tools and poorly lit.
Gunsmiths would do occasional repairs and often hired apprentices who worked for them for years. Colonial gunsmiths would personalize and repair handguns that had been imported from England. Gunsmiths were hired to make the larger rifles as they were not imported, and they often cost as much as a full set of clothing. Measurements were taken to ensure that the gun was the correct size for its owner.
The ”Pennsylvania rifle” or ”Kentucky rifle” was produced by mainly German Gunsmiths. Accuracy was improved because of the longer rifled barrel. It was more affordable because if the smaller bore which required far less powder. The stock was usually metal engraved and carved.
Gunsmiths were in demand when the new Americans began to move west. Reliable firearms were required for protection and hunting. Still using homemade gunsmith tools, most of the work involved converting or repairing rifles. Gun and ammunition sales became a part of gunsmith trade while they also repaired household items such as scissors, knives and clocks. Apprentices were often sons or nephews working for family members.
A Gunsmith is a highly skilled craftsman who is able to develop, restore, fabricate, or repair guns. Gunsmiths are usually specialists or general practitioners who have clients who hunt, collect firearms, deal in firearms, and anyone else who may be qualified to own a firearm. You will find most Gunsmiths working in self owned businesses. They do require skills to perform occupational duties, such as refined hand/eye coordination, keen sight and grip. This includes work experience and education that is necessary to qualify for employment.
If you are interested in becoming a gunsmith you can begin preparing for this before completing your GED.
By completing course in subjects such as mathematics, English, psychology, business communications, students often prepare for their careers. Students may participate in shooting clubs, complete courses in gun safety or hunt. There are certificate programs, internships or degree programs that can expand your training and further education. There are many courses such as identifying and evaluating firearms, gunsmith tools, hand and power tools, metalwork, ballistics and ammunition and many more.
Once certificate courses are completed, students usually secure entry level employment. The National Rifle Association offers many courses and gunsmiths who have experience like to continue their studies and become masters of their craft. Gunsmithing opens employment in areas such as sporting goods stores, private shooting ranges, gun shops or self owned businesses.
There are community colleges and correspondence courses that offer several courses of study in this area which can take less than two years. Many of these courses lead to certification and degrees. Some of the more well know schools also offer training in this trade. They can be located by doing a little research on the internet.