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Thread: Need Taller Front Sights

  1. #1
    Ronald Vecchioni is offline
    48th Virginia Infantry
    13932 271-CV
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Potomac - Virginia, Maryland and Delaware

    Need Taller Front Sights

    I'm sure this has been discussed a thousand times before, but what is the smart and legal way to install a taller front sight on the following two guns?

    Both are absolute tack drivers off the bench but both are shooting approximately 16 inches high at 50 yards with light powder loads.

    Gun 1) 1863 Bridesburg Contract Musket (Springfield)
    Gun 2) Pietta Smith Carbine

  2. #2
    Muley Gil is offline
    34th Battalion Virginia Cavalry
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Southwest Virginia
    New England - New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts
    From what I've read here on the BB, most use a dovetailed front sight. Be aware, once you get it zeroed, you are required to solder it in place.
    Gil Davis Tercenio
    # 3020V
    34th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry
    Great, great grandson of Cpl Elijah S Davis, Co I, 6th Alabama Inf CSA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Eastern North Carolina
    Tidewater - Virginia and North Carolina


    the Smith- the front sight is dovetailed- you can purchase a ready made replacement from several sutlers- i use S & S for these.
    For the Springfield- if its an original its a bit more complex
    replacing the whole sight- the original is braised to the barrel- you have to use a mapp gas or acylene torch to remove- you could warp the barrel in you are not careful or a good metal smith. Then you would silver solider a n ew replacement on the barrel- or
    option 2 take the barrel to a machinist who can mill the original off, and dovetail a new one in place or my preferred method
    Option 3- file off the blade- then use a fine hack saw to cut a slot in the base, then place a new blade in the slot- drill thru the base and blade and pin in place. You could solider in place but be ware - soldier is brittle and can come off with vibrations.

    There are several gunsmiths around who can do this for you if you are uncomfortable with the work

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Deep South - Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas
    Mike pretty much explained it.

    With the Pietta Smith (and originals, for that matter), the existing blade is easily removed by heating it with a torch and carefully tapping it out.

    Then fashion a new one from some brass stock. You can find small quantities of brass stock on Amazon or from German (Nickel) Silver also, if you prefer. Pre-solder it, tap it into place, and heat until the solder flows. Pinning is even better but I have not had any problem with soldering.

    Like Mike explained, I have also had success filing off existing blades down to the "stump", and using a Dremel tool with a cut-off wheel to make a new slot, and then soldering in a new blade, which can then be filed as needed, even left/right if the stock is thick enough to accommodate it and your windage is not terribly far off.

    When driving a new blade into a notch, on either the Pietta or one you do yourself, it helps to file a slight chamfer on the bottom of the blade to ease its entry into the slot. Don't try to force too thick a blade into a slot as you can split the site base like a log splitter into wood.

    Steve Sheldon
    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
    NRA Certified Muzzleloading Instructor

  5. #5
    Harry Gaul's Avatar
    Harry Gaul is offline
    Forney's Battalion, USMC
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    East Petersburg, PA
    Middle Atlantic - New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey

    cheap brass front site

    If you have any old brass keys laying around the house from old house locks, that will work as well. Cut out the blank from the old house key. Any letters or names will probably disappear as part of the sighting in process. Newer keys to house locks may not be brass.

    Harry in Pa.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2023
    Northwest Territory - Michigan, Ohio and Indiana
    Hey Ron,

    Section 19: Small Arms: 19.9 Modifications (Hand and Shoulder Arms) and 19.9.1 Sights is the guide.

    I ordered my Pietta brass replacement blade, which was tapered. There are square blades offered also. S & S, and Lodgewood have blades (as well as others). Heed what Steve said, measure and thin before inserting. Scuff both sides of brass and base tabs for soldering purposes (silver solder).

    It cost me $57 to have a dovetail cut in on my reproduction Colt rifled musket by a gunsmith. Be aware, many gunsmiths will not work on black powder weapons as I found out. I called at least 25 places before someone agreed to mill the slot. I bought the sight unit from S & aware again, suppliers contract various makers which in turn, produce different sizes.

    If you are inclined, order the sight, mic the size and do it yourself. Duelist1954 has a video for a revolver...same process. However, good (angled) files are least you have options.

    Mikes option 3, with Steve's suggestion for the Springfield is good stuff.

    Take care, and good luck.

    Keith A. Williams

    15th. Reg VA Vol Cav

    "The regiment was assembled out of existing units and had no regional identity. It got no sendoff, no parades, no speeches." - The 15th. Virginia Cavalry by John Fortier
    Last edited by Keith Williams; 04-25-2024 at 02:48 PM.

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