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Old 12-22-2012, 03:41 PM
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Default Front sight red insert replacement - Photos and tips

I finally was able to get my hands on a Brownells Front Sight Insert Kit to replace a couple inserts....one on my 4" 586 the other a Pre-29 6.5".

The instructions are good overall, and I have a few tips to make sure your sight insert turns out well.

If your insert is missing or broken, you will want to srape out all of the remaining material. You can use a heavy exacto blade for this. Also, you will find two small 1/16" holes at the bottom of the insert, be sure to ream those out of all sight material. This is critical so the new insert can flow into these holes and will stay in place.

I used a couple of clean EXACTO blades for the 'dams' and I applied a coat of car wax to the inside so the liquid insert material woudl not adhere.

When you are mixing the insert solution, a very small amount of color pigment (which is powder) is required.....too much is just wasting it.

I used a needle nosed set of Vise-Grips to hold the blades in position on each side of the sight.

Be sure to position the gun in some sort of vise and try to get the top of the sight blade as level as you can.....otherwise the liquid has a tendency to flow out of the insert notch and you will end up being too shallow.

Keep in mind, this stuff shrinks as it drys.....be sure to overfill the insert by at least 1/16 or 1/8".....I prefer to "mound" up the material. Remember you will be filing, cutting down the material after it dries.
On my first attempt, I did not overfill enough and I had to start over.

As for the consistency of the mix.....they tell you to make it as thick as motor oil.....I ten do go just a little thicker, but not too thick that it will not flow into the "holes" at the bottom of the insert.

I used a small 1/16" wooden Q-Tip stick to mix the material. Once you reach the consistency you like, use the end of this stick to drop small amounts of material into the insert slot. Be sure to work the material down into the holes at the bottom of the sight!

Once you have the material sufficiently filled, let it dry for about an hour.
Then carefully release the Vise-Grips and gently work the exacto blades loose.

Now take a small file, exacto blade and/or sand paper as noted in the instructions and shape the insert.

If you happen to scratch the blueing, use a little cold blue to touch it up.

That's all there is to it!

Happy Holidays!
Tom
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Front sight red insert replacement - Photos and tips-img_9630-jpg   Front sight red insert replacement - Photos and tips-img_9640-jpg   Front sight red insert replacement - Photos and tips-img_9641-jpg   Front sight red insert replacement - Photos and tips-img_9644-jpg   Front sight red insert replacement - Photos and tips-img_9670-jpg  

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Old 12-22-2012, 03:42 PM
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Default Sight insert

Here is a photo of the kit box.
Tom
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:00 PM
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Well done!
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:39 PM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is online now
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That's a good job on your repair.

I've never used the kit, but I have installed/re-installed sight inserts on a lot of handguns. I use the common, available everywhere, toothbrush. These come a variety of colors. If the handgun didn't have a sight insert to begin with, I file a dovetail and then cut and file a piece of handle to a bit oversize. Then you fit and polish.

Probably takes a bit longer, but all you need are a few good files, and the handle will do a lot of inserts.
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:53 PM
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Default 586 insert

Thanks!

Using the liquid kit works very well in that it fills in the two drill holes at the bottom of the insert (as seen in the photos) and this really does secure the site in place.

Even if you were to cut in your own dovetail, you can still drill these two small holes.

The kit is really a pretty easy system and so far the results are holding up well.
There are 5 color choices in the kit.....but obviously red is the most common.

I am sure the toothbrush handles work well also, and you get the satisfaction of fitting the insert.

Here is a photo of the insert I installed in the 586, I think it turned out exceptionally well.

Tom
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:33 PM
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Great write up, thanks for sharing!!
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:29 PM
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Nice job Tom, I'm sending my guns to you. How do you find the time to do all that you get accomplished? Larry
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:02 AM
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If you mix colors for a "custom" color (I usually mix red and yellow as I like a little orange) you must mix it thoroughly. If you don't you will get a swirled or speckled effect when it dries. It's nice, but may not be what you wanted!
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:25 PM
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I have not tried the color mixing trick, but sounds good!
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Old 03-20-2015, 01:09 PM
J. R. WEEMS J. R. WEEMS is online now
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Have done hundreds of these in the day-- many were from scratch-- you cut with a dovetail file, drill the holes in the bottom of the cut and when done, a checkering file will cut the grooves in the top for a non-glare, and factory look. JMHO-- by the way, examples here show some very fine work.
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Old 03-20-2015, 01:28 PM
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I think there was a Brownell's YouTube video on how to do it.
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Old 03-20-2015, 05:07 PM
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Yep tooth brushes, I agree. I've found some other off the wall items that work as well

I've tried the kit thing, I've come to terms that cutting a dove tail by hand and fitting a insert in just faster. 15min and it's ready to go.
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Old 03-20-2015, 08:16 PM
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I have been waiting on them to get that kit back in stock for a very long time because I wanted to give my Highway Patrolman a red ramp insert. Where did you find your kit at? I gave up on waiting and after some experimenting I ended up using the Castin' Craft casting resin with red and yellow opaque liquid pigments that I bought at Hobby Lobby. I ordered some of the powdered Brownells color pigment and tried mixing it with my Castin Craft stuff and it never really dissolved and mixed very well. The little colored flakes didn't mix up as well as the Castin Craft liquid pigment did but then again I was using Polyester resin and not Acrylic. I also learned that if I leave it sit for a few days the insert is more secure and will harden and stay in place nicely. If you start trying to shape it when it's still a little soft, it could be loose once it does completely harden. It seems to me that dimpling it with a punch works pretty good too because it causes a ring of metal to raise up around the dimple in the space of the dovetail. You want to give it a couple of good whacks like Larry says in the video, but also the ring that is up in the inserts space keeps the insert from moving from side to side. Your stuff may be as hard as it's ever going to be after an hour, my stuff seems to take days. I also used thick brass fences with the releasing agent on them. Again, even removing the fences with the releasing agent on them can create a wiggle in the insert if you try to break them loose before the insert is completely hard. With my Castin Craft recipe I wait at least 3 or 4 days before I even try to break the fences free. It makes it harder to shape the insert in the end but it's hard as a rock and not going anywhere. Colder temps will take longer for the Polyester to harden. Great job on yours by the way!
http://www.theoutdoorstrader.com/thr...s-pics.847181/

One air bubble but it's solid as a rock so it's staying.
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Old 03-20-2015, 08:26 PM
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I've done a few red insert front sight installations (as above) in the past but only on guns that were at least offered with it as an option when originally sold. I have used Testor's Hunter Orange paint on many guns as well because it is easily removed and the color can easily be changed if desired.

I went through a phase when I was first starting out that all my Revolvers had to have red front sight inserts and then I started liking the solid black original better. So while I do still like the red insert on SOME guns, often others just get painted.
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Old 03-20-2015, 08:36 PM
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Very nice work. I've always been a fan of the red ramps, red posts and gold beads.
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:28 AM
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Very nice work. I've always been a fan of the red ramps, red posts and gold beads.
I have pretty much gone to gold beads, except the green fiber optic front sight on my 500--- I have a NIB Brownells kit if some one needs one, for cost and shipping--
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. R. WEEMS View Post
I have pretty much gone to gold beads, except the green fiber optic front sight on my 500--- I have a NIB Brownells kit if some one needs one, for cost and shipping--
PM sent. I ll take that NIB Brownells kit. Thank you!
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Old 03-29-2015, 11:43 AM
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I used both the yellow and red powdered pigment. That's about as close as I can get to the factory orangish red. Thanks to J.R. for the Brownells kit.


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Old 03-29-2015, 08:35 PM
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Here's a variation on sight inserts.

I wanted a white dot front on my Model 66 revolvers, so I cut up a black screwdriver handle for the insert.
I ground a shallow cavity on the underside so the epoxy would form a positive lock between the insert and the two S&W holes in the sight blade.
The cavity on the underside gives the epoxy a lock on the non-glue-able insert so it can't come out.

After the epoxy cured I used a Dremel carbide bit to cut a shallow oval shaped hole in the black insert.
When filled with Gloss White paint the oval dot looks like a round dot from the rear.
I also added a white bar on the rear sight blade under the notch.

This gave me a "Von Stavenhagen" type dot and bar sight arrangement:

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Old 03-29-2015, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfariswheel View Post
After the epoxy cured I used a Dremel carbide bit to cut a shallow oval shaped hole in the black insert.
When filled with Gloss White paint the oval dot looks like a round dot from the rear.
That's pretty creative, I like it!
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