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Old September 27, 2011, 09:30 PM   #1
BBroadside
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Non-marring punch?

I have to drift out the front sight blade on my Remington 870 (to replace it with tritium). I am to use a "plastic or other non-marring punch". All I have is mean old steel center punches.

I've never seen any gentle looking punches anywhere. Any ideas as to a substitute? Bic pen with the cap still on? Chop stick? Maybe the gent at the local hardware store will have something. Should I ask for a "plastic center punch" or what? Some of those guys know the Clueless Gunsmith Blues, some don't.

And I assume I should tap on the thing with a heavy rubber mallet, rather than a hammer, is that right? I'm NOT going to use my teeth again. That was just uncouth.
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Old September 27, 2011, 09:37 PM   #2
BBroadside
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I'm talking about drifting out the factory (non-tritium) equivalent to this and drifting the AmeriGlo in in its place.

(And yes, I was kidding about using my teeth.)
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Old September 27, 2011, 10:06 PM   #3
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Hello, BBroadside. Instead of a rubber mallet..which will absorb most of the force being applied, I would use a plastic or rawhide mallet...NOT steel..one slip and you will be saying bad words for a long time!
Be aware that contrary to what others say..brass can dent steel. If you can find a hard plastic rod..this might work. If too tight..copper is probably the safer metal..aluminum works too.
What are you planning to back up the barrel/slide with? If a vice..be sure to have thick leather, lead, or wood jaws. If on bench, an ingot of lead works well.
Remember drive left to right when installing..opposite to remove.
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Old September 27, 2011, 10:15 PM   #4
BBroadside
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I have a nasty metal vice to match my nasty metal center punch. So far I haven't had too much trouble padding it with a couple of old towels - that's how I drifted out the (remarkably similar) foresight on my Lee-Enfield. The difference is, not I'm dealing with sight blades that I'm pretty sure are all plastic.
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Old September 27, 2011, 10:57 PM   #5
Bill DeShivs
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"Drift punch" is what you're looking for.
They are made in nylon, brass, copper, etc.
Any suitable sized piece of soft metal will do.
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Old September 28, 2011, 08:05 AM   #6
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Midway or Brownell's should have them with changable plastic tips.
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Old September 28, 2011, 08:36 AM   #7
Sport45
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A piece of spent .22lr brass over the end of your steel punch might work in a pinch. (But I've never tried it.)

Or maybe a primer cup?
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Old September 28, 2011, 10:24 AM   #8
oneoldsap
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Wouldn't a sight pusher be the proper tool ? Drift out left to right , install right to left !
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Old September 28, 2011, 10:59 AM   #9
brickeyee
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A dead blow hammer is both non-marring and easier to control.

A nylon rod or brass rod makes an excellent non-marring punch.

Some material may rub off, but it is easily removed.
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Old September 28, 2011, 03:36 PM   #10
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I went to the local family-owned hardware store and found the guy who'd been there the longest. I told him I needed a piece of hard nylon or something about as big around as a pencil to beat on with a big hammer. A wooden dowel would not be strong enough.

He walked over to the parts display for their window shades, curtin rods and storm doors and pulled out a round off-white nylon rod about 1.5" long. It had a tiny hole through the center, but it was exactly what I needed to pound the rear adjustable sight out of my Kimber. I couldn't even tell I'd been beating on it when I finished the job.

JT
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Old September 28, 2011, 07:26 PM   #11
James K
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If a dovetail sight is in very tight or rusted in place, there is no such thing as a "non-marring" punch unless a sight pusher will work. Nylon, etc., just won't work; it will absorb the blow and do nothing. Brass, as someone else noted, will batter steel. I have had some that I had to cut out with a milling machine; ruins the old sight, of course, but it is being replaced which is why the discussion.

As to installing a sight, one can fit it so it can be driven/pushed in without excessive force.

Jim
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Old September 28, 2011, 07:27 PM   #12
BBroadside
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Of these idea, the sight pusher is the most intriguing, though I'm not sure if the standard Williams will fit. It doesn't say! Some of the others are brand- or at least category- (e.g. "autoloading handguns") specific. Will keep reading.
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Old September 29, 2011, 08:56 AM   #13
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"Nylon, etc., just won't work; it will absorb the blow and do nothing."

It won't? That's nonsense. Tell that to my Kimber. I put the slide in a big vise mounted on a big workbench on a concrete floor backed up against a 14-inch-thick solid brick wall 3 stories high. Yeah, the sight came out and I'm still using that piece of nylon.

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Old September 29, 2011, 08:58 AM   #14
johnbt
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Of course, maybe they sold me reinforced tactical nylon drapery hardware. What do I know.
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Old September 29, 2011, 03:39 PM   #15
brickeyee
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Quote:
It won't? That's nonsense.
It depends on how much force you need to deliver.

Nylon punches do wear out from deformation.

I often start with a nylon punch, and then move to brass if the nylon starts to deform from the blows.

If the brass deforms, on to steel.
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Old September 29, 2011, 07:30 PM   #16
James K
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It doesn't matter how rigid the vise setup is, if the dovetailed sight (or whatever) won't move, it won't move. If it is not extremely tight, a nylon punch will move it. (I don't plan to tell Kimber anything. Kimbers are relatively new - a Kimber sight has not been rusting in place for 110 years.)

Jim
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Old September 30, 2011, 09:16 AM   #17
oneoldsap
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The Williams sight pusher will work on any sight that has a ramp . I guess hammering on your own gun is okay , But I work on other peoples guns so it's not an option .
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Old September 30, 2011, 09:36 AM   #18
Jim Watson
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My FLG hits most dovetail sights with a piece of German Silver - mostly nickel. It is softer than steel and doesn't leave brass tracks.
When that fails, he has a mild steel sight drift. It doesn't beat them up nearly badly as you would think, and as said, most of them are coming out for replacement with something else.
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Old September 30, 2011, 11:42 AM   #19
brickeyee
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Quote:
German Silver

Usually 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc.
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Old September 30, 2011, 01:58 PM   #20
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Since I only work on my own firearms and don’t change sights often I made this rather than spend $$$ on a good sight pusher. If I were to buy one I’d buy a good one. This is a piece of brass round stock ground on and angle so the base of the drift contacts the base of the sight and is ground thin enough to fit inside the dovetail. Works darn well! If it deforms I just regrind it.

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Old October 4, 2011, 03:21 PM   #21
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Y'all are probably gonna laugh. I found an old dental stimulator. Aluminum. Cut the angled end off. Smoothed out the end. Now I have a straight, soft metal, 1/4in dia. rod that looks pretty similar to what Jerry45 pictured.
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