Sight options

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bigbadben

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I have a question about sights. I have a TVM Late Pennsylvania rifle. It's a cap lock, so I'm assuming it's period correct for the first half of the 19th century.

I took it hunting for the first time this season. While I love the rifle I found myself wholy unimpressed with the sights. It has a silver blade front sight and a shallow groove rear. Right around sunset the front blade disappears completely. And when placed against the side of a deer with greyish fur it similarly disappears. (Not that I'm blaming that particular miss on the sights . . .)

Anyway, I'm looking to change the sights to something that works better to my 41-year-old eyes. But I don't want to competely blow the period correctness of this rifle. No Williams Firesights or anything like that.

But I'm looking at some of the brass or ivory bead sights that Track and other places have. How about it? Are these out of place on a early 19th century rifle? Were people using bead sights back then? Might someone around 1850 use them?

Or any other thoughts on how I might improve things? Are brass or other sights better than silver?

Thanks,

Ben
 

rafterob

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You can blacken the rear of the front sight with a number of things, I use a sharpie. It makes a world of difference and can be wiped right off when you want the brightness of the silver blade. I like more definition in the rear sight so I usually file the notch a little more than stock. Replacing sights opens up a whole can of worms that may take multiple range sessions to rectify. So be real sure you can't work with what you have before switching.
 

Harold1950

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I've heard (read) where others have suggested instead of changing the sight, especially if you like the look and the period correctness of it, that you try painting it with white out for whiter color or a black sharpie/magic marker to darken it or use model paint in a color that appeals to you and works in the light your are shooting it...........hope this helps.......just my opinion......Harold
 

playfarmers

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I use the Lyman Hunting sights. They have a white bead front and a folding adjustable rear. They are the best low light sights I have ever used. They are not period correct, but you could try as someone already said, white paint on the front sight. I would also look for a rear sight with a deeper V.
 

CoyoteJoe

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You can't shoot with sights you can't see. I've never been entirely happy with any open sight but about the best I've found is a .100" flat faced and flat topped steel blade up front and a flat topped steel bar rear with square notch wide enough to show a good line of light on both sides of the front blade. That .1" blade may seem very wide but on a 42" barrel it looks about right. Any rounded surface will reflect light differently when the light falls from different angles, flat vertical surfaces provide the most consistent sight alignment. If you want to improve visibility in low light a drop of orange model paint at the top of the front sight will help a lot and still do no harm in bright sunlight.
From Track of the Wolf, I like #FS-PA-39-I and #RS-DRU-CT or any other of the wide, flat topped rear sights depending on the base I need or like. With any of these rear sights you will have to file the notch yourself using a narrow, edge cutting Swiss needle file.
 

bigbadben

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Thanks guys,

I may try painting the front sight. And I think I'll try to file out the v on the rear sight to make it more of a square notch. Heck, if I screw it up it's not like I can make it that much worse. And I can always replace them then.

And not that the season is over I have time to play with it.

I want sights that are good. But to really screw up the period correctness of this thing would seem like a shame.

Ben
 

Stumpkiller

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I use soot from a candle on my 1/16" german silver front blade. Easy to clean off for "display" and I just have to refresh the soot the night before a hunt.

There are conditions where the silver it is great but most times it's a bit hard to pick out. I also notice a real tendency to shoot to the side the sun is on in direct sunlight.

Flat black paint or even wiping a single-cut file across it to scour tiny lines helps a lot. I used to have a tiny (2") bottle of spray-on sight black that would have been ideal but haven't found any lately.
 

gbsclohn

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May not be in the stores this time of year but different colors of Halloween fingernail polish is what I use.Black,Orange,Glow-in-the-dark,etc.Comes with a handy little paint brush in the bottle and will come off with a q-tip and acetone.
 

bigbadben

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I think I'll try the candle thing first. It's funny, I'm not one of those guys who goes all in for the period costumes and stuff. And my possibles bag is a corduroy, Mossy Oak camo thing with a plastic hasp. Yet despite all of that I have this sense that the rifle itself should be period correct. I want the experience of hunting with a rifle that a guy 200 years ago might have used.

Now blackening a sight with a candle? That's something that a guy 200 years ago might have done. So I can do that.

Not sure how much sense that makes, but there you have it!

Ben
 

smokehouseman

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I was having he same problem with my sights so I opted to use an orange nail polish on the front blade. A suggestion made by a member of the forum was to first dab the front sight with a white paint then to cover that with Crazy Glue, then put the orange over the white and also cover that with a dab of Crazy Glue. It nice and bright, works well and stays on. Not period correct, but works for me. :thumbsup:
 

white eagle

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I did the finger nail polish thing and it worked better use a color that is unnatural to the woods (for hunting)like pink :shocked2:
I did go to a fiber optic in front and use a peep in back not exactly what you wanted to know but wow what a difference :thumbsup:
 

Rat Trapper

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Everyones eyes see colors a little different. What works for one, may be worse for the next. If you wish to try to blacken your sights try what the High Power rifle and pistol shooters use. They either smoke their sights with a kit made for that purpose or spray them with gun sight black. Both wipe off, but will sharpen the sights up. Excellent for range work. I had to resort to using the special lens I have for High power rifle competion (knoblocks). At 61 I just can't see the sights like I use to. The special lens fix that problem for me. It also allows me to see the sights to shoot 600 yards with my AR 15. On one of my TC Hawkens I did install a TC fiber optic front sight. This seems to really help also in low light.
 

bucktales

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I use a small dab of orange model paint on my ML's as well as my peep sighted modern rifles.

I had some trouble picking up a white bead when hunting in snow ,rain, and foggy conditions. No trouble with orange.
 

Zonie

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I don't know that it is correct for 200 years ago but my father (born in 1904) taught me to use a wooden match flame to blacken the front sight on my gun.

Being the young whippersnapper that I am I sometimes use fluorescent orange plastic model car paint called Testers PLA.
 

jdstrang

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BigBadBen said:
... Not sure how much sense that makes, but there you have it!

Ben
Isn't that about the perfect summation of nearly everything we do here?? If everything we did made sense, think how many fewer toy choices we'd have! :haha:

Ben: There's a couple of verities that shine through here:

1. If one sight combo worked in every woods lighting situation, there'd be a darnsight fewer options on the market. :hmm:

And

2. If you can't see your sights on game, then you might as well be home, dry and warm, folding laundry. :hmm: :hmm:

I don't know what risks you run of meeting a ghostly ancestral sight-inspecting apparition out in the Vermont woods, but if you fear for your immortal hunter's soul, then just blacken what you have with smoke, or a dab of Testor's flat-black enamel, or somesuch.

But if hanging meat is your prime consideration, then swallow hard and go to one of the bright neon front-blade replacements, at least for the season. And consider as well a ghost-ring-type rear peep. They work plenty good for practical hunting ranges. Together, they cover the whole woods.

And comfort your conscience by knowing that, had our hunting-dependent progenitors had such technologically advanced devices at their disposal, you can bet your non-period possibles bag they would'a used 'em! :thumbsup:
 

bigbadben

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Well, if I get sick of fiddlin' with the open sights I think I'll send it back to TVM and have it drilled and tapped for scope mounts and put and ATN night vision scope on it.

Gen 4 night vision on a 54-cal percussion. I'll call it my fusion rifle.

That would be cool. And the funny thing is that in many states it would be perfectly legal as a muzzleloader.

Ben
 

CoyoteJoe

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Well Ben, you don't have to go to the opposite extreme! :haha:
As for keeping your sights "traditional", If your sights stand much more than 1/8" above the barrel they aren't like those of 200 years ago anyhow. Matt Avance didn't put those sights on because he was trying to duplicate those of original flintlocks, he puts on sights that are popular with todays shooters and still look kinda-sorta maybe a little bit traditional by today's standard. If you think those are hard to see you should try those of a two hundred year old rifle!
 

bigbadben

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Oi. I don't think I'll try that! They're already hard enough. I think I'm going to get the oversized (~.095") sight that someone mentioned earlier. Then I'll darken it up with either a candle or spray on sight black. Hopefully that will be good enough.

Truth be told the sights I have aren't that bad. Mostly I didn't think to dig out a better channel in the rear sight. And I underestimated how quickly that silver sight would disappear against the grey fur of a deer. A wide black sight should be better. Hopefully good enough. I'll try it out on some 'yotes this winter to make sure all is good.

Ben
 

catman

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Then you would have a 54-cal M4 convig

BigBadBen said:
Gen 4 night vision on a 54-cal percussion. I'll call it my fusion rifle.
Ben
 
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