Skip’s Tips

                                         Skip Walters Tips

Youth Rifles

Our Students have 24/7 access to monthly discussion posts from our Master Gunsmith, Skip Walters.

My father taught me to shoot a rifle when I was 5 years old, after extensive safety training. The rifle was a full size, single shot, bolt action .22 Winchester that was given to him when he was 6. It was too long for me and was difficult to aim. I eventually grew into it, but it took many years until I was a proficient marksman.

With safety training and responsible adult supervision, many parents are introducing their children to shooting at earlier ages. However, finding a .22 that fits the youngsters is still a challenge. Although a few companies are making youth sized long guns now, the cost can be prohibitive for many. As a gunsmith, that issue is easily solved and a kid’s dream can come true.

Gun shows and used gun shops usually have a few old .22 single shots that need some attention for much less than one would think. The outside of the barrel may be rusty and the stock may have someone’s initials scratched into the wood, but these old .22s are like diamonds in the rough. The revamping of the subject gun will hone your gunsmithing skills and mean the world to the little shooter. I reworked one of these for my daughter and now I’ve taught my grand daughter to shoot with the same rifle.

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I bought it at a gun show for $25. It had a spot on the barrel where someone had started to saw it back to 21”, but hadn’t sawed all the way through. The buttstock had someone’s initials carved in it, was speckled with ceiling paint (I don’t know why people paint rooms with guns in the corners) and sported what appeared to be a cigarette burn on it. The buttplate was cracked and only had one drywall screw holding it in place. It really looked bad, like an uncut diamond.

I polished, cut and crowned the barrel to 20” and used hot rust blue to color and protect the metal. The stock was reduced to 75% of its size, maintaining the original profile. The buttplate was repaired with black epoxy and gun quality wood screws attached it to the stock. A detachable sling swivel stud was mounted just forward of the stock toe and a corresponding barrel band sling swivel stud was mounted on the barrel. I cut/filed a new front sight dovetail in the barrel and mounted a brass beaded front sight blade. The walnut stock was finished with a premium oil finish.

I’ve built many accurate, beautiful, expensive guns in my life, but that little .22 my daughter and grand daughter shoot, is the one that has brought me the most joy. I beam with pride when they tell people the history of that little rifle.

Make one for each of the kids in your life. Start a tradition. Spend time with them, teaching them safety and making something for them that they can pass down for generations. I did it for only $25 and my time. Time is the most valuable thing you can give your children.


Skip’s Tips


Meet Modern Gun School’s Master Gunsmith, Skip Walters

A graduate of the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School, Skip has worked as an Engineer, Technician, Model-maker, and Gunsmith for over 30 years. In addition to his role at Modern Gun School, Skip also works as a gunsmith for Sarco, Inc., one of the world’s largest suppliers of gun parts, kits, and accessories.

With his extensive education and real-world experience, Skip provides MGS students with unique insights into what it takes to be a successful gunsmith. Have a question about your course or the firearm’s industry? Skip’s expertise and experience in the firearm’s industry is an invaluable resource.

Once enrolled, students can get in touch with Skip by sending an email to


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