Replacement front sight for Colt revolvers

Discussion in 'Handguns' started by Tom A Hawk, Apr 23, 2019.

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Is there adequate interest in a replacement 1860 front sight to justify the cost of manufacture?

  1. Yes I think so

    52.6%
  2. No, save your money

    47.4%
  1. Apr 29, 2019 #21

    Tom A Hawk

    Tom A Hawk

    Tom A Hawk

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    I just made another one today using two nickle coins. A section of one is bent to form a U for the base and then soldered to half of the second which makes the blade. Then grind to shape and file to fit. I'm finding the barrel cuts vary as much as 0.010" in width between guns. With a thou. or two interference fit there has been no need to epoxy.
     
  2. Apr 29, 2019 #22

    Kansas Jake

    Kansas Jake

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    For brass keys, I would just need to look in the old key drawer here for one from the many vehicles or door locks that are long gone.
     
  3. Apr 29, 2019 #23

    William P Sepessy

    William P Sepessy

    William P Sepessy

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    I wish someone would market a taller front sight for a Colt. I want to keep the original style looking sight and don't want to cut dovetails in the barrels. I am thinking about making my own--thanks Tom A Hawk for your ideas--but with 61 Navies, 60 Armies, Dragoons and Walkers all needing that type of sight, that is too much hand work. I've deepened the hammer notch rear sight. Works most of the time but one of my Dragoons still shoots too high and I'm not a big fan of simply "holding off" for the sight picture.
     
  4. Apr 30, 2019 #24

    Woodnbow

    Woodnbow

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    I’m in the market for such a sight... I’ve lowered the rear sight of my sheriff model uberti and it’s much better but could use another .1” on the front sight to be an ideal can killer. It’s very accurate as it is. Just hitting high.
     
  5. Apr 30, 2019 #25

    Tom A Hawk

    Tom A Hawk

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    I suspect there is a real need for replacement sights. Both 1851 post and Dragoon/1860 blade type. However, the expressed interest level to date does not support CNC manufacturing and the time required to make them by hand precludes mass production. I may investigate lost wax casting next.
     
  6. May 1, 2019 #26

    William P Sepessy

    William P Sepessy

    William P Sepessy

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    A possible solution? I saw someone mention that Uberti's Open Top cartridge revolvers have a blade front sight that is .050 taller than the percussion one. I believe I will look into this. The sight is only about $8.00. All the round barrel Colt Open Tops have a very similar sight. I will spring for a sight on my next order from Taylors or VTI and see what happens.
     
  7. May 2, 2019 #27

    Tom A Hawk

    Tom A Hawk

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    Excellent. Please keep us posted. Great find.
     
  8. May 2, 2019 #28

    45man

    45man

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    Old revolvers were made to point. All shot high. The best is to add some on top of the front sight. I soft solder shim stock on top and made a tool to hold it in place. sight jig.jpg
     
  9. May 2, 2019 #29

    aeatwood

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    I don't think it is so much made to point is that when developed, they were the best combat arms available. And used far beyond normal handgun distances today, thus the 75 yard zero. Aim at a mans belt buckle and they can hit him from powder burn range to past 100 yards.
     
  10. May 2, 2019 #30

    William P Sepessy

    William P Sepessy

    William P Sepessy

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    Thanks for the picture of adding shim stock to increase height of the front sight. I am considering doing the same thing. I understand the intent of point of aim on original guns. However, I have several reproductions that actually hit point of aim--an older 60 Army, a new 61 Navy and one of the two 2nd Model Dragoons(bought at the same time). The other Dragoon of the pair shoots much higher. All Uberti guns. Also two Rogers & Spencers. Since my application for these guns is different than originally intended back when, I would prefer they hit close to POA. However, I don't want to alter the appearance and someone producing a higher front sight of original design would solve my problems.
     
  11. May 2, 2019 #31

    William P Sepessy

    William P Sepessy

    William P Sepessy

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    Well, since I was already at the computer, I just ordered the front sights from Taylors. I noticed the part number for the percussion Open Tops was different than the cartridge Open Tops. At a Whopping $4.00 apiece I ordered a couple each. If they(cartridge guns) are taller, spending $4 is a lot better than all that hand work from scratch. I will measure when they come in and report.
     
  12. May 3, 2019 #32

    Tom A Hawk

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    I just looked at the Taylor page. The open top sight looks the same but is half the price of the 1860 sight. Very curious. Will be interested to see your findings.
     
  13. May 3, 2019 #33

    45man

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    Sounds good, The old sights were quite good to tell the truth. Notch in the hammer or a full frame with a notch but most makers do not regulate the sights. Today the rage is the fiber optic junk and red inserts that make it impossible to align. I made the mistake long ago with my long rifles by making shiny brass front sights. I could not hit a deer at all. It looked like the sun settled on the front of my rifle.
    We shot yesterday with S&W and a Colt but the only way to group was to paint the plastic with a magic marker.
    Open top revolvers must have the barrels aligned too, I shot many that had the barrels pointing up from the cylinders.
     
  14. May 3, 2019 #34

    Badgerfarm

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    William, definitely keep us posted on the Taylor's sights. I've been looking at those myself.
     
  15. May 4, 2019 #35

    rickystl

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    Interesting Thread. I think the wax-casting would be at least worth looking into. I have an 1860 Army and 1851 Navy that both have taller front sights which I got years ago from Kenny Howell (of conversion fame). Kenny said they are the same ones he adds to the conversions and are set to be dead on at 25 yards. At least then he was always so busy it took me a year just to get two front sights. But, along with an 11 degree cut on the forcing cone and a 3-lb. trigger job, they basically shoot where you point the gun. They are so much more accurate when shooting off hand at 7,15, and 25-yards. I have never tried them at 50 yards. Will leave that to the more serious, dedicated target shooters - which are probably using mostly Remingtons. LOL Speaking of which, I once saw an 1851 Navy that used a taller front sight from a Remington revolving RIFLE. It actually looked pretty good. I've heard that the taller front sights used on the Italian factory conversions and open tops are set for 50-yards. But I can't confirm this.
    Here's a couple pics of another 1860 Army I have. In addition to the trigger and forcing cone jobs it has a dovetailed taller front sight made from a drawing I sent to Jim Stroh (of custom 45 Auto fame). Sorry for the poor photos. front sight (Medium).jpg front sight 2 (Medium).jpg Pietta 1860 Army (Medium).jpg
    An interesting thing to note is the height of the front sight on original Colt Peacemakers.

    Rick
     
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  16. May 9, 2019 #36

    William P Sepessy

    William P Sepessy

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    OK, front sights just came in from Taylors. They list the (Uberti) Walker, Dragoon, 60 Army and 61 Navy as the same part #U0040015 @ $8.50. The cartridge(Uberti) Open Tops carry part # U090015 @ $4.00. To the best I could measure:
    Walker, etc.base thickness-.119
    Open Top base thickness-.119
    Walker, etc sight length-.430
    Open Top sight length-.425
    Walker, etc. sight height-.200
    Open Top sight height-.260
    So the sights appear virtually identical EXCEPT for the .060 greater height of the Open Tops. The difference is very apparent upon visual inspection. Sorry I can't do pictures. The other difference I noted was the material. My front sights on the factory Uberti are brass and the replacements appeared to be steel but would not attract a magnet, so I don't know what they are are. Funny the larger sights were $4.00 and the smaller were $8.50. So, someone IS making a taller front sight for a Colt. Thanks for the original post, TomAHawk, or I wouldn't have looked into this.
     
  17. May 9, 2019 #37

    Tom A Hawk

    Tom A Hawk

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    Thanks for the update. The silver colored sight would be nickle silver ( German Silver ). The extra height will definitely be a help, however based on my calculations I suspect a bit more may be needed when using a stock hammer. I'll order a couple and see how they work with my reground hammers. Great update.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  18. Jun 5, 2019 #38

    Tom A Hawk

    Tom A Hawk

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    So, I purchased a couple of the 0.060" taller sights ( part # U090015 ) from Taylor's and installed one on my 1860. It is a definite improvement and with 200 grain Lee conicals it is now printing dead on at 25 yards - However, using my previously shortened hammer and deepened notch. With a stock hammer I suspect this taller sight might do well when shooting round balls but the heavier conicals will likely still print too high.

    William P, have you had a chance to try your's out?
     
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  19. Jun 7, 2019 #39

    William P Sepessy

    William P Sepessy

    William P Sepessy

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    Tom A Hawk, no, I haven't had a chance to install the sights yet on the Dragoons--got involved in a couple other projects, but want to get to it shortly. May I ask how your went about your install? Did you use epoxy, need to stake the new sight, etc? Any difficulty removing the old sight? If this works out I will give the same treatment to a pair of Walkers.
    If you are using 200 gr conicals, that isn't much heavier than the 140 gr round ball, but you never know how much the POI will change. For instance, I also have conversion cylinders for the above mentioned Dragoons. Using 37 gr 2F Goex loose powder and round ball, both guns shoot 4 in low and a bit left at 20 yds. Using the same powder charge in a 45 Colt case and Dick Dastardly's EPP-45--also 140 gr weight but two thin diving bands with a lube groove in the center--both guns print essentially dead on at the same distance.
    Anyway, glad to hear you are experiencing some success with the new sights.
     
  20. Jun 8, 2019 #40

    Tom A Hawk

    Tom A Hawk

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    The sight replacement operation was quite easy. I secured the barrel assembly in a vise with the muzzle resting on a pad. Then used a short piece of 3/16" brass rod and chasing hammer to drive the original sight out of the barrel cut from the rear. I rides right out the front rather politely. The replacement sight goes in the same way. Nose it in with fingers from the rear until you get a bite, then use the rod and hammer to tap it down into the cut. I have noticed a couple of thou.variation in the width of the Uberti barrel cuts. If you have a tight fit, no adhesive should be needed.

    I'm seeing a significant difference in POI between round balls and conicals. Maybe 4" - 6 ". Since I intend to shoot the conicals most often I have sighted in for those. The round balls have shown to be quite accurate however and for casual plinking I will simply leave a bit of front sight showing to get those on center. Regarding the conicals and the 1860 Colt, I have found the Eras Gone heeled bullet the easiest to load. My Uberti Remington 1858 prefers the 200 grain Lee bullet. The rounded cavity of the Remington's rammer turns the pointy Eras Gone bullet into a swagged round nose.

    Next, I will order a replacement hammer from Taylor's for my Dragoon as I had ground the original down rather short in order to get on target with the original front sight. It's basically like looking straight down the barrel flat. Once the hammer has been replaced, I'll install another of the taller front sights and re-zero. I like the Dragoon as a back up hunting pistol but at 4 lbs. it does tend to drag my jeans down. There is a good reason why they called these "Horse Pistols"...:)
     

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