Gunsmithing is a trade that has been part of our culture & history for centuries and some may think it is a dying craft but, as you will find out, that is not the case. Michael Tulowitzki is the owner of MJ Tulo Gunmakers & has been gunsmithing and building custom guns for over 40 years. He also shot competitively for decades, taught clay shooting at the Olympic Shooting Grounds in Atlanta, Georgia & is now heading up a new gunsmithing program at the MT Training Center in Grand Prairie, Texas. Michael talks about his passion for guns starting as a boy in Long Island, NY and what drove him to chase the dream of gunmaking. He also talks about why he started shooting competitively, the high & lows of teaching shooting & the gunmaking process from the wood to the engraving. Aside from gunmaking Michael has also owned & trained Brittany Spaniels for over 40 years and shares a few stories of training these beautiful dogs. This is a podcast full of all kinds of great information that will leave you with some awesome stories & a better idea of what is takes to be a connoisseur of this amazing art.
1:02- Podcast start an intro custom gunmaker & gunsmith Michael Tulowitzki from Grand Prairie, Texas.
2:58- Michael talks about why he is in Grand Prairie, Texas and the brand new gun smithing school he is heading up. He talks about being recruited to help start and run the Gun Smithing Program at the MT Training Center and how cool it is to be able to put his stamp on the program and pass down his passion for a trade that a lot of people may think is dying.
7:09- Michael talks about how many people think the trade is dying but that is just not the case. He talks about how guns are the only thing in the world that do not have built-in obsolescence because guns are something that can be made hundreds of years ago and still work flawlessly today.
9:45- Wood vs Plastic Stocks. Michael talks about the top quality guns that are out there that aren’t necessarily that expensive. He talks about not really liking plastic guns because of the difference in the feel and the quality of wood stocks and how he feels that plastic stocks do not have a soul and the wood stocks can tell so many different stories from past use.
12:46- Where Michael’s passion for guns originated from and what stopped him from going to school for architecture. He talks about buying his father his first rifle, getting a crack in it and taking it to the local gunsmith to fix it. He talks about why he decided to just go to gunsmithing school and build the stock for his dad instead.
15:09- Michael talks about moving to Colorado from the Bronx to start gunsmithing school and how it wasn’t really a culture shock because a lot of people don’t realize that New York has a lot to offer for the outdoors. He talks about the Adirondacks holding 2,000,000 acres, is just as wild as the west and how amazing the hunting is in New York.
22:46- He talks about how he got into the outdoors as a child and how it was not a person in his life but rather through reading. He talks about loving reading hunting magazines growing up and then his mother, who hated guns & hunting brought home what she thought was a pop gun but, it ended up being a BB gun and that was the first gun he ever owned.
24:07- Passion for Gunmaking. Michael talks about how his passion for gun making only escalated after going to gunsmithing school. And how after he graduated, he looked very young and people would not take him seriously so, he decided he would start shooting competitively to prove himself and he did.
26:36- Teaching Shooting. Michael talks about teaching shooting at his alma mater (Colorado School of Trades) & at the Olympic Complex in Atlanta, Georgia in sporting clay shooting and trap and skeet & how much he enjoyed teaching especially women and children because they listened and learned very quickly.
30:10- The Highs & Lows of Teaching. He talks about what he enjoyed the most & the least about teaching & gives a few recommendations to people who want to get into shooting. He also talks about some approaches to learning new tactics & skills to make your a better shot.
33:29- Thanks to our Sponsor HHA Sports, the leader in single pin technology.
34:24- The process of making custom guns. He talks about how it varies per customer because no two people are going to want the exact same gun. He talks about how the wood stock is another important piece and how it can get very expensive depending on what wood you select.
38:56- Metal Finishing. He talks about the next process which is the metal and the different ways you can process the metal- The traditional way of finishing metal called traditional rust bluing which has been used for hundreds of years and then the other ways that are newer- Color case hardening which is a lot more popular these day.
41:57- The engraving process. Michael talks about how he does not engrave the guns he makes because it is such an extensive process and he believes that engravers are artists. He talks about he can do a few things but in order to have it done right he sends out the guns to be engraved. He talks about how expensive it can be to get a gun engraved by a good engraver. One engraver in particular named Winston Churchill whose work was extremely expensive but was amazing and another engraver he uses in Colorado, John Todd who was a student of his at the gunsmithing school.
45:16- Training Brittany Spaniels. Michael talks about how his passion for Brittany Spaniels started when he was just 16 and told himself he would own a Brittany one day and he has trained & owned several since then.
51:16- Rifle vs Bowhunting. Michael talks about why he is a Rifle Hunter and not a bowhunter because he enjoys archery but, since he specializes in guns he wanted to stick to his specialty because his clients will likely not buy a gun from someone who hunts with a bow. He talks about how it’s so important that no matter how you hunt, you’re part of a community that supports each other and looks out for the well-being of the animals and the future of our kids.
58:06- Brandon asks Michael what he would recommend as the best starter shotgun for youth. Michael gives his recommendations for just a basic gun for any kind of hunting both expensive and inexpensive as well as his recommendation for a gun that would be used for bigger game animals. He also talks about the importance of teaching children these days about gun safety.
01:04:39- The Gunsmithing Program at MT Training Center. Michael walks us through the entire program from cost, what classes are taught, what skills are learned, what projects the students get to do as well as job placement assistance.
01:12:17- Michael is known for his good jokes so he tells us one of his appropriate favorite jokes.
01:13:06- Wrapping up, final thoughts and where to find Michael at on Instagram.
Email Michael with any questions about the gunsmithing program: firstname.lastname@example.org