How to Become a Gunsmith | eHow

shutterstock_251877871If you’re passionate about guns and gun repair, have you ever thought about becoming a gunsmith? This rewarding career choice can be both spiritually fulfilling and financially sensible if you have what it takes to follow the path of this discipline. Gunsmiths repair, inspect and clean firearms, give training on their proper use and maintain inventories of guns and accessories. They’re involved with the fabrication, assembly, disassembly, cleaning, troubleshooting, customization, engraver, repair and/or sales of guns but usually specialize in one or just a few of these areas. They work on handguns, rifles, shotguns or any combination thereof.

Being a gunsmith isn’t too different from working on other machined tools, except that there are very specific precautions professionals in this field need to take to make sure that they’re protected from injury and that their work environments are safe in case of accidents.

To be a gunsmith, first and foremost, you need to take classes or apprentice to learn skills related to building and maintaining guns, including grinding, welding, carving, milling, polishing, chiseling and filing. Gunsmiths are able to design and build new guns and modify and add parts to existing ones. They need to know about reading blueprints and working with computer-aided design (CAD) software. Other useful classes for prospective gunsmiths are machine tooling, metallurgy, chemistry, ballistics, drafting, woodworking, algebra and report writing. High schools and technical schools offer all of these classes and related ones that can be useful for you.

Gunsmithing is a hands-on profession where direct learning is necessary in addition to theory. Being an apprentice or assistant to an existing gunsmith can help you tremendously in gaining useful and necessary skills, such as having patience, attention to detail and steady hands. You can register to be a gunsmith apprentice through state apprenticeship programs that you can find on Google.

Formal gunsmith training programs are offered by some trade schools and community colleges. Through these programs you can typically earn an associates degree or diploma. The National Rifle Association (NRA) also offers non-credit short-term courses for individuals; check their website for more details.

Most gunsmiths need to be licensed for their activities. If you’re building or selling firearms, you’ll need a Federal Firearms License (FFL) issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to be an authorized dealer or maker of guns. In addition, many states, municipalities and counties have their own licensing laws that you’ll have to comply with depending on where you want to conduct your business.

Most gunsmiths work within existing gun shops, gun distributors or manufacturers. You can inquire at known gun businesses to see what their needs are. The median hourly salary for gunsmiths in the U.S. is about $15/hour. The job growth rate for this field is projected to be between 3 and 7 percent from 2016 through 2022. Some gunsmiths go on to start their own shops or manufacturing businesses after working for an employer, and this can make a career in this profession even more lucrative.

Pros and Cons of Bow Hunting vs Rifle Hunting

shutterstock_88448545Every hunter has preferences, when it comes to equipment, game and terrain. Some prefer bow hunting, while others are more comfortable with a rifle. Both manners of hunting have their advantages, though obviously comfortability and preference play a large role. A few key differences include cost, skill level, regulations and versatility.

In terms of cost, there is a great deal of variation, whichever type of weapon you prefer. According to, at the low-end of the price spectrum, guns and bows will cost roughly the same amount. For a few hundred dollars you can get an acceptable bow or rifle, perfect for the beginning hunter. Furthermore, there are expensive rifles and expensive bows, so you can spend as much as you are willing either way. Nevertheless, the cost of maintaining a rifle and supplying its ammunition and accessories may be a bit higher. After all, you can use your arrows more than once, whereas a round is used up after only one firing.

The regulations regarding what weapons are acceptable to use for various different types of game vary from state to state, so if there is a particular type of game you are interested in, you need to do your research before you purchase either a new bow or rifle. Very small game animals typically need to be hunted with a gun, while medium-sized animals can often be hunted with a bow. Turkey, deer and other common game can be hunted using a bow and arrows in many states.

One of the biggest reasons why many hunters are intimidated by bow hunting is the apparent level of skill that is required to be able to be successful at it. Nevertheless, just as with rifle hunting it is a skill that is developed over time. You probably will not be able to bag a deer on your first hunting trip, unless you have spent many hours practicing. It does not matter whether you are using a bow or a rifle, as long as you have take the time to hone your skills.

While both types of hunting have their advantages, in some ways using a rifle is a bit more versatile simply because there are more types of game that can be hunted that way. Nevertheless, many hunters prefer the bow because they fell they have more control. In either case, a great deal of patience and skill is required in order to master the craft.


3 Quick Ways to Stay in Shape for Bow Hunting

shutterstock_74752405Bow hunting is a wonderful sport, pastime and passion, and it can be quite physically demanding. For obvious reasons, bow hunting requires a bit more physical strength and endurance than rifle hunting because all of the force used has to come from your own back, shoulders and arms. Because of this, if you are going to be successful at bow hunting, you need to stay in excellent shape. Here are a few strategies for doing so:

1. Keep yourself in good overall shape. Archery requires the use of several different muscle groups. Even firing a single arrow necessitates utilizing your entire body. Because of this, it is important that you are healthy and physically active. Running is one way to keep yourself used to aerobic exercise, and it is an important part of staying in shape, regardless of whether or not it is directly related to using a bow. In addition to running, you should spend some time on weightlifting, push-ups, pull-ups and the like, to maintain your upper body strength.

2. Swim. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise, and it does not put as much stress on your joints as running, weightlifting and other forms of exercise. For this reason, it does less damage to your body and can even leave you feeling a lot less sore after a workout. Furthermore, swimming involves many of the same muscle groups as bow hunting and is a great way to keep your body healthy and strong. If you do have access to a swimming pool, there is no reason to let that opportunity go to waste. If you manage to include regular swimming in your routine, you will soon notice a direct benefit to your archery skills and endurance.

3. Practice, practice, practice. Though it may sound obvious, if you want to be a good archer, you need to practice that skill as often as possible. Not only is it important to practice your aim and precision, it is crucial that you acclimate yourself to the general motion of releasing an arrow from a bow. Your muscles will eventually become so used to the motion of pulling back and releasing that it will become second nature.

If you are just getting into bow hunting, you will quickly find it to be an enriching experience that demands a lot from your mind and body. By keeping yourself in good physical condition, you will find it more pleasurable and will be more successful.

The 8 Must Have Items In Your Duck Hunting Gear

shutterstock_287081843Duck hunting is a great pastime, whether you are a hunting novice or an experienced sharpshooter. Nevertheless, you need to have the right hunting gear if you want to be successful. Here are a few must have items.

1. A good shotgun is the first order of business, when it comes to preparing yourself for a duck hunting trip. After all, waterfowl are quick, so you need a trusty shotgun.

2. The right shells are equally important. The exact size and type of round you should use varies depending on the exact type of waterfowl you are hunting, but you generally need a balance of range and spread.

3. No duck hunting trip would be complete without a good duck call. Because duck hunting is contingent on getting these flighty animals to leave their safe hiding spots, a duck call is often the best strategy for getting them to come within range.

4. One of the most important pieces of hunting gear you will need for making your duck hunting trip a successful one are waders. After all, ducks are aquatic creatures, so you may find yourself knee or even waste deep in a river, pond or stream. Without waders, you will end up quite cold and wet.

5. In keeping with the theme of staving off the elements, you should get some rubber, knee-high boots. These will prevent your feet from getting cold and uncomfortable during your hours of standing in the harsh winter wilderness.

6. As weather is going to be working against you, it is also wise to get yourself some warm woolen gloves, to keep your hands warm for the hours you will be spending out in the snow and cold.

7. If you really want to experience the elements, you will also need a tent. While you can get a tent for as little as fifty dollars, if you want real protection from the weather you would be wise to expand into the hundred to two hundred dollar price range.

8. Finally, you will probably need to purchase a scope for your shotgun. Though aiming is not as critical as it is for rifle hunting, you will still need to be able to aim at these small, quick birds as the sail through the air.

This is only a short list of things you may need for your hunting trip, but it covers the basics of duck hunting gear.

TSA Approved Gun Cases

shutterstock_291271730There are times when you simply need to transport your firearms, whether it be for hunting, gun shows, etc. Nevertheless, if you are going to be transporting them on a public airline, you need to be absolutely sure you are complying with all regulations. Always make sure that your gun cases are approved by the TSA.

Gun cases serve a vital purpose. They prevent firearms from being dislodged, damaged or used nefariously during transportation. This role becomes even more crucial in the context of an airline flight. The best gun cases for commercial flights, and indeed the only TSA approved ones, are those that are solid and stable with secure locks. Needless to say, despite their handiness and convenience, soft cases are completely unacceptable, when it comes to airline travel. The only cases approved by the TSA are quality hard cases, and not even all hard cases meet their standards. While locking is one of the biggest issues, there are other factors that can determine whether or not a case is going to be acceptable for checking on a commercial flight.

In addition to making sure the case itself is approved, you need to make sure that it is properly sealed. You also must declare your firearms, before getting on the plane. As for your ammunition and gun accessories, they can be stored in the same case as the gun, provided that the gun is not loaded and you have declared all of this equipment, as well. That being said, it may be preferable to store your ammunition and other gun equipment in separate, locked cases, in order to free up space in your gun case, as well as to promote safety as much as possible.

Because different airlines, states and countries all of have different polices regarding transporting firearms on a plane, it is always best to do your research when planning on flying with your gun. Nevertheless, even the bare minimum requirements for the TSA demand that gun cases be solid, hard and lockable. A secure combination lock is acceptable, but having multiple locks, including key locks is ideal. This makes penetrating the case nearly impossible.

Since it is not always easy to know exactly what the cutoff is, in terms of TSA approval, it is best to purchase only gun cases that are advertised as TSA approved. Most reputable gun accessory suppliers will make it clear which hard cases are and are not acceptable for air travel.


How to Find Markings on Antique Gun Parts

shutterstock_267270335Antique guns are a fascinating subject for any gun enthusiast. Guns have existed for many years, and for centuries gunmakers have taken pride in their work. If you have an antique gun or gun part, it is often difficult to know exactly what you have, unless you have a keen eye for antiques. Even if you do have some knowledge of antique guns, it is nearly impossible to know the model of your gun or gun parts, much less the year in which it was made, without having access to the markings or serial numbers. So, the first order of business when determining the value, function and nature of any gun or gun part is locating these markings. Once you have done this, you can go to an online database to enter the information and hopefully find out what you have in your possession.

In older antique firearms, especially European ones, there are often no serial numbers present. According to the NRA Museum website, they use what is called proof marks, which are small symbols on the barrel or stock of the gun. The older the gun is, the less likely they are to have proof marks. European firearms that were made before 1850 may not have proof marks at all, making them difficult to track and identify.

One of the biggest challenges with identifying guns and gun parts that do not have serial numbers is the fact that you must go by proof marks alone. Because they are only a symbol and not a series of digits, there is essentially no way to enter them into a database. This means that you have to use your wits to compare the symbol to others, to find one that matches. This can take a lot of time and a very keen eye for detail. Plus, some of these symbols look very similar, so it may be best to have a gun expert make the comparisons for you.

With gun parts, this process is especially crucial and challenging. Some older guns were made before gun parts were one hundred percent interchangeable. This means that you need to be certain you have exactly the right gun if you are going to be utilizing them. Basically, to make use of antique gun parts, you need to have a thorough understanding of what you have and what it is for. You may be surprised to learn just how much something is worth.

How to Make Custom Foam Inserts for Gun Cases

shutterstock_328637231As we all know, gun cases do not always fit your firearm exactly as you need. Because of this, many people rely on foam inserts to help customize their gun cases for the guns they have. This is a great idea, but it is easy to spend too much money. If you measure and cut the foam yourself, you can end up saving a lot. You just need to make sure you are doing it correctly, with the right type of materials.

First of all, you need to be very careful when measuring your gun and gun case. You must be certain that the foam insert will be able to fit within the gun case snugly, without sliding around. Furthermore, the foam must not be compressed when it rests inside the case. It must fit exactly right.

Obviously, you cannot cut the foam after it has been inserted, so once you are confident in your measurements, you need to then measure the dimensions of your gun. This will ensure that your gun will fit perfectly within the cavity you carve into the blank foam insert. The cavity must be only slightly larger than the gun itself. This will ensure that it will fit, without allowing it to slide around during transportation.

There are different types of foam that can be used for holding items in place during transportation, and it is important to get an acceptable variety for your gun case needs. Polyethylene foam is one of these varieties, and it has a lot of advantages. It is durable, sturdy and water-resistant. This is ideal for storing firearms, which can be quite delicate.

Though making the custom foam inserts yourself is less costly, you can also order custom foam inserts for gun cases online. This is certainly a way to ensure quality control, but it is far more expensive. Furthermore, with a little knowhow and persistence, you can make a foam insert yourself that is every bit as effective as one that is professionally made.

Ultimately, the choice is yours whether or not to make your own custom insert or to purchase one that is custom fitted to your gun and gun case. There are advantages of both, but with such a simple process for making your own, it makes sense to do it yourself as long as you have the time and equipment. Either way, you will be sure to get the most out of your gun case.

All About Archery Bow Cases

shutterstock_105066281Bowhunting is a timeless practice that hearkens back to the days before guns and electricity. Nevertheless, the equipment used by bowhunters today is far more advanced and precise than the archery equipment of the past. Everything from the bows to the arrows to the bow cases are designed for optimum efficiency and effectiveness. Selecting the right bow case for your equipment is important. You need to know that the case you choose will be able to protect your bow, while still allowing for quick and easy access if need be. There are several factors to consider when purchasing a new bow case, but the two most important are the type of bow you will be storing and the purposes for which you will be using it.

One of the big divisions among bow cases is whether they are hard or soft. Hard cases are heavy, and they do not make it as easy to withdraw your bow quickly. On the other hand because they have a hard exterior, if they bump into something, your bow will remain unharmed. If you are likely to jostle your bow around a lot during transportation, purchasing a hard case may be a wise choice. Because hard cases are larger and more stable, they are often able to store more equipment. If you have a lot of special items to carry, and you do not want to carry more than one case, a hard case is a good option.

Soft cases can be more practical for easy transportation, especially if you are going to be on foot. Soft cases are extremely lightweight, and they make it very easy to put away and withdraw your bow quickly. Because they are made of soft flexible material, you can even fold up your soft bow case when you are not using it, which means that they take up a lot less space than hard cases. Their only downsides are the fact that they cannot store as much extra equipment, and they cannot protect your bow from harm as easily or effectively as a hard case.

Essentially, there is no specific bow case that is miles ahead of the others. You will need to select one based on your specific needs. It is always best to go to a retailer that specializes in bow cases and other archery equipment, instead of simply buying the first bow case that you see.

How Can I Keep Rust and Corrosion From Ruining My Hunting Gear?

shutterstock_277575035If you’re an avid hunter, you may find that your weapons are subject to rust and/or corrosion from the minute they enter the great outdoors in humidity or less-than-perfect weather. While it can make for some great experiences to hunt in wet, snowy or precipitative conditions, natural elements can rust and corrode your hunting gear and degrade its condition and usability. It’s important not just for capturing your prey, but also for safety reasons, that your weapons stay dry and free of corrosive moisture and humidity.

Corrosion and rust — which is technically a form of oxidation that occurs only to steel and iron — can be harmful to weapons and make them unsafe for use. Weapons that don’t fire when you need them to or whose performance is degraded can endanger you unnecessarily. In addition, rusted or corroded weapons and hunting gear are less valuable for selling in a secondary market.

The best way to prevent corrosion and rust is to apply a volatile corrosion inhibitor (VCI), which is a cleaner and lubricant that prevents rusting and corrosion, to the metal of your weapon in the form of a spray, liquid or snap caps. The VCI chemicals are the same ones found in protective wraps and paper that your gun parts and components ship in. The snap caps load like ammunition and allow the VCI vapors to protect the insides of your guns’ barrels and firing mechanics. You can also spray and/or clean the outside of your weapon with a VCI liquid to protect the exterior finish.

The next best preventative measure to take to protect your weapons is to store them when they’re not in use, especially in inclement weather. There’s no reason to leave a firearm outside or exposed to the elements when you could store it safely and securely in a protective case or storage bag where it will not be susceptible to moisture. The same goes for accessories, ammunition and other parts. You only really need your firearm when you’re actually in the vicinity of your target or exposed to other dangerous wildlife. At all other times, weapons can be safely stowed in a carrying case until you’re ready to use them.

There are sleeves and protectors that have VCI protection built into them, so the same chemical compound can protect your weapon from moisture even in cases of penetrating humidity. A normal sleeve or case made out of plain foam can absorb moisture and trap it close to your firearm, so a specifically-protective additional sleeve or protector around your weapon can keep this moisture out.

If you’re in a regularly humid or precipitative environment, you may want to consider a tightly-sealed, waterproof carrier for your hunting gear that may even be capable of floating if immersed in water — not that you may be likely to jump into a stream or a lake, but in cases of accidents, it can help to have containers that can protect your gear in a worst-case scenario.

Gun Cases – Give Your Gun Both Protection and an Elegant Look

shutterstock_127166186If you don’t get a case for storing your firearms and their accessories, it’s like owning a sports car and leaving it outside all year long; it’s vulnerable to theft, accidents and who knows what kind of random damage.

Guns are not cheap items, so why expose them to the hazards of daily wear and tear when you can protect their finish and cosmetic condition? A padded or foam-insulated case won’t add much weight and will make them easier to carry and conceal at the same time.

Guns left out in the rain or the elements are subject to scratches, rust, dust, jamming and corrosion. Shiny surfaces can become dull, and clean surfaces can become dirty. Parts and tools that are not kept together can become separated and lost. Even an element as small as an unfired bullet is capable of causing harm or at the least drawing undue attention to itself if not properly stored.

Both padded and hard shell gun cases are available that will secure not just your gun but extra ammunition clips, bullets, accessories and cleaning tools. Portable cases, some with wheels, allow you to move multiple or heavy guns quickly and easily without straining yourself or drawing unwanted attention.

You can lower the risks of accidents and tampering by untrained persons and/or family members by storing your gun safely and securely in a case. Locks and security hinges can keep your firearm out of the hands of prying fingers and young desires. Cases are available with foam inserts that can be cut to perfectly match your weapon with or without its attachments in place.

Hard shell cases can prevent guns from getting crushed or having any chance of discharging accidentally. For multiple guns, a number of cases allow for storage of multiple weapons per case while others are designed for stacking and transporting along with associated tools and supplies. For hunting trips and expeditions, cases are indispensable and can be purchased in all types of materials and camouflage patterns.

Beyond their practical value, gun cases can be an elegant way to show people that you’re as organized with your firearms and accessories as you are with other hardware and sporting items. For preservation, gift giving and presentation, cases are a great way to take care of your guns.

For extra protection, gun cabinets and safes are also available that put your gun safely behind lock and key or the security of a padlock or combination lock. You can find gun safes as heavy-duty as you like, from portable but heavy cases with built-in locks to standalone or hidden wall models that can store small caches of weapons.

Don’t leave your guns exposed or open to the risk of theft, misuse or damage. Get a gun case today to make your collection of arms complete.