ACGG’s Goal for 2011 Is to Help Its Members’ Clients Plan Their Perfect Gun

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The American Custom Gunmakers Guild, a nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing the craft of custom gunmaking, has launched a national campaign titled “Plan Your Perfect Custom Gun.” Details about the Guild and its mission, which is promoting the artistry of fine custom firearms, can be found at

Creating a custom firearm is a journey best made with an experienced guide, and the American Custom Gunmakers Guild ( has members well versed in such endeavors, though the roadmap may vary from client to client.

The reason is simple: “Some people always know what they want to do – some have no idea at all,” explains Guild member Jim Blair, adding that it’s best to “sit down and talk with them, work with them and find out what they like by showing them examples.”

The advice from Blair, who has been engraving full-time since 1993, fits right in with a national campaign launched earlier this year by the Guild titled “Plan Your Perfect Custom Gun.”

While Blair, who lives Glenrock, WY, concentrates on engraving, Guild member Dave Norin does “100 percent of the work” of creating an entire custom firearm from start to finish at his shop in Antioch, IL.

“The focus of my business is producing complete custom rifles for dedicated hunters and shooters, along with making custom stocks for both rifles and shotguns,” said Norin, a full-time professional gunsmith and gunmaker since 1972.

Like their other Guild colleagues, Blair and Norin had to submit multiple examples of their work to be peer-reviewed and approved prior to their induction as members. Such a rigorous evaluation process has helped ensure that anyone hiring a Guild member can be assured that “fit and finish are of the highest standards.”

Gunmaker Stephen Heilmann of Grass Valley, CA, put it this way: “There are many phases to having a custom gun built,” he said. “There are a variety of rifle actions available, many fine old shotguns just waiting to be made over. There is also a wide selection of very high quality barrels, triggers, etc.”

As part of its “Plan Your Perfect Custom Gun” campaign, the Guild is offering a number of supplemental aides to help its members’ clients create a one-of-a-kind firearm, including:

DIRECTORY: “Custom Firearms Artistry: Membership Directory,” a 90-plus page publication that highlights Guild members and their particular specialty. The price is $24.95, including postage.

WORKBOOK: “Realizing Your Dream: A Client’s Guide to Building a Custom Gun,” a comprehensive, 60-page workbook that details the process of commissioning a custom firearm. The price is $24.95, including postage.

DVD: “An Introduction to Custom Guns” narrated by Jack Belk. This 105-minute presentation painstakingly shows what goes into planning and building custom rifles and shotguns. Price for the DVD is $35, including postage.

“Realizing Your Dream,” the membership directory and the DVD can all be ordered at For more information, call (307) 587-4297 or send a fax to (307) 587-4297.

ABOUT ACGG: The American Custom Gunmakers Guild (ACGG) advances the art of custom gunmaking by increasing public awareness and appreciation for quality custom firearms and promoting custom gunmaking as an accepted art form. The non-profit organization was formed in 1983 by a group of avid craftsmen who came together to create an association to promote the artistry of fine custom firearms.


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