Guy seems like the classic FUDD. Doesn't like "assault weapons" and thinks civilians do not need to have them.The ‘Slug Gun Doctor’: Well-known CNY gunsmith still going strong at 82https://www.newyorkupstate.com/outdoors/2020/12/the-slug-gun-doctor-well-known-cny-gunsmith-still-going-strong-at-82.html
Dave Klotz said his father bought him his first gun when he was a young boy.
“It was a model 12 Winchester (shotgun),” he said. “One time soon after he came home from work and I had it all apart on the kitchen table. He looked at me, looked at the gun and looked at me again and said, " ‘When you get it all back together you can have supper.’
“And I ate supper that night,” he said, smiling.
Today, Klotz, 82, is still taking apart and putting together firearms and doing all sorts of repairs at his business, Da Mar Gunsmith’s, in Weedsport.
Tagged “The Slug Gun Doctor,” by one outdoors writer, Klotz has been written up numerous times over the years in outdoors and gun-related publications, including Shooting Times, Guns and Ammo, Buckmasters and Deer and Deer Hunting and Outdoor Life magazines, along with various newspaper articles. A number of the articles are on display on the walls of his business.
He said he was the first to come up with a fluorescent fiber optic sight for handguns and his scope mount for shotguns has been patented. At one point, Klotz added, he was tapped to help test firearms for the U.S Olympic shooting team to ensure firearms were up to specifications at competitions.
Klotz’s career in outdoor sports began not with firearms, but with tying artificial trout flies. His father taught him some basic patterns at age 5, he said, and by age 10 he was going around to local sporting good stores selling them. He said he was 14 when he started working at the Dependable Sports Shop in downtown Syracuse to tie Dixie and Little Wonder spinners. And it was there that he first started working with firearms, “cleaning them and doing simple sight jobs.”
His interest and expertise in firearms grew over the next six decades. After several years at Dependable Sports, he worked at Ra-Lin ) in Syracuse; DeSpirito Lumber and Home Center in Solvay where he started a successful firearms department; the firearms department at Bass Pro Shops in the Finger Lakes Mall – and finally, his current gunsmithing business, Da Mar Gunsmith’s in Weedsport, which opened in 2004.
Today he specializes in long guns (shotguns, rifles, skeet and trap shooting guns and muzzleloaders).
“I stopped doing handguns because of all the requirements of New York State. They’ll drive you nuts,” he said. “And I don’t do assault weapons. I don’t want anything to do with those guns. I don’t believe that citizens need to have them.”
The following are excerpts from a recent interview with Klotz:How did you get all this expertise with firearms?
“I’ve always had an interest in guns. A lot of it, I learned on my own. Gunsmithing is not something that you learn everything immediately. It takes time. If I found I didn’t know how to do a particular job, I would either find out or I wouldn’t do it. That’s because you can screw up someone’s gun up so easily and that’s the last thing I ever wanted to do.
“But there were people down through the years who taught me things – particularly Pete Hamilton, a gunsmith, who was the father of one of the guys I went to school with. I spent a lot of years over at his house. I also went to factory schools to learn about specific firearms and products: Remington, Smith and Wesson, Weatherby. I was also a warranty gunsmith for those brands.
Talk about why and how you came up with a fiber optic sight for handguns. “It was when I was working at DeSpirito’s. Among other things, we were a law enforcement shop. We sold handguns, police equipment and body armor and I was the warranty gunsmith for Smith and Wesson.
“At the time, the sights on the Smith and Wesson handguns were opaque, meaning they had no light gathering qualities in low light or darkness. One of the firearm instructors for the Syracuse Police was complaining to me about a bunch of rookies that he was having trouble training and he wished ‘someone would make a sight that they couldn’t help but see.’
“So I made one. When I started playing with it. I used pink plexiglass, which is translucent and came up with the idea of putting material with a luminous under-coating underneath it that would reflect light, The principal behind it was light dispersion. Light goes through the translucent material on the sight and is reflected off the undercoating and goes back through the sight.
“After it was written up in Shooting Times and we got all sorts of business. I worked on handguns for the FBI, the Secret Service, the U.S. Border Patrol – even the Texas Rangers.
“Today there are various, so-called lumina-fiber optic sights, but mine, I believe, was the first. I put them on handguns and long rifles as well.”What’s the most memorable gun you’ve worked on?
“It was a Weatherby rifle. It was called a Crown Custom. There were only three made and it was all engraved and inlayed with beautiful wood. One was made for John Wayne, one for the Shah of Iran – and the third for this doctor up on the St. Lawrence River. The doctor left this beautiful custom firearm in a case and it got rusty. The doctor brought it to me to re-blue (make it rust-proof), which I did.What’s the problem with leaving a firearm in its case?
“Gun cases will take on moisture. If they do that, then you’ll have a rusty mess (of a firearm). "Any run-ins with celebrities during your gunsmithing career?
“I got to spend half a day with Hank Williams Jr., the country and western star. He came to Syracuse with his friend Roy Jinks, the historian at Smith and Wesson. It was when I was working at DeSpirito’s. Jinks called me up and asked if I knew of any nice gun collections that were for sale. I said I did. I knew this guy I knew in Fayetteville.
“I brought Williams and Jinks over to see him, but Williams was only interested in buying three of his handguns. The guy wanted to him to buy the whole collection and Williams wasn’t interested. Williams had a brief case and had thrown it in back of my station wagon. When I drove him to his plane at the airport and let him off, he walked a little and then suddenly turned and walking back toward my car and reached inside. He quickly grabbed his briefcase that he had left.
“He said, ‘I almost forgot all about that. I got to have that. There’s a quarter of a million dollars in there.’ "