Front Sight Magic?

Replacing The Goop

By Roy Huntington

“Uh, hey Roy, can you help me with my gun?” It always starts like that, doesn’t it? “Been there, done that,” you say?

My friend is a seasoned shooter and as such “Kaint’ see that front sight anymore!” He showed me his well-shot Ruger Security Six displaying the Wite-Out correction fluid he’d painted on the front sight.

“Problem is, it’s messy and gets dirty every time I shoot it. ’Sides, the bottle of goop is drying out and I can’t find it anymore.”

Can’t find Wite-Out? Say it’s not so!

I offered to help since I can’t say no to those sorts of fellows. Besides, with the slow extinction of Wite-Out on office store shelves, what’s he to do?

The Brownells Front Sight Insert kit has good instructions and comes with everything you need.

Brownells To The Rescue

If you’re thinking of a similar sight change, Brownells — that mecca of all-things for guns — has their kit called, interestingly enough: “Brownells Front Sight Insert Kit.” Which is exactly what I ordered.

It’s simple enough, but like many things having to do with putting files and tools to guns, it’s also easy to mess up. So mind your own tool skills, experience, and derring-do before you tackle a job like this. In a nutshell, you file a sort of dovetail cut into whatever front sight is on your gun. A ramped front is the best, but I suppose you could also do an abbreviated insert on a post sight too just by being creative. The key to the kit is a three part mix of products (and coloring) which ends up hardening in the dovetail you cut.

The first step to a “new world of front sight inserts” is to file a dovetail
cut into your front sight. Take your time and do a good job!

After cutting the under-cuts in the sides, drill a couple of tiny holes so the
epoxy can grow some roots and hang on. The instructions outline all this.

Use the mixing cup supplied and you’ll end up with a motor-oil consistency epoxy.
You add the color you want at this time — I used the white
.

It Goes Like This …

Lock your gun-victim in a vise. Get your “really good” sharp small files and cut the dovetail into the sight. Directions in the kit explain it all in detail. Make sure you use a dovetail file or a triangle file to undercut the edges so the epoxy resin stuff can fill the void to help hold it in. You also need to drill two small holes right into the sight cut-out to give the insert a place to sink roots into. I used a good old fashioned hand drill and it worked fine.

Brownells says to use pieces of aluminum can to make tiny dams on either side of the cut to hold the sight material. I used a plastic clamp and an old surgical clamp to hold things together. Keep the set-up level in the vise too, so the liquid epoxy doesn’t run out. Mixing is easy and you should end up with a motor oil thick slurry which you then daub into the cut-out. I used the end of a fat toothpick and a tiny flat blade screwdriver to scoop and press. Allow the mix to build up higher than the top of the sight cut. Admire the mess you’ve made.

I used aluminum from an old can to build a dam on either side. I found a plastic clamp
I had from model making to hold the dam and an old surgical clamp to hold things in place.
I’m thinking painter’s tape might work for this too. Then build up the insert into the
sight cut, taking care to put plenty in.

Ta-Da! Once the dam is off you’ll see how the sight material hopefully built up too high and
even spilled out the sides a bit. Use a sharp razor blade to trim things up some, then a very
fine file to square and shape the insert to blend with the sight metal.

Not quite done here but close. Roy serrated the top to better blend with the sight and so
it didn’t glare in full sun. A final clean-up, and a touch of light oil finished things up
nicely. Presto!

Then What?

They say it “kicks” or hardens in 30 minutes or so but I think since my shop was cold it was taking its time. At one hour, I still wasn’t convinced it was time to take things apart so left it overnight. The next day, I removed the dam and ended up with a messy glob showing. That’s actually perfect though, the more the merrier. Some careful work with fine files and a razor blade — to trim it to rough size first — and I ended up with a semi-decent white front sight insert. I put some grooves into it so it didn’t reflect too much sunlight, cold blued the metal bits of the sight I had hit with the file and called it a done deal.

Shep, my friend, pronounced it “A well done job, Roy” as he peered at it, squinting, which doesn’t mean much since he can’t see hardly anything, anyway. “Um’ officially retiring my bottle o’ Wite-Out.”

Hey,” he said, pausing, just as he was going to toss it into my trash can, “you want it, being you’re a writer and all?” I took it, telling him it rendered him paid in full.

The Brownells kit has multiple dyes — white, red, green, yellow, blue and orange — you can add to the basic mix, and you can buy more chemicals as needed. I’d call this an “easy” job if you can run a file. Feel free to practice that cut on another piece of metal first to warm up your skills. With most removable front sights, even if you mess up it’s not an expensive fix, just a pain. There’s plenty in the kit for lots of friends’ guns too, so share the costs. You could use regular two-part epoxy and something to add for color, but this kit makes it easy since it’s all there.

When I first started doing this sort of thing about 45 years ago, we’d find a toothbrush handle in our chosen color, then carefully file a piece of the plastic to fit the sight cut and epoxy it into place. It was lots more work, but I still have a red insert on a Model 29 I did that way in about 1975. Who says old school doesn’t work, eh? For more info: https://americanhandgunner.com/company/brownells-inc//


Serbian Army Weapons of Victory

Our own John Sheehan (commonly writes amazing features about militaria for Guns) has co-authored a remarkable book with his Serbian peer Bane Stankovic (working in the Serbian museum system). Covering Serbian military arms and accessories during WWI (1914-1918), this hard-bound book overwhelms with photos, charts and enough masterfully vetted material to keep any gun-guy turning pages. The Serbs fought a hard fight and the lessons they learned, the weapons used and the changes to modern warfare deserve attention. This is Volume I of III with following books covering machine-guns, artillery, uniforms and other equipment. It’s $110 delivered in the lower 48, is available in Europe (contact Bane) and is an immediate family heirloom, of the first quality. It brought a segment of history I knew little about to life for me. For more info: John Sheehan, titiger7@nullyahoo.com; Bane: banestankovic99@nullgmail.com.


Lady Hunter

We like to show people in the field and this one really caught my eye. Susan Felega is a Professor of Wildlife Management and Ecology at UND and works at Grand Forks, ND. The gee-whiz facts here are Susan was seven months pregnant at the time (now the mom of a little girl!) and stalked this guy for a mile or so while her hubby watched at his leisure through a spotting scope, the lazy bum. Oh, she also used a 45-lb. draw weight bow, 100-gr. broadhead and took this nice Muley in Grassy Butte, ND. See … even college professors go hunting sometimes! Bravo Susan!


Davy Hook Knives

Agood friend gifted me this small caper and I immediately asked him where he got it. It’s made by a young man who is a friend of his (from Montana), and it seems Davy is using knife making to help support himself while he goes to Radiology school. I know you’re all suckers to help kids, just like I am, so here you go. The workmanship is great even though this is an early knife. His website shows lots more ideas, and prices start at about $100 and go up from there. My friend said, “Davey’s good to ride the river with,” so that’s good enough for me. Tell him hi from me when you call. For more info: www.hook-knives.com, Ph: (406) 396-6877, email: davy@nullhook-knives.com.


Barranti Goodies

That rascal Mike “Doc” Barranti of Barranti Leather is always coming up with unusual stuff, and these are typical. The tan one is a money clip with an inside pocket for credit cards and such. The opposite side has a slim, easy-to-use money clip. This works just fine and smells like good leather too! It makes you feel gentlemanly. The other thingy is a “Coin Purse” and you can indeed put loose change in it and snap it to your belt. But — I put a roll of quarters in it, tucked the flap in, and when you unsnap it from your belt you have a … well … uh … I think you get the drift here. Think 1930s city detective and a certain lead-something in his back pocket. It’s all perfectly legal (“What? This? It’s my change holder, of course.”), and allowed everywhere you’re allowed to carry money. Brilliant! I think I found the new way I’m carrying my “change” when I fly! For more info: www.barrantileather.com, Ph: (412) 860-4804.


New CCI Loads

I was in Bass Pro the other day and there was plenty of .22 ammo, which means now they’re caught up, makers have time to think up new ideas. The new CCI Mini-Mag Segmented HP combines the popular Mini-Mag traits — reliability, velocity, accuracy and flat trajectory — with a 40-gr. segmented bullet designed to break into three equal-sized parts on impact. I shot some and it’s accurate and effective. It’s great on small game. The .17 HMR VNT has a 17-gr. bullet with an extremely thin jacket and tiny polymer tip for accuracy. I’m betting it’d be explosive on varmints. The .22 comes in 100-round boxes while the .17 is in a 50-count pack. For more info:https://americanhandgunner.com/company/cci-ammunition/


Ruff Tuff Kennels

You know I’m a dog guy and I know most of you are too, and, well … guns and dogs just seem to go together, so here we are talking about this. I met the team from Ruff Tuff not long ago and was impressed by their spirited can-do attitude and honest love for dogs. They make a virtually bullet-proof kennel (one-piece, essentially indestructible), but this really caught my eye. Holding about a gallon of water, you can sit it on its back and it holds the water while you drive around, then turn it upright and presto — doggie drinking station. My girls love it (Amelie’s testing it here) and it rides in the E-Z-Go during chores here so the gals can whet their whistles anytime they like. Made in the USA, it’s a life-time investment, I promise. About $40 (product code WD2009). For more info: www.rufftoughkennels.com, Ph: (605) 368-9872.


Victory Girls 1911

Auto-Ordnance is shipping a very cool World War II themed “Victory Girls” 1911, designed to honor the women who kicked-butt and drove industry at home in support of our boys fighting overseas in WWII. I really like the P51 fighter aluminum-skin look and the updated Rosie The Riveter picture. Based on a 1911A1 GI Model in .45 ACP, it’s all standard GI after that, except for that eye-catching finish and the USAAC Star Roundel on both sides of the slide. MSRP is $990. For more info: https://americanhandgunner.com/company/kahr-arms/; Kahr email: sales@nullkahr.com.


Bush Pilot 1886

You’d better sit down and start fanning yourself. Old friend Andy Larsson, owner of Skinner Sights, put together a limited run of take down 1892s in .44 Magnum a couple of years ago, complete with a well-stocked survival kit in a soft bag. It’s based on a Chiappa Model 92, which is a beautifully made Italian copy of the Winchester. Now, he’s upped the game with a take down 1886 in .45-70! Since I bought one of the others (so did Duke), and the 1886 is one of my all-time favorite rifles, well … let’s just say this is my rifle in the picture! It’s short, handy, takes-down, is even threaded for a suppressor and comes with the complete kit too. The cuff ammo keeper is from Wolff Ears Equipment. Andy said he’d lower the price to $1,850 from $2,100 for Handgunner readers. I know that sounds like a lot, but when you add up the take down rifle, special warm tone hard chrome, survival kit and custom Skinner sights, it’s a solid deal. Drop Andy an email at: andy@nullskinnersights.com, Ph: (406) 745-4570; Wolff Ears, Ph: (307) 745-4171.


Real Avid

I just love this crew. When I see them at a trade show they’re always full of energy and ideas. They’re, um, “Real Avid” about shooting! This latest duo of dandy do-good ideas strikes home. The “Toolio” Scope Mounting Kit (love that name) has all the goodies you’d need to assure your next scope mount goes smoothly. It even has a level, thread locker and all the drive bits you need. The “Accu-Punch” kit will help you quit marring the pins in your guns, too. The plastic “pin holder” tools are handy and make sense. This sort of thing is in the $30 to $40 range and is a real steal for that. For more info: https://americanhandgunner.com/company/real-avid/; Real Avid Ph: (800) 286-0567.


S&W Helps Hunting Heritage Trust

A Handgunner “Hat’s-Off” to S&W, and specifically Tony Miele who runs the Performance Center and Engraving Department, for helping out with the 2018 NSSF Hunting Heritage auction. Tony’s team donated and put together an eye-popping engraved Model 29 in full-coverage, with Altamont grips, presentation box and all the fixins. The gun was auctioned by Gunbroker.com during the 2018 SHOT show, with the money going directly to help fund the work of the Hunting Heritage Trust promoting the shooting sports and the industry. Here’s Tony and his “Hey, forgedda’ about it!” grin with a thank-you plaque from the NSSF. Thanks for wrangling this, Tony!

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