Front Sight Questions

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum:

Joined
Jul 26, 2014
Messages
1,786
Reaction score
343
Do to an error on my part, I get to replace the front sight on my rifle (filed off way too much). It was a German silver sight and I found it would wash out and glare in direct sun. Thinking of going with either a brass or iron front sight, I’d brown or blue the iron one, just to cut glare.

I am not a gun builder and while I’ve weaseled one or two dovetailed sights into place over the years, I’m wondering if anyone has some proper instruction or references on how to fit a dovetailed sight?

Thanks all!

-Smokey
 

Tom A Hawk

45 Cal.
MLF Vendor
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Messages
752
Reaction score
478
Location
Finger Lakes Region - NYS
Do to an error on my part, I get to replace the front sight on my rifle (filed off way too much). It was a German silver sight and I found it would wash out and glare in direct sun. Thinking of going with either a brass or iron front sight, I’d brown or blue the iron one, just to cut glare.

I am not a gun builder and while I’ve weaseled one or two dovetailed sights into place over the years, I’m wondering if anyone has some proper instruction or references on how to fit a dovetailed sight?

Thanks all!

-Smokey
Well, there is not that much to it, really. Measure the width of the slot in your barrel and purchase an appropriate replacement sight. Remove metal by filing until you can start the new sight into the dove tail, then tap it in for proper alignment. I use a brass drift punch for final seating. Sometimes its necessary to file off the bottom of the sight base or the underside of the blade to achieve the desired fit. Sometimes its necessary to modify the slot. In that case, a dovetail file from Brownell's comes in very handy.
 

Larry (Omaha)

45 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
766
Reaction score
285
I am not a gun builder and while I’ve weaseled one or two dovetailed sights into place over the years, I’m wondering if anyone has some proper instruction or references on how to fit a dovetailed sight?

Thanks all!

-Smokey
As T. A. H. said, not too much to it. On another note, not too much to make one. All you need is a vice, hacksaw, file and some patience. Brass can be purchased at Track and steel at the local hardware. Assuming your back sight is at your preferred height, go ahead and make the front sight about 3/16" higher. You should have enough height to bring the bullet up to zero with just your file at the range. If you are doubtful of your skill, make and fit the base first, then solder in the blade.
Flintlocklar:D
 

hanshi

Cannon
Joined
May 7, 2009
Messages
9,511
Reaction score
611
True, there's not much to working on sights. I've switched/modified/fitted a number of both front and rear sights; and I have two left thumbs! Try to avoid working on the barrel dovetail unless absolutely required; do your filing/cutting on the sight base. Here in the east most hunting is done in shady to dark woods. I paint the front sights with a flat white paint so they'll show up against dark targets. This is done with both iron and brass sights.
 

EC121

40 Cal.
Joined
Sep 18, 2013
Messages
529
Reaction score
138
I made a mistake and painted my front sight yellow one year. At dark it just matched the dead grass and was useless. :doh:
 

Tom A Hawk

45 Cal.
MLF Vendor
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Messages
752
Reaction score
478
Location
Finger Lakes Region - NYS
True, there's not much to working on sights. I've switched/modified/fitted a number of both front and rear sights; and I have two left thumbs! Try to avoid working on the barrel dovetail unless absolutely required; do your filing/cutting on the sight base. Here in the east most hunting is done in shady to dark woods. I paint the front sights with a flat white paint so they'll show up against dark targets. This is done with both iron and brass sights.
I often have just the opposite situation in the winter. I like a German silver blade for general wood use but when there is snow on the ground I am temped to darken the blade for contrast in order to get a good sight picture.
 

Kansas Jake

54 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Mar 23, 2015
Messages
2,625
Reaction score
426
I have used plain old white chalk on a black metal front sight to lighten it when needed. By the same token, I've used a historically correct magic marker to darken a silver or brass sight. Both are easy to change when needed.
 

Brokennock

50 Cal.
Joined
May 15, 2011
Messages
2,334
Reaction score
769
Location
North Central Connecticut
There should be no reason to file the dovetail it in the barrel, fit the part to the gun not the gun to the part.

If you think about the cross section shape of the dovetail base when viewed from the side, reducing any surface changes the sizes and relationships of any adjoining surface. Thus, removing metal from the wide flat bottom, reduces the thickness of the base, but also reduces the width (front to back) of the base. And, it does so without risking changing the angles. Those angles are crucial. If the thickness of the base is so perfect that you can't risk reducing it, and you have to stone down the front or back facing flat surface, you must maintain that angle. I use stones or ez-lap diamond hones for these purposes. For reducing width and thickness by stoning the bottom flat all one needs to do is run the flat base across a good oiled sharpening stone. Everything stays flat and true and shouldn't need further dressing or finishing. I like the base to go into the dovetail about a 3rd of the way with just my fingers before I need to start tapping with a punch. Then I use a brass punch I made of a brass door hinge pin, the head is filed to match the shape of the dovetail.
Definitely a good idea to mark where the center of the existing sight is on the barrel flat so you can match it with the new sight, before you start moving stuff around.

I would be curious to know if a place like Track of the Wolf would be able to come to a closer match of your dovetail if you send them the current front sight.
 

rafterob

62 Cal.
Joined
Oct 3, 2007
Messages
3,149
Reaction score
69
Brass or silver have similar issues in bright light. I use a sharpie to blacken the back edge when needed. You can wipe it off easy. The opposite for iron sights, chalk works pretty good. White out works great and will scrape off easily with your fingernail after it is dried.
 
Group Builder
Top