Are most fixed sight revolvers slightly off target?


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The Real Hawkeye
December 20, 2006, 08:15 PM
Took two "new" (to me) revolvers to the range today for the first time. Noticed, during double action shooting, that the Colt Detective Special was shooting high and left slightly, and the S&W Model 10 was shooting low right slightly. Wanted to see if it was me, so I sat down and used a rest. Cocked the hammer, took very careful aim and made very small groups you could cover with a half dollar at seven yards, but the Colt was printing 2" high and 1" to the left of point of aim, while the Model 10 was printing 2" low and 1" to the right of point of aim.

Is this typical of fixed sighted revolvers made by Colt and S&W, or are most dead on? Thanks.

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tubeshooter
December 20, 2006, 08:38 PM
Did you only try one type of ammo?


If so, I would try some others first before I officially declared them "off". I occasionally hear of off-cant fixed sights, but not very often.

MCgunner
December 20, 2006, 08:42 PM
Try different loads if they're just a little off, especially if it's just elevation. A heavier bullet will generally raise the POI. But, yeah, many times revolvers are off. If it's just shooting low, you can file some off the front sight. But, if it's windage, you can do what I did to my Taurus, but that's about it. I had a front sight dovetail cut and black sight installed (I hate stainless colored front sights). I was able to get it on by drifting the front sight in the dove tail. Cost me 80 bucks or so IIRC to have this done, but I wanted it. I like the revolver, accurate, reliable, and great DA trigger.

My M10 was off when I installed the heavy barrel on it, just filed the side of the sight to get it on and dressed it so it wouldn't look TOO bad. It works. The sight was a little too wide for the rear notch anyway. My Rossi M68 shoots dead on, windage and elevation. It happens. My old Rossi M88 wasn't quite on in elevation, shot low, had to file the sight to bring up the POI with 158 grain loads.

The Real Hawkeye
December 20, 2006, 08:53 PM
Yeah, if it were only elevation, the ammo could be varied by weight, but there's some windage issue too.

That's a good idea with the dovetailing a new front sight in. Would hate to do it on guns that aren't in production anymore, but it is a consideration. Was thinking of actually carrying the Model 10, so this might be worth doing even if it ruins it for collector value. Too nice a gun not to be sighted in right.

ArchAngelCD
December 20, 2006, 09:12 PM
I've been told that on S&W .38 cal revolvers the fixed sights are set to shoot POA with 158 gr ammo. I know my M619 shoots POA with 158 gr ammo and low with 125 gr ammo. (I'm still not good enough with the snub to tell you for sure but it seems to be true there too.)

timothy75
December 20, 2006, 09:45 PM
Its definatly normal but remember handguns were made for large targets at close distances. There are some shooters and guns that can shoot accuratly out to rifle distances but their freaks. You and your guns are normal.

The Real Hawkeye
December 20, 2006, 10:21 PM
Its definatly normal but remember handguns were made for large targets at close distances. There are some shooters and guns that can shoot accuratly out to rifle distances but their freaks. You and your guns are normal.Thanks. That's good to hear. :)

MCgunner
December 20, 2006, 10:35 PM
That's a good idea with the dovetailing a new front sight in. Would hate to do it on guns that aren't in production anymore, but it is a consideration. Was thinking of actually carrying the Model 10, so this might be worth doing even if it ruins it for collector value. Too nice a gun not to be sighted in right.

I don't know if there's enough meat in that pencil barrel to dove tail a sight in. Maybe you could replace the barrel? Mine was a pencil barrel, but the forcing cone cracked. I saw an ad in Shotgun News selling new 4" heavy barrels and bought one and had it installed on my gun. I like the handling of the heavy barrel better and it has a lot of meat in it to dovetail a sight to if it doesn't shoot right to begin with when you have it installed. You could keep your pencil barrel just in case you'd like to reinstall it in the future, say you were to get a new carry or something. I really don't see the M10 being collectable, though. Sure, they're a cult gun to some extent, but there are a bazillion of 'em out there, supply vs demand ya know.

Here's the sight I had done on my Taurus if you haven't seen it.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=43447&d=1155431302

Euclidean
December 20, 2006, 10:36 PM
With a fixed sight revolver, always adjust for Kentucky Windage.:p

The Real Hawkeye
December 20, 2006, 10:43 PM
Well, probably the only collectables are the ones with the pinned barrels, and those only in really good shape, for reasons you stated. The well worn ones are a dime a dozen, even with pinned barrels. But if I take to carrying this one IWB, it will soon be well worn too, and in the non-collectable category anyway.

Majic
December 20, 2006, 11:09 PM
Try different brands of ammo. The different bullets (even though they are of the same weight), powders, etc. used in making up a cartridge can change the POI.

MCgunner
December 20, 2006, 11:33 PM
Hmm, well, I didn't have a choice, forcing cone cracked. Weren't even high pressure ammo either, just wadcutters I was shooting. But, mine's in fantastic condition and pinned. I reckon I ruined the value of it with that heavy barrel, but it shoots a lot better. It was my grandpa's gun, ain't lookin' to sell it. The real bummer is the fact that he traded a turn of the century SAA for it. :banghead:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=45430&d=1159310711

The Real Hawkeye
December 21, 2006, 12:27 AM
Oh man! You must be hurting whenever you think of that Colt. :eek:

BoneDigger
December 21, 2006, 01:24 AM
When I shoot them? Yes.

Todd

GrantCunningham
December 21, 2006, 01:29 PM
Post-72 Detective Specials are in fact notorious for shooting high/left. Massad Ayoob has written time and again about the problem, and I see it in my work on a constant basis.

Elevation is handled through choice of bullet; the D.S. sights were intended for use with the 158gn load, which usually shoots to the correct elevation.

Windage, on the other hand, is corrected by turning the barrel very slightly into the frame, which moves the front sight to the left from the shooter's perspective. Understand this: it is NOT something that you can do at home with standard tools! If fact, it is very likely that your local gunsmith can't do it correctly, because it requires an action wrench specifically for the Colt frame - and very few 'smiths today have those wrenches.

I usually recommend that you send it to Colt for the sight regulation - they used to do that job for free (though I don't know if that is still the case), and they turn it around very quickly.

(It's worth noting that the well-known D.S. sight problem disappeared when the gun was re-introduced in 1993. Those late guns always shoot to point of aim with 158gn loads, at least in my experience.)

The Real Hawkeye
December 21, 2006, 01:34 PM
Grant, thanks. That's some good info. I have a 1940s Detective Special too. I will take it to the range today to see what it does.

The Post-'72 Detective Special will be sent to Colt for proper screwing in of the barrel.

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