Dean Batchelder graduated from Colorado School of Trades in 1991 and had his own shop prior to going to Brownells as a Gunsmith Tech in 2001. Since 2005, he has instructed AR-15 Armorer and Customization and Alternative Finishes classes at various gunsmithing schools as well as the NRA Summer Gunsmithing Program on behalf of Brownells.


Certified NRA and Sig Academy Master Instructor Sam Hatfield graduated from Colorado School of Trades. He worked as head gunsmith at Green Mountain Guns in Lakewood, Colo. and served as a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit as a gunsmith. He owns Hatfields Gunsmithing in Manassas, Va. where he offers finely crafted one-of-a-kind firearms to the civilian market.


Lee Helgeland is one of the premier stockmakers in the nation. He has spent 30 years perfecting his craft and is a member of the American Custom Gunmakers Guild. In addition to achieving a rare level of mastery in the stockmaking and metalsmithing industries, Helgeland and his works have been showcased in national magazines.


Frank Higginson is the lead gunsmith for the California Highway Patrol and has been with the CHP for the last 25 years. He started gunsmithing as a 2112 in the Marine Corps in 1976, building Match 1911A1’s and M14 Match rifles. He was an armorer for the USMC Rifle team in 1978. Higginson was the service warranty repair gunsmith for Navy Arms for a short time before attending Lassen College in California where he earned an associate’s degree in gunsmithing. He worked for a Hollywood prop-gun company making guns function in the movie industry and for Bill Davis Co, a famous PPC shooter.


As a full-time blade-smith, Scott Kirko specializes in fixed blade and folding knives, designed and crafted primarily from D2 and Damascus. He has been a machinist, welder and steel fabricator since 1980. An avid bow hunter, his passion for knife-making grew from his need for quality tools in the field. He owns Howling Wind Forge.


Having spent more than 20 years with AR-style weapon platforms, Brandon Miller specializes in long-range precision rifles and 1911 pistols. His experience is both as end user and armorer. He was a gunsmithing instructor at Murray State College in Oklahoma and spent several years in special operations both in the military and in police units serving as a tactical medic on a Dallas-area SWAT team.


A full-time engraver, Diane Scalese has been engraving trophy belt buckles, saddle silver, bits, spurs and jewelry for nearly 30 years. She earned Master Engraver status in the Firearms Engravers Guild of American in 2001 and was named Engraver of the Year in 2003 by the Academy of Western Artists. She resides in Big Sandy, Mont.


Robart Schaefer is a lifelong outdoorsman and shooter. He has a keen interest in mechanical things, especially firearms. A U.S. Army veteran, he graduated from Trinidad State Junior College’s Gunsmithing Program and moved to Kalispell, Mont. He is the assistant firearms technology coordinator at FVCC.


Timber Stevens is a long-term NRA training counselor and small bore coach for the youth team at Lee Bauska’s Shooting Range.

A graduate of the Lassen College Gunsmithing Program, Fred Zeglin has been building custom rifles for nearly 30 years and specializes in wildcat designs for his clients. He has published two books and an instructional DVD in the gunsmithing genre. His knowledge of headspace and ballistics is extensive, and he has taught NRA Gunsmithing courses for several schools.

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Last modified: March 25, 2015