Author Topic: gunsights  (Read 11128 times)

Offline David R.

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gunsights
« on: January 29, 2011, 08:10:04 AM »
I'm sure this subject has been covered before, but I'm new.
I've been struggling with making traditional style sights for my guns that will be effective (and legal) when shooting my flintlocks in matches. I want to stay with the traditional blade style front sight if I can, but what type of rear sight notch is best for aging eyes? Anyone got any suggestions. Most original pieces I've seen have very low sights, but I know this is not practical for match shooting. What's the best way to determine how wide and deep the rear notch should be or how thick the front blade is? What's the best way to cut sight notches?
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Offline P.Bigham

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2011, 04:42:22 PM »
 David  I prefer a silver front sight fairly wide made out of half dollars and a rear sight with a  v slot.  rear sight slanted back towards you to keep light off It, and front sight sloped to pick up light. I know some prefer a slot as opposed to the V but with ageing eyes I can see better with the V.
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Offline Don Getz

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2011, 04:55:23 PM »
Dave.....I always like square, partridge type sights.   A rather wide front blade, square on the back side, and a rear sight
that is flat on top with a square notch in the rear that will give you daylight on either side of the front blade.   A small
flat needle file will work for cutting that square notch...............Don

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2011, 05:08:18 PM »
Quote
Dave.....I always like square, partridge type sights.   A rather wide front blade, square on the back side, and a rear sight
that is flat on top with a square notch in the rear that will give you daylight on either side of the front blade.   A small
flat needle file will work for cutting that square notch...............Don

I agree with Don and I used to cut the rear notch where there was only a tiny bit of light on each side. I made a rather wide front silver sight then I cut the rear notch too wide (used a 3/32 end mill). I decided to try shooting it before replacing it. Lots of light on each side and I loved it! I doubt it would be good for chunk gun shooting etc but for my informal plinking my aged eyes love it! I think your eye automatically centers the front sight in the rear notch. Its also easy to allow for a little "Kentucky windage".
Dennis

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Offline Dphariss

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2011, 05:13:28 PM »
Quote
Dave.....I always like square, partridge type sights.   A rather wide front blade, square on the back side, and a rear sight
that is flat on top with a square notch in the rear that will give you daylight on either side of the front blade.   A small
flat needle file will work for cutting that square notch...............Don

I agree with Don and I used to cut the rear notch where there was only a tiny bit of light on each side. I made a rather wide front silver sight then I cut the rear notch too wide (used a 3/32 end mill). I decided to try shooting it before replacing it. Lots of light on each side and I loved it! I doubt it would be good for chunk gun shooting etc but for my informal plinking my aged eyes love it! I think your eye automatically centers the front sight in the rear notch. Its also easy to allow for a little "Kentucky windage".
Dennis

Dennis


Ditto the above.
Use the width blade you can see or like then adjust the notch to fit.
Dan
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Offline Roger Fisher

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2011, 06:17:21 PM »
Dave.....I always like square, partridge type sights.   A rather wide front blade, square on the back side, and a rear sight
that is flat on top with a square notch in the rear that will give you daylight on either side of the front blade.   A small
flat needle file will work for cutting that square notch...............Don
Sameo, sameo and for woods walks stone or smooth file a slight slant on top of the frt sight for picking up light.  ( on the part that your looking at) :)  As per Daryl!

Offline JCKelly

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2011, 07:30:05 PM »
Sights on my 1818 Harpers Ferry 1/2 stock rifle and early "common rifle" are about 8 inches from the breech. Soldiers tend to be young guys.
My original Kentuckies have the sights placed 10 to 11 inches from the breech, just behind the balance area.
I don't know how old Danny Caywood is, but he seems to understand Geezer Eyes. My Caywood Southern Mountain Rifle has the rear sight placed a nice non-traditional 14" from the breech plug. I can hit things with this rifle.

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2011, 08:08:33 PM »
I agree with Mr. Kelly, that that rear sight needs to be far enough down the barrel that you can see it.  I like a silver blade around .080" thick, and a rear "V" notch.  I also find an express type English "B" sight fast and accurate on a hunting rifle.
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38_Cal

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2011, 08:19:57 PM »
If you're young, put the rear sight just behind where your hand will balance the rifle carried single handed, if you're middle aged or older, go just in front of your hand.  Keeps the rear blade out of your palm!   ;D  And yes, my notches have gotten wider as my eyes have gained more experience...

David

Offline RonT

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2011, 08:37:34 PM »
howmany...howmany...howmany...  I make my own Nickle Silver front, Nickle Silver rear, 'cept I squirrel away a BIC lighter for that one or two occasions where a Black sight(s) is necessary.  a wipe of the thumb and I'm back to "shiney".
R
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Offline smylee grouch

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2011, 09:37:15 PM »
I like to put rear sight on last and then take gun outside and place sight on barrel with a refridgerator type magnet on barrel between sight, then slide it forward or back until I find the best sight picture and mark barrel about 1/4 to 1/2 inch forward of that point and thats were the sight goes. You age into the thing.  Gary

Offline Hank*in*WV

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2011, 12:54:50 AM »
If I don't get new glasses soon, I'll have to put the back sight in front.
"Much of the social history of the western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. . ." Thomas Sowell

Offline Pete G.

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2011, 01:10:31 AM »
Most pictures show the rear sight above the ramrod entry. One of the Boone rifles was described by Horace Kephart as having "a barrel 48-3/4 inches long of one inch exterior and 7/16 inch caliber. The front sight is silver, set very low on the barrel, 1-7/8 inches from the muzzle. The rear sight is iron, set 35 inches from the muzzle."

The puts the rear sight 13-3/4 inches from the breech, although on a barrel considerably longer than what we consider the norm today.

Offline Dr. Tim-Boone

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2011, 01:10:50 AM »
Hank, thats really dangerous!!!   :o
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Offline Herb

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2011, 03:03:31 AM »
A good sight is a closed buckhorn.  I saw one on an original Hawken in a National Park Service museum in St. Louis about 10 years ago but can't find my picture of it.  This was the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.  It looked like a buckhorn sight with a 1/4" flat washer soldered inside the horns.  Track of the Wolf sells something like it, calling it "Fixed Sight with Peep".  But your club still might not allow it.  Look at my post about recutting Hawken lock panels on this forum, you can see it in post 14 on my fullstock Hawken.  Note the high front sight.  You see the rear sight in the next picture.  The owner of this rifle likes it very much.  Here is a similar one on an original longrifle in a museum in Des Moines.

Another good sight is shown in my Tutorial, "Cutting Sight Slots by Hand".  I like this round hole rear "notch" very much.  The tutorial explains it.
Herb

Offline Herb

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2011, 05:49:58 AM »
On the .58 fullstock flintlock Hawken I recut the panels on, these are the sights.  The rear one I made from some angle Iron.  The hole is .182" , centered .270" high and 11" ahead of the breech.

The front sight is .240 high and .090" thick.  This is thick, but very easy to see.  On my elk hunt, I stuck a piece of sticky white bread package label on the back of the sights to make them easier to see.

I aim with the top of the blade in the center of the hole, and this is fast and very easy to see.  Holding the blade at the top of the hole gives a known amount of holdover, which can be worked out mathematically, knowing the bullet trajectory.  Works very good.
Herb

Offline David R.

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2011, 09:11:35 PM »
Thanks alot guys.  A lot of good grist for the mill. I sort of like the idea of the full buckhorn but its probably not too period correct for a longrifle? I know peeps aren't legal at our club. I'm past the half century mark and my eyes, well you know.

(love this sight!)
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northmn

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2011, 10:04:55 PM »
For older eyes like mine I went to the "Express" type sights which have no real notch.  For a front sight a very large Brass 1/8" bead.  Some used to also use the regular notched sights but take a very fine file and cut a slit into the bottom of the v or u such that they get better light.  As mentioned sight position on the barrel is also important.  Do not discount the Express sight for accuracy as it is very quick when hunting and still works very well on my squirrel rifle.  Whatever design you use the rear sight has to be cut large enough to permit light on both sides of the front sight when sighting.  The fine front sights that worked for my younger eyes are a nightmare today.

DP
« Last Edit: January 30, 2011, 10:06:25 PM by northmn »

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2011, 11:26:05 PM »
Herb,

That's a darn handsome sight. It could be embelished in any number of ways, and lends itself all sorts of modifications. Same with the front.
Nice!

Best Regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
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Offline Herb

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2011, 08:33:25 PM »
Thanks, Albert.  I always enjoy your posts.  Here are some test targets at 50 yards with the .58 Hawken I built with the Track "Fixed Sight with Peep".  If anyone is seriously interested in this sight, I would modify it.  Just ask how.

Here is the owner with some test targets (different loads) at 50 yards.

And here he is in action. (He is an eye doctor, subject to call, thus the cell phone).

David R. we haven't addressed your original questions much.  Here are some Track of the Wolf sights (go to their web site if you don't have their catalog) that might work for you.  RS-PA-16 "Semi Buckhorn rear sight", RS-G-352 "antique stye rear (semi buckhorn)".  Either of those could be drilled with a round hole like I did on my RS-DRU-1 "1770 Lancaster" sight.
.  A front blade of .060 is thin, .090 is fat,  sight FS-PA-37-B(brass) or I(iron) at .076 might be good. This is "Tennessee sight" FS-FG-40-I, and I like it.  .064 thick, I shortened the nose.
Herb

Offline Kermit

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2011, 02:18:42 AM »
Herb! Is that an eye doc without eye protection? Oh, wait, now I see the safety contact lenses...
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Offline Herb

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2011, 02:25:29 AM »
Good point! I'm going to have to talk to him about that!
Herb

Offline Herb

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2011, 02:49:12 AM »
David R., if I make it to February 12, my eyes will be 78 years old.  I wear trifocals but do not have cataracts yet.  Here are targets I shot with the 1770 Lancaster and front sight pictured above, in a .50 fliintlock I built.

The first target on the left, 80 grains of Goex 2F, was shot at 100 yards with the post even with the top of the hole, for holdover.  I had recently changed the front sight so it was not zeroed laterally.  Moved over to the right and shot 120 grains of 2F with the same sight picture.  I could not really focus on that sight aligned at the top of the hole.  Then I tapped the front sight a skosh left (by guess) and shot the third group with the post centered in the hole.  By the last shot I was getting a bruised cheek and didn't cheek the stock,  thus wild to the left, but four went into 2.4".  I cleaned the bore before each group, but did not wipe the bore during this string.   But you see how well I can shoot with this sight.  I like it!
Herb

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2011, 04:08:29 AM »
I like a substantial front sight blade thickness, at least .08 wide.

Before I cut my rear sight notch, I do a simple process to figure out my notch width.
Take two bits of black electric tape, and stick to the rear sight upright with an 1/8 gap between them to make a false notch. Sight the gun. Does your front sight look crisp? a little light on either side of it? If not, move the tape in or out to open or close the gap until you get the sight picture you like.

You can trim the tape to try the notch depth as well.

I find as I get older, the sights get bigger and the notch wider.

 Hmmm. :'(

Tom

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Re: gunsights
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2011, 04:19:38 AM »
Herb,

Thanks! I really do try to make my questions entertaining and thought provoking, which reminds me...
Well, never mind I'll start another topic for that.

That's pretty darn good, good enough for the small Florida deer, and sqeaker hogs we have own here.

And the advice on setting up your front sight first is nothing short of inspired!

Best Regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
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