The death of Jim Clark Jr. was a tough one to accept. He was young, appeared to be in great shape, in top notch health, highly talented on and off the competitive shooting field, an upper echelon gunsmith and a man who was dedicated to being a friend of everyone he met. His dad, Jim Clark, Sr. was a good friend of mine, and his death was very upsetting to many of us, but to have his son, Jim Jr. die so young and so suddenly was shocking, to say the least. My eyes keep falling on the picture of Jim in my shop and accepting his death is kinda like a bad dream.
To list a few of the least important, worldly, competitive events in Jim’s life are as follows:2001 North American Sniper Championship – 1st place team and individual
All of these awards and many more are important for the “short” term, but Jim always knew what was really important in life and that was God, country, family and friends. His life was truly dedicated to those things and those of us who knew him understood. We sure are going to miss this tall man in the saddle. A photo of Jim Senior and Jim Clark Junior has been stapled to a wall in my shop for over 25 years and will hang there as long as I can swab bores with Hoppe’s No. 9. We will all be with you at a future date Jim.
One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day was; one cannot judge life until death. -Charles DE Gaulle
The Guild’s annual banquet at the ‘Orleans Hotel in the suburbs of the great city of Las Vegas, Nevada operated like a superbly constructed, well-oiled pistol thanks to the diligent and through work of Recording Secretary Bill Laughridge. I am sure most of you have organized events similar to this and understand the complex problems and complicated arrangements that must all come together for an event like a large banquet to come together and run smoothly. Bill Laughridge was just the man to bring it all together and make it work like a well fitted model 1911.
President John Yanek ran the Board of Directors meeting and the general meeting with skill and experience, making everyone feel as if they were a part of something very special – as we are. After the meeting I told John it was one of the best conducted meetings I have ever witnessed and we all appreciated his well thought out plan.
The average vacation is one-tenth playing – nine tenths paying. -Arnold Glasow
The APG Board of Directors meeting was held three hours before the general meeting and was attended by President John Yanek, Recording Secretary Bill Laughridge, yours truly Corresponding Secretary Alex Hamilton, Ron Power, Ken Kelly and Jim Garthwaite. Treasurer Scott Mulkerin was not able to attend this year due to a conflict with work duties.
Many subjects were discussed in the meeting of directors as we grow into an organization in transition to the digital age and a new world in which many of we older men and women are not prepared with which to deal. Associate member Erik Little is leading, or should I say “pulling”, us into this sparkling new age and we old coots are grateful for his talented efforts.
Among the many subjects discussed was the 2015 raffle in which we cleared ,208.00 – sounds good, but comes short of covering expenses and the scholarship program. We had strong hopes to clear over ,000, but that did not happen so we had to take ,000 out of the Vanguard savings account to keep ahead of expenses. That brought our checking account up to ,599.00 and the Vanguard account down to ,437.00.
The raffle guns were two of the finest, matching serial numbered, model 1911’s ever produced in classic 45 ACP and 9mm calibers. The first pistol was created by the combined talents of master pistolsmiths Irv Stone III, Neil Keller, Bill Laughridge, and John Yanek. This unique brace of custom pistols, one constructed from a Caspian bar stock slide and frame was enhanced with a Bar Sto Precision match target barrel and bushing, Ed Brown Products ambi safety, beavertail, mainspring housing magazine rear sight and trigger, SDM Mfg. front sight with gold bead, Cylinder & Slide hammer and sear and Ed Strange Wicked Grips.
The second pistol was hand crafted by the Springfield Armory Custom Shop by American Pistolsmiths Guild members Jason Chamblis, Jeremy Sides and James Winfree.
To ignore the facts does not change the facts. -Andy Rooney
Another issue deliberated at the board meeting had to do with whether or not contributions of guns and other donations to the Guild were fully deductible and exactly what level of 501C we actually were. I researched that question and found we are a 501C-6 which, unfortunately, is not a tax free designation that can be donated to and the donation listed on the donors 1040 as a “tax free” donation. In other words, if you donate a gun to the Guild for sale or raffle you cannot take the value of the donation off your taxes…bummer and double bummer! However, if you donate advertising to a Guild cause that is deductible. It is all a quagmire of bureaucratic tar.
It was suggested we raise annual membership dues from .00 to 0.00, 0.00 and another to 0, but all suggestions were stomped down like a Diamondback rattle snake on a Texas dance floor.
The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person. -Andy Rooney
The Guild Seal of Approval, now about six years old, was looked upon, hopefully, as a program that would support the Guild and our projects into eternity, but, unfortunately, never really caught on. I, for one, displayed the seal on my TR Cleaner Degreaser as did Ron Power on his fine revolver products and tools, but it never really caught on with other businesses. I still believe it is a million dollar business project, but needs intense, targeted promotion in order to succeed and we just simply do not have the money to do that. We agreed to drop the annual fees, hang on to the business now on board and see what the next year has in store.
Having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world. -Andy Rooney
Bill Oglesby of Oglesby and Oglesby, last year’s proud Pistolsmith of the Year has generously donated one fully engraved, custom Ruger single action Vaquero model and one Ruger Blackhawk with all of Bill’s exquisite, special work. The Vaquero is a thing of stainless Steel beauty that would make any owner proud. I will send the Vaquero out to Paul Persinger for custom Walnut grips with the Guild logo inlayed into one grip and the Oglesby and Oglesby logo inlayed into the other.
The second single action, now being built, is built on a Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter, again, with all the custom work for which famous exhibition shooter Bill Oglesby is noted.
Both works of art will be used by the Guild to raise funds to support our pace setting scholarship program.
Neil Keller of Kustom Ballistics has also stepped up to the plate and donated one of his exquisite, unique, collector model Baby Lugers. I believe Neil is the only custom pistolsmith still building these exceptional works of gunsmithing art that bring premium prices on the auction block and buyers markets. Neil will also add one of these beauties for my collection.
Another custom gun being built to help raise funds for the scholarship program and running expenses is being custom designed and built by a couple of members including president John Yanek. It is a model 1911 on a Caspian frame donated by Gary Smith. The three men who will build this magnificent piece are Neil Keller, Bill Laughridge and 2016 Pistolsmith of the Year, Irv Stone.
If any other members would like to build a complete custom revolver or pistol and donate it to the Guild it would help immensely to keep our scholarship program solvent and viable.
One person saying to me, “you have made my day!” makes my day. -Andy Rooney
Two new members, Dave Laubert and Greg Derr were accepted as full members on completion of their one year probation. Dave is president and owner of Defensive Creations in Alliance, Ohio which was established in 1999. He serves military and law enforcement as well as civilian shooters who seek and appreciate the best and the finest in custom firearms. Dave has been a machinist for over 28 years and is a welcome addition to the American Pistolsmiths Guild.
Greg Derr who practices his gunsmith art in Marchfield, MA and is president of Derr Precision is also welcome to our exclusive group of professionals. However, I never received a bio or physical address for Greg so am working at a disadvantage as to his specialties.
Sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand. -Andy Rooney
APG bylaws allow for Indemnification insurance on Guild officers to protect them from personal liability should the Guild be sued. We have never exercised that charge in he bylaws, but with the current attacks on every section of the firearms industry from, what seems like every direction, we must get that done. John Yanek will handle the indemnification of officers.
Life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes. -Andy Rooney
Jim Garthwaite of Jim Garthwaite Pistolsmith, Inc. in Watsontown, PA was elected to the Board of Directors. Jim has been a stable force in the Guild since he has been a member and is someone on whom we can depend to help get things done and solve problems in a professional manner. I can fill reams of paper with wonderful words telling about the professionalism and character of this fine man, but will save that for another day.
By the way, if you love to work on and customize the Browning High Power pistols you need to know Jim Garthwaite.
Money does not buy class. -Andy Rooney
The nomination for APG Pistolsmith of the Year has become a problem and has strayed away from how it is outlined in the Guild bylaws. One section of the original Bylaws states, “The “Pistolsmith of the Year Award” is established to honor a voting member of the Guild for his or her “outstanding contribution or contributions to the American Pistolsmiths’ Guild and to the Pistolsmithing profession.” In our case, as in other organizations, this could mean helping raise money for our scholarship program, bringing new members on board, donating labor or custom guns to help raise funds, serving as an officer, contributing to articles in the newsletter, donating money, serving on the board of directors and so forth and so on. In order for you to become eligible for this highly sought-after award “you must be seen by the membership.”
As in everything in American business “you must work for it” and the fruits of your labor and contribution will be rewarded! The rewards of serving a prominent organization like the Guild may not seem important to you in the time you are embroiled in the gift, but that reward will become an integral piece of your life as you grow old and reflect on what important contributions you have made to your family, peers and friends.
The members of the American Pistolsmiths Guild can only give you a beautiful bronze object as a reward for your service and contribution, but your real reward will be permanently implanted in your brain’s life memory. The memory of the day you received the Pistolsmith of the Year award will forever be engraved on a very special place in the gray matter of your hard drive. Please take heed and help this organization serve the, current and future, most talented men and women in the custom firearms industry.
The Bylaws also state, “The Pistolsmith of the Year award shall be given annually at the discretion of the Board of Directors only.” That means, if the Board of Directors do not get the required response from past recipients of the honor who are supposed to pick three nominees then the Board will have the discretion of canning the award for that year. If you do not know, past recipients of the Pistolsmith’s annual award choose three candidates for the current year’s award and those three nominees are then presented to the general membership who vote for the single recipient.
The problem we are having is only 50% of the past recipients of this prestigious award vote and it is a real pain in the ass for the “volunteer” president and officers to spend valuable time calling past recipients to complete the simple job of nominating a member for this coveted award. We do understand you might not know who has donated considerable work for the Guild and you may not think you have time to call the officers for a recommendation and that is understandable so we are forced to come up with a different plan for the Pistolsmith award and a change to the Bylaws. The new, added Bylaw will read something like this: “If more than 50% of ‘past recipients’ fail to choose three selections there will be no Pistolsmith of the Year for that year or the Board can exercise their collective “discretion” and choose a member to receive the award or they can choose to not give the award for that year.”
Another problem pops up every year and is a real headache for the “volunteer” officers and that is, “when the nominees are chosen they are required to write a short biography about their contributions to the gunsmithing profession, what they have done for the Guild and why they believe they deserve the one of the most sought-after awards in the gunsmithing profession. “If you are nominated and do not turn in your bio by the designated deadline your name will be dropped from the nominees!”
If there are two nominees left and one does not send in his bio then there will be one nominee left and he will be the winner by default. If not one of the three sends in a bio, that’s will be the end of the trail and the honor will not be given for that year. That’s a pretty simple solution, right? If you are nominated and you do not have enough respect or honor for the award, you do not deserve it.
This year’s annual meeting social, which is always been a highlight of the year and did not disappoint. Firearms industry dignitaries such as Sandra Froman, past president of the NRA was present as a guest of Erik Little. World famous Guild members talked of new inventions, fabulous products, firearms industry politics and a lot of just plain old BS with their peers.
There were scholarship winning gunsmith students, deans of the gunsmith schools and University presidents who mingled with Guild members and their spouses as the sweet, teasing smells of prime rib and other gourmet prepared foods filled the air. It was a time to cherish old friends and a time for those of us who are nearing the end of our tenure to give thanks for another blessed year with the people we hold dear.
I stood back and watched as men like Jim West, John Yanek, Dick Heinie, Irv Stone and many others mingled with the overflow crowd exchanging ideas and admiring the magnificent leather work created by two new associate members Chris Andre of Slick and Bald Leather and John Ralston of 5 Shot Leather. The hand tooling, coloring, fitting, stitching and trimming these two men did was the best you will ever see bar none. We all welcome Chris and John to the American Pistolsmiths Guild. Their work is exemplary where any member would be proud in which to display their finest custom pistol or revolver.
Well, by golly, we did not fare so well in 2015, but made something like .00 more than 2014 for a grand total of <,851.08>. Yep, those little pointy things mean we lost our asses, but there is always a silver lining around a gray cloud. Not sure if the sun has made it shine out at this time, but it has to be there…right?
I am not one to dwell on numbers so I will hit the highlight of Scott Mulkerin’s beautifully presented Profit and Loss statement for the year 2016. The bottom line of Scott’s masterfully done financial statement is………wait for it………oh dern, I already gave it up! We lost our enchilada enhanced (pizza for you Yankees) butts. Hmmm…typical business, more money going out than coming in which is commonly called, “in the red” and I ain’t talkin’ about a lady of the evening. However, we are working on that little problem and will welcome any input (that’s “ideas” in laymen terms) you may have that will help boost the shrinking money pile from turning into dust.
We have borrowed ,000 from the rainy day Vanguard savings account to keep our old bones afloat and will trim all unnecessary spending, but a sugar daddy would really help at this point…hell, I would even settle for a “sugar mama” if you know one.
Money is a terrible master, but an excellent servant -P. T. Barnum
Every year the president of the Guild can give out awards to members, or even nonmembers who he believes have contributed to the betterment of the American Pistolsmiths Guild. President John Yanek awarded three trophies this year to three men who continue to give part of their lives and time to help the APG raise money, run the mechanics and offer support. The three men who received this prestigious award and as follows:
Erik Little, an associate member and president of Combat Leather who not only brought us into the digital world, but who has been instrumental in raising money for our scholarships and other expenses. Shucks, Eric even made a couple dozen key rings complete with a leather piece upon which he stamped the Guild logo. He continues to tune and tweak our new Facebook page with featured projects and products of Guild members. Erik is a one many show, excellent speaker and an exemplary leader with skills beyond the norm.
2015 Pistolsmith of the Year, Bill Oglesby, has been a member of the Guild for many years and has constantly stayed in touch and been a part no matter where he is in the world performing as an exhibition shooter. While shooting, he flies a Guild banner he had made and is always promoting APG projects. Bill has donated two highly customized six-guns to Guild raffle projects to help us raise much needed funds and is one of those members we feel so comfortable with I would not have any hesitation picking up the phone and asking him for help on a project. I have always seen Bill Oglesby as a man with a heart of gold and a kind word for everyone.
Ken Kelly, 2007 Pistolsmith of the Year, seems to me to be like a comfortable old chair in the firearms industry and as a member of the Guild. Ken is one of those men who was raised in the gun industry and is a professional in everything he does. As for Guild projects we have always been able to call on him to help with any custom raffle gun project whether it is porting a big bore six-shooter or performing some of his exotic custom work on some high end Guild project. Ken is another valuable member of the Guild who seems to always be on call when a need arises. He sits on our Board of Directors and continuously has fresh ideas for professional problem solving.
Congratulations to Erik, Bill and Ken, all fine men who are exemplary members of the American Pistolsmiths Guild and are deserving of President John Yanek’s high award.
Anybody can win unless there happens o be a second entry. -George Ade
President John Yanek had the pleasure presenting his fourth Pistolsmith of the Year award to one of our most talented members, Irv Stone Jr.
Irv Stone’s family started in the firearms business in 1967. Irv III began working on firearms when he was 11 years old and started shooting in what was then the South West Pistol League before IPSC or USPSA. He is a life member of the NRA, C.R.P.A, and has provided many firearms and donations for fund raisers to help continue our firearms heritage. Bar-Sto Engineering has provided, for the past 45+ years, many prototype and design services for most of the large firearms companies. They have provided services and products for the Guild Guns since Irv has been involved with APG.
Irv Stone is personally involved in building most of the full house custom guns we sell today. He has also personally fitted many of the barrels customers send in to fit to their guns. He also does some general gunsmithing for the local area customers. In addition to these tasks, Irv works on expanding the Bar-Sto product line to include new barrels for the 2016 year.
The Bar Sto company is also involved with the local high school and gives internships and school tours as well as works with state and local colleges to provide support and assistance for their machine shop programs.
Irv Stone encourages all of his employees to become interested in firearms by providing answers to all of their questions and taking time to explain dimensions, functions, and firearms fundamentals. He is close to each and every employee by fully participating in the practical jokes and general shenanigans that frequently take place at Bar-Sto.
Irv Stone is a man of exceptional talent, an excellent businessman and a strong participating member of the Guild. He always comes to the annual meetings to visit with friends and peers and is a man we can look to for suggestions on how to make the APG better and more rewarding for its members.
What a pleasure it was to see this fine man walk to the front of the room, before all the men a women who have upmost respect for him, and accept this most coveted reward for his talent and contributions to the American Pistolsmiths Guild. Irv Stone, in my eyes, is an exemplary member of an organization representing the best of the best.
Be a jewel or toy, not the prize gives the joy, but the striving to win the prize. -Edward Bulwer-Lytton
It was a real treat to have three out of the four 2015 student scholarship winners in attendance at this year’s banquet. The four scholarship winners, Daniel Byrd of Murray State College in Oklahoma; Michael Lowe representing Trinidad Junior College in Trinidad, Co; Brian McGuire carried the banner for Montgomery Community College in Troy, HC; and Merrill Hall on behalf of Murray State College in Tishomingo, Ok. These fine men qualified and each received a combined Brownells/American Pistolsmiths Guild ,000 cash scholarship and another 0 in tools and parts donated by APG members.
Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. -Vince Lombardi
Jim West of Wild West Guns in Anchorage, AK and another large gun shop in Las Vegas, NV is always a man with excellent suggestions for fine tooling the Guild and his input at this banquet was no different.
Our membership is ageing, to put it mildly, and in need of young, talented, new members who can launch from the starting gate and carry the prestigious Guild banner into the 21st century. Jim, an experienced businessman, who is used to solving problems, came up with a stellar idea and that is for members of the guild to have an intern program to kind of kick start men and women who would like to get into the profession and act as a portal in which to enter and fulfill their desire. This works in many other professions and should work well in a gunsmiths shop.
Many years ago I used to work high school students under a program named Distributive Education where they came to work around 3:00 PM or a little earlier and worked for two to three hours for minimum wage doing everything from sweeping the floor to production work on a drill press. They loved it and learned a lot about gun work, business and dealing with customers and a boss. Most of those students stayed in contact with me to this day and was a rewarding experience for them as well as myself. In fact, one of the students, Javier Rodriguez is, to this day is one of my closest friends with a wonderful wife, three grown sons and is next in line to be president of a large corporation. He has called me once a week for over 45 years even from combat zones while he was in the United States Marine Corps.
If you want to do something that is rewarding for young men, women and yourself I would strongly suggest you consider Jim West’s suggestion starting an intern program in you gunsmith shop. The fulfillment is more than you would ever know.
Love, not time, heals all wounds. -Andy Rooney
Two extraordinary, accomplished custom leather craftsmen were inducted into associate membership in the Guild.
For those of you at the annual banquet you witnessed some of the most beautiful leather belts and holsters created by two leather craftsmen who surely must be two of the most talented leather craftsmen in the world. If you need hand tooled works of art or plain perfectly stitched leatherwork please contact one of the two men listed below:
5 Shot Leather, LLC
18018 North Lidgerwood Court
Colbert, WA 99005
10075 North 65th Street
Longmont, CO 80503
These two exceptional leather craftsmen were brought into and introduced to the Guild by Erik Little of Combat Leather and we are all grateful to have these two gentlemen in our family.
The annual election of officers lasted a whole, uh, hmm, five minutes with John Yanek repeating as El Presidente, Bill Laughridge rushed back in as Recording Secretary, Scott Mulkerin jingling his pockets back to the head of our Federal Reserve and old coot Alex Hamilton, shuffling behind his walker with a package of Depends under one arm and a pill box under the other, back into the position of Corresponding Secretary.
These four men, all leaders, are the glue that holds this organization together and are instrumental in making the American Pistolsmiths Guild a family inside of the firearms industry in the shade of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Everyone you meet deserves a smile. -Andy Rooney
The annual raffle gun or guns are the primary source of revenue for the American Pistolsmiths Guild and, as any long term project, it is always nice to give projects such as these a new face for a fresh presentation.
Any members who would like to do a complete donation of a gun, such as Bill Oglesby has done, should contact President John Yanek.
No one is perfect until you fall in love with them. -Andy Rooney
The 2015 raffle guns, two fully customized model 1911’s, were won by a man in Anchorage Alaska. The winning ticket purchased was drawn at random on December 14, 2015 and was confirmed to the ticket stub held by the winner by phone.
According to Stuart Palmer the director of Guns for a Cause, “the final results of the raffle shows we sold close to 775 tickets at .00 apiece which grossed the Guild ,500 which is a far cry from our record high, but a great deal more than we have been able to raise over the last five years or more.
The results of the raffle were sent in a mass E-Mail and as a Facebook posting, notifying all the participants of the winner. The full name of Mr. C. was left out of the notices in order to keep the winners privacy secure.
This year’s raffle was run by Stuart Palmer of Guns for a Cause for the first time and, without a doubt, was very successful compared to years past. With the experience gained from this raffle, Mr. Palmer has more ideas for next year’s raffle and hopes to increase the bottom line figure.
I wish I could have told my Mom I love her one more time before she passed away.
Shipping firearms in these days of ignorance and stupidity has become so complex to the common man we are losing considerable business for the simple reason most potential customers do not have a clue how to ship a rifle, much less what democrat refer to as a “deadly handgun.” I deal with this on a daily basis and after 45 years have come up with a few words for shipping instruction. You might want to print these instructions on your Web page in order to help walk your customers through this quagmire of bureaucrat mud.
Shipping firearms legally is a little difficult these days if you do not have a lot of experience. The following are instructions, suggestions and hints will help you get your precious lead injector to me or any other gunsmith within the United States of America.
For many years I have been dragged through the rocks and mud as the young members tried to get me to publish the Guild newsletter on the APG Web page. After 45 years of writing about economics, finance and guns I was close to burn-out but that stale seed was planted and I thought about it every now and then between paragraphs – so I still try to write.
I am normally what marketing gurus call an “early adopter” as far as electronics, engineering and new invention goes, but I have never liked reading long articles on a bright, glaring, in your face, computer screen and figured there were lots of others who felt the same. I am a prolific book reader and have always found it hard to “curl up with a good computer,” even if it is a little bitty laptop. I actually tried that once, but Kathleen kicked me out of bed and threw the nasty box off the second floor. During the smoke and fire and caustic words I finally got a smoking wild hair and thought I would give the electronic newsletter a shot and established the link, “Read Our Newsletter” which will take you to my latest BS and sub human writing.
The “Read Our Newsletter” page was actually established during the final newsletter of 2015 as an experimental shot into cyberspace that would kinda get my stubborn frontal lobe wet. Well, it did not take long, two minutes, for me to realize this was pretty cool and might have potential, even for the old codgers who are still beating guns to death with hammers on a daily basis. What I like best is when one of you calls to eat me out about some strange comment I made while in an alcohol induced stupor and had the balls to put it on paper the error or slanderous remark can be changed before the Feds see it.
NOTE: For you old coots out there in brick and mortar land who like to read the latest fascinating, world class news about the American Pistolsmiths Guild, the eagerly anticipated newsletter will still be printed at great expense and delivered to your rusted, broken mail box. That’s the box out front of your paint peeling home that is supported by the crankshaft of your first Chevy El Camino.
I am the Gunsmithing Editor for Gun World Magazine where I have written my monthly column about custom gunsmithing projects for over 1 ½ years. I am also currently working on my second book for Gun Digest, tentatively titled The Gun Digest Book of Modern Custom Gunsmithing and signed the contract to start this book last week. My first book for Gun Digest titled: The Gun Digest Guide to Competitive Pistol Shooting will be on sale this June.
I wanted to reach out to the Guild to see if they would be interested in providing information and high resolution photos for my book. My book is focused on the home hobbyist gunsmith, but I wanted to feature the work of the professionals such as the APG and ACGG.
I can send you my current resume for your review, as well as a copy of my book contract and the table of contents to my book, if needed.
Steve Sieberts Gunsmithing Editor, Gun World Magazine firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Pistolsmiths Guild 2016 1st Newsletter
Article Posted: 03/07/2016 12:04:22 PM