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Old 09-14-2016, 10:17 AM   #1
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Unreasonable expectations?

I took a pistol to a local gunsmith to cut some dovetails and install some sights. I don't know much about the operation, but he's been there a few years and he's the only gunsmith in town.

I got the gun back, and I'm not thrilled with the work. The dovetails are rough cut and unfinished. By unfinished, I mean bare metal. The slide has a scuff on it next to the sight, and the new sight is also scuffed.

I've never paid for gunsmith work before, but this is not what I envisioned. I expected workmanship better than I can do myself. And trust me, I would be ashamed to turn out this kind of work.

Is this what gunsmiths do? Frankly, I expected to receive back a gun that was ready to go, not a project that requires finishing work.
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Old 09-14-2016, 10:20 AM   #2
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Unless there are special tools involved, expensive tools, I don't trust others to work on my guns. After I got my first Cerakoted pistol back, it took me a month to get it working properly again.
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Old 09-14-2016, 10:52 AM   #3
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I think you're right. I should have had more confidence in my own ability.

I'm not a professional machinist, but can churn out beautiful work. My garage is better equipped than any gunsmith I've ever seen. But it seemed reasonable that a pro could do better work--should be able to do better work. Next time I won't be such a lazy slob, and I'll figure out the problem on my own.

The Novak dovetail mills that I needed would have cost over a hundred bucks, and that was also a factor in making the decision. I can't make my own dovetail cutters. But other specialized tools can be fun projects. I think I want to make some of those barrel-shaped plastic Kimber takedown tools... but that's a subject for another thread.

I'm just grateful that this "gunsmith" wasn't working on any expensive or pretty guns. In a lifetime, we make a lot of decisions. Some of these decisions are spectacular and well timed, catapulting us to greatness. Others leave us sputtering face-down in the mud. Now please excuse me while I go grab a towel and get cleaned up.
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:45 PM   #4
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That sucks, it should have been finished, no burrs and no scuffs when you got it back. I would never return a piece in that condition. I've been an Aerospace Machinist for over 30 years and do all my own work. Any work I've done for friends has been absolutely top notch as if it was my own. No excuse for sub par work.


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Old 09-14-2016, 05:19 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback. I emailed the gunsmith, and he called me right back with all kinds of apologies. He had given the job to his apprentice, who clearly couldn't handle the pressure.

I brought the gun back after work, and they prettied up the machine work and did nice on the finish. I'm happy with it.

So tonight I've got an ambidextrous safety to install, and as long as I've got the gun apart, I'm gonna make the trigger better. It's gonna be a fun gun when I'm finished.
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by RustyIron View Post
Thanks for the feedback. I emailed the gunsmith, and he called me right back with all kinds of apologies. He had given the job to his apprentice, who clearly couldn't handle the pressure.

I brought the gun back after work, and they prettied up the machine work and did nice on the finish. I'm happy with it.

So tonight I've got an ambidextrous safety to install, and as long as I've got the gun apart, I'm gonna make the trigger better. It's gonna be a fun gun when I'm finished.
My neighbor had the "local" gun shop with untrained monkeys install a scope. It was rotated 90 degrees wrong. How new do you have to be to not be able to read and get the job close to correct?
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:07 PM   #7
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I'm glad they got it fixed for you. I was going to say it should have been returned looking like it was new from the factory.

My Detonic's returned from Cerakote looking like a brand new pistol.
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:20 PM   #8
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Happy your gunsmith made things right!

I have only one gunsmith that I let touch my guns (a fellow Vet and U.S. Armorer) and he does great work. His son has been his apprentice for the last several years and is just as good as his Dad. So, when Dad is ready to retire, he tells me that he will "sleep at night" knowing his customers will be happy with the work coming out of his shop.
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Old 09-14-2016, 10:59 PM   #9
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Hey 2sharp2, I had one of the very first Detonics that I knew of back around 1973 and it was terrible. I somehow traded it in but somehow got rid of it. Is yours a new model? And size wise how does it compare to say an Ultra? I'm assuming it's reliable ? I'd love to see a picture of it also.
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Old 09-15-2016, 09:06 AM   #10
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Glad to hear they took care of it and your happy. If he gave it to his apprentice to do in the first place then that normally calls for the work to be looked at by a journeyman upon completion. It was always the rule during my apprenticeship in the electrical union. The apprentice always gets thrown under the bus.
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