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Thread: RIP: Arnold Dew, friend and master gunsmith

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Rocky Mountains
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    RIP: Arnold Dew, friend and master gunsmith

    I just wanted to notify everyone that Arnold Dew passed away in his sleep November 30th, 2018. I just found out after sending him a message wishing him Happy New Year. His fiancé responded and broke the bad news.

    For those that didn't know him, Arnold was one of the most talented and unique modern gunsmiths in the United States. His approach to various designs was rooted in a very solid machining, welding, fitting, and finish work skill set that spanned the old methods, to new things people haven't even heard of.

    Arnold was an artist when it came to military classics and modern designs, able to take a base rifle or pistol frame and do pretty much whatever you could imagine with it, while enhancing its reliability, accuracy, fit, feel, and finish. He wasn't afraid to venture outside of the box to achieve what the customer wanted, because his knowledge, skills, and experience were so vast.

    He could take an Hk folded receiver, a FAL, M14, AR, or AK and create a handsome showpiece that also runs and shoots like a dream. He also did 1911, military surplus handguns, bolt guns, Glocks, M&Ps, and all manner of handguns.

    One thing I noticed about Arnold is when he would inherit someone else's abortion, instead of propping himself up and continuing to ridicule the work, he would quickly say, "That's too bad. Yeah, I'll fix that by machining that down, chamfering the breech like it should have been done, replace this part with a Wilson, fit it all up, polish this and that, re-finish it how you want, final trouble-shoot it and test fire, and it will run great."

    The fact that Larry, a world-renowned master 1911 smith, has used Arnold for custom gunsmithing work for the better part of the last 2 decades is a testament to the quality and unique approach Arnold had. I believe Arnold has helped Larry with:

    * Numerous military rifle projects, to include XM177s, FAL, a T48, M14s, Hks, AKs, etc.
    * Technical assistance for some of the shows, including some of the DD destructive testing videos
    * Stuff best explained by Larry

    Arnold also designed and manufactured his own AR15 piston-operated system, which had some very interesting and unique design approaches.

    I saw a future where Arnold could possibly travel around as a guest instructor for the different regional and State gunsmithing programs, since he was very well-versed in self-loading military classics that are rarely covered in modern schools, but are going to become more and more high demand as we move forward in time in the 21st Century, and the 1950s-1970s rifle designs become relics.

    As fate would have it, that isn't to be. He will be greatly missed.

    Larry knows about it, and it would be great to hear his perspective from a long friendship with Arnold.

    See you again some day Arnie....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Feedback Score
    28 (100%)
    This made me really sad to hear.
    I spent some time with Mr. Dew, and really enjoyed the conversation and time spent with him.
    Sorry that I will not be able to repeat that moment again.
    Fair winds and following seas sir.
    Jack Leuba
    Director, Military and Government Sales
    Knight's Armament Company

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Feedback Score
    2 (100%)
    Sad to hear this. I had one of his piston uppers and it ran like a champ. Very well made, accurate and reliable beyond my imagining. At the time I purchased the upper, 2012-ish, I knew he'd had some health issues, which had slowed the production. Rest easy sir.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Feedback Score
    44 (100%)
    It always saddens me when our community loses a person of such talent.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Feedback Score
    21 (100%)
    Very sad to hear that. I recall meeting Arnold some years ago at one of Larry's classes. I tested one of his piston guns back in the day, it was a solid piece for sure.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Northern VA
    Feedback Score
    237 (100%)
    Sad to see this as well. I met Arnold at South Hill and he came out to at least a couple of Larry's courses with his piston based upper - I believe it had a FAL like gas system if I recall - a solid piece.
    Glocks are functional tools and nothing else, hence they have no soul - Rob S.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    SE Pennsylvania
    Feedback Score
    4 (100%)
    This was very sad news to hear last year. Just came across this post now. I was very fortunate to have Arnold as a friend during my formative years of guns and shooting and learned tons from him. Wasnt too hard to find him back then I sedom saw his garage closed up. Did abunch of BSing in there, did a bunch of shooting outback, even hanging out in the kitchen parkerizing gun parts. He built a sweetheart of a shorty FAL for me that I wish I still had (of course) All around great guy, with immense talent and an eye for detail who would give you the shirt of his back... or maybe thread a barrel for you (during the ban years of course)

    Sent from my SM-J727T using Tapatalk
    Last edited by sgtrock82; 07-02-19 at 23:54.


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