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Old 05-25-2020, 10:22 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Virginia
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Replacing 1911 sights

gunsmith is limited for me.

I would like to change the sights to a tritium set.

I have a Colt Government Series 80 Talo.
I would like a 6:00 hold rather than a combat sight picture.

What sight height should the front sight be?

I have a universal sight pusher which should be able to push the rear sight out and allow installing a new one. The front sight is staked, not dovetailed.

I have bench vise, punches, etc.

I assume Iím just taping the slide and going to use a medium weight hammer to knock off the front sight, and then use a staking tool to install, after filing down the front sight to fit, right?


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Old 05-25-2020, 03:07 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2001
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Using a hammer to remove the old sight will almost certainly result in a scarred or damaged slide.
Also there's more to the job to get it right.......

To remove the old sight without dinking up the slide, grip the sight with a GOOD set of Vise-Grip pliers and gently rock the sight side to side JUST slightly as you pull straight up.
Don't twist it or the slide finish will be scarred.
Once the sight is off, use a small punch to tap out the broken off tenon from the outside of the slide.

To install a new stake-in sight, first you have to prep the slide. Failure to do this critical step will almost always result in a loose or missing sight when it comes out.

This requires a small Dremel carbide ball cutter. You can use it in a Dremel or flex shaft or by putting it in a pin vise and turning it by hand.
What you want to do is grind a small countersink or "crater" inside the slide into the tenon slot.
This small countersink will give the new sight tenon room to flow down below the surface of the inside of the slide.

The reason staked sights often come loose is because installers fail to put in the countersink and the tenon rivet lays on the surface of the slide.
When the excess is ground off to allow inserting the barrel bushing, all the rivet is ground away and there's nothing to hold the sight in place.
The small crater allows enough of the tenon rivet to flow below the surface to lock the sight in place and withstand a life time of shooting.

After grinding the countersink, degrease the tenon slot in the barrel and the sight.
Allow to dry and apply a drop of Loctite Red (permanent) locker to the tenon hole and insert the new sight.
Quickly, before the Loctite starts to cure, use the riveting tool to rivet the tenon down into the shallow countersink.
Make sure that the sight stays level and not twisted or tilted during riveting.

Give the job 24 hours for the Loctite to fully harden then slowly grind off the excess rivet so the barrel bushing will seat.
Go slow so the area stays cool and won't degrade the Loctite.

As for sighting in the gun, most luminous sights haven't enough room to do much filing so filing any appreciable amount of the sight down is usually not do-able.

One way to get it right is to make a "try sight" before even buying a new sight.
This is just a piece of copper wire bent into an "L" shape and taped to the slide where the front sight was.
Shoot the gun at the range you want to use, and clip the copper wire off until you get it on target.
Ignore windage, you're just wanting to figure out the height of sight you need.
No one can sight in the gun but you, so there is no "Correct height" anyone can recommend.
Once you're on target with your preferred sighting method, just measure the height of the wire and buy a sight that's closest to that height.

When staking the new sight, be careful because it's easy to break or damage the luminous insert or to deform the sight itself.

Done right and a staked front sight will never come loose. Done without the countersink and it won't stay put.
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Old 05-25-2020, 04:13 PM   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Virginia
Posts: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfariswheel View Post
Using a hammer to remove the old sight will almost certainly result in a scarred or damaged slide.

Also there's more to the job to get it right.......



To remove the old sight without dinking up the slide, grip the sight with a GOOD set of Vise-Grip pliers and gently rock the sight side to side JUST slightly as you pull straight up.

Don't twist it or the slide finish will be scarred.

Once the sight is off, use a small punch to tap out the broken off tenon from the outside of the slide.



To install a new stake-in sight, first you have to prep the slide. Failure to do this critical step will almost always result in a loose or missing sight when it comes out.



This requires a small Dremel carbide ball cutter. You can use it in a Dremel or flex shaft or by putting it in a pin vise and turning it by hand.

What you want to do is grind a small countersink or "crater" inside the slide into the tenon slot.

This small countersink will give the new sight tenon room to flow down below the surface of the inside of the slide.



The reason staked sights often come loose is because installers fail to put in the countersink and the tenon rivet lays on the surface of the slide.

When the excess is ground off to allow inserting the barrel bushing, all the rivet is ground away and there's nothing to hold the sight in place.

The small crater allows enough of the tenon rivet to flow below the surface to lock the sight in place and withstand a life time of shooting.



After grinding the countersink, degrease the tenon slot in the barrel and the sight.

Allow to dry and apply a drop of Loctite Red (permanent) locker to the tenon hole and insert the new sight.

Quickly, before the Loctite starts to cure, use the riveting tool to rivet the tenon down into the shallow countersink.

Make sure that the sight stays level and not twisted or tilted during riveting.



Give the job 24 hours for the Loctite to fully harden then slowly grind off the excess rivet so the barrel bushing will seat.

Go slow so the area stays cool and won't degrade the Loctite.



As for sighting in the gun, most luminous sights haven't enough room to do much filing so filing any appreciable amount of the sight down is usually not do-able.



One way to get it right is to make a "try sight" before even buying a new sight.

This is just a piece of copper wire bent into an "L" shape and taped to the slide where the front sight was.

Shoot the gun at the range you want to use, and clip the copper wire off until you get it on target.

Ignore windage, you're just wanting to figure out the height of sight you need.

No one can sight in the gun but you, so there is no "Correct height" anyone can recommend.

Once you're on target with your preferred sighting method, just measure the height of the wire and buy a sight that's closest to that height.



When staking the new sight, be careful because it's easy to break or damage the luminous insert or to deform the sight itself.



Done right and a staked front sight will never come loose. Done without the countersink and it won't stay put.


Thank you very much!


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