Out of the various different opportunities that are available for those that want to become gunsmiths, apprenticeship is something that many do not actually know much about. The regular path will take a student through gunsmithing schools but you can also become a professional by becoming an apprentice.
You can easily find apprentice opportunities at gunsmith stores near you. It is an option you have to take into account as it offers hands-on experience that is so necessary in becoming a really skilled craftsman while you manage to avoid having to go to professional schools. It is a route that has some really obvious advantages but there are also some disadvantages.
Everything in the gunsmith apprenticeship approach is related to the professional that you will work under. In the event that the one you consider is limited or the skill set available is limited, there are obvious limitations that are connected with what you will do. At the same time, it is possible to end up working with someone that does not actually know how to teach you properly even if he is really good at the work done. You need to be aware of limitations in order to make a properly informed choice.
The quality apprenticeship instructions are always going to include tutelage about safety shop machinery practice, proper operation and milling tools, together with all related equipment. As engaging in gunsmithing metalwork aspects, you are to be able to utilize milling machines with lathes, reamers, bores and various attachments. You use them for drilling, sanding and cutting. Woodworking tasks are possible since you will need to learn how to replace and craft various items.
The apprentices should always have a realistic expectation about earnings and should realize why they go through such a program. The financial compensation is reduced and what you really gain is instruction and knowledge. Any new apprentice will be faced with a lot of hassle and can have problems dealing with finances. You should always consider your current situation and see if apprenticeship is better than regular education options.
When referring to gunsmithing licensing, you need to go through an examination handled by the ATF, with different requirements present at local and state levels. The apprenticeship program can give you the knowledge that you need but you have to be sure that the professional is really good and can help you as a skilled teacher. That is not as common as you may believe.