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Vaquero sites

This is a discussion on Vaquero sites within the Gunsmithing forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I have a birds head vaquero in 45acp. So far I have about 50 rds through it and love it but I hate the sites. ...


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Old April 28th, 2013, 06:46 AM   #1
 
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Vaquero sites

I have a birds head vaquero in 45acp. So far I have about 50 rds through it and love it but I hate the sites. It is stainless and the sites are hopeless for my old eyes. I don't know whether to trade the revolver for something with better sites or have S&W j-frame sites installed. Suggestions? Also any idea of who to install the sites and the cost?
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Old April 28th, 2013, 07:17 AM   #2
 
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If The revolver were mine, I would get a dovetail front sight installed. This will allow windage adjustments. For the rear sight, it could be opened up and deepened if necessary. Then the rear sight area could be coated with one of the black matte finishes like Guncoat. This would give a nice black square sight set.

I think Bowen does the S&W sight install. Looks great but costs quite a bit.

A cheaper route would be to just get some spray sight black. that worked fine for the range with my stainless Vaquero.
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Old April 28th, 2013, 08:11 AM   #3
 
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Might be most practical to trade it for a new model flattop or something like that. My Vaquero is stainless but I don't have problems with the sights. I guess if the sun was at a bad angle and the reflection wasn't on the top of the blade but down the backside of it some it might not be so good.
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Old April 28th, 2013, 10:57 AM   #4
 
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I took a toothpick and applied a tiny dab of gloss white Testers Enamel to the top of the backside of the blade. Then, below that a thin coat of flat black. Next, on the rear sight "grove", I took the toothpick and the gloss white and placed a tiny dab on each side of the grove. Voila! It eliminates any glare and gives a perfect 3 dot sight picture. Very effective for target shooting.

I've got three Vaqueros, including the same one you have, and have done the same to each. Try it you may like it. And, it's a lot less expensive than sending if off for new sights. It works for me and I'll bet you my old eyes are older than yours.

Last edited by Quiet 1; April 28th, 2013 at 11:02 AM.
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Old April 28th, 2013, 12:58 PM   #5
 
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Pavementends

Welcome to the forum.
If you like the gun, I would consider Ironheads suggestion of a dovetail front. If you do go that way tell them to leave the front sight very high so you can file it to zero with your load.

Having said that, if you can afford it, I've seen several fixed sighted handguns fitted with the S&W rear sight & it makes a very attractive gun.

I do like the ruggedness of fixed sights. Just be sure you have your load settled on before you finalize the zero. A tall front sight will allow you to zero the gun to your load.
Good luck, let us know what you decide.
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Old April 29th, 2013, 05:23 PM   #6
 
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Vaquero sightes

Thanks guys,
I like the idea of a dovetailed front sight with maybe the same treatment for the rear that Grant Cunningham does for Ruger double actions. Any suggestions on who to do the work?
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Old April 29th, 2013, 05:36 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pavementends View Post
Thanks guys,
I like the idea of a dovetailed front sight with maybe the same treatment for the rear that Grant Cunningham does for Ruger double actions. Any suggestions on who to do the work?
pavementends
That's not a bad idea at all! The early Single Six's had a dovetail rear sight that was adjustable for windage & they worked quite well, were attractive, & pretty rugged.
Hamilton Bowen, Alan Harton, Gary Reeder, & probably several others could do it for you.
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Old April 29th, 2013, 05:50 PM   #8
 
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Take a small triangle file and make some very fine cuts in the rear of the front blade. Apply some fingernail polish in a bright color, wipe and viola, reference points. I use the square part of the rear cut for windage. Learn the ins & out of the sights before you give up.

ps Focus on the front sight. It's only 2 feet away.

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Old May 1st, 2013, 09:22 AM   #9
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A few thoughts. The Colt SAA design calls for low smooth rear sights because it needs to come out of a holster without catching on clothing or leather. I agree that the Vaquero front sight is a problem. It would be interesting to know if original Colts had the front sights accurately installed, and whether they were known to loosen up and fall off.

Mine fell off after only 2 weeks of shooting. The problem is that the sight has to be brazed onto the barrel. A jig is necessary to hold the sight in position. Then you test fire and evaluate. Usually, the jig needs to be adjusted and the sight needs to be heated up again and moved slightly. I doubt that many shops have a suitable front sight jig for the SAA. The factory "soft solders" the front sight, which is not very rugged. It needs to be silver brazed, or as suggested a front dovetail would be perfect.

Cutting a dovetail is a common gunsmith procedure, but finding or making a dovetail blade sight to use will be a problem. The SAA is not a target gun, but having a dovetail front sight would be a great improvement.

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Old May 1st, 2013, 10:22 AM   #10
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I have a heavy frame Vaquero with the high polish finish. If it is anything but an overcast day, sunlight reflects off the front sight making it like a laser beam shining in my eye. My solution .... use some masking tape to cover the barrel and sides of the front sight then spay a shot of flat black paint on the rear of the sight blade. I also do the same for the rear sight notch. My sight picture is good ... and the paint comes off easily with a little Hoppie's and steel wool. With the shiny sights, I can't get a sight picture worth a darn.

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Old May 1st, 2013, 03:01 PM   #11
 
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For years the common way to adjust front sights for windage on a SA was to slightly turn the bbl. Remove the cylinder, ejector & ejector rod housing, clamp the bbl in wooden jigs in a vise & gently turn the action with an action wrench. It's beyond you expertiese, but that's how Bob Munden, & a number of gunsmiths did it.
you have to move the front sight the opposite way you want impact to move. The rear sight is moved the way you want impact to move.
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