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Gunsmiths use hand-tools and machines to repair, build and modify firearms according to customer specifications and blueprint orders.

Handguns and long-guns consist of three basic elements: stock, barrel and firing mechanism. The pieces are usually made by parts manufacturers, but gunsmiths may make pieces to restore antique guns or for special custom-made guns.

Gunsmiths protect and treat the metal pieces of a firearm. This process is called "bluing". They first strip the old finish from the barrel and then place the metal parts in a bluing salt bath. This gives the metal a bluish colour and a rust resistant surface. Some gunsmiths send their guns to gunsmiths who specialize in such work. Gunsmiths also cut new rifling into barrels of small firearms with a broaching machine, making the calibre of the bore larger.

Gunsmiths also display their special skills in customized work - for instance, hunters often require gunsmiths to make a particular rifle for them, from blank factory pieces. After assembling the pieces, the gunsmith always test-fires the gun to check the alignment and strength of the gun.

Satisfying Aspects
- designing and making quality firearms
- rendering a service to hunters, gun collectors, etc.
- working with your hands
- creativity

Demanding aspects
- working long hours
- the noise of shooting
- being on your feet for long periods is tiring
- the potential dangers of handling weapons

Gunsmiths should be/have;
- at least 18 years old
- good with your hands
- enjoy designing and working with guns
- mature and emotionally stable
- take pride in quality work
- meticulous and precise worker
- safety conscious, responsible, and never a show-off
- able to communicate well

School Subjects
No minimum requirements

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Physical Sciences

In-service training may be provided by an experienced gunsmith.

- shooting ranges
- gun shops
- sport stores
- self-employment, with enough experience and capital, can open own gun shop

South African Gunrunners’ Association
P O Box 35203
Northway, 4065
Tel: (031) 562-9951 Fax: (086) 553-9615