SAA barrel and sight


August 4, 2013, 07:00 PM
I have a EMF 1873 SAA with a 5.5in barrel. I don't participate in any kind of matches with it or any of my other SAA's because there just isn't any around here close enough. However I do spend a lot of time at the range with them doing quick draw and such. This particular SAA is chambered in 44-40, and sence I'm a do it yourselfer, wondering if anyone has any ideas and suggestions on moving the sight after cutting the barrel. I cant find a barrel so I'll cut it. I've built a lot of nice sporters and have cut many barrels and crowned the muzzles, however moving the site on a rifle is a little different process...I would like to use the same front sight.

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August 4, 2013, 07:37 PM
The front sight is pressed into a semi-circular cut in the barrel. The cut should be made with a milling cutter but a Dremel with a cut off wheel of the proper size could be used. Do yourself a favor and get a new sight and practice on a round piece of steel before Dremeling your barrel. If you can't do a clean job on the practice piece, find a smith to do the job.

August 4, 2013, 08:03 PM
Most smiths around me are parts swappers at best and couldn't cut a straight line with a file Dremel, or a mill. Find a smith who is a capable machinist to do the job.

August 4, 2013, 09:24 PM
)_++++on what BBBBill said a machineist is that originaly installed that sight a gunsmith with knowledge will do a better job then someone that just cuts it up with a dremil tool

August 4, 2013, 10:57 PM
Ya I agree. Kinda why I was just thinkin of doin it myself..My ffl dealer(s) are brothers and own a gunshop and both are amazing gunsmiths. They both were the head smiths at the NH ruger plant, which is only 20mins from my house, but they dont do much machine work anymore because there both in there 80s. Anyone else is an hour+ away and don't know anything about them. I've cut tons of dovetails on rifles that ive sporterized but I have a jig for that. what holds the sight in place?

Jim K
August 4, 2013, 11:02 PM
You can install a front sight in a dovetail, either a crossways dovetail like on a rifle barrel or a lengthwise one that you can slip the front sight in and stake it or drill it for a set screw. Not as neat as the factory job, but very serviceable (and the crossways installation allows windage adjustment).

BTW, many folks insist that those front sights are soldered in; some may be, but most are simply press fitted.


August 4, 2013, 11:04 PM
Ya I thought about that but like you said it wont look as nice and im also worried about drag in the holster or catching on something. The factory sight is smooth all around so it just glides nicely

Jim Watson
August 4, 2013, 11:19 PM
Hamilton Bowen does a Lightweight Custom single action with cross dovetailed front sight.

See at:

I recall an old worn SA in a town museum with what looked like a regular Marbles ivory bead rifle sight.

I have a cartridge conversion 1851 repro with dovetailed sight blade instead of the old brass peg.

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