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Setting up S&W sights for 38 special?

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AllAces
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rreid
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Chris Miceli
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Setting up S&W sights for 38 special? Empty Setting up S&W sights for 38 special?

Post by zanemoseley 7/25/2017, 6:51 pm

I just picked up a S&W 19-3 built in 1969 that's in great shape. I'll probably just use it for informal target shooting but it might make it's way into a match here or there. I casted some 155 grain Keith style SWC bullets and put them over 3.0 WST. Problem is the rear sight appears to be all the way down and it's shooting really high at 25 yards. I usually prefer a center hold but would take a 6 o'clock hold if I could get it. I had to aim with a solid chunk of white between the front sight and the bull to even get it close.

A bullseye buddy vaguely remembers having to replace the blade on his old S&W 19 to get 38 specials elevation correct. Anyone have more info on this?

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Post by Chris Miceli 7/25/2017, 7:04 pm

Could try taller front sight

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Post by LenV 7/25/2017, 7:06 pm

Grip it harder. The recoil is raising the barrel. Or believe it or not a little hotter ammo will print lower. Less time in the barrel = less lift.

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Post by zanemoseley 7/25/2017, 7:16 pm

I doubt it is the recoil, has less recoil than a 45 I'm used to using. It appears the front sight is pinned into the barrel.

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Post by LenV 7/25/2017, 7:38 pm

I might have been unclear. It is not that it has too much recoil. Try shooting some hot+p ammo and see if it prints lower. I think it might need more recoil/velocity too print lower. I have a neat test you can do if you own a Super Blackhawk. Sight the pistol in at 25yds with 44 special then shoot the same weight bullet in a 44 mag. The hotter faster bullet should not drop as much as the 44 special and print higher. But, it will print lower every time. The round grips on a Ruger really let you see the effects of recoil dynamics. Or you can get a taller front sight.

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Post by rreid 7/25/2017, 7:53 pm

They have 3 different heights of rear sights. Not that hard to change. They come in a package with the windage screw and nut.
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Post by Black_Talon 7/25/2017, 8:15 pm

rreid is correct. S&W has different height rear blades to correct for this sort of situation.
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Post by zanemoseley 7/25/2017, 8:24 pm

So do I measure the depth of the notch to see where I'm at?

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Post by zanemoseley 7/25/2017, 8:39 pm

So looks like it's the overall blade height? Mine appears to be the .146". Looking at Brownellls it appears .126" is the shortest, does this sound right.

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Post by Chris Miceli 7/25/2017, 8:46 pm

zanemoseley wrote:So looks like it's the overall blade height? Mine appears to be the .146". Looking at Brownellls it appears .126" is the shortest, does this sound right.
Do you loose any rear sight notch depth?

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Post by zanemoseley 7/25/2017, 9:01 pm

Yes it appears the notch depth varies with the blade height. Here are the blades on Brownells site.

http://www.brownells.com/handgun-parts/sights/rear-sights/sight-blade-kit-rear-146-white-outline-prod15368.aspx

And the spanner tool for removing the blade nut.

http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/handgun-tools/sight-tools/smith-wesson-sight-nut-spanner-prod25408.aspx


Last edited by zanemoseley on 7/25/2017, 10:01 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by AllAces 7/25/2017, 9:17 pm

I made this repair on my Model 14 using the Brownell kit. I recall they have instructions on their website. You can make the spanner tool from a small screwdriver with a Dremel tool.
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Post by Chris Miceli 7/25/2017, 9:29 pm

zanemoseley wrote:Yes it appears the notch depth varies with the blade height. Here are the blades on Brownells site.

handgun-parts/sights/rear-sights/sight-blade-kit-rear-146-white-outline-prod15368.aspx

And the spanner tool for removing the blade nut.

http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/handgun-tools/sight-tools/smith-wesson-sight-nut-spanner-prod25408.aspx
I'd rather a new front sight then

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Post by zanemoseley 7/25/2017, 10:00 pm

Chris, I'm not a S&W expert but it sure looks like the front sight is double pinned and polished into the barrel. Doesn't look like something easy to swap.

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Post by james r chapman 7/26/2017, 5:23 am

Generally the FS is best gunsmith installed.
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Post by rebs 7/26/2017, 6:14 am

I have a model 19 that I bought new back in the 70's and it shoots 2.8 WST with a 148 gr wc with no elevation adjustment needed. I am using a center hold on the target and hitting center shooting off a bench rest.

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Post by BE Mike 7/26/2017, 7:39 am

I have a S&W model 66 with 6" barrel. I had the same problem. I had a pistolsmith install a higher front sight (S&W cataloged part). It solved my problem. Mine only had one visible pin, so I probably could have done it myself, but the pistolsmith had the part and did a bang up job. Worth the bucks IMHO. If you get a pistolsmith that is really good with S&W revolvers, he might also find other minor things that he can correct at the same time, i.e. adjust the timing, replace center pin, etc.
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Post by zanemoseley 7/26/2017, 9:25 am

I think I'll try the rear blade install myhself and see where that gets me, from my calculations I think it will drop the POI about 3" which if I'm lucky will get me to a 6 o'clock hold. I've kicked around the idea of sending the revolver to Frank Glenn at some point for a match action job, I've heard he's one of the top S&W revolver smiths. If I still need the POI dropped I'm sure he can install a taller front sight.

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Post by rreid 7/26/2017, 9:14 pm

zanemoseley wrote:Yes it appears the notch depth varies with the blade height. Here are the blades on Brownells site.

http://www.brownells.com/handgun-parts/sights/rear-sights/sight-blade-kit-rear-146-white-outline-prod15368.aspx

And the spanner tool for removing the blade nut.

http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/handgun-tools/sight-tools/smith-wesson-sight-nut-spanner-prod25408.aspx
I don't recall needing a special spanner bit when I did mine. The nut is staked, so you can't unscrew it. You unscrew the windage windage screw until it breaks. The thing you have to watch is the tiny plunger and spring in the head of the windage screw. They will go flying if you're not careful.
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Post by Dr.Don 7/27/2017, 9:13 am

Always do this kind of disassembly inside of a plastic bag.
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