Posted: May 9, 2013 8:18 PM by Katy Harris KXLF News
Updated: May 10, 2013 12:23 PM
BUTTE - A talented female gunsmith has overcome working in a male dominated field, but many don't know about life events that almost knocked her off her feet.
"Some of the guys, they'll call and want the price on something and when they come in they want to talk to the gunsmith and you tell them you are and they go, 'Oh,'" says gunsmith Lynn Caskey.
Caskey, 69, has been a machinist and gun enthusiast all her life.
She has entered several shooting competitions for fun. For her profession, she works on everything from gunsmithing to tig welding.
"One guy I had to show him how everything worked and show him everything before he let me work on his stuff. After I did he sent his friends over. I just had to prove myself first. It's been like that most of my life," says Caskey.
When she turned 60, she decided it was time to earn her degree in gunsmithing.
Butte resident and gun seller Scott Lang refers customers to Caskey. He first heard of her through a mutual friend.
"He said that she was probably the best machinist that he's seen at any of the gunsmithing schools that he went to. She showed them tricks that even the teachers didn't figure out and she showed them tricks to make the job easier," says Lang.
In 1992, Caskey had a life-changing event. She was driving through an intersection in Reno when a driver ran a stop sign, causing a severe car crash. Caskey got out of her car and managed to walk to a nearby hospital with several broken bones, covered in blood.
Caskey says, "I lost most the right side of my face. My right eye is plastic, my teeth and my chin and one knee and they did five reconstructive surgeries on my face. Two on my throat and two on this knee and one on my back."
She didn't let the car crash slow her down one bit.
"You can do anything you want to do if you want to do it bad enough. Just teach yourself and I've never had any problems," says Caskey.
She had to switch from being right handed to left handed after the crash.
Caskey says, "I was back in the shop with this leg in a cast, this foot in a cast and this arm in a cast trying to work with one hand."
She has some words of encouragement for any other women looking to work in a male dominated field like gun smithing.
"Just do it. You could make a good living," she says.
In the 1980s Caskey lost her home to a fire around Christmas time. She says she is just glad no one was hurt in the the fire.