A Legacy of Gunsmith Services

Gatling, Henry, Remington, Browning, Colt, Kalashnikov, Garand – these are names that nearly anyone familiar with firearms would recognize instantaneously, and for good reason; the inventions of these men still see common use today. These are just a select few names, of many, that attest to the legacy attached to a centuries-old combination of skill and talent, creativity and workmanship.

Few professions require the intricacies of gunsmith services. Knowledge of metal and woodworking, creativity and artistry, the ability to mentally create mechanical movements in concept, then implementing those designs into a finished firearm – these are a few of the requirements of a gunsmith. It is with good reason that craftsmen and artisans hold gunsmiths in such high regard.

Every gun made requires a level of comfort in working with a wide variety of materials: wood, steel, plastics, ceramics, and more. The gunsmith must be well versed in working with any combination. Even a well cared for firearm is going to have to stand up to the abuse of a controlled explosion in the chamber, again and again. It will have to endure the elements, avoid rust, hold together despite potential bumps or other accidents. The firing mechanism must function perfectly, never discharging accidentally, and always firing exactly when the trigger is pulled.

Many modern weapons have names attached to them from their inventors, in recognition of the contribution to the design and building of modern firearms. As an exception to this rule, we find Eugene Morrison Stoner, the designer and inventor of the AR-15, adopted by the US Military as the M16. The AR-15 is a testament to the skill and foresight of an incredibly successful gunsmith.

Partially because of its modular design, Stoner’s creation is a favorite of gun enthusiasts today, and for good reason. The gun is incredibly versatile, providing the gunsmith ample opportunities to help an AR-15 owner make it the ideal firearm for themselves and a perfect fit. This customizability marks the skillset of the gun’s original designer as well as the talent of the gunsmith who will make the modifications.

Of course the AR-15 is just one example of a firearm design that offers unique advantages. Benjamin Tyler Henry’s creation, the Henry Rifle, changed the way soldiers fought during the Civil War.  Dr. Richard J. Gatling’s invention, the Gatling Gun, provided the first rapid-fire weapon that didn’t need to cease firing to reload. General John T. Thompson created the first hand-held machine gun, the Thompson Sub-Machine Gun, which was put to use by the allies throughout World War II. Each of these men, along with many others, both before and after, exemplified the unique skillsets required to excel as gunsmiths. They took a concept, built on it, improved it, modified it – to create something new, something more efficient, something more modifiable, something more durable. This is the legacy of gunsmith services.

Dury’s Gun Shop continues this tradition. The Dury Gunsmithing tradition spans three centuries, from the late 1800’s when John M. Dury opened a gun shop in downtown San Antonio, through John L. Dury’s opening of Dury’s Gun Shop in 1959. Today, David Dury continues this family tradition as the current “Dury Gunsmith,” along with Mike Whalen, who brings 25 years of gunsmithing and bluing experience, as well as a gunsmithing degree from Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado.

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