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Kitchen Table Gunsmithing

Kitchen Table gunsmithing is a term sometimes used by those who tinker with their firearms, butter knife and Dremel Tool in hand, because they’re either too cheap to go to a trained person, or they, based on their years of experience, think they know better.
In my years as a shooter, gun owner and trainer, I’ve encountered a few of these folks, and their accomplishments, to wit:
The guy who decided to install his own ambidextrous safety on a 1911, because he’d taken another one apart and saw how (he thought) it was done.
Fortunately, he was bright enough to test-fire his work.  It doubled and tripled.  While I’m pretty sure, that fire control may have it’s advantage in a sidearm, I’m sure the BATFE would disapprove without the proper form.  (He did have a professional correct his work to semi-auto.)
Another guy-a reserve deputy sheriff-purchased a S&W model 64, .38 Special for duty use.  A fine weapon.  His kitchen table gunsmith (aka his barber!) drilled out the cylinder to accept .357 cartridges.
I actually observed him firing this thing at night, and between the too-wide flash gap and the magnum cartridges, it was quite a show.  I’m guessing the .38 pressure-rated frame stretched a bit due to the hot loads.  He always referred to this gun as ‘my Magnum’.  (I think he had other issues.)  I lost touch with him, hopefully he didn’t lose a hand or an eye.
I had a slight touch of this disease, myself.  I attempted to remove some pistol stock screws with a standard flat-bladed screwdriver.  Chewed the crap out of the screw heads.  I now have a set of proper gunsmithing screwdrivers!
As Inspector Callahan said, “Man’s got to know his limitations.”


About guffaw1952

I'm a child of the 50's. libertarian, now medically-retired. I've been a certified firearms trainer, a private investigator, and worked for a major credit card company for almost 22 years. I am a proud NRA Life Member. I am a limited-government, free-market capitalist, who believes in the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law.


5 thoughts on “Kitchen Table Gunsmithing

  1. Okay, I admit it. I installed an ambi safety on my S&W 1911. Works likes a charm. Maybe I lead a charmed life. 🙂

    Posted by Tango Juliet | May 29, 2011, 6:07 pm
  2. It all depends on what the gun is and what is being done. I have no problems replacing parts or occasionally modifying a handgun, but if I am out of my reach, I will not grasp.

    Posted by Keads | May 29, 2011, 7:45 pm
  3. @Keads – the best advice!Fortunately, I'm pretty inept mechanically, so it limits my screwups, usually.

    Posted by guffaw | May 29, 2011, 8:21 pm
  4. I assembled an AK using an air hammer and a pair of modified bolt cutters. 😀

    Posted by JesseL | May 30, 2011, 10:56 am
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    Posted by Anonymous | October 26, 2011, 11:39 pm

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