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Thread: Thumbs Up to Arctic Gun Works

  1. #1
    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Default Thumbs Up to Arctic Gun Works

    I usually see a lot of posts about people being upset with their gun smith, so I thought I'd post about a positive experience.

    I dropped my brand new Marlin XLR off yesterday to have the barrel chopped and recrowned to 20" at Arctic Gun Works in Fairbanks. The gentleman who owns the shop was very nice to deal with and very chatty. He didn't have one of those aloof attitudes you sometimes get from those gun guys who seem to think they are the only one in the world who knows anything about gunsmithing. His prices seemed in line with what I had been quoted at other shops.

    My surprise came when he called me today to inform me he was done with my gun. I know that's largely a product of the time of year, but he still could have taken his time with the project. The gun was in just as good condition as it was when I dropped it off. The quality of the work was excellent. The target crown was very nicely done and protected by a thick raised edge around the circumference. I struck up a conversation with him about other possible modifications to my gun and he was more than happy to talk lever guns. It was getting close to closing time and he didn't try to rush me out the door, even though spending time talking to me was not earning him any more money.

    All in all, I would definitely recommend him to anyone looking for gun work. His only stern advisement to me: if you want gun work done, don't wait until the pre-hunt rush. Now is the time to get your gun work done if you want it done quickly.

  2. #2
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    You just got lucky. I have used him for several different things also but I will be trying someone else next time.

  3. #3
    Member H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y's Avatar
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    Default Hum

    Maybe he has relized his crappy atitude has cost him buisness! but thanks for the update.

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    I didn't have an experience like that, just about the opposite.

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    Default never had a problem...

    He's always treated me right, but I have heard he can be a lil' grumpy?

  6. #6
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    Arctic Gunworks has don quite a bit of work for me. He hasn't done a perfect job every time but I am very picky and when I brought back the problem he has taken care of it quickly, without charge, and with a very good attitude.

    I've had smithing done by many gunsmiths, some are better than others, all can make a mistake, all seem to be highly opinionated. Arctic gun works falls in the upper end of this scale. His work is far better than most who have a shingle out. He is highly opinionated and he makes few mistakes. He has some specialties, he rarely gets to practice what he really likes and is best at. Most of his customers barrel cut & crown and muzzle brakes. That's pretty boring work. I've been in his shop and listen to customers and have seen their guns and there are two sides to the stories. Some customers complain about a charge for cleaning a filthy gun and honestly I've seen more filthy neglected guns here in Fairbanks than anywhere else in the world.

    I was in his shop back before Christmas last year and a lady came in with a pre war M1894 Winchester, 30-30 caliber, that was in the back of her pickup truck with the dogs, rolled up in a sheet. It looked as if it had always been kept with the dogs. The gun was ruined. It was rusty, and had several serious dings in the barrrel and receiver including an "owners mark" chiselled into the side of the receiver. The wood was chipped out and carved with a pocket knife. She wanted to sell this gun. In my estimation there was no usable part on the gun. I would not have offered $25. She wanted $10,000 because "that was what they were going for on ebay." He told her it was worth about $400, maybe, not an offer, an appraisal. She got angry and began a lengthy diatribe about how it was her great grandfathers and he shot polar bears with it and other such drivel and left with an "I'll never be back in this ^%$#$^@ place." Darn!

    These episodes take him away from behind the counter with no compensation. Just like folks who come in with some notion of "if I cut off four inches of barrel and put a muzzle brake on it it will be the same velocity right?" It takes time to explain that isn't the case then the customer stomps out because he want's a smith to make it faster with a brake. Some things you can't win.

    A lot of jobs such as bedding and cut and crown used to be done by the Guns Down Under smith but since they went out, he hasn't had a place to work and that upped the demand on Arctic GW.

    If you guys who have had problems with that shop want to PM me with your problems, I'd like to hear them and maybe I can help some.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  7. #7
    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    I'll agree that he had opinions about what he thought was best when I asked him about some other modifications to my Marlin. He told me what all of my options were, told me which ones he thought were best, and then let me decide for myself what I wanted to do; that's what I expect from a subject matter expert. What would have made me mad was if he told me what my options were, but refused to perform whatever work I wanted because he thought it wasn't the best out there.

  8. #8

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    Sounds like my kind of smith, Murph and Kay9Cop. You can't please everyone, and you'd be a fool to try. But if you do your best and stand behind your work, you'll stay in business.

    Having worked in a smith shop as a young man (sweeping floors, and thankfully not trusted to run machinery), I got to see lots of incidents such as you describe Murph. And that old time smith regularly turned out competition guns for olympic and national championship shooters. There were folks that disagreed with his opinion and complained about his work too, but as you indicate, there was usually a Paul Harvey story behind the complaints.

    It's good of you to seek "The Rest of the Story" Murph!

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    Well...........Gary is quite amblical for sure, nothing wrong with shooting the bull. I too cannot agree with most of the positive results some have had there. I too don't believe giving Murphy a PM either in regards to a Smith in town-should be public knowledge. Yep, ole Duggy is awaiting his FFL and a place and I hope it is not his basement but Gary got my work sometime back on my L61R and most of the work is agreeable but the rear NECG adj. sight is still not correctly on center of bore-a twice over attempt in getting Gary to do it right has been fruitless. Possible due to his Arctic Coat on the barreled action and not wanting to mess it up who knows. The rifle still sits in its shameless condition-kind of haphazard reminder of where not to send a rifle.

    I am now trying someone local and have met him and liked him from the getgo-Ken Corcoran. I am not asking him to do anything extravagant but asked him in particular about making certain my sights are correctly centered. His prices is fair. In the end if I can post a pic of it when done I will. Had the VZ24 metal worked out of state by a fine smith(Jim Kobe) and Ken can do the sights, bead blast/parkerizing and weld on a new bolt and headspace the long chambered barrel.

    The dollar is still important but so is the customer-perhaps even more so.

  10. #10
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    I have also heard good things about Ken Corcoran and will probally use him next time.

  11. #11

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    I have had Gary work on several of my guns. He can be frustrating at times and is easily the most expensive guy in town. With that said, he has always done top quality work and in the one instance I had to bring a gun back as there was an issue with some of his work, he was very humble about it, fixed it with no charge and had it back to me within a few days...and this was in August. Plus you got to give him credit for running a clean shop. He has got to be the only smith I have ever been to who's shop wasn't a disaster area.

  12. #12
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    450Hunter,

    Ken called me yesterday, give em a holler a check out my vz24 9.3 barreled action if you want to see his work. I will have it out of his door Saturday and in my hands Sunday for some stock work. Pretty fast work in my book. He too for grins bought Springfields Armory tooling for the M1 Garand and can turn out a barrel, rebuild etc.....

    regards,

  13. #13
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    Anyone have a phone number for Ken Corcoran. I looked in the yellow pages and didn't see anything.

  14. #14

    Default Arctic Gun Works

    His name is Gary Junk and he is a good fella. I talked to him several times. He also does a good job doing the gun coating that is known by several names, including Gun-Cote. I think he might call his Arctic Coat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKJD View Post
    Anyone have a phone number for Ken Corcoran. I looked in the yellow pages and didn't see anything.
    Kens number is 907/488-3258

  16. #16

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    Gary at Arctic Gunwirks has done a bunch of work on guns of mine over the years and like someone else said, he can be a bit quirky, convinced of his own opinions and his prices arent cheap but he has always done me right. Even on the one occassion that something wasn't perfect he fixed it at no charge to me with no qualms. As a matter of fact I have two guns in his shop right now having some things done to them.

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    Thanks Griz106

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    I haven't had any work done by Arctic Gun Works but have been in the shop a few times and bought a Winchester from him recently. He's answered lots of questions for me over the phone and explained the answers nicely ...all for free and all interrupting his usual day of work. The price I paid on the Winchester could've been a tad cheaper, but I didn't and won't complain ...75% of the gun shops in this country have been shut down during the last 10 years for various reasons, and I'm willing to pay a tad extra to help keep the local guy in business. He treated me right ...a whole lot more right than it would be to have to ship a gun to 'that other city' most of 400 miles away. As far as being opinionated goes, it should be no surprise. If you observe people involved in various demanding specialties, there seems to be a strong correlation between being opinionated and being highly specialized ...I don't know why. It's just the human condition. I can name several examples but won't. It doesn't bug me a bit, and I agree with all the opinions that I heard from the fellow at Arctic Gun Works. So I guess either my opinions are just as bad as his or maybe his aren't so bad after all ...that's your call. Opinions are free and it's a free country. Together with your name and taxes, opinions are the only other things that you really get to own all your own so I like to let people keep'm. I like the Brittanies in the shop too ...makes me miss the one I used to have. Good dogs. My kind of shop and I will definitely give him more business, no problem. Thumbs up from me.

    Brian

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    Default Arctic gun works

    I too have had Gary do some work on a couple of guns. For the most part I thought I was treated like a redheaded stepchild. But I certainly can't fault his work.I haven't had to take one back. One of the guns I took in to have a scope mounted. I had bought it at a pawn shop and it was rough,you could tell someone had worked on it in their garage. I gave it to Gary, he mumbeled something about kitchen table gunsmiths,but he did what I asked and did a fine job. I guess he thought I was the wanna be gunsmith. I really like his shop and the dogs so I will probably be back.
    One thing about opinions,everybody's got one, just like you know what else everybody's got.
    Spend your money here there's enough leaving the state as it is.
    "All bureaucracies are the same. They drain the life out of the truly creative people and develop mindless paperpushers as their critical mass."

    "You are a den of Vipers.I intend to rout you out and by the Eternal God I will rout you out.If the people only understood the rank injustice of our money and banking system there would be a revolution before morning"--Andrew Jackson 1828

  20. #20
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    Default I'll use a spear before I use Arctic Gun Works!

    Treat me like a readheaded stepchild and I'll never go back, let alone work on a couple of my guns. I like to keep the little guy in business too, but come on. Loose the bad attitude and you'll keep my business. Too bad there will never be another chance for Arctic Gun Works from me. Oh yeah, loved the dogs, but that crabby old lady hovering around was the icing on the cake for me.

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