Sights for Old Eyes

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Post by WesG on 3/29/2020, 10:46 pm

Playing with my old Hammerli 150 Free Pistol. Hard to see the sights well, now that I'm 'older' than when I got it. Thought about widening the rear, but I hate hacking on original parts, especially on vintage guns. Looked for parts awhile back. Found a single front sight blade listed for $55, and I think it was the same as what I have.

In addition, I'd like the notch to be deeper, like my modern pistols. There's not much room to make it deeper, as the sight body in front of it is quite close already. Might have worked fine anyway, seeing light rather than the sight body.

Increasing the height of the rear blade requires a taller front sight as well. So ... may as well make an assortment. They're .070 taller than the originals.

I used aluminum, because I had it. The rears are .073 thick, 14 ga I think. So that meant ordering a piece of steel, or using barstock and milling it down. That never goes well in terms of pieces staying flat. This also lets me avoid a second lot charge of anodize + black oxide for a teeny handful of parts.

The rear blades are made from .125, milled enough to clean up. Pocketed out to .073 to clear the mounting tabs.

Need to finish a fixture to hold the fronts for milling the top flat after sawing them off the bar. That will also give me something to hold them with for bead blasting.

Sights for Old Eyes H-150_10

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Post by john bickar on 3/29/2020, 11:02 pm

Nice. 

I read your first paragraph and was about to say "womp it out" and thought, "wait, but doesn't Wes..." Laughing

So then I read further and learned something. A touch more sophisticated than "womp it out".
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Post by WesG on 3/30/2020, 12:58 pm

john bickar wrote:
 "wait, but doesn't Wes..." Laughing


Waste his time fiddling with useless knick-knacks instead of properly training and practicing?

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Post by radjag on 3/30/2020, 1:35 pm

Wes G,

Lovely looking work. I'm guessing that you have a CNC mill or something similar. If you ever want to waste more time fiddling with such knick-knacks I would be very interested in buying a set of those rear sight blades with several notch widths. I also have older eyes and very much prefer a wider/deeper notch so that I can see a clear strip of white either side of the front sight (I use a 6 o'clock hold) with my EIC Service Pistol. I've been wanting to mount something like that on to a typical Kensight rear in order to create a sight picture similar to a good air or free pistol, then swap out front sights to match.

From the look of your work it would appear that if I tapped a couple of holes in a reduced height original Kensight blade I could then just slot your blades over a couple of screws and bingo!

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Post by WesG on 3/30/2020, 4:53 pm

Hey Roy,

The rear sight blades were all manual mill work. I'm going to engrave them with size like the fronts. Ran out of time last night while the spindle was already warmed up and the air was on. Bummer. Oh well, gave me time to consider just holding them by the ends in step jaws vs milling soft jaws to avoid crushing the knife edge at the top.

A quick hack on the blade with a semi detailed model of a Bomar.

Sights for Old Eyes Assy_s10

Looks like it'd be best to raise the height a bit for a deeper notch. I'm guessing that's what you meant by swapping out front sights?

I'll stare at it a bit as to how to attach it securely. It'd be nice, or maybe overkill, to have them interchangeable while maintaining zero.

Would you happen to know if the Kensight blade can be removed/replaced without requiring the replacement of the windage screw hardware?

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Post by radjag on 3/30/2020, 6:02 pm

Wes,

The Kensight Bomar Target sight I happen to have on hand has the usual windage screw on the right side with it's detent. On the other (left) side there is a screwdriver slot, but when I (gently) tried to unscrew it in opposition to the right side it would not budge. (I just remembered the recent thread about S&W sights and it now occurs to me that it is probably necessary to use one of those slotted wrenches). This is part of my most valuable handgun so I did not want to force it. No doubt there are experts out there who will know whether the blade can be readily detached. This sight blade is 0.103" thick, so quite substantial enough to be drilled/tapped, but obviously better to do so when detached from the sight/gun.
Sights for Old Eyes Kensig10
Sights for Old Eyes Kensig11
My preference would actually be to grind/mill the original blade down flush horizontally with the sight body. I would prefer to have removable blades that are somewhat wider and taller than the Kensight to allow for a deeper notch. My MG2 & Steyr blades are both about 1.5" wide and 0.6" tall. Possibly a bit too big to look sensible on a 1911.

This is the Steyr rear sight.
Sights for Old Eyes Steyr_10
The next photo is the rear sight made for the Listone Industries CO2/PCP target air pistols (Alfa/Victor/Wolf et al). Note that the blade is retained by 2 hex socket countersunk screws. This blade comes as standard with 2 notches so that the owner can flip the blade to choice. Neat. Blade is 1.378" wide and 0.539" tall, close to ideal IMHO.

I was intending to use this sight as a guinea pig and try to mount it on one of the Vortex Venom type Bomar dovetail mounts I have in hand. However, once mounted, it will inevitably be quite a lot taller than a Kensight and that is not ideal.
Sights for Old Eyes Liston10
Food for thought!

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Post by WesG on 3/30/2020, 7:17 pm

I like that. I've seen something similar before, but it had slipped my mind.

This doesn't look too bad:

Sights for Old Eyes Assy_s12

M3 FH in the model. A (crude) #6 Brownells scope base screw next to it. I tend to avoid small flat and button head screws when possible. Teeny little sockets that strip out don't go well with my desire to avoid guns and tools having their screws come loose as often as my own.

There's also a funny little thing I found out using black oxide screws in anodized aluminum. Specifically hard anodized. There appears to be some sort of chemical reaction between the 2 oxide layers that bonds them together. I've had larger ones break loose with a loud crack and a puff of smoke. And some of them, M8's, had to have the heads drilled off. Not fun sitting on the floor with a hand drill getting a sprocket off a road racer.

So maybe steel ...

Top edge is only about .015 higher than my model. It was based off a Bomar I got from Brownells 6 or 7 years ago. I was surprised they still had stock. The sight is on a rib I made for my custom M-41 barrel. Some small chance it's in one of my tool cabinets at the shop. More likely buried in one of the dozen boxes of junk in my girlfriend's garage in Tx.

S&W sights are staked I believe. And I think they most likely require replacing the screw and nut when the blade is changed.

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Post by john bickar on 3/30/2020, 8:19 pm

WesG wrote:
john bickar wrote:
 "wait, but doesn't Wes..." Laughing


Waste his time fiddling with useless knick-knacks instead of properly training and practicing?

What else are you gonna do when all the ranges are closed?

Thanks for sharing your machining and CAD skills with the rest of us. I don't know what the equivalent of "sub-Marksman" would be in a machine shop, but that's my classification.

Cool work.
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Post by Ray Bersch on 3/31/2020, 11:02 am

john bickar wrote:

 ........  I don't know what the equivalent of "sub-Marksman" would be in a machine shop, but that's my classification.

Cool work.
Turning puller.  My job one summer during college.
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Post by WesG on 4/1/2020, 6:39 pm

I think someone may be avoiding the responsibility of his bathroom remodel.

Sights for Old Eyes Assy_f10

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Post by john bickar on 4/1/2020, 7:54 pm

Ray Bersch wrote:
john bickar wrote:

 ........  I don't know what the equivalent of "sub-Marksman" would be in a machine shop, but that's my classification.

Cool work.
Turning puller.  My job one summer during college.
When I was 13, I ran a drill press for a while in my Uncle Ray's machine shop.

I think my machinist skills stopped about there.
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