Gunsmith disasters can ruin more than just your firearm.
(Photo by iStock (revolver art))

The following scenario comprises one of the greatest nightmares for shooters. You send your gun to a famed gunsmith for a trigger job, Cerakote, race package or some other modification. Everyone says they’re the best. You happily lay down the money in anticipation. But when you get your gun back, it simply fails to live up to the hype. We call these Gunsmith Disasters.

Gunsmith Disasters Can Wreak Havoc

It happens more than people want to admit. You want some work done on your favorite firearm, so you start asking around. Usually in short order you will get a flood of “My buddy does that” or “I know a guy” type of feedback. You find the Facebook page of Johhny Pro Gunworks or some other name, and you make contact. In a couple days they get back to you and the discussion begins. You lay out exactly what you want done and agree on a time frame and cost. You follow their instructions and ship the gun out. The agreed-on completion date comes and goes, but you give him a little more time. Finally, you message them and get a “Oh…I’m finishing it now.”

A few more weeks burn by and finally your gun is back in your hands. You crack open the box and are soon gritting your teeth as the gun is far from what you requested. In some cases, the gun is actually damaged and would require serious repair. At best the coating that you asked for is the wrong color. A quick call to the shop and you will be lucky to get an answer. Messages followed by letters usually go unanswered. In these cases, if contact is actually made, the excuses will flow like water. “Just send it back and I will take care of it,” will sometimes be the response, and that brings us to our topic. What do you do?

Beware the Dremel Demon

The firearms world is replete with do-it-yourself “gunsmiths” that throw out a sign and start working. They have tinkered with their own guns enough that they think, “Hell I might as well open a business.” These Dremel demons should be avoided at all costs. The question of what we should do depends on the level of disaster your gun is at.

The first point is that anyone that would ruin your gun or blatantly fail to do the work you requested does not get a second chance. Personally, I would contact the shop in writing and request a refund. State the reasons for your request and be professional. If they refuse you can easily contact your credit card company and file a fraud case. Unleash the credit card call center on them and they can usually reclaim your funds. If the gun is seriously damaged you may need to file in small claims court to recover not only your payment, but the money needed to repair your gun.

The second point is to find the person or site where you discovered said gunsmith and notify them of the debacle. If it was a friend that led you there, they need a swift kick in the pants. In fact, you should require them to pay for your beers for the remainder of the year. The point of this is to help let others know they are not a reputable shop. I would discourage the use of profanity or personal attacks, but rather stick to the facts. It will be tempting to set them ablaze with harsh words, but little will be gained. 

Do Your Homework!

This all wraps up with the true moral of the story. No matter who refers you to a shop, do your own research and talk extensively with them. Ask for references and previous work. Being a gunsmith requires training and extensive experience. In today’s modular world, too many people feel that they can go at it with just YouTube training. As the line goes…choose wisely.

Avoid Gunsmith Disasters, and check out this list of 10 Custom Gunsmiths to get started.

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