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Installing Front Blade Sight On Snub Barrel

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by James K2020, Jun 15, 2022.

  1. James K2020

    James K2020 Member

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    I cut down a damaged barrel on my 1860 R-M Conversion and wanted to install a front blade sight.
    It would look like The Hickock that Uberti has recently offered.
    Took it to a local gunsmith and he wanted $150 to cut a groove and do a silver solder install.
    Seemed a bit pricey considering I bought a NIB 8" Cimarron replacement barrel with sight for $175.
    Since the barrel is close to worthless anyway, I thought I might give it a go but there is nothing on YouTube or anywhere else discussing install of a blade sight on a barrel needing to be grooved.

    Is it worth the trouble or expense? It's really a cosmetic issue, not improving function.

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  2. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    Without the sight set in a groove it can be knocked off unless welded on. Using low temp silver solder it gets all the strength through capillary action, surface area. More better. Thinner the clearance the stronger the joint.

    The cost he quoted is not bad. There is quite a bit of setup that is needed for machining the slot.
     
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  3. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    Considering the time, skill, and machine equipment cost to do this correctly I think it's kind of in the bargain department. Call your local machine or welding shop and ask what their hourly rate is. I bet you will be surprised.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2022
  4. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    Deleted. Dreaded double.
     
  5. Kp321

    Kp321 Member

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    A Dremel with a cutoff wheel and a steady hand can produce the slot. The sight can be soft soldered or attached with Black Max. I’ve done it.
     
  6. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    If you don’t mind using a bead sight instead of a blade, it would most likely come out cheaper to have the gunsmith drill and tap the hole for a bead.

    I made my own bead and drilled my own hole for the front sight on my top break snub. You don’t even really need to thread the bead or tap the hole if you have enough barrel thickness to basically press fit the bead as a simple brass peg. Mine has held up great.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. James K2020

    James K2020 Member

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    So I took Kp321's advice and gave it the old college try. I first used a cutting wheel on my Dremel but it wobbled too much after use and started to cut too wide. I have a selection of diamond bits and I used one with a small ball at the end which was good for cutting a slot. Also used 2 different diameter bits that were straight cylinders/spindles. They worked well, too.

    Used a 2 part epoxy adhesive for metal that I had on hand. I do not plan on firing this barrel much; mostly for looks, storage, and transport as I much prefer shooting the 8" barrel but it's a pain to store and transport compared to a snubby.
    I filled in the ejector rod screw hole with a standard escutcheon screw set for grips. The screw head sits flush and matches perfect. And the missing retention screw for the wedge is with the other barrel.

    Did have one boo-boo with the Dremel on the left side. Was at the end of grinding and I was getting tired and lazy. Re-blued it and used 0000 steel wool with oil. Better than it was and the picture emphasizes it more than it looks in person. May work on it some more.

    I'd give myself a "B" considering I did it all from scratch. Could find nothing on YouTube on how to do it by hand or machine. Wouldn't try it on a barrel that really mattered, though. LOL

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  8. MifflinKid

    MifflinKid Member

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    Bravo to you. It looks very serviceable.

    When are you going to try it out?
     
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  9. James K2020

    James K2020 Member

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    Took it out this morning and ran maybe 15 total rounds through it just to see if the blade stayed on- it did!
    The snubby barrel keyholes the bullet which really isn't a bad thing since it's a belly gun anyway. The barrel was bulged from a squib mishap and had visible 'waves' in the bore. Shoots pretty accurate though- that's at about 20 feet with 5 " target. I'm not going to win any competitive matches, so it works for me.
    The low ones are my first shots, the ones in black were the last after I raised up a bit.

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  10. MifflinKid

    MifflinKid Member

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    File the front sight down to raise the point of impact for that load.
     
    AlexS1 likes this.
  11. James K2020

    James K2020 Member

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    Right, the sight is actually for an 1873 and does sit higher than the correct 1860.
    I may file it down, but it doesn't bother me much now that I know how it shoots.
     
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