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Steel Sight Maintenance

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Steel Sight Maintenance Empty Steel Sight Maintenance

Post by mikemyers on 9/26/2020, 8:54 pm

When buying an old gun, perhaps an S&W, sometimes the rear sigh adjustment screws turn freely, and the various sight components move the appropriate amount in the appropriate direction.  Sometimes not.  I'm thinking of sights that are "bound up", and the screw doesn't want to turn, or maybe the screw does turn but the sight doesn't move the way you expect.

I've had this same issue with several gun lately, now that I'm trying to get better with steel sights.

I'll post what I've been doing, but it was just a guess.  Maybe someone here has a much better way to do this.

For me, I've been adding a small amount of penetrating oil on both the front and back of the sight blade, and adding a small amount to the adjusting screws.  I suspect that I need to move the sight blade all the way to the right, then all the way to the left, as penetrating oil is added, so it gets into the screw threads that physically move the sight.  When finished, moving the adjusting screw "one click" in any direction should show up properly on the target when the gun is fired.  Before doing the lubricating, some of my sights didn't want to move at all, and then they moved more than expected.  Once they're lubricated, so far this makes them much more responsive.

If parts are available, I guess there's always the option is taking it all apart and re-assembling after cleaning, but some of these parts for older S&W guns are difficult to find.

I'm thinking that if I free things up the way I'm doing, the penetrating oil will get into the threads, and for a long time, many years, the sight will be just fine.  Maybe someone here has a better idea?


As a side note, S&W has many of these parts available.  I had a long talk with the tech people, and they sent me most of what I might need at no charge.  The only thing they didn't have was the complete assembly, including the leaf.  Numrich also has most of the parts available.  This is all for S&W - but that covers most of my guns with steel sights.
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Post by Outthere on 9/27/2020, 6:44 am

At each cleaning session, use Kroil on the adjustment screws. It'll wick into the threads of the screws.

The only way to take them apart is to break the windage screw.
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Post by mikemyers on 9/27/2020, 6:58 am

Thank you - yes, Kroil was suggested here a year or so ago for cleaning my Model-52 barrel, so I bought it, but never considered it for lubricating the sights.  I guess I need to wait a while before the penetrating oil dissipates before adding the Kroil?  That, or maybe the Kroil will "force out" the penetrating oil I used yesterday.

On this particular gun, the gunsmith who was supposed to install the rear sight blade didn't do things correctly, as the "nut" isn't permanently held in place.  If I wanted to, I could remove the parts, but then I'd be back to the situation I had last year, where I didn't have enough hands to get all the parts in place. I don't remember ever detail, but I think it had so do with the tiny parts that create the "click" as the adjuster is turned.  .......but as it is right now, if I "snug up" that nut, it turns along with the adjusting screw, like it's supposed to.

Maybe the best option right now is to do what you suggested, using Kroil, as I screw the adjuster so the plate slides back and forth from right to left a few times, then try to set it properly.
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Post by Wobbley on 9/27/2020, 3:09 pm

Kroil IS a penetrating oil, one of the best actually.  It will mix with the penetrating oils you’ve already used.
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