My Concession To Near-Middle Age: New 1911 Sights - Pistolsmith
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:15 PM   #1
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My Concession To Near-Middle Age: New 1911 Sights

Hi All,

I have to say first off that I'm a huge fan of the original sights found on military-style 1911 models. They are small and precise.

Not so long ago I fitted a National Match bushing to my carry 1911. I broke out the prescription glasses and lo, I could see the target but not the sights. Glasses off, reverse the problem. I could see the sights but not the target.

This was not the ideal situation.

Because I am, in the next couple years, going to be sidelining the Mosin sight business and start full-fledge gunsmithing, I've been buying tools from Brownell's when finances allow.

The past month was a staking tool and slide fixture. Just makes sense to have both, and the slide holding fixture fits nicely in a vice.

I chose a 10-8 National Match rear sight and an MGW serrated front sight.









The rear sight was designed to work with a 0.175" front sight, while the MGW serrated front is 0.195" high. I started sighting it in but ran out of time. I still have to take about 0.010" more off.

Test firing, however, revealed a nice surprise: I was never able to really test the NM bushing. At 15 long paces I was chewing out one ragged hole, albeit low. At 30 paces, most still touched. This was unrested shooting with ammo I consider my junk reloads that I keep around in an old ammo can specifically for function testing.

When I go finish sighting in this weekend, I'll be taking good handloads and a few carry loads I need to shoot.

I am pleased. While I might go to a night sight eventually, I'm not a fan of staking repeatedly. I figure one day the hole will waller out.

After I finish sighting in, the slide will get some more bluing and the sights will be blended better with the slide.

A note for the Rock Island users out there: Rock Island is supposed to use a G.I. dovetail rear sight on the rear. It's close, but plan on having to fit the sight with a file. This is a good thing for those of us who like our sights in tight in addition to any set-screw which may be present.

The front sight uses a narrow tenon, and that is in spec.

I look forward to finishing this up. This pistol has been with me since before I knew what I was doing, during the active learning period in which I subjected it to things a 1911 should never be subjected to, and it's survived to now with nary a complaint. It deserves some blending and fixing up! The one last thing it will eventually receive is a wide paddle Wilson Bulletproof Ambi Safety to replace the Caspian on it now.

All the internals are already military, Wilson, or Brown. No MIM.

Josh
 
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Old 11-09-2013, 02:29 AM   #2
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Sights?

Who the hell can see sights any more?


Good thing I taught myself to point-shoot all those years ago. heh

Although I can do pretty well with an aperture sight on a rifle. I don't know the technical reasons for it, but the simple explanation is that the hole somehow focuses the light coming through it, and sharpens the blurred front sight. I can't explain it, but it does help, and the smaller the hole the sharper the front sight gets...but even a ghost ring clears it up quite a bit.
 
Old 11-09-2013, 02:19 PM   #3
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Hi Johnny,

Yeah, I do the point sighting thing too. I do like to have sights to index, though.

I sighted in today. At 11 strides (about 10 yards for me) I got about 1.5" shooting unsupported with junk handloads.

While I was sighting it in, I ended up reprofiling the front sight. This should take care of the narrow tenon concerns some have:



Not real sure I like the profile, but the sights work very well.

Interestingly, I had to take the front sight down to about 0.160" instead of 0.175" for 230 grain loads. I was hitting apples at 30 yards with ease after that.

Josh
 
Old 11-10-2013, 04:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua M. Smith View Post
Hi All,

I broke out the prescription glasses and lo, I could see the target but not the sights. Glasses off, reverse the problem. I could see the sights but not the target.

This was not the ideal situation.


This is the reason I went to Crimson Trace Laser Grips on my carry XD40. Except for using in blinding sunlight, they work well for me. They really help when you are shooting from belt level too. This can sorta cut some valuable time from your proper presentation.
 
Old 11-10-2013, 04:50 PM   #5
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Well Folks, I finished gettin' her sighted in today, with my good ammo. (The load is listed on the target, but be warned it's over what Lyman lists in their Cast Bullet Handbook.)



That was at 15 yards. I don't know what happened with that flier; chances are I just pushed the trigger.

Interestingly, I had to take the sight down further:



I can't figure this. The sight started at 0.195" and shouldn't have had to come down more than 0.015" or so. Ended up it had to come down around 0.050"!

The only thing I can figure is that Armscor mills their rear sight dovetails a bit deeper than the standard Series 70.

But, I'm happy. The new sights are letting me shoot this pistol closer to its mechanical accuracy.

Josh
 
Old 11-11-2013, 04:11 AM   #6
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The ordnance sights zeroed the pistol at 50 yards in order to allow a soldier to make hits on a man with a center hold from conversation distance out to 75 yards...known as the Maximum Point Blank Range, or...as the military calls it...the "Battlesight Zero."

A 50-yard zero would result in a 2-inch high point of impact at 25 yards...or zeroed on a 4-inch bull with a 6 O'Clock hold. The 50-yard zero is a very useful as a general purpose setting for the sights.

Of course, all this assumes standard issue hardball ammunition.

Last edited by JohnnyT; 11-11-2013 at 04:13 AM.
 
Old 11-11-2013, 05:45 AM   #7
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Hi Johnny,

I figure one day I'll get around to marking the front sight on this the same way I usually mark my fixed-sight muzzleloaders: Just put notches or paint on the front sight for different ranges.

Regards,

Josh
 
Old 11-12-2013, 02:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
I figure one day I'll get around to marking the front sight on this the same way I usually mark my fixed-sight muzzleloaders: Just put notches or paint on the front sight for different ranges
*blink*

Wish I had your eyes, Josh.

Time was, I could hold a front sight on a squirrel's head at 50 yards...and hit it. Now, I do good to see the squirrel.

This gettin' old stuff ain't for pussies.

*sigh*

Last edited by JohnnyT; 11-12-2013 at 02:55 AM.
 
Old 11-12-2013, 08:17 AM   #9
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My eyesight ain't that great, man. 20/60 in my shooting eye and something like 20/200 in my right eye, which was also my dominant eye until I trained it into its backup role.

I've been known to shoot squirrels in the head, but mostly that's due to knowing where their heads are.

For hunting, I've mostly gone to 'scopes. Not exclusively, say, within 25 yards, but mostly.

I've noticed long-range sight suffers more with all the close-up work I do, meaning my job/business. I use 4-40, 5-40, and no larger than 10-32 screws for what I do, and most precision stuff is 0.060" or smaller. That stuff I can see. I only sometimes use magnifying glasses. I grew up with my nose in books.

I get around two, three feet out, though, and lining things up starts to become a bit of a challenge.

Once, I bought my Mom a bow for Christmas. She had enjoyed archery in her youth, and expressed a desire to have a bow again, just for fun, in her golden years, so I found her a youth recurve bow that would fit her and didn't have that bad of a draw.

We went to the pro shop to do some shooting at 5 yards. I was using her bow too as I didn't have one at the time. There were some targets along the far wall at 50 yards, and I stated my intent to shoot one.

But, you see, I shoot bows holding by holding the bow in my left hand, and I therefore had to use my right eye to aim.

20/200 vision, right?

Well, I loosed that arrow. I asked Mom where it hit, and she told me I nailed it dead center in the X-ring.

I just couldn't quite believe it, so I walked down when the range was clear, found out that I didn't quite cut the line between the 10 and X rings, retrieved the arrow, walked back, and said "I'm done".

Now, I thought I was some special. I acted humble, of course, but I had amazed myself and was secretly pretty proud. I'd noted where the centers of those 50 yard targets were, and hit one from memory. Sure, it wasn't the X ring, but still better than most folks could do.

Ever notice how when ya' get proud, something happens to knock ya' back down?

I was reading a couple years later in a Louis L'Amour novel about how one of them ol' Sackett boys done the same thing at some insane distance with a rifle shootin' a knot out of a tree. He explained to his pardner that he didn't do it because he could see it, but he noted a'purpose where that knot was on that ol' stump just in case he needed to put on some sort of trick shootin' exhibition.

And here I thought I was some special. Damn.

Come to find out that was relatively common in the olden days, and if it worked for them, I just figure it'll work for me. I don't figure to depend on the contrivances that folks have made just because it makes life easier. I use 'scopes because the rifles I sometimes shoot require it; heavy barrels and no irons.

Been thinking about finding an old Steven's Favorite or similar and setting it up like an old Creedmore rifle with the tang sights and whatnot. Sure would be fun.

Now, if you want to see some special shooting, check this out:



Should take you to 1Grizzman's channel.

He does a lot of long range -- insanely long range -- and I'm proud to say I made the trigger and the front sight for that Mosin-Nagant he uses.

He does things with irons that I thought were lost to the ages and supplanted by 'scopes!

Not to say he doesn't use 'scopes. Only for stuff over 1000 yards or so

But the closest I can come to his eyesight is making the sight that lets him do that stuff. I actually stuck myself with the bloody post after I turned it, and it was literally needle-sharp. I've no idea how he sees that point, but he must!

Oh, how I've rambled. It was a late night and I'm still working on my first pot of coffee. You can always tell when I've not had enough coffee when I fall into colloquial speech, in my type... hehehehe

You have a good one. Looks like I have some changing to do to my YouTube account as Google messed with YouTube again.

Regards Sir,

Josh
 
Old 12-06-2013, 09:41 PM   #10
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if I may ask how do you like the rock island ???? and what parts have you changed from the internals???
 
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