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fixed sights - to file or not to file... that is the question..

This is a discussion on fixed sights - to file or not to file... that is the question.. within the Ruger Single Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; Hi folks, I have a few fix-sighted Ruger single action revolvers (all stainless). I have a Vaquero and two Bearcats. The guns came from the ...


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Old July 30th, 2015, 12:26 PM   #1
 
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fixed sights - to file or not to file... that is the question..

Hi folks,

I have a few fix-sighted Ruger single action revolvers (all stainless). I have a Vaquero and two Bearcats.

The guns came from the factory shooting pretty much dead on windage (left-right) wise, but the front sights are a little tall so they shoot a little lower than point of aim. I realize that this is intentional on the part of Ruger so the owners can file down the front sight blade to adjust the impact for the desired load.

I have owned these guns for several years, and still haven't filed the front sights down yet. I was thinking about doing so for one of the bearcats. I like to shoot a standard 40 grain LRN 22LR cartridge in the gun. I was thinking of filing (a little at a time) the front sight to adjust the point of impact for one bearcat, then possibly for the Vaquero.

For those of you with fix sighted revolvers, do you file down the sights? I do handload, but for the 45 Colt, I don't typically use a light enough bullet to raise the point of impact high enough to match the front sight on my Vaquero.

Thanks in advance



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Old July 30th, 2015, 01:04 PM   #2
 
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Actually, against all logic...

The heavier the bullet, the higher the point of impact.

It is possible that you were doing yourself a dis-service by attempting to go lighter.

Try the 255 and see what happens.

The phenomenon is known as bore dwell time, sometimes called barrel dwell time.
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Old July 30th, 2015, 01:05 PM   #3
 
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If you want to raise the POI on Vaquero you would need to shoot a heavier bullet at a lower velocity. A lighter bullet will only strike lower. At normal handgun range you are not dealing with bullet drop but recoil and barrel time. Sorry I type slower than Banger
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Old July 30th, 2015, 03:17 PM   #4
 
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I have the same issue with my .45 ACP Vaquero, it hits high with the cheap Wolf steel case I have tried in it, and it seems heavy .45's will just hit high.

I just plan to live with it, since other loads hit to POA. It also hits a little left, so I'm going to shoot it more to see if it's me "pushing off" on the trigger making it hit left, or if the sights are off.

If I shoot hundreds of rounds off sandbags, standing, etc. and it's still hitting left, I plan to have my master gunsmith take some metal off the rear sight notch and reblue the filed spot so it looks like nothing was ever done. I can deal with hitting high or low but being off to the left or right annoys me.

It's a common Ruger factory technique to take some off the left or right side of a fixed sight revolver, and they seem to have several different heights of front sight. I also have a few fixed sight GP's that appear to have front sights that were filed down at the factory. The filing doesn't seem to translate as well with single actions though......

The only issue I would have with filing a single action front sight is the front sight will lose that rounded shape and look "hacked off" for the rest of the life of the gun........I've seen used Vaqueros with filed front sights and it looks like complete crap IMO. A beautiful, expensive Ruger SA revolver with a sight filed down with a $5 bastard file, no good......you're better off making a project out of it and doing one of those "Old West" fixes and replacing the front blade with a cut in half dime cut to the height you need........ If you have access to a very skilled gunsmith he could take down the front sight and after it's hitting to POA he could return the rounded shape to it.
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Old July 30th, 2015, 03:28 PM   #5
 
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Thanks for the replies folks. Yes, that's right, it's the heavier bullets that hit higher (thanks for reminding me... i do remember reading about dwell time and how the heavier, slower rounds tend to hit higher since they take longer to leave the barrel).

My normal 45 Colt load is a 255 gr bullet (hardcast - I don't load it hot for my Vaquero) and while it does bring the point of up it's still a little low. I think I'll try filing it with the Bearcat to start... it's a stainless gun so once I drop the front height a little, I can recontour the shape (carefully) to keep the round appearance.

Last edited by cynergyou; July 30th, 2015 at 03:31 PM.
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Old July 30th, 2015, 04:08 PM   #6
 
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I had these problems with my Birdshead 45ACP. POI was low and left. I fixed the left by wrapping my finger a little further around the trigger to "pull" rather than push and filed a little off the top of the front sight and then rounded it back off when I got it where I wanted it. It looks like it did before I filed it but I had no finish issues as it is stainless.Just go slow if you start filing. You can take more off but can't put it back. It's like the carpenter said "measure twice cut once".
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Old July 30th, 2015, 04:42 PM   #7
 
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I never file I learn Kentucky Windage for the gun.
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Old July 30th, 2015, 04:54 PM   #8
 
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I 'always' file the front sight if the gun shoots low for the loads it is going to normally get (blued or stainless). Use the 'Kentucky Windage' only for the 'rarely' shot loads. In fact I prefer my fixed sighted revolvers to always shoot low from the factory so that I can make the adjustment myself! A win win! Nothing worse than picking up one of my guns and trying to remember 'does this shoot low? left? right? high?'. Nope Notta. So yeah, once you find the load you are going to shoot, file it down 'slowly' as you can't put steel back on!

Last edited by rclark; July 30th, 2015 at 04:58 PM.
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Old July 30th, 2015, 05:15 PM   #9
 
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I even file my adjustable sights on my Blackhawks/Super Blackhawks. I sight in with my pet load, then place the rear sight in the mid-height position and file as necessary to bring to taw. This leaves me adjustment available should I change loads in the future.

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Old July 30th, 2015, 05:22 PM   #10
 
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While it's pretty common knowledge that the "barrel flip" is how builders determine front sight height, it doesn't track perfectly.

Call up Ruger some time, spend about 30min on the phone and ask them to tell you the exact heights of all of the Ruger Vaquero front sights. There are non-linear discrepancies/inconsistencies between each cartridge for different barrel lengths, and between each barrel length for cartridge.

So you can't just assume that the taller height corresponds to longer dwell time, or shorter heights correspond to lighter bullets...
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Old July 30th, 2015, 06:36 PM   #11
 
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I always file and bend the front sight once I try several different loads and rested/unrested to where I'm confident it's the right thing to do. Bending the front blade is a little delicate. I close the blade in a vise and use a padded clamp to do the bending. I like using the vise and clamp method so that it is controlled bending, and you quickly get a feel for the pressure needed to start getting it to bend. Of course, take it slow.
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Old July 30th, 2015, 07:02 PM   #12
 
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File only about 1/2 what it would take to make a 'full' adjustment...and shoot it that way for a while..depending on your load (heavier vs lighter and powder burn) you might just adjust your sight angle a bit in leu of completely filing the sight down to what you think is the right height?
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Old July 30th, 2015, 07:29 PM   #13
 
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I find shooting low hard to deal with as the sight covers the target. If it shoots high I can see my target and hold low "KY elevation" but that's just me.
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Old July 30th, 2015, 09:45 PM   #14
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I sorted mine by tweaking the load.
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Old July 31st, 2015, 05:35 AM   #15
 
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FILE!

Had a old Standard with fixed sites, did the same thing. Filed, and glad I did! Just take it VERY slow, small amounts!
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