A basic tip for sight adjustment

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Larry (Omaha)

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I am no expert by a long shot, but yesterday I was at the range shooting flintlock and the owner came up to me and was telling me about a sight he adjusted on a unmentionable pistol. He said he marked the exiting sight and then put in the new sight. It was way off when he shot it. Marking is not good enough for me. After the range trip yesterday I needed to adjust my new flintlock for windage. The photo shows how I do it. The barrel is in the vice along side a steel plate. I attach a small square coming off perpendicular to the barrel so as to have the calipers at the the same degree of angle each and every measurement. I take reading of existing sight placement and then with a brass punch drift the sight over and take another reading. When the sight is in the adjusted position, I then peen a sharp punch mark against the dovetail. My dovetails are tapered from L to R. I my case I had to go to the left making the sight loose. Had I needed to go the other direction, the peening would not have been necessary. This info is nothing new for us old shooters, but it is always good to help out the newbies.
Flintlocklar:pIMG_1690.jpeg
 

SDSmlf

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Not sure what the tip is. Could measure left to right drift with a scale, indicator, depth mic or calipers as you did. But what is point if you don’t know direction or desired movement distance you want to move before you start? Or is your tip to peen the dovetail when you have a loose sight?

Confused.​
 
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The Crisco Kid

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It seldom gets mentioned that you need to make sure you have the most accurate load figured out before you go and peen up your rifle. There was an article in a magazine awhile back about adjusting the sights on a new rifle. The author would have you scratching a mark on your new barrel and filing down your sights based on the first load you pick out of the air. It's a good recipe for spending money on a new set of sights to replace the ones you filed down as well as the endless regret every time you look at that crooked, offset scratch on your barrel. I'm not criticizing the OP at all here for his measurement method. I'm just making an observation.
 

smo

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Larry, got a pic or the rear sight? Is it centered?

From the pic you posted it appears the front sight is too far to the right. Could just be the camera angle , but I once had the same issue.

I got my rear sight too far to the left and front sight too far to the right....

Just a thought...
 

Larry (Omaha)

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Not sure what the tip is. Could measure left to right drift with a scale, indicator, depth mic or calipers as you did. But what is point if you don’t know direction or desired movement distance you want to move before you start? Or is your tip to peen the dovetail when you have a loose sight?

Confused.​
My friend marks his sight on the barrel and then reinstalls another using a mark. A mark is only as good as your eyes. You can be off several thousandths by using that method. One needs to use a method of accurate measurement. JMO
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Brokennock

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I think the tip is for newer folks to give them a point to measure to and from consistently. I use a similar method to make sure I center a new set of sights on unmentionable pistols. Tough to find a place to measure from that keeps all measurements squared up and consistent. I put a flat plate on both sides of the gun, measure both sides and adjust until the sight is centered. If a front sight, it is loctited in place. The rear is centered but no loctite so it can be shot and adjusted as needed. When I 1st started replacing sights and adjusting them using measurements and math, I struggled to find a consistent place to measure from to the sight, the flat plate on either side solves this.
 

SDSmlf

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My friend marks his sight on the barrel and then reinstalls another using a mark. A mark is only as good as your eyes. You can be off several thousandths by using that method. One needs to use a method of accurate measurement. JMO
Flintlocklar
Ok, get what you are doing. I use a similar method with a depth mic, but just take advantage of barrel flats as a reference surface and do not require a vice, square and plate - I can measure and adjust at the range bench with just the depth mic and something to drift the sights. Also, when changing front sights I want to hold center and need to take into account any variation in sight blade thickness or width. For that reason I always measure from both sides and note how far off center, if at all, the front blade is to the barrel flats. On the gun in the photograph, the front sight is ‘offcenter’ .003” as it paired with the rear sight. Not much, but worth .50” at 100 yards. upload_2019-8-18_12-12-1.jpeg
 

SDSmlf

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I don't have a depth mich, but I can see how that works great, IF one has a barrel flat to work off of.
Only a few of my muzzleloaders have round barrels, so definitely handy. Find depth mic much more accurate and repeatable than dial calipers as long as you have that reference surface. Coming from a toolmaking background had multiple sets, now down to shop and range box sets.

They can be had for a few dollars at pawn and second hand stores for a couple of bucks. Most folks don’t know what they are, let alone how to use them.
 

Larry (Omaha)

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Larry, got a pic or the rear sight? Is it centered?

From the pic you posted it appears the front sight is too far to the right. Could just be the camera angle , but I once had the same issue.

I got my rear sight too far to the left and front sight too far to the right....

Just a thought...
The post was not intended to discuss what I needed for correct sights, but to merely point out that a means of measurement in thousands is needed. My back sight is already where I want it.
Thanks
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Col. Batguano

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I like to have my sights pretty well centered on the barrel. If they're off by a whole bunch (to roughly center the group) the barrel needs tweaking / bending.
 
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