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Guns & Gunsmiths of the World – Part 1

Below is a special note from President and Founder of the American Gunsmithing Institute, Gene Kelly:

As many of you know, my son Jacob and I are on a World-Wide tour of Firearms Manufacturers and Gunsmiths. We are touring factories and interviewing Gunsmiths so that we can bring you their knowledge, thoughts, skills and ideas. We are bringing this information back exclusively for our Gun Club of America members, thus linking together the true firearm enthusiasts of the worlds.

Here is one of the students at the school, Killian, a fifth year student. He is holding an example of the graduation project the “school rifle” that each student must create.

One of our first stops was in Ferlach, Austria where guns have been being made for hundreds of years. There we met and interviewed Hauptmann custom Gunsmiths and then were invited to tour the Austrian School of Gunsmithing (HTBL VA  Technical Institute), which has existed for 140 years.  After meeting with the school’s director and touring the facilities, I had the opportunity to interview a graduating student and examine some of his work. You will be able to see this interesting interview in an upcoming issue of GunTech. (when you watch it, think about if you could do this level of work. With our AGI training, I am sure that you could.)

As a result of this international meeting of professional Gunsmithing instructors and students,  it was agreed that both schools (theirs and AGI) would work together in the future to promote and preserve the Gunsmithing arts. We will work on establishing an official “sister school” agreement in the near future.

Current President and 7th generation gunsmith Christian Springer with AGI President Gene Kelly

We then traveled to Vienna, where we spent an entire day with Christian Springer of the Johann Christian Springer Company. Mr. Springer is a 7th Generation gunsmith and graduated from the prestigious school in Ferlach, Austria.  One of his key staff members Paul, spent a great deal of time showing us unique firearm design and incredibly beautiful (and expensive) double rifles, shotguns and drillings.  The Springer Company has the only indoor shooting range in Vienna, has millions of dollars in high end firearms in stock, organizes specialty hunts for Boar & Red Stag in Eastern Europe and just recently launched a Live Auction for European firearms.

Next we traveled through the Czech Republic and toured the Sellier & Bellot ammunition manufacturing plant. I have been using S&B ammo for years. It is good quality ammo for a very competitive price. I was surprised at how big the facility was; it must have been on over 100 acres. The company was started in the late 1800’s and moved to its present location in 1936. It was taken over by the communists, but in shortly after the fall in 1989, the company went private.

In addition to the 9mm, .45 ACP and Buckshot that we so commonly see, they manufacture several dozen additional cartridges. We expanding emphasis on hunting ammunition in rifle calibers.  What surprised me was the fact that they are O.E.M. producers for a number of USA companies.  They make everything from bullets to complete boxed ammo for a number of big name companies.  (I won’t list them here, because I am not sure I am suppose to say anything, but…I didn’t have to sign a waiver, so we may talk about it in an upcoming GCA webcast).

All of these companies were great hosts; they knew of the GCA and of AGI, many saying that they use our videos for training purposes.

I have a LOT more to share, and you will see it ALL in GunTech!

We are traveling the world to bring you back the best firearms info on the planet.

Regards, Gene