Creating a Memorable Firearm Starts With the American Custom Gunmakers Guild

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The American Custom Gunmakers Guild, a non-profit organization formed in 1983 to promote the artistry of fine custom firearms, has launched a nationwide campaign entitled “Plan Your Perfect Custom Gun” and perhaps the best place to start that journey is to visit

There’s an old Chinese proverb that says: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." That sentence could well sum up a campaign launched earlier this year by the American Custom Gunmakers Guild, which has promoted the artistry of fine firearms for more than a quarter-century.

The campaign is titled “Plan Your Perfect Custom Gun” and perhaps the best first step on that journey is to visit, which features a wealth of information about the Guild and its members.

On the Guild’s home page are two links worth noting: The first is “Find a Gunmaker.” The second is “Custom Gunmaking Resources.”

On the “Find a Gunmaker” page is a link titled “Regular Membership List” which lists Guild members and their categories of expertise, including Stockmaker, Metalsmith, Engraver, Metalfinisher, Checkering Specialist and Casemaker.

For example, there’s James R. Anderson, 45, of Newell, SD, who is listed in the Stockmaker and Metalsmith categories. Before starting his own business Anderson, who was born in Iowa, worked for a number of companies in the firearms industry – including Dakota Arms, John Linebaugh's Custom Sixguns, Taconic Firearms and Miller Arms.

“I've always enjoyed working with my hands. Building custom firearms allows me to work with both metal and wood,” Anderson said, adding that he graduated from Trinidad State Junior College in 1991 with an emphasis in Gunsmithing.

While Anderson does virtually everything concerning the construction of a custom gun, James A. Bisio, 63, of Colorado Springs, CO, concentrates mainly on stockmaking.

Bisio, who served in the Air Force 22 years before retiring, began working with gunstocks in 1971, primarily as a hobby.

“I had not very much money and a lot of time on my hands,” he said, adding the hobby eventually became a passion. Now, in addition to hunting, it’s his lifework.

While the “Find a Gunmaker” link introduces visitors to experienced craftsmen like Anderson and Bisio, the “Custom Gunmaking Resources” link on the Guild’s home page opens the door to a wealth of information for both novice and veteran, including a 60-page booklet entitled “Realizing Your Dream” that has detailed information about the process of commissioning a custom gun, including how to work with a gunmaker. The publication also contains a variety of useful forms to help plan a project.

Another helpful resource is “Introduction to Custom Guns,” narrated by metalsmith Jack Belk, which is a video that focuses on the various parts and components involved in building a custom gun.

The “Realizing Your Dream” booklet, the “Introduction to Custom Guns” video and other valuable resources can be found at For more information, call (307) 587-4297 or send a fax to (307) 587-4297.

What better way to begin “The journey of a thousand miles” than to start with an organization whose stated goal is “Promoting the artistry of fine custom firearms.”

Bisio, the stockmaker from Colorado, put it this way: “Savor it as you go along,” he said of the process of commissioning a custom gun. “It’s lovely thing.”

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 art form.

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