Handgun Repair Shop, Gunsmith for modern and antique handguns, rifles, and shotguns.
Available for phone and email inquiries Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM, and 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Saturday Noon to 6:00 PM, Eastern Time zone.
Sundays and Holidays closed.
Local customers must call ahead to make an appointment before visiting my shop.
Douglas E. Bates owner and FFL dealer.
Pistolsmith. General gunsmithing of most sporting firearms.
Repair, tune, and customize your modern and antique hand guns and long guns.
Handgun repair, revolver repair, and pistol repair. Rifle repair, shotgun repair, black powder repair, muzzle loader repair, musket repair.
Hunting, target, tactical, duty weapon, concealed carry, and personal defense firearms repair and customizing.
Member of American Gunsmithing Association, NRA Annual member, Life member North American Hunting Club.
The working person's gunsmith. Fees based on actual repairs needed, rather than a large price that is supposed to cover everything that some other shops charge. My experience has shown that many firearm malfunctions are due to a, relatively inexpensive, small gun part failure. Effective September 1, 2008 my labor rate will be $40.00 per hour, which is still less than many gunsmith shops that charge $60.00 per hour or more.
Gunsmithing is not limited to hand gun repair in my gun shop. I do many types of gun repair and gun service. Fitting replacement gun parts for parts that are worn or broken solves the problem on most malfunctioning guns. Repair or rebuilding of worn or broken gun parts for obsolete or antique guns may be possible, done at an hourly rate on the digital precision machinery in my shop.
I offer custom work on barrel and chamber. Throating, polishing, installing barrel liners and re chambering to the original or different cartridge of the same bore size. I can cut, re crown, and set the front sight back to shorten revolver, rifle, or shotgun barrels.
I do Pistolsmithing, trigger tuning, smoothing and polishing of action, hammer, cylinder and slide for reliability. I also do concealed carry and tactical customizing and "de horning" bevel work. I can order and install custom stocks, grips, sights, and scopes.
All firearm types are supported. Hand gun, pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, single shot, bolt action, lever action, pump action, semi automatic.
I will NOT work on, repair, stock or order parts for the cheap "Saturday Night Special" guns. These pistols are poorly made from a cast zinc alloy, retailing for approximately $80 to $100. The cast zinc alloy is a relatively soft metal that wears out quickly. By the time they start to malfunction the wear damage is beyond repair and they become unsafe to fire. The best thing to do with these guns when they begin to malfunction is to cut them up and dispose of them to remove them from the firearms marketplace. I used to have the names of the manufacturers of these poorly made guns listed right here. Apparently the search engines picked my site for a source of information on these guns, and I started getting even more phone calls and emails about repairing these guns. I have had to remove the manufacturers names to slow the calls and emails about guns that I refuse work on.
I have been called upon to provide an expert inspection on why some of these guns blew up in a responsible shooter's hand. What I found in examining the faulty pistol was that the manufacturer had cut the barrel chamber too short. This caused the loaded cartridge to jam into the end of the chamber, crimp the outside of the cartridge case down so hard on the bullet that the bullet could not leave the case when fired. The burning powder pressure had to go somewhere so it blew the back end of the case apart, spraying the shooter's hands , arms, and face with burning powder flakes and brass fragments. Buyers beware! These cheap guns are not worth risking your own personal injury.
For another reason why I will NOT support these guns please see www.brandonsarms.org
There seems to be a lot of customer interest in antique handgun repair, antique rifle repair, and antique shotgun repair. Collector interest seems to be strongest for percussion and cartridge firearms dating from before Civil War vintage through the late 1800's Cowboy era.
One of my antique musket repairs done on November 25, 2006 got local and national media attention when I found a leather pouch containing antique coins from the 1700's hidden in the stock of a 1740's musket. The story was "Gunsmith Unearths Buried Treasure" Posted 2006 12 18 in the Harrisonburg, Virginia, Daily News Record, and "Collector strikes gold with 18th century muzzleloader" posted Dec. 21, 2006 on ESPNOutdoors.com News Hound By J.R. Absher.
Antique gun repair orders have been increasing. Typically about 90% of the repair orders I now receive are for obsolete and antique handguns and long guns that are 100 to 150 years old or older. Antique gun parts are still available for many obsolete, out of production, and antique firearms. For more information on antique gun parts see my Antique Gun Parts page.
I have repaired many guns for customers who wanted "Grandpa's old gun" to work again for the sentimental value. Other gunsmiths have told them that the "book" antique gun values would indicate that it was not "worth fixing". I have successfully disassembled and repaired old guns that were found in basements, attics, and barns that were so badly rusted that they would not function. I have taken in and completed repair work that other famous big name firearms restoration shops turned down.
Occasionally I have other gunsmiths send me repair work that they do not have the desire, tooling, or maybe the experience, to do themselves. These repair orders have included revolver cylinder timing, spring making, TIG welding, installing barrel liners, and soldering ribs on double barrel shotguns.
I have rebuilt and repaired hundreds of antique hand guns, antique rifles, and antique shotguns that were manufactured in the 1700's and 1800's. These have included Japanese matchlock, flintlock, percussion, and early obsolete cartridge designs such as early 1800's American, British, French, German, Spanish, and Belgian Pin fire, Rim fire, and Center fire revolvers.
I have repaired antique and obsolete firearms that were manufactured by; A. McGilvray, A. Waters, Adams, Allen & Wheelock, AMT, American Gun Co. New York, American Standard Tool Co. Newark NJ, Astra, Auguste Francotte, Auto Mag, B. A. Co. "Slocum", Bacon Mfg. Co., Baker Gun Co., Ballard, Beaumont-Adams, Beretta, Bernardelli, Brno Arms, Brooklyn Firearms Co., Browning, BSA, C. Sharps & Co., Ceska, Charleville, Chicago Firearms Co., Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company, Cooper Firearms Mfg. Co., Claude Niquet A Liege, D. Border, D. Moore Patent, Deane, Adams, and Deane, Dutch Knil, Eastern Arms Co., Enfield, Ethan Allen, Ejercito Argentino, E. Whitney, F. Stabl In Landau “Zimmerstutzen”, F. B. Radom, FEG, Forehand & Wadsworth, Frank Wesson, Gabilandos, Garate Anitua, C. F. Galand, Gasser, German Reichs, Glock, Gwyn & Campbell Hamilton O., H. Deringer, Hammerli, Harrington And Richardson, Henry M. Kolb, Heritage Manufacturing Inc., Hi-Standard, Hopkins And Allen, Hunter Arms Co., Imperial Metal Products, Interarms, Intratec, Ithaca, Iver Johnson, J.D. M'Kaha, J. Rupertus, J. Stevens Arms Co., J. P. Sauer & Sohn, Janssen Sons & Co., Johnson & Collins, Ketland & Co., Keystone Sporting Arms, Kimber, L. C. Smith, Lefaucheux-Francotte, Llama, London Armoury Company Kerr's Patent, London Pistol Co., M. Friede St. Louis, Manhattan, Marlin Firearms Co., Martini-Henry, Massachusetts Arms Co., Mauser, Maynard Arms Co., Merwin Hulbert & Co., Midland Gun Company Birmingham, Mitchell Arms, Moore's Patent Firearms Company, Murray & Co., Nagant, National Arms Co., Nepperhan, Ortigies, Oxford Arms Co., Parker, Pidault Cordier model Raphael, Pennsylvania Rifle Works, Pieper, Remington's Ilion N. Y., Richland Arms Co., Rino Galesi, Romerwerke, Rossi, Ruger, Rupertus Patent Pistol Manufactory Phila, Sam'l & C. Smith, Savage, Sharps & Hankins, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Smith's Patent, Spencer, Springfield, Springfield Armory, Star, Starr Arms Co. New York, Stenda, Steyr, Stosel, TDE, Thomas's Patent, Tikka, T. Richardson & Sons W. Tranter's Patent, Union Arms Co. W. W. Marston, W. C. M., W. Moore & Co., W. Richards, W. W. Greener, Walther, Warner's Patent, Webley, Wentzl Bohm in Eger, Whitneyville Armory, Wilh. Gerstner in Bleistadt, Winchester.
I have also rebuilt modern handguns, rifles, and shotguns, including some that were damaged in a house fire while stored in a "fireproof" gun safe.
Many older octagon barrel rifles with badly rusted and pitted bores, such as .22LR, .25-20, .32-20, .38-40, and .44-40, can be made to shoot like new by installing a barrel liner.
Many bolt, lever, slide, or single shot action rifles chambered in .22 Magnum rimfire can be relined and chambered to the original .22 Magnum or the hot .17 HMR cartridge.
An announcement was made at the February 2004 SHOT Show that a new .17 caliber cartridge based on the .22 Long Rifle called the .17 Hornady Mach 2 would be available in late 2004. For more information on the .17 Hornady Mach 2 cartridge see my 17 Mach 2 page.
Internet firearms purchase transfers.
I accept firearm transfers from out of state FFL licensed dealers and private sellers who list on the internet gun auction websites. I can accept transfers for customers who live in the western and northwestern regions of Virginia, and eastern West Virginia, that wish to purchase firearms from internet dealers and auctions. I charge $20.00 per firearm transfer fee, which includes the $2.00 Virginia resident or $5.00 non-resident NIC background check fee.
After you make payment arrangements for the purchase of the firearm with the seller, send me the seller's name, email, fax number, and/or phone number. I will send the seller a signed copy of my FFL. The seller will then send the firearm you purchased to my shop. When your firearm arrives I will contact you to set up a time for you to come to my shop to do the Federal and State background check paperwork and pick up your firearm.
Bring 2 forms of ID, a photo ID (usually your drivers license) plus one other item that must have the exact same name and address as appears on the photo ID. The secondary ID can be a current hunting license, current Concealed Handgun Permit, personal or real estate tax bill, current utility or telephone bill, current voter registration card, current bank check, current passport, current automobile registration. I cannot process credit or debit cards for payment. Payment of transfer fees must be by cash or check.
Limit on number of firearms to be transferred.
Transfer customers will be limited to 5 firearms and/or 30 days from shipment arrival to pickup, whichever comes first. Beyond 5 firearms and/or 30 days storage I will refuse to issue any more FFL copies for that particular customer until the firearms currently stored in my shop have been picked up. I simply do not have room in my shop to warehouse a large number of firearms transfers before pickup by the customer.
Many people now use the web to seek information. This website is currently serving thousands of page views to thousands of unique visitors per week. Those visitors have used over 250 unique search phrases on 25 different search engines to find firearms information on this site. I am amazed to find that people from all over the world have viewed my pages.
I have had a steadily growing increase in the arrival of orders for antique hand gun repair, and other antique firearms to repair. Repair orders come in from all over the United States. New repair orders are arriving faster than I can complete the repair orders already waiting on the shelf. About 90% of those repair orders have been for obsolete and antique handguns, antique rifles, and antique shotguns. Many of those have had parts missing and broken. Finding a source for the vintage parts, or fabricating the parts, to repair these antique and obsolete handguns, rifles, and shotguns is a very satisfying and rewarding experience. It is also a very detailed and time consuming type of work.
I have a waiting list of repair orders. That waiting list has been continuous, I always have repair orders stacked on the shelf waiting. The waiting list has varied only in turn around time, currently estimated at about five (5) months. The turn around time varies according to the amount of work necessary on the current repair orders. If I get several consecutive easy repair orders, that can be completed quickly, the wait time may shrink. Or several consecutive extensive rebuild repair orders, that take more time to complete, may increase the wait time.
I assign each firearm that arrives at my shop to the repair order waiting list according to the date it arrives at my shop. My goal is to have your handgun repair, or other firearm repair completed on a "The first one in is the first one out" basis.
When I receive a repair order shipment the owner's name and address information, and the gun model and serial number information is entered into a Repair Invoice according to the date the shipment arrived. The incoming repair orders are then added to the waiting list to wait their turn, after the previous repair orders have been completed.
I you don't want to be without your gun any longer than necessary, I offer an option for you to submit a "Repair Order Reservation" to get your repair logged on to the repair orders waiting list. Send $50.00 deposit, applied to the final cost, by check or money order, your return shipping address, your email and or phone contact information, a description of the makers name and model of your gun and the repair or customizing service wanted. I will write up a repair order for the date that your deposit arrived and get your repair in line on the waiting list. I will contact you about 7 days before I am ready to inspect and diagnose your repair to allow time for you to get your gun shipped to my shop. Once inspection and diagnosis is completed I will contact you with a written cost estimate for your approval prior to ordering parts or starting the actual repair.
After shipping your firearm for repair, please be patient. Your repair order will be worked on when it's turn comes up, after the previously logged repair orders have been completed, according to it's repair order date on the repair orders waiting list.
Questions, comments or suggestions? Contact Douglas E. Bates at,
Phone 540 833-2569
or send email to,
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