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Old August 25, 2013, 05:12 PM   #1
jaughtman
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Proper sight picture with a half-moon front sight?

Greetings! Playing around with that antique Colt Offical Police I bought yesterday (having not made it to the range yet) brings up a question. When one holds the revolver "level", half of the large half-moon front sight blade is still above the sight channel. To level the top of the blade with the rear sight, one must dip it slightly. I would think (without having shot it yet) that would make it shoot low. Is that the case? Does one leave a bit of it above the rear sight groove to properly target it? My first antique revolver/half moon sight....

J
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Old August 25, 2013, 05:20 PM   #2
James K
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Nope. Recoil begins when the bullet begins to move, so the barrel is actually moving upward as the bullet travels down the barrel. The sights are set so that the barrel is pointing downward when the sights are at the point of aim.

The factory sets fixed sights so that the center of the target will be hit at a given distance with a given load. With .38 Special, that is 25 yards, and a standard 158 grain bullet load. Again, since the bullet is moving while recoil takes place, if a lighter, faster bullet is fired, it will leave the barrel faster and strike lower, since the barrel is still pointing low when the bullet exits.

Jim
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Old August 25, 2013, 05:50 PM   #3
SIGSHR
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I fire all my older revolvers-Colt Official Police, S&W M1917, Colt M1917-with a regular sight picture-top of the blade level with the rear sight, 6 o'clock hold. Alaways thought the old halfmoon sight represented the fashion of the time,plus whatever the tooling allowed. Frederick Russell Burnham used a cut down Indian Head cent for the front sight of his Remingon M1875 in 44-40.
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Old August 25, 2013, 06:09 PM   #4
James K
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I will note that the old guns (pre-WWII or even older) often had "barleycorn" sights, very fine and/or pointed front sights and small V notch rear. Those guns were intended to be sighted with the top of the front sight centered on the target and the very top of the front sight down in the rear sight notch (what the old timers called a "fine" sight. Bead sights were usually teamed with a U or semi-circular rear notch and the round front sight bead was held in the rear sight U.

As for the shape of the front sight as seen from the side, it really makes little difference except that some sights will have less glare than others. A "half moon" front sight will often be 1/10" or even 1/8" wide and with a flat top, so it will require a normal Patridge sight picture.

Jim
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Old August 25, 2013, 09:09 PM   #5
Bob Wright
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Quote:
James K said:

I will note that the old guns (pre-WWII or even older) often had "barleycorn" sights, very fine and/or pointed front sights and small V notch rear. Those guns were intended to be sighted with the top of the front sight centered on the target and the very top of the front sight down in the rear sight notch (what the old timers called a "fine" sight. Bead sights were usually teamed with a U or semi-circular rear notch and the round front sight bead was held in the rear sight U.

As for the shape of the front sight as seen from the side, it really makes little difference except that some sights will have less glare than others. A "half moon" front sight will often be 1/10" or even 1/8" wide and with a flat top, so it will require a normal Patridge sight picture.
What you are saying is entirely different than what I was taught as a kid. Most guns had a shallow U-notch with an inverted V front sight. I was taught to plae the apex of the V in the center of the U at the top most point, so that the two "arms" of the U and the point of the V were level across the top, much like a Patridge sight picture. And most of the guns I saw and shot had the half moon (S&W) or a hawkbill (Colt) shape in profile, but were V type when viewed over the top of the gun.

When I got to be a pretty fair shot I realized how hard it was to hold elevation with such sights for any distance over fifty yards and either swapped off these guns or replaced the sights.

Many folks still prefer the U-notch or V-notch with an inverted V front, but they never worked for me.

Bob Wright
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Old August 30, 2013, 11:48 AM   #6
tipoc
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The half moon front sights were a definite improvement over what was common before. They first showed up on single action revolvers.

Their advantage was in both a clearer sight pic and in holstering and unholstering as they were low drag.

The early iterations did have a pronounced taper from bottom to top, But the later evolution of the sights the taper was less and the profile nearly square. Combined with a square notch rear sight very accurate. They tended to be replaced by the Baughman Quick Draw type and variations of that.

The u or v rear notch are generally slower, less accurate and more cumbersome. I notice a return to them though when coupled with the AO big dot rear sights with tritium inserts on snubbys. Still slower for me and confusing to the eye.

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