Behind the Scenes at Shack’s Gunsmithing

Behind the Scenes at Shack’s Gunsmithing

If you’ve ever been curious about a gunsmiths’ career path, our gunsmith features are for you. Check out our Q&A with this month’s featured craftsman: Seth Shacklett of Shack's Gunsmithing

Seth has had an interest in gunsmithing ever since he was a kid. A retired and disabled veteran of the U.S. Army, Seth became a gunsmith hobbyist after serving our country. For the past ten years, he has been actively working as a gunsmith for his business, Shack's Gunsmithing.

Shack’s Gunsmithing focuses primarily on Russian designs from 1891 and on, in addition to general gunsmithing on a wide variety of firearms and projects. Check out the photo below — a heavily modified Romanian Tokarev with parts from China, Russia, and the U.S. (plus a sneaky 1911 part)

What inspired you to become a gunsmith?
I've always had an interest in gunsmithing and other mechanical things. When I was nine, a Colt-made Pre Ban rifle blew up in my face and I always wanted to know why.

Photo: Seth’s work in action — making a new barrel for a Nagant M1895 Revolver
What firearm project are you currently working on?
I have several projects I’m currently working on, including an "Ultralight" AK-74 type rifle, removing all the weight I can from it.

What is the gunsmithing project you’re most proud of?
I’m probably most proud of my long-range competition Mosin and the AK.

Photo: A heavily modified Mosin with Repro scope mount, 30mm Split rings, a 2-10 power PSO type optic, custom 30 inch M24 Profile, helical fluted barrel, Archangel stock bedded, bipod, and a muzzle brake
What is the most challenging part of being a gunsmith?
For me, the most challenging part of being a gunsmith is trying to get people to understand why their firearm failed or why the design limits what I can do to their firearm.

Photo: Adding a bipod to a PSL-54C in a way that doesn't affect barrel harmonics
What skills are most important in your line of work?
Mechanical aptitude is a crucial skill for gunsmiths; curiosity, analytical troubleshooting and creativity are also important. Other skills such as welding, machining, woodworking, polymer technician, chemistry, and everything in between helps a gunsmith succeed.

Photo: Seth’s work on making a .300 grain 9x39mm load for the SLAGGA Viska rifle, as well as trying to duplicate the 12.7x55mm round
Have you ever ordered from Numrich?
Yes. I've ordered so much from Numrich I don't really know where to begin. I’ve ordered a Makarov Armorers kit and so many parts, especially for older, more obscure firearms. Numrich has also helped me restore an M17/P17 Enfield to proper order.

Do you have any future goals or plans for your career?
Future plans for Shack’s Gunsmithing include moving and expanding. We’ll also be helping a manufacturer with their new firearm project, as well as a few other projects.You can learn more about Seth’s business by visiting  his website, or check out some of his work over on his Facebook page.