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Most Important Gunsmithing Tool

The most important tool a professional gunsmith or serious hobbyist can have is a good library. This is especially true for those of us that work in small shops. If you have a question where will you get the answer? The answer is most often found in a book.

Wondering how to convert the safety on a Remington 870 from right hand to left hand? Manufacturer’s instructions (with drawing) can be found on page 711 of the Encyclopedia of Modern Firearms by Bob Brownell.

Need to know anything about the mysterious art of customizing the 1911? Check The Colt .45 Automatic and The U.S. M1991/M1911A1 Pistols & Commercial M1911 Type Pistols by Jerry Kuhnhausen. If it has something to do with 1911’s and it is not in one of those books there is a good chance that you don’t need to know it.

You cant remember how to use the thingamajig you bought from Brownells three years ago. Go to the binder where you keep all the three-hole-punched instruction sheets they send you and review. Oh, you don’t keep them where you can find them easily. You should, it will take less time keeping them organized then finding and downloading a new one from the Internet.

Here is a list of a few of the books, etc. in my shops’ library:

You will notice that the reference library doesn’t have to be limited to books and magazines either. I have DVDs, PDF documents, etc., and a constantly running supply of my own notes as well.

Ok, I think that you get the point. Much of what you don’t know or can’t remember is on the pages of thousands of gun reference works. Take the time to build a good shop reference library and it will earn the investment you have in it back for you many times over.


Footnotes / Sources:

1 – I keep all of the back issues of American Gunsmith that I can get my hands on. If you have any 2010 or earlier copies you no longer want, I’ll gladly pay shipping.