How is the front sight on my Pietta 1860 Army attached?


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Hammerdown77
May 11, 2012, 06:05 PM
I think I'm going to go the "make the front sight taller" route to get the gun hitting POA, rather than filing on the hammer.

Is the front sight tack soldered into the recess on the barrel? Is it just press fit in there? Glued?

Just wanted to know if I could remove it with a twist of the pliers, or if I'd need some heat.

The other option is to build up the sight with something, rather than removing and replacing.

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chicharrones
May 11, 2012, 07:21 PM
Strange days indeed. I was just going to ask about the front sight on my Pietta 1860, too.

I can tell you how mine is held in, The barrel is just "pinched" around the front sight to hold it in. You should see a small line on the barrel on the left and right of the sight.

Today, I took my Pietta 1860 out for a firing run, putting 30 shots down the tube before stopping. Around shots 20 through 24, my front sight popped clean off the barrel. Luckily I found it laying on the concrete near the bench I was standing behind. There is no solder residue of any kind on the sight or in the barrel's sight groove.

So, to add to your question Hammerdown, I was wondering if anyone here could tell us what new sight height we should start with, where to get it, and how to mount it more permanently?

Please? :)

arcticap
May 11, 2012, 07:55 PM
Here's the formula for calculating how much of an adjustment needs to be made to the front sight height:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=7445024&postcount=2

The thread below mentions how much needs to be removed from a Pietta's rear hammer sight to lower the impact one inch at 25 yards:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=629508&highlight=front+sight

Remove .0115" to lower the point of impact an inch at 25 yards.

Hellgate
May 12, 2012, 01:16 AM
I used epoxy to set the taller front sight on my ASM Hartford 1860 Army.

St8LineGunsmith
May 12, 2012, 03:06 AM
as far as the height I would make a taller sight the same configuration at the bottom and solder it in then file it down as needed until it is POA

chicharrones
May 12, 2012, 11:17 AM
Here's the formula for calculating how much of an adjustment needs to be made to the front sight height:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=7445024&postcount=2

The thread below mentions how much needs to be removed from a Pietta's rear hammer sight to lower the impact one inch at 25 yards:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=629508&highlight=front+sight

Thanks for the links articap. I had forgotten about that one thread.

Since my front sight fell off, I'm going to be doing a front sight job. If it hadn't, I'd probably file down the rear sight. :cool:

chicharrones
May 12, 2012, 11:19 AM
I used epoxy to set the taller front sight on my ASM Hartford 1860 Army.

What kind of epoxy did you use and how long has it lasted? I'm still a newb to black powder, but the ASM seems like a gun that has been around a while. I guess yours has seen some lead go down the barrel with that epoxied sight in place. :)

chicharrones
May 12, 2012, 11:20 AM
as far as the height I would make a taller sight the same configuration at the bottom and solder it in then file it down as needed until it is POA

I would prefer to solder in a new front sight, but the only soldering I ever do is with electronics. I have a feeling that is not the solder I would be needing. :D

I suppose talking to a gunsmith would be in order in my case.

Hammerdown77
May 12, 2012, 04:42 PM
Think "soldering" like sweating copper pipes, not like soldering components to a PCB.

St8LineGunsmith
May 12, 2012, 06:28 PM
what hammerdown said
just like sweating in a copper joint.
it is really easy all you need is a propane torch and some 60/40 acid core solder.
clean the area with a wire brush and sand off any bluing in that area then brush on paste flux in the joint then install the sight.
get the barrel hot enough (no hotter than 500 degrees F) You will want to concentrate the heat to the gun barrel and let the heat from the barrel radiate to the sight because the sight is thinner and will heat up more quickly than the gun barrel then just periodicly move the torch and stick the solder in the join, when the parts are hot enough for the solder to take it will suck right in and around the barrel and sight then wipe off excess solder with a dry cotton rag that is it.

BTW you never want to use acid core solder on electronics so keep it seperate from your electronics soldering equipment.

there is also silver solder which requires a little more heat than what 60 40 requires. A good jewlers torch or oxy/acetylene brazing torch rig would be beter suited for this kind of soldering but the 60/40 will be good enough for what you will be soldering.

chicharrones
May 13, 2012, 01:12 AM
Sounds like some re-bluing would be in order after doing something like that. Hmmmm.

arcticap
May 13, 2012, 02:26 AM
Some folks might choose to put a dovetail on their barrel so that the new front sight would be adjustable for windage.
That's how the Uberti factory front sight is installed on their Remington 1858's.

chicharrones
May 13, 2012, 04:22 PM
Another thing I didn't think of. Thanks, articap. :cool:

chicharrones
May 13, 2012, 04:23 PM
Hammerdown, have you removed your front sight or are you thinking of going a different way of getting your point of aim moved?

Hammerdown77
May 13, 2012, 04:59 PM
Have not removed it yet. I think I may just superglue something (piece of plastic or wood) to it temporarily to see what kind of height I will need to bring POI down to where I need it at 25 yards.

St8LineGunsmith
May 13, 2012, 07:50 PM
Some folks might choose to put a dovetail on their barrel so that the new front sight would be adjustable for windage.
That's how the Uberti factory front sight is installed on their Remington 1858's.

that is definately a good option but you are looking at a $200.00 mod milling in a dovetail and cost of the sight unless you have a milling machine in your garage and the know how to do the work
there again if you have a mill in your garage (which I do) you probably have the knowledge:cool:

St8LineGunsmith
May 13, 2012, 07:59 PM
Sounds like some re-bluing would be in order after doing something like that. Hmmmm.
Whoops disregard my comment above I mis read re-bluing for re-building
My bad,
yes the bluing would need touching up.

Hellgate
May 13, 2012, 08:04 PM
I did not solder it in because it is messy and knowing my own skill level I would either get solder all over the place, ruin the temper of the steel, or get acid on the bluing. I used 4 minute rapid setting epoxy but the longer (24 hours to set) setting epoxies are a bit stronger. An excellent alternative is to use JB Weld to glue it in. You can color the grey JB with a majic marker to "blue" it. The sight fit snugly into the slot and is a solid replacement.

72coupe
May 13, 2012, 08:33 PM
Millions of dovetails have been cut with a triangle file by hand. I have even done it myself with satisfactory results.

wittzo
May 13, 2012, 08:59 PM
Track of the Wolf sells a dovetail jig you clamp on a barrel and use with a file.

St8LineGunsmith
May 13, 2012, 09:38 PM
I betcha my way is faster:D

Ya a jig and file is definitely an alternative method and a more traditional way to do it.
Although dove tail jigs are a good inexpensive alternative but a very time consuming procedure. either way if you have it done it is costly.
I have used a dove tail jig on a Hawken and Kentucky long rifle kit that i built many years ago it took me a couple of weeks on the hawken kit because it was a harder barrel
I have found that filing a dove tail on a round barrel is less time consuming than filing one on an octagon barrel but a lot easier to get off center on a round barrel

I have since got me a smithy for making parts and doing stuff like cutting dove tails on gun barrels.

junkman_01
May 13, 2012, 09:44 PM
When you cut a dovetail by hand, you start with hacksaw blades (several on the same saw frame) to the minor (top dimension). Then you file the angles with a dovetail file.

St8LineGunsmith
May 13, 2012, 10:26 PM
A hacksaw is what i used on my first two rifles
then i got smart and started using a 4" side grinder with cut off disks to get the approximate cut depth.
a little faster than using a hack saw
if you are careful you can cut the angles of the dove tail with the grinder or a dremmel then finish off with the triangle file.
I really like my grinder and dremmel tools they are very useful pieces of equipment

i have even heard of guys using a router table to cut in a dove tail but I don't think I would want to try it, sounds kind of dangerous to me.

Here is how I do it... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYz8nUKTOMU

St8LineGunsmith
May 13, 2012, 10:45 PM
Here is a step by step how to hand cut in a dove tail with jig and files.
http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/cutting-dovetail/84006-how-cut-dovetail-slot-hand-tools.html

arcticap
May 14, 2012, 03:29 AM
Apparently there are triangular dovetail files that only have one cutting side which leaves the other two sides being smooth & safe.

http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=698/Product/60-deg-STANDARD-SLOT-SIGHT-BASE-FILES

http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/cid=0/k=dovetail+file/t=P/ksubmit=y/Products/All/search=dovetail_file

The dovetail file used in this Midway video only has one safe side, but Larry Potterfield didn't use a dovetail jig. He performs his initial rough cut by using the side edge of a file.

How to cut a dovetail by hand

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x958va_how-to-cut-a-dovetail-by-hand_school

toolslinger
May 14, 2012, 09:44 AM
So if one successfully cuts a dovetail in the barrel where would you obtain a new taller front sight to install in it. Does someone make one or would y'all fabricate it?

72coupe
May 14, 2012, 09:56 AM
Midwayusa.com has them in the master catalogue.

arcticap
May 14, 2012, 12:13 PM
Some folks have used 1/2 of a coin for a front sight with or without a sight base to fit a dovetail.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=618957&highlight=coin

Or perhaps a tall front sight blank can be adapted to be compatable:

http://www.dixiegunworks.com/advanced_search_result.php?osCsid=f9ab27caf8da0980395e50e3fda5a142&keywords=front+sight&x=2&y=4

http://www.trackofthewolf.com/Search.aspx?search=front%20sight

This outfit will make one for you:

http://www.skinnersights.com/front_sights_5.html

toolslinger
May 14, 2012, 03:00 PM
Very nice Arcticap thanks for the links.:)

chicharrones
July 9, 2012, 10:35 AM
I finally got around to making the replacement front sight for my Pietta 1860. I tried to post about it in this old thread, but there seems to be a cut off time for replying since the thread is apparently too old. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=629508

I used an old steel washer, my Dremel, file, and fine emery cloth to make the new front sight. Since I am inexperienced at soldering on firearms, I am trying out JB Weld for now. The sight got some cold bluing once it was mounted. Since my 1860 was shooting 5" high at 25 yards, I increased the sight height according the the formulas presented in the old thread mentioned above.

I wonder how long this sight will stay on? :D

NineMilePete
July 9, 2012, 12:02 PM
I just purchased a 3/8" base, tall front sight from Dixie Gunworks. It is a quality constructed unit.

Hammerdown77
July 9, 2012, 12:03 PM
Wow, that looks GREAT! I still haven't done this to mine yet.

I'd imagine if you had a good, clean surface and enough area for the JB Weld to adhere to, it will hold as long or longer than a sight that was brazed on. JB Weld is tough stuff.

chicharrones
July 9, 2012, 12:30 PM
Wow, that looks GREAT! Thank you, sir!

I'd imagine if you had a good, clean surface and enough area for the JB Weld to adhere to, it will hold as long or longer than a sight that was brazed on. JB Weld is tough stuff.

I did use my Dremel to grind little divots on the side of the front sight base (the curved part). I also scraped grooves in the curved cut out in the barrel. I have found that brake cleaner works great of removing fine films of oil for bluing, so I used that before using the JB Weld, too.

Time will tell if that is enough. :D

chicharrones
July 9, 2012, 12:33 PM
I just purchased a 3/8" base, tall front sight from Dixie Gunworks. It is a quality constructed unit.

I'd like to see your results when you get it mounted. :)

St8LineGunsmith
July 9, 2012, 12:51 PM
chicarrones your sight looks good if you sweated it on with some good solder it should stay put.

Your screen name makes me want some fried pork skin snacks:D

chicharrones
July 9, 2012, 05:27 PM
Mmmmm. Pork skins. http://planetsmilies.net/grinning-smiley-9527.gif (http://planetsmilies.net)

BCRider
July 9, 2012, 06:20 PM
One really does not need to buy a safety edge file. They are easily made by simply running one face over a coarse sharpening stone or lightly over a grinding wheel or sander of some sort to produce the safety face.

Taper style files are the ones generally sold in most regular hardware and tool stores. But if you can find a proper metal working tools outlet or mail order from some outfit such as Enco or KBC tools you can get a supply of pillar pattern files. These are all non tapered and work a lot better with any sort of jig you would care to employ.

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