S&W rear sight problem?


January 17, 2013, 08:03 PM
Smith & Wesson 459 semi-auto, pretty good shape but the sight lifts up, is that normal?
A friend asked me to take a look at his pistol for him because it wasn't shooting straight. I started adjusting the rear sight when I noticed that it was wiggling a bit when I would put the screwdriver in the adjustment screws. Well after 10 seconds of looking at it, I realized I could lift the whole sight right up using my finger. Not real far, maybe 1/3" or so, but I could definitely lift it up from the top of the frame. It seems solid like there is a spring that is trying to hold it down somewhat, and it doesn't pry waaaaaaay up because there is something solid anchoring it, but will flip up with finger pressure.
So me not knowing ANYthing about 459s and darn little about sights in general, I thought I would ask the revered body that is The High Road.
Can anyone here help me out with this? Is this normal, or devastating, or somewhere in between? All help is appreciated, thanks.

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January 17, 2013, 08:06 PM
Pictures worth 1,000 words....

January 17, 2013, 08:07 PM
Normal side view.

January 17, 2013, 08:08 PM
Normal rear view

January 17, 2013, 08:10 PM
Easy to lift a little ways.

January 18, 2013, 10:04 AM
Looks like the elevation screw has become disengaged/unattached. The sight leaf is limited in how far it can go up by the front edge of the leaf impinging on the front of the sight body. Press down on the sight leaf and hold it there while you turn the elevation screw to see if you can get it to re-engage its threads.

January 18, 2013, 10:30 AM
It's normal for the sight to lift. It is spring loaded to hold it in place. Check out the schematic (http://www.vintagegunleather.com/gun-manuals/pdf_S/smith_wesson_centerfire.pdf) on page 25 and notice parts 51 and 53.

January 18, 2013, 11:37 AM
It doesn't sound normal to me.

Most all adjustable sights are spring loaded UP to hold it up against the elevation screw setting.
You should be able to push it DOWN against spring pressure.

But you shouldn't be able to pull it UP any further then the elevation screw allows it to be pulled up.

Is the elevation screw in it and properly adjusted to zero it?


January 18, 2013, 12:23 PM
I guess I better rush my 5906's to the gunsmith then. Second generation had the same rear sight. Look at the schematic and notice where the spring loaded pins are located and the one in the front that pushes the sight down.

January 18, 2013, 12:29 PM
My mistake.

I haven't owned a 459 for about 25 years.


January 18, 2013, 12:31 PM
Ok I came home at lunch just to monkey with it.
The threads are engaged and the ramp does elevate and depress via the screw, so it definitely is engaged and apparently working in that regard.
RC, I thought the same thing, and that's what I was looking for, but I cannot press it down at all.
That's where the schematic came in handy, thank you Coop. This sight consists of a hole in the base and the elevation screw goes in and out of the sight ramp, in its threaded hole, through the open hole, against the top of the frame. When the screw goes down it pushes against the frame and therefore the threaded hole drives the ramp up. Gravity and that spring push the ramp down and the elevation screw drives against the frame to raise it. That's why it lifts freely, because the screw needs freedom to push it up.
Whew, that seems a little complicated but there you have it. Learn something new every day I guess. I really appreciate the help guys, thank you very much. I couldn't have done it without your input. I'm keeping that schematic handy Coop, but now I have to tell my buddy that it wasn't the gun, it was him after all! :D

January 18, 2013, 12:32 PM
Haha just saw your post RC. Wanna buy this one? I know the sights work!

January 18, 2013, 02:02 PM
I have a much better (patent) drawing of the sight than the one posted. It clearly shows all of the small parts on a much larger scale. I can email it to anyone interested. Just PM your email address. Or, if you prefer, just do a search for it. You will find it with a little effort.

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