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As a gunsmith gains more and more experience, the importance of keeping an inventory of obsolete parts and materials becomes evident.
A customer may have broken or stripped a screw on one of their scope rings. Obviously, the best solution is to replace the scope ring set. If the customer does not want the broken ring set returned to them, do not throw them away. Save the old ring set so you can use the screws, ring tops and mounting screws for the next customer that has a problem. You can either charge the next customer for the part they need, or give the part to them to get through an emergency. Creating this kind of goodwill with the next person in need will only add to your reputation. When this person tells other shooters or hunters how they were treated (as they always do), your favorable reputation grows.
Revolver hammers with worn single action sears may seem useless. Keep them anyway. Some revolver shooters don’t want single action sears and shoot only in double action mode with spur less hammers. Instead of removing the single action sear and the hammer spur, use the old hammer you saved from the previous job. In this case, the customer has gotten what they wanted and you have traded up your inventory to include a high value hammer with both sears intact.
Saving pins, screws, coil springs, v springs, butt plates and plungers is always a good idea. Save pieces of wood to use for stock repairs, along with pieces of low carbon and high carbon steel to make gun parts and tools. I’ve made chisels, scrapers and gouges out of old files, and I am still using those tools to this day.
When I encounter a difficult task, I think back in time to the frontier gunsmiths. I believe if they could do it, so can I. If I can’t locate the required item to complete the work, I rummage through my hoard of scrap, spare parts or part bins to find a solution. Except for a couple instances, I have always been able to solve my dilemma. The answer is usually in my hoard.