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Discussion Starter #1
Gotta ask, 'cause I don't know ... Shooting Masters, Officer's Model Targets, and others' front sights - the early ones, before the ramps and one pieces and pinnned in, etc. I guess the SM is a good example so we you can know what I'm referring to ... those high, what-look-like-odd-angle-piece-of-slate stuck in the sight base ... Would someone explain them to me? I'm not knocking 'em, they just look odd to me and I've never been given any information about them. Obviously, they were, "tops," at the time. Clue me, please? Over?
 

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Back in the 20's and 30's, Colt & S&W could and would take custom orders and put special "aftermarket" features on their pistols; and would also copy these features on factory parts. King's or other companies sights, Stag, Ivory, or custom wood grips from Roper and others could be custom ordered from the factory.
You need to get an old King's catalog to see the very wide variety of sights that were available back then. "Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting" by McGivern has pictures of some of the many (lierally dozens) styles of sights (it's also a great sleeping aid when you try to read it, good info but long-winded and dry). Everyone "knew" what worked best for sights, so there were front sights with long sloping ramps, steep angles, patridge style vertical faces, undercuts etc. Many of these would have some adornment meant for better viewing like a mirror on the base to reflect light onto the front sight blade. Or gold, silver, red, or ivory beads, either protruding from the face with a rounded or flat surface, or cut into a recess in the face of the front sight.

Basically you could get most anything you could think up in an effort to see that front sight better. Which is the whole point of the front sight, something that YOU can see easily, and clearly and will contrast with whatever is your target.

Today sights are generally a Patridge form (vertical face) for target shooting or a ramp for easier draw from a holster. Both work about as well as any other, but it does get a little boring compared to what used to be available.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Many thanks, Mr. CMcD - and WELCOME! I have a copy of McGivern's book. I'm just amazed at the un-factory-ness of these sights! Now, I've never shot one, so what do I know? Just seems crude - don't they? The S&W K-38 type seem, to me, to be just asking to get in the way for anything but a gun-box target job. I suppose that's what they are, anyway - eh? It comes up because I'm, "making my list and checking it twice," before my, "annual gun buy," comes up and I'm looking at getting a Shooting Master. These have these, "square piece of slate," sights that I've never used. (I wonder - can you put a Colt-Elliason on a SM?) "Ask the man that owns one," is always good advice.
 

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rcwambold,

First, I placed a copy of a prewar (1940, I think) King Gunsight Co. catalog online a few months back- here's the link.

Second, If you're looking to acquire a pristine Shooting Master I'd advise against fitting currently manufactured aftermarket signts intended for postwar revolvers (or even postwar Colt factory sights) because you'd have to mill the topstrap to install these, that would really devalue your investment.

Try the factory sights first: you may like them as is, or, more likely, you may want to acquire a spare rear blade to widen the notch in. (Or find one that has been widened- this was a very common modification).

No, they aren't as "handy" as more modern "positive click" designs, but they do work. You might be surprised at how closely you can set the elevation after a bit of practice- just be sure to use a pair of screwdrivers that truly fit the sight screws.

BTW, the pre war Colt sights are, IMO, a better design than the pre war S&W sights- the adjustable front sight will usually stay put. The old opposing screw design used on S&W rear sights has (and always had) a way of becoming loose at the most inopporutne times.

Bob


[This message has been edited by bfoster (edited 04-09-2004).]
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, Hello, Again and thanks, bfoster! Long time - no hear!? NO, I wouldn't dream of cutting up a SM to fit anything! Heaven forbid! I guess I was hoping they'd just drop in - silly notion.
 

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rewambold,

I've been involved in moving these past few months.

There were several variations of standard factory sights available on OM's NST's, and SM's (as well as flat top SAA's and Bisleys). These covered both Patridge and Payne types in different heights and widths. Because these revolvers were primarily used by target shooters there were many more sights than revolvers produced, locating what you want usually isn't too much trouble.

Too, King and a few other sight makers produced good products. These are somewhat tougher to locate.

Bob
 

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I did not get the impression that rcwambold was talking about after-market sight blades. I thought he was asking why the shape of the front sight blades on Pre-War Colt target revolvers.

The reason the sight blades are shaped the way they are is because the front sight blade was the sole elevation adjustment, while the windage adjustment was done solely on the rear sight.

The front sight blade could be adjusted by loosening the lock screws on the sides of the boss and turning the rear base screw to raise or lower the blade. The blade was wedge-shaped to present the rear of the sight face cleanly in the sight picture without seeing any of the blade body itself. I think the sight picture is just fine for recreational shooting.

If the poster spends his money on a Shooting Master, I guess he can do anything he wants to it, but installing an Elliason on it will destroy its considerable collector value.

If the poster wants modern sights on a New Service frame, I suggest taking one of the many reblued or rough guns that are for sale and starting there, rather than destroying a rare collector's item like a Shooting Master.
 
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