GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- They don't make rifles like they used to; American hand-made weapons were once hand-forged and assembled with craftsman care. Those days ended in the 1930s, but may of those weapons are still in circulation and have a long life ahead of them if they are restored.
A Grand Rapids company is one of the few in the nation capable of doing that restoration. Bachelder Gunmakers recently moved into a larger space at 700 Plymouth, NE. The company has been restoring antique rifles and repairing others for 40 years.
Owner Brad Bachelder says he has a passion for preserving the handcrafted history that was American gun-making. "If they're not taken care of-- if they're not restored-- theyre gonna be gone. We can bring them back to pristine condition for another 100 years and they will appreciate in value," Bachelder said.
He restores about 4,000 weapons a year, mostly rifles, most of them antiques. He's rediscovered processes he says were practiced by generations of craftsmen many years ago.
"That's our focus is to preserve that and bring that back," Bachelder said.
Only eight people work at the company but Bachelder says he plans to hire a few apprentices soon. They will spend years learning the craft that he says has put Grand Rapids on the map in the world of gun collectors.
"Grand Rapids now has a name for firearms which it didn't before."