Especially when working with old, out-of-production guns, creative problem solving is key in good gunsmithing.
by Paul Mazan
Many of the questions I hear from hobbyists and amateur gunsmiths start with, “How do I…?” My usual response is, “I’ll have to look at it.” This is especially true of repairs and restoration of old guns from factories that have been closed for several decades. In these cases the gunsmith has to be able to see the problem, visualize the solution, and execute the work in a professional and timely manner. One of the main attributes of the professional gunsmith is the ability to make or modify parts to fit old guns when parts are unavailable. We all need the knowledge that can be gained from books, videos, and practical experience. Good sources of information are indeed our most important tool. However, sooner or later, in pursuing this obsession we call gunsmithing, you are going to encounter problems that are not addressed in any literature.
A perfect example of this arrived in my shop recently in the form of an old Damascus-barreled Belgian shotgun made by F. Dumoulin. The gun was in fair condition and had many of the normal problems associated with double barreled shotguns that are a hundred or so years old. The stock was cracked and loose on the receiver, there was a chunk of wood missing from the toe of the stock, and the barrels were loose when locked in position. As I say, common problems with solutions I have addressed in these pages before and you can find easily enough. Unfortunately, the forend was also missing.
Read more in our April 2015 issue. Back issues are available.