Incompetent airgunsmith + bad advice = one dead airgun.

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Incompetent airgunsmith + bad advice = one dead airgun.

Postby Leonardj » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:34 pm

I received what appeared to be an absolutely pristine Giss action match rifle for repair, that has sadly, turned out to be a very attractive wall hanger. The truly frustrating part of the whole thing is that it was wholly the result of negligence, coupled with some very bad advice, that resulted in the gun being destroyed. The damage to the gun truly has to be seen to be believed, but the owner has refused permission to post any pictures of his gun, so I will do my best to describe what I found. (I will not post pictures of any gun sent to me for repair without the owner's permission).

When the current owner purchased the gun, about three years ago, the gun still had it's original seals in it - decayed and crumbling. The gun was sent to a "professional" (Canadian) tuner for a complete rebuild. After approximately a full year, the gentleman received his gun back, with a few marks on the stock and some tiny scratches in the bluing that it did not have prior, but the gun seemed to be functioning fine. Within less than two months, the gun began losing power, and when the "professional" tuner was contacted, the owner of the gun was instructed to "apply a few drops of silicone chamber oil into the transfer port". The gun continued to lose power, despite numerous applications of silicone chamber oil. Several hundred shots were taken in hopes that the chamber oil would revitalize the piston seal. It did not - instead, the gun now began feeling "gritty" when cocking, and the shot cycle was becoming noisier. The airgunsmith now advised that the gun owner get some spray-in moly, and blow it in through the openings in the bottom of the action. Again, this did nothing to eliminate the coarseness.

At this point, the gun's owner now demanded that the airgunsmith take the gun back and make it right, because in the owner's opinion, it was never repaired correctly from the outset. The airgunsmith became offensive, laid the blame on the owner, and threatened legal action if the gun owner ever contacted him again.

After making numerous inquiries, the gun owner was eventually directed to me. As the owner described his experience, I pretty much knew exactly what had happened, and operation of the action confirmed what I suspected to be a worst case scenario. I explained to the owner that the gun could very well be damaged beyond practical repair, but he insisted that I proceed to open the gun up to be sure.

What I found inside was not pretty, but was what I had expected. The "professional" airgunsmith had not properly cleaned out the end of the compression chamber from the petrified remains of the forward portion of the original piston seal which had become fused to the chamber walls. This material takes a bit of work to remove, and clean up properly - a step which some 'smiths don't bother with. The end result is that in some cases, the new piston seal will slowly scrape the old debris off the chamber walls and the gun will shoot half decent - but - in many cases, the new piston seal becomes damaged and deformed as it repetitively rides up over that hard, fused on debris at the end of the compression chamber, and the seal eventually loses it's ability to seal altogether - as was the case with this gun. The piston seal in this gun was so badly deformed, that it is almost oval, rather than round.

The side pinions, and the racks on both of the pistons were badly chipped - rendering them so much scrap metal. I attribute this to the constant, and unbalanced hammering of the pistons for hundreds of cycles, of what was for all practical purposes, dry firing of the gun - done on the advice of a "professional" airgunsmith !!!

A quick tally of the costs involved to now repair this fine old gun resulted in a sum far beyond the actual value of the gun, and even if used parts could be sourced, the repair cost would still be prohibitive.

Chalk up another destroyed classic to a lazy, incompetent, self proclaimed "professional" airgunsmith.
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Re: Incompetent airgunsmith + bad advice = one dead airgun.

Postby Tank » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:44 pm

I cannot believe some people's lack of cleanliness. I have personally taken delivery of modified pistons on behalf of customers only to find the innards of the piston was full of swarf from the machining process. And these are well known "tuners".
Pretty staggering really. And that the guy won't just man up and admit he might have made a mistake...... Seems to be the norm nowadays though.
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Re: Incompetent airgunsmith + bad advice = one dead airgun.

Postby Tank » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:22 am

Just on a similar theme, I have a Model 10 to take apart later for exactly this type of repair. I will take some pics and let people see just what a lovely system this is.
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Re: Incompetent airgunsmith + bad advice = one dead airgun.

Postby webley701 » Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:03 pm

What an awful story.

A few years ago a friend to his an Air-Arms rifle to a butcher (sorry - respected airgun expert repairer) in the Middlewich area of Cheshire to have a larger silencer fitted. The gun was a beautiful one-off used by Air-Arms for publicity purposes, the walnut stock could have graced even the most expensive full-bore sporting rifle.

When it came back the larger silencer was on it ok but the removed small silver one was now painted black for some reason - my friends instructions were that he wanted to retain it untouched so he could revert to original specification if required. The black paint was found to hide grip marks from the 'removal procedure'.

This was very disappointing but what was worse was the velocity was all to pot, very low & inconsistent. To cut a long story short - most or all of the parts in the regulator were missing - removed by the 'expert' due to then being [quote] ’seized'.

We'd had the gun on the chronograph just before this 'work' was done & it was performing perfectly. In any event it went to the 'expert' to have a silencer & nothing but a silencer fitted. He'd just decided to have a fiddle with other things & made a mess of it.

I am very wary of which gunsmiths I take my FAC rifles & shotguns to. I try & stick with the maker if possible.

Regards
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Re: Incompetent airgunsmith + bad advice = one dead airgun.

Postby Tank » Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:18 pm

Sad to hear that Russell. All too common a story I am afraid. I just wonder what is wrong with these people - What are they thinking? And more importantly and to my continued confusion - How do they keep on getting the work?
I have had a number of jobs in to put right from the same person so you friend is not alone. Very recently a friend of mine was about to use one of my precision screwdrivers to remove something other than a screw. I pulled him up about it, suggesting instead he use one of the tools for the purpose. "But why?" Well the reason is, the screwdrivers are twenty quid each as I take the view that if I have the right tool it minimises the chance of doing any damage to a customer's property and on the two occasions I have inadvertently scratched something - it happens - I have just told the customer right away and both times they were really good about it - But I put matters right so I think that's the secret. Put your hands up and do whatever is required to make the customer happy. It works for you in the long run I think.

Fortunately it is also the general public who act like Neanderthal Man some days too. I am grateful for that, it keeps me busy :mrgreen:

Last week's prize went to the guy who bought a brand new gun last Saturday and brought it back Monday well out of Warranty. For reasons unknown (the rifle was a QB78 - Chinese CO2 gun - I think they are okay for the money actually) the guys father-in-law had taken the small retaining screw from the front of the loading cap and then replaced the screw. For reasons unknown he then proceeded to hammer - using a long screwdriver - the fill cap body down the tube and then hard into the firing valve? :o

Quite incredible but as a fellow gunsmith type friend said - He was ahead of the pack, he knows how to use a screwdriver and hammer! :shock:
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Re: Incompetent airgunsmith + bad advice = one dead airgun.

Postby johnbaz » Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:33 pm

Could the owner not take the 'pro' Smith to small claims court??


Cheers, John..
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Re: Incompetent airgunsmith + bad advice = one dead airgun.

Postby Tank » Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:30 pm

johnbaz wrote:Could the owner not take the 'pro' Smith to small claims court??


Cheers, John..


You could John, but it really isn't as straightforward as people make out - and many people think it is throwing good money after bad. The thing that the owner could have in his favour would be asking for the "gunsmith's" professional qualifications.
At least I am a properly qualified engineer so, not only do I have a bit of a clue but I have some paperwork that says other people think I do too :D
I must confess though, I can't remember my own name some days!
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