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Old 10-24-2004, 05:43 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 26
front sight

Can anyone tell me how to secure the front sight to my slide on a Series 80 Commander? I've owned three government type Colt automatics and every one of them has had problems with loose front sights and a rear sight that wasn't mounted currectly in the cut in the slide. Is this problem specific to Colts or do they all do it?
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Old 10-24-2004, 11:27 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,800
Many brands of 1911's have front sight problems, and it's a symptom of improper installation.

What's happening is this: When most people stake a front sight in, they just stick the sight in the hole and stake it in place. Then they grind off the excess rivet to clear the barrel bushing.

The problem is, when they grind off the rivet, they grind most of the rivet away.
The small amount that's left just isn't enough to retain the sight, and it shoots loose.

To correctly install a 1911 sight that won't come loose requires nothing more than cutting a small depression or "crater" into the slide on the inside.

This small depression is cut with a small burr with a flex shaft or Moto-tool. The depression is put in on the under side of the sight's stud hole.

This little "crater" gives the rivet room to flow down into it.
Then, when the excess rivet is ground off, there's still plenty of rivet left down in the depression.

When a sight is installed this way, there's plenty of rivet present, and the sight stays put with no looseness.

The problem is, putting that little crater in, takes hand labor and any hand labor runs the price up an astounding amount.

Most builders just don't do it, as a money saver, figuring that the biggest percentage of sights will stay put no matter what.

To fix your pistol, remove the sight and pitch it.
Get a burr about .125" and cut the depression in the slide.
It doesn't have to be large or deep, just enough to give the rivet room to flow.

Put a drop or two of Loctite Red in the hole, back up the sight properly so you get a good, firm, no bounce set up, and gently stake the sight's stud so it flows into place.

Grind off only as much as necessary, and the sight will stay put as well as one of the old brazed in place sights people used to do. Unlike a brazed sight, the sight is replaceable, AND there's no risk to the slide from heat warping, or damage to the heat treating.

For a complete set of instructions with pictures, invest $30.00 or so in Jerry Kuhnhausen's book "The .45 Colt Automatic: A Shop Manual".

This discusses the subject and shows the tools, how to cut the depression, and how to rivet the sight in place.
This book should be part of every 1911 owner's kit.
Old 10-25-2004, 03:42 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 26
Thank you very much dfarriswheel! I've got the Kneuhausen manual for the Garand/M14, but didn't realize that he had one on "old ugly".
Old 10-25-2004, 04:51 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,800
There are actually two Kuhnhausen manuals on the .45.

Volume One is the one you'd be best starting off with. Volume Two seems to be more dimensions and tech info.

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