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Matt Mohr has always loved trying to figure out the ins and outs of guns. Only recently did Mohr decide to take aim at a new business of gunsmithing. Mohr works out of his shop in between Detroit Lakes and Frazee. PAULA QUAM/DL NEWSPAPERS

Gunsmith opens business outside of DL

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Detroit Lakes man Matt Mohr is locked and loaded as he launches a new business as one of the areas very few gunsmiths.

The 36-year-old, who grew up on Strawberry Lake, has always had a thing for guns.  Yes, he likes to shoot them; yes, he likes to hunt, but that’s not where his real passion lies.

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“I have always really liked the mechanics of guns,” he said, “I’ve been fixing guns for friends and family my whole life.”

Mohr says he remembers as a child saying he thought it would be “cool” to be a gunsmith.

“I never really thought I would be, though,” he smiled.

But he is.

Mohr, who worked for years doing furniture installation, painting and sales for a fuel additive company, is following his heart and giving his dream job “a shot.”

“I opened up my shop two months ago,” he said from his country home between Detroit Lakes and Frazee, “It’s called ‘Mohr Gunsmithing.’”

Mohr completed a correspondence course in gunsmithing through Penn Fosters in Pennsylvania.

He is now licensed, insured and running full time — a hard combination to find in the gunsmithing world.

“Not many people think they can make a career out of it, so I think most gunsmiths just kind of do it part time on the side, and so they usually don’t bother to get licensed or insured,” he said, “It’s kind of a dying trade, I think.”

Mohr says he believes interest in the field literally is dying off with the old, veteran gunsmiths, and there don’t seem to be very many younger people stepping in to keep things going.

“I’m the youngest gunsmith I’ve met,” he laughed.

But for Mohr, it pays to be a bit of a rarity, as he has customers coming from all over the region.

He says so far he’s gotten mostly rifles and shotguns in for repairs, as well as a few pistols.

“Every manufacturer has a little different idea on the same concept of how things work, and there are so many different designs” said Mohr. “So it’s fun to troubleshoot and kind of see what makes some work better than others.”

Mohr says the bulk of his business comes from people not properly maintaining their firearms, which leads to malfunctions.

“Most of the time it is due to lack of cleaning,” said Mohr, “A lot of times there will be a failure to feed the next round on a repeat firearm because you didn’t dry them off inside. You oil a firearm so that they don’t wear it out, but if you over-oil them, all that dirt sticks to the oil and turns to a paste, and all the grit wears out your firearm in there.”

Mohr says that’s when ordering parts is required. He says aside from some springs and smaller items he uses regularly, he doesn’t keep much in stock.

“Half my job is not just finding out the problem, but sourcing the parts for it,” he said, “Those old, heirloom guns can be hard to find parts for, but digging into it and searching it can be half the fun.”

Mohr says he’s never had to keep a gun for more than three weeks, and it usually only takes him five to seven days, depending on how quickly the parts can get there.

The young gunsmith says he’ll get phone calls from gun owners with problems, and while it’s not money in his pocket, he says sometimes he knows the problem is simple enough for the gun owner to deal with themselves.

“And so I’ll tell them what they can do to try to fix it, and although I don’t get any money for that, I hope that maybe sometime down the line they’ll tell their friends about me,” he said.

Mohr Gunsmithing is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For location and more information, call 218-334-5305.

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