Overview from the Director of Gunsmithing Program at Montgomery Community College for potential students.
by Mark Dye
It has been a full 25 years now since I first walked into Montgomery Community College’s Gunsmithing classrooms as a student, determined to make a career out of a love of firearms. By the end of that first day, I was fully convinced that I’d found “my people”. I received some valuable training during my time at MCC and went on to work in the gunsmithing trade for a number of years under the tutelage of some very well known gunsmiths. About a decade ago, I returned to my Alma mater to accept a teaching position. After the retirement of Wayne Bernauer, who spent 30 years teaching at Montgomery, I took over as the Program Director for the Gunsmithing curriculum. For the benefit of those not familiar with this school, or its Gunsmithing program, I’d like to provide a brief description of what this school has to offer.
Situated in the rolling landscape of rural North Carolina, Montgomery Community College’s Gunsmithing program is a two-year associate degree program that has been in existence since 1978. It occupies over 10,000 square feet of space dedicated solely to the education of gunsmiths. The facilities include classrooms complete with ample work and bench space, vises, and tool boxes; two full machine shops fully stocked with lathes, milling machines, surface grinders, CNC equipment, and other tooling associated with the gunsmithing trade; metal finishing labs with capabilities to apply traditional caustic bluing, Parkerizing, Cerakote-type painted finishes, and even case color hardening. The school also boasts on-site range facilities for test-firing or training. MCC’s arms room contains over 300 firearms that are used as teaching aids. These range from flintlock muzzleloaders to recently released modern handguns.
The MCC Gunsmithing program is an overview of the Gunsmithing trade. While many skills and specialties fall under the heading of Gunsmithing, Montgomery’s program offers instruction on a wide variety of them.
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