Gun Values or “The Value of a Gun”

Smeltzerby Paul Smeltzer,
Athens Gunsmith Service, Athens LA.

“What’s it worth?” is a question that is common to anyone with more than a casual interest in firearms. It is certainly a common question at the gunsmith shop for many reasons. Outside of the obvious need to understand what a gun’s monetary value might be, when it comes to repairing or restoring a gun the question takes on a more practical importance. “What’s it worth?”, translates into “Is it worth fixing?”. Continue reading

Collecting M1 Garands–Advice from Our G&G Expert!

with Paul Smeltzer
Guns and Gunsmiths Contributor

The M1 Garand is probably the most iconic US military rifle known. Called “the greatest battle implement ever devised” by General George S. Patton, it was the standard service issue rifle in World War II, Korea, and to a lesser extent in Vietnam. Every serious collector should have one, but finding a safe, accurate and reliable gun can be difficult.

Guns and Gunsmiths contributing author Paul Smeltzer, owner of Athens Gunsmith Service in Athens Louisiana, has been collecting, rebuilding and restoring M1s for many years. G&G recently had a chance to talk to him about these guns and how to go about adding one to a collection. Continue reading

Gun Show Find?

SmeltzerBy Paul Smeltzer
Proprietor Athens Gunsmith Service, GCA Member,
AGI Professional Gunsmithing Graduate

Gun shows are a great place to generate business and get your name out there. I generally bring several of my military restorations and a few Garands to sell. That always brings a lot of attention to the table and never fails to generate new clientele. Continue reading

Restorations: Putting a Remington 11 Back to Work–Part 3

Smeltzerby Paul Smeltzer,
Athens Gunsmith Service, Athens LA.

Part 3 of Paul’s Remington 11 restoration. Look for Parts 1 and 2 by selecting Paul Smeltzer in the Authors menu above.

Now that we have the forearm repaired, butt stock re-contoured, and butt plate installed it is on to re-checkering.  Before sanding the wood the parts, I will re-cut the lines that form the borders on the checkered area.  I then apply painters’ tape over the checkered area and do whatever sanding needs to be done avoiding as much as possible the checkered area.  Even with the tape protection I want to avoid degrading the pattern any more than it already is. Continue reading

Restorations: Putting a Remington 11 Back to Work–Part 2

Smeltzerby Paul Smeltzer,
Athens Gunsmith Service, Athens LA. 


Part 2 of Paul’s Remington 11 restoration. Look for Part 1 by selecting Paul Smeltzer in the Authors menu above.

We left off last time with having made some repairs to the forearm that had the usual cracks seen in many semi-auto shotguns.  Once the glass bedding material or epoxy has set, the barrel channel has to be sanded to allow for the barrel and moving parts.  I prefer glass bedding material because I think it is easier to sand and shape and holds up better than epoxy.  Continue reading

Restorations: Putting a Remington 11 Back to Work–Part 1

Smeltzerby Paul Smeltzer,
Athens Gunsmith Service
, Athens LA. 

I have recently been brought an old Remington Model 11 to be restored.  According to the owner he had just purchased it from a pawn shop for a very good price, and would like to use it dove hunting.  He also has a Browning A5, and the Remington would go nicely in his “humpback collection”.  He wants the shotgun to be functional and reliable, as well as, looking like a gun one would be proud to own.  The metal is to be re-blued to a factory finish, the wood to be redone in a satin finished. Continue reading

Restorations: Interview and Inspection

Smeltzerby Paul Smeltzer
 Athens Gunsmith Service, Athens LA.

The place to begin a restoration of any kind is to figure out where you are going and where you are starting from.  You need those two pieces of information before you can begin the trip.  You figure out where the trip ends by talking to the owner, an interview if you will.  The interview is an informal question and answer period to determine what the customers’ expectations are.  Most of the time the scene starts with a customer bringing in the Savage single shot that has been sitting in the corner of a garage for several years.  Usually the owner knows one or two things for sure, number one is that presently the gun does not look so great, and that he/she would like it look better.  In addition there maybe obvious parts missing, like the front sight is gone, or that there is something broke because the trigger just kind of dangles. Continue reading

Introduction to Restoration

Smeltzerby Paul Smeltzer
Athens Gunsmith Service, Athens LA. 

This the first in a series of articles on firearms restoration of civilian and military guns, inexpensive and common guns, as well as some high dollar and somewhat rare pieces.  We will look at a variety of techniques, tools, how to’s and some interesting museum pieces.  As I sit in my office writing this there is a Boyd’s anti tank gun from the North Louisiana Military Museum on the other side of the room, not very many of those around. Continue reading