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Front Sight Installation

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OK, I'm probably showing my lack of the history of muzzleloaders and their construction here, along with my elementary school ability of doing a build, but I'm also curious. Most (Most) of the pictures I've seen of old ML's and of builds here on the forum show the front sight installed with the ramp of the blade towards the muzzle. Jim Kibler in his instructions/video's shows/tells of doing it this way. Everyonce in a while a builder will show pictures of his finsihed rifle and have the slope of the front sight towards the rear of the rifle and alot will comment on his having the front sight backwards. I have seen pictures on the web though also of builds and what were described as 'originals' with the slope of the blade to the rear.

To me having the slope of the front sight blade towards the muzzle looks backwards. Saying this as in most every handgun/rifle of modern manufacture and some of the 'old ones', the front sight if it is anything more than a post or bead has a ramp front sight with the slope to the rear or facing towards the breech. Everything I've owned and shot has it this way. (Only exception is my TC Hawken front sight which has sort of a small slope to the muzzle). Question is why the slope of the blade portion of the front sight towards the muzzle the 'preferred/correct' way. I would think that when sighting down the barrel of a rifle (or a handgun) that the ramp esp if made of silver or brass would pick up more light than just the vertical portion of the blade. Just looks more normal to me. Hope to get started on my Kibler SMR asp and am 'curious'.
 
Your eyes need to see the highest point as that is the reference to the back sight.
That reference point needs to be the closest to the eye so any glare or visual unclarity does not interfere.
Larry
Understand what you're saying, but when a person is sighting down a rifle barrel, has the front sight in the rears U that ramp to the rear becomes or should become sort of a solid post in my thinking and experience in shooting with a front sights ramp to the rear. At least it does in my experience (experience with modern day iron sighted rifles). Do many ML builders intentionally install the front sight with a ramp to the rear? Ramp of front sight blade to the muzzle would be something I could get used to but still looks backwards to me.
 
If it’s a gun just for looking at on a wall or in a safe, mount the HC/PC sights appropriately. If it’s a gun for any type of serious shooting or hunting, mount sights you can see and use. Personally, due to that pesky born on date, I prefer a relatively tall wide front sight with a flat top and a negative rake (no slope) on the back edge. Also want (need) a wide square notched rear sight with a flat top. Set front and rear sight up with plenty of visible light between the sides of the front sight and the square notch in the rear. With the correct focal length glasses, I can make iron sights work on a good day.

On a period gun, maybe leave the sights as they were originally (assumes no one messed with along the way). Contemporary gun, use what works.
 
Well, if all my SMR was for a wall hanger I won't bother even doing the build. I'd buy some cheap foreign built used rifle from sometime in the past of the hey-day when ML were first the rage, maybe have to beat it up some to look aged, no safe queen either. I don't have the eyes either I once did but can still make hits where I want. Anyway, guess I'll have to maybe experiment when the time comes of how to mount the front sight (slope forward/backward) and see the difference it makes. Other opinions/facts may be posted, other information found. I like guns, things and history from the 1700/1800's but I'm not a complete gun/clothes/accessories/holster so-called 'period correct' fanatic. Interesting points you made 'SDSmlf'
 
Understand what you're saying, but when a person is sighting down a rifle barrel, has the front sight in the rears U that ramp to the rear becomes or should become sort of a solid post in my thinking and experience in shooting with a front sights ramp to the rear. At least it does in my experience (experience with modern day iron sighted rifles). Do many ML builders intentionally install the front sight with a ramp to the rear? Ramp of front sight blade to the muzzle would be something I could get used to but still looks backwards to me.
CC, In my 55 plus years of shooting black powder and seeing many builds, the ones I have seen with ramp facing the breech were by someone who was respectfully ignorant. Really, If the normal way seems backward to you, put the sight on the way YOU want! I am not going to tell you are wrong. Go for it!
Larry
 
Picking up more light is the problem with the back sloping blade. It can interfere with the sight picture. Like most, I put the slope forward.
When I get the rifle sighted in, I then take a light file and make a VERY small 45 degree bevel on the tip of the sight. When I look down the barrel at the sight, I see a bright square of light on that tip. You would be amazed at what a simple thing like that can do for sight visibility.
 
CC, In my 55 plus years of shooting black powder and seeing many builds, the ones I have seen with ramp facing the breech were by someone who was respectfully ignorant.
Larry

Waaaalllll, I pretty much said that about myself in the opening post of this thread!!!!! 😆😅 My rifle shooting over the last 62 years since I was a 13 year old if you eliminate scoped rifles has been iron sighted rifles, if they did have a ramp front sight all were sloped to the rear. Some were just posts, others all ramped to the rear. Rear sights were peep, semi-buckhorns, buckhorns, just a notch, alot of MILSURP rifles. A large variety of calibers and every type of action except a pump.

My only ML is a '74 era TC Hawken percussion with the front sight having a little corner off of the muzzle end and rounded. I've been shooting percussion revolvers since '72, have read and have alot of experience with them, but largely ignored ML rifles until several years ago. I was ignorant on all of the various builders of ML rifles of the 1700/1800 era, heard about them but had no knowledge on how to identify. I've read alot on the Hawken Brothers and their rifles but that was about it. I was at one time of the people who thought that all ML flint rifles came out of Kentucky as alot of Hollywood and books always called them Kentucky rifles. I have done alot of gunsmithing on various firearms of every sort, have reblued steel, and refinished stocks Oh well, when it comes to doing a ML flint rifle, I'm a student in learning.
 
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For me, the sight slopes forward toward the muzzle. The back side of the sight blade is more perpendicular, like on the TC Hawken or Patriot target pistol. I like even lighting on both sides of the front sight as viewed through the rear sight. Then even lighting across the top of both sights as they are lined up.

In my experience, the sloped to the rear front sights on handguns is for two reasons. The first is for holster work. You don’t want to get snagged even the slightest on the front sight during a draw. The slightly rounded forward part of the sight helps during re-holstering, no snags. More importantly, no snags in your pocket, depending on the application… A lot of the modern holsters have a fairly rigid front sight guide built into the holster. This eliminates snagging the front sight mostly.

The second reason is a light or color contrast on the sight. Lots of work guns have or had a colored plastic type insert dovetailed into the sloped ramp on the front sight. If there was no plastic colored insert on the front sight, a lot of us would paint the ramp portion with a colored nail polish or something similar. This helped speed up front sight acquisition.

Different uses and applications for the weapon. :cool:

Go with what works for you.
 
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