Gunsmithing is a time-honoured family business for Steven Joy, the owner of Bigfoot Firearms, which recently relocated to the Westgate Public Market in Salmon Arm.
Joy learned the trade of repairing, refurbishing and customizing firearms from his father, Robert Joy.
Robert was born into the gunsmithing business in Italy where his father had a shop and has been in the business in Canada for 25 years.
Steven’s new location, which he moved to after a year in business in Blind Bay, sports a small but neat workshop. Inside, he works on projects ranging from getting antique firearms back into shootable condition to installing accessories.
The Joys said there is definitely demand for their services in the area as plenty of people target shoot and hunt, but Salmon Arm has not had a licensed gunsmith until now.
“You’ve gotta know the mechanical part, you’ve gotta know the laws and rules as well,” Robert said of the skills he has taught Steven.
Bigfoot Firearms also offers knife sharpening for all kinds of blades, from chef’s knives to those in a hunter’s kit.
Refurbishing antique firearms is another service Bigfoot offers. Steven is set up to make sure older guns are safe to fire and to restore their exteriors, removing rust and making them look like new.
Steven said he has always enjoyed working with his hands and the intricate engraving on some high-end firearms puts his artistic ability to work.
Robert said his son is also capable of machining some replacement parts for firearms that are no longer in production.
For hunters and target shooters preparing their rifles, Steven has the equipment to mount and bore-sight scopes.
“You want to make sure it’s properly installed because you don’t want to waste too much ammunition at the range before you’re sighted in,” Robert said.
Muzzle brakes, which reduce a firearm’s recoil, are another common modification Steven installs.