A “Guild” of Family Members!
By Tank Hoover
The beauty speaks for itself. Tank’s Ruger Shopkeeper, a 2nd generation BarrantiLeather
shuck made by Ethan Barranti, Tyler Gun Works Damascus blade with mastodon ivory and
stainless steel tomahawk.
Dale Bass, the engraver for Tyler Gun Works did a wonderful job, as did Bobby with the CCH.
Stag stocks by Texas Lone Star Stocks.
An old barn sits in the northern panhandle of Texas, near the small town of Friona, the cheeseburger capital of the Lone Star state. Today, 18-wheelers and flatbed trucks busily converge there, like spokes on a wheel.
Not going for cheeseburgers these days, they’re headed to Tyler Gun Works, loaded with factory fresh firearms and actions to be beautified. See, Bobby Tyler has made a name for himself and his ability to color caseharden (CCH) guns, and the manufacturers know. From the barn, guns are transformed into functional art.
Tyler Gun Works currently does work with 17 manufacturers, including Winchester, Henry, Republic Forge, Cabot, Magnum Research, Kahr Arms, Dan Wesson and CZ, to name but a few.
Just a close-up of an awful lot of skill and beauty.
Bobby nitre-blued the base-pin, base-pin latch and ejector rod button on Tank’s Shopkeeper.
What Is It?
CCH is the ancient method of heat-treating metal, hardening it for an intended purpose. When done traditionally, one of the side effects is a beautiful explosion of mottled colors the metal “takes-on” after treatment.
Through experimentation, different patterns and colors are possible, while hardening iron-rich steel. Bobby has mastered the different techniques and can duplicate the different styles used by different manufacturers from years gone by.
Here’s an example of Bobby’s CCH on a limited run of 200 Ruger Vaquero’s in .357/9mm.
Tank’s collection of Tyler Gun Works CCH wares is growing. Shown are the Viking Shipbuilder
and Iroquois’ tomahawks, Ruger Vaquero .357/9mm and Shopkeeper .22 and lastly, Damascus steel,
mastodon ivory scaled knife.
What separates Bobby from the rest of the CCH crowd is his ability to CCH stainless steel! He’s the only gunsmith (magician?) we know of who’s unlocked the secret to adding color to otherwise sterile looking stainless steel.
It sure gussies-up a blued sixgun when the stainless hammer and trigger are accented in a swirl of color. How about a CCH stainless steel frame or slide? It’s what dreams are made of, beautiful rust-resistant metal displaying vibrant personality.
Growing up with guns, Bobby bought his first, a Ruger Bearcat, for $80 at the ripe old age of nine with money he’d earned himself, naturally. His family lived for quail hunting and the household was full of various guns.
Like most of us, Bobby started tinkering around, “mentally undressing them,” he told me. He learned dismantling guns was easier than putting them back together. After high school, he enrolls at the Colorado School of Trades as a gunsmith.
Here, he finds his niche in metal finishing. A natural, his instructors take notice, allowing him to forgo a paper on the subject — if he would help instruct the class. Of course, Bobby chose to help out.
Beautiful ram horn, carbon steel CCH blade from TGW.
Gorgeous exhibition grade wood scales on a carbon steel CCH blade with artistic file work.
I first met Bobby at the NRA Whittington Center, in Raton, NM last year. He’s one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. His low-key demeanor is typical of the hard-working, honest individual he is. His table full of CCH wares spoke for themselves.
I made the mistake of making eye contact with everything. Trying to be coy, it was no use, as I took in the array of guns, Damascus steel knives and stainless steel tomahawks, all brilliantly CCH. It’s hard talking to someone, when all you want to do is pick up a certain tomahawk screaming at you.
CCH seduction cast its spell on me! I had to have a certain Damascus steel knife, with mastodon ivory scales and promptly bought my first Tyler Gun Works item. Bobby’s merchandise sells itself.
A Special Project
While talking with Bobby, I learned of a special project he was planning. He bought 200 Ruger vaquero’s and was doing a limited run on the .357/9mm 4 5/8″ barrel model.
Not wanting to feel left out, I ordered one and have never regretted it! These guns sold out quickly and are no longer available, but Bobby can duplicate the work, minus the special numbering system he used on the project. I’m #55, and plan on getting every project gun he offers in that number.
Madison Tyler disassembles a gun on the bench to be worked on by her daddy, Bobby Tyler.
Logan Tyler stamps the Tyler Gun Works logo into a tomahawk sheath.
Bobby is a hardworking man with a young family and everyone helps out with the family business. As Bobby says, “Everyone pitches in, no free rides here.” Bobby’s not out to break any child labor laws, rather, he’s instilling the same work ethic in his children he lives and thrives by.
It’s not all work at the Tyler ranch. All three kids shoot, hunt, hike, ride horses and just enjoy playing outdoors, the way you and I did as kids. There are no video games or other electronic distractions in the Tyler household. Their kids are happily flourishing as the pictures show.
Bobby’s wife probably has the hardest job of all. She logs-in the countless firearms passing through the shop, ships them back out, as well as all the bookwork for the company.
Here’s Dylan Tyler polishing a part for his daddy.
I have a slick little box-stock Ruger Shopkeeper I really enjoy. It shoots to the sights, while maintaining itty-bitty groups. Only problem? I wanted it to look like Bobby’s first run of CCH limited-run of 200 Ruger Shopkeepers. I missed out, but wanted mine gussied up just like it.
I sent it down to Bobby for his CCH treatment and spruce-up. Not long after, I get a box from Friona, TX and open it up. All I could say was, “WOW!” Bobby really outdid himself, if that’s possible? One of his engravers, Dale Bass, artistically scratched it up.
Dale used an early Colt factory adaptation he really likes, with a southwestern flair mixed in. Being a silversmith for 25 years, it just oozes from him! For a basic stock-box kind of guy, I was in awe.
Looking at the pictures, you can tell my Shopkeeper wasn’t merely worked on. Dale and Bobby’s heart and soul are obviously ingrained in it. The stylish stag grips are from Charles Spresser Grips.
Spruce-Ups Are A Specialty
Got an old dog of a gun? Let Bobby work his wonders on it. Fixing up family heirlooms is his specialty. As mentioned, Bobby can duplicate the color casehardening from the manufacturers of old. If you’re in the market to spruce-up your granpappy’s old shotgun, sixgun or rifle, rest assured, Bobby will drop it in his time machine and it will come out looking brand new.
Bobby disassembles each gun, and being a perfectionist at heart, tweaks them to make them right when he reassembles them. He does things the right way for his peace of mind, that’s the kind of guy he is. If it ain’t right, he ain’t happy — and Bobby’s always smiling.
Here’s Bobby Tyler checking brinell hardness using a Rockwell testing machine
on a freshly CCH levergun receiver.
As mentioned, Bobby offers all kinds of goodies. Damascus steel knives with mastodon ivory scales and several styles of CCH stainless steel tomahawks are popular. He also has carbon steel blades with exhibition quality walnut and other fancy wood scale material.
My Tyler Gun Works collection is growing, besides the knife I mentioned and two guns, I recently took delivery of two tomahawks, an Iroquois and Shipbuilder model. Stout, strong and sharp, they scratch that Davy Crockett itch of making it “stick” into a tree, when thrown.
Keeping It Local
Bobby uses local help in his bustling business. He uses six local engravers, three grip makers, seamstresses for cylinder bags; you name it, to fill the gaps for his business. He shares in his success by giving opportunity to his neighbors.
Bobby Tyler reminds me of an old vaquero saying: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.” Bobby has left a trail of brilliantly mottled swirls of yesteryear with his CCH guns. Give him a try you’ll love the passion he puts in your gun!
Bobby and his family provide backbreaking work for our benefit. I have a deep respect and admiration for how he runs his business and family. You will too!
Now, to find a dog of a gun to send him…
For more info: www.tylergunworks.com, Ph: (806) 729-7292, email@example.com.