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S&W-Smithing Maintenance, Repair, and Enhancement of Smith & Wesson and Other Firearms.


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Old 07-26-2020, 04:06 PM
CHARLIE699 CHARLIE699 is offline
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Default Front Sight Base Q's *Photos added*

Afternoon All! I have seen several blued S&W's with gunsmith-shortened barrels. All that I recall have had the front sight ramp replaced with an aftermarket or S&W base brazed or screwed in place. I am thinking ramp and/or Patridge front sights.
Earlier S&W's had a Pinned-on sight base. The earliest were visibly pinned & later ones the pins were polished flush.
My Q is this: When did S&W do away with a pinned base and go to the base machined as part of the barrel.
Has anyone removed a pinned-on base, shortened & crowned the barrel , and then re-pinned the original base/sight ??.

I am thinking of a 6" 19 or 14 that really wants to be a 5"

Last edited by CHARLIE699; 07-27-2020 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:31 PM
WR Moore WR Moore is offline
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Almost all of the original bases were part of the barrel on the models you mention. The sight blade would be pinned into the base-unless the blade & base were one piece like the half moon sights. The only model 28's I've seen had the base as part of the barrel and a pinned in blade. The usual process in barrel shortening involved a hacksaw or milling the barrel off the bottom of the base prior to installation on the shorter barrel..

Power Custom, now Grand Masters LLC, used to make sights with integral bases that could be installed in a longitudinal slot milled in the sight rib of a 19/14/15 etc and attached with a screw. You might check with them.

Ruger has some screw attached sights with integral base that could possibly be modified to do the same thing. Fast milling pass on the bottom of the base for a flat surface, reshape the sight blade, blue & you're set.
Added edit: if duplicating the bottom of the base of the Power Custom, you make a second milling pass at what will be the rear of the front sight base the depth of the slot you're going to mill in the barrel sight rib and long enough to hide the half circle at the end of the slot. The tab you're making covers the half circle. The depth of the slot on the one I've got is 0.045 in.

Last edited by WR Moore; 07-26-2020 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 07-26-2020, 09:02 PM
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The Weigand base made/sold by Bowen DX Front Sight Bases : + Bowen Classic Arms +, Parts Store uses the interchangeable front sight blades from S&W. I have used them on two barrel shortenings and they really work well. Images below.

Stu

Front Sight Base Q's *Photos added*-629-3-10-7-15-copy-jpg

Front Sight Base Q's *Photos added*-686-3-3-22-jpg
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Old 07-26-2020, 09:50 PM
CHARLIE699 CHARLIE699 is offline
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Thank you for your responses. I have seen the Weigand bases.

My current 27's (all -2's) have pinned bases with a pinned sight. The 5" & 8 3/8" (both 1971) have a fine line barely visible, between barrel rib and sight base. Also present on my 3 1/2" with ramp sight. My 17-3 (1974) has a pinned base with Patridge blade too.
If you look closely, you can see line between barrel and base when looking at muzzle.



All of my stainless (K's, L's & N's), it appears that the base & ramp sights were integral with barrel.

Last edited by CHARLIE699; 07-27-2020 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 07-27-2020, 06:51 PM
WR Moore WR Moore is offline
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I looked at a 29-2 and the ramp is integral with the barrel. IIRC, the 27 had a checkered rib. Interesting, apparently they did the pinned ramp on those. But I suspect that was a limited production thing. Possibly left over old stock at some point? Repining the ramp/sight without the factory drilling jigs would be a definite challenge. You can see some drill wandering on the front pin on the 2 pin example. I don't believe the 19s were ever a pinned setup so anything you do in shortening won't be factory.

Gotta write the Weigand/Bowen down.

Last edited by WR Moore; 07-27-2020 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 07-28-2020, 10:16 AM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is online now
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CHARLIE,

I applaud you for wanting to retain the factory method and look, after shortening the barrel. All too often short cuts are taken that scream: "This barrel has been messed with." Not that you want to hide anything, just want a nice clean factory original looking result. Albeit more effort and craftsmanship is required.

1. Particularly during the 50's and 60's there seems to be little order to how the base was attached, domed pins, flush polished pins or integral base. Even on the same model a year apart or a different barrel length as mentioned above. This was asked of Roy Jinks and he basically admitted there was little rhyme or reason for the differences other than evolution, and therefore also, there's no specific date of change that can be given.

2. Yes, I have done a couple of factory sight re-locations. You'll need to mill or file off the serrations on the rib nice and flat where the replacement sight will be located. Mill or cut a slot/mortise (with Dremel tool using cut off wheels) for the tenon on the bottom of the sight base. The slot isn't going to show so it doesn't have to be perfect.

3. My 19-1 is flush pinned. If the base is pinned onto the rib, you can cut out the piece of rib left on the piece of barrel and use it as a jig. Clamp it carefully to the rib on the end of the cut barrel to mark the two hole locations. Drill thru the original holes to drill new holes or just to mark the locations, remove the "jig", and then drill the two holes.

4. If you want flush pins, you'll need new pins and to reblue the barrel after polishing them flush, also to blue the muzzle. If it's just a shooter of course you can touch up blue the sides of the rib, end of pins and the muzzle. Domed pins for a traditional look can be used and just touch up the muzzle.
NOTE: well fitting flush polished pins will hide any slight inaccuracy in drilling the holes! Notice in your 3rd photo the pin holes are off quite a bit but don't really show unless you look for it. So even the factory holes were not perfect. (this may be one reason the factory quit using domed pins!)

5. If the base is one piece (integral) with the barrel rib, you can cut it out and silver solder on, then reblue the barrel. Or buy a new sight that's pinned on, cut a mortise for the tenon for extra adhesion and silver (hard) solder on. If you're not planning to reblue, you can glue on with Loctite 380 Black Max. I've had success with it on a 45 Colt sight but have not tried it on a 357 Magnum sight. If it doesn't hold you can always go back to the soldering option.

6. Cutting the correct radius on the muzzle crown is important to match the factory muzzle.

My 1950 Target .45 ACP/AR, Pre Mod 26 cut to 4 , with flush pins. The entire gun needed a reblue:



I hope this helps,
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Last edited by Hondo44; 07-28-2020 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 07-28-2020, 01:14 PM
CHARLIE699 CHARLIE699 is offline
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Hondo44,,, THAT is the insight I was hoping for! Thank you Sir
Really like that .45 too. There is nice work that works and then there is the REALLY nice work that looks factory. Yours is certainly the latter. VERY nicely done!
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:06 PM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is online now
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Charlie,

You're very welcome. Any questions come up, just ask.
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