View Full Version : Sight Problem, 1911-A1

January 24, 2005, 11:44 AM
Last week I purchased my first 1911 handgun, a "new-to-me" Springfield Armory 1911-A1. It is one of the "Loaded" models. Over the weekend, shooting it for the first time, I had a problem with the Novak rear sight "walking" as I shot. It is dovetailed into the slide, with a setscrew to lock it down into place. When the setscrew came loose, the sight was very easy to slide in and out of the dovetail notch in the slide. I tried to tighten it, but didn't have the correct allen wrench, as I tightened, the wrench would slip; but, it was tight enough to where I couldn't move it by hand. Then, firing the next magazine, it worked itself loose again, almost falling off.
My questions are: Is the setscrew the only thing that is supposed to hold the sight in place, or should there be a tight friction fit of the sight in the dovetail?
What would be the proper fix; besides tightening with the proper size allen wrench?
Some sort of Lock-tite or compound in the threads and on the mating surfaces of the dovetail?
Fitting a new sight?
Thanks in advance for your help, experience, and expertise.

Bill Z
January 24, 2005, 12:22 PM
The dovetail should be tight, but since it isnt, there is not much you can do with that. At this point, be sure you get the proper allen wrench and some lock-tite. mkae sure the set screw is in good shape, the head not rounded, and tighten it up. You can even dimple the slide a bit where the set screw goes into it for a litle extra security. Then locktite the screw in. It doesn't do much if any good to locktite the surfaces of the sight.

Dave Sample
January 24, 2005, 01:04 PM
This is one of the problems with "Generic" factory sight cuts. Ditto on Bill's advice, but I would add a few things that could help. I had a student that drilled and tapped his sight for a bigger set screw and I have done this on several occasions. The screw is to small to suit me. A bigger screw is an easy fix. I also like to do a dimple with a center drill bit where the set screw leaves a mark on the slide. If all else fails, we clean off the dovetail and rear sight with acetone, use a few drops of RED Lok-Tite, and put it in for good. Make sure you sight it in and mark the correct place in the dovetail BEFORE you do this. These screws are softer than the wrench, so make sure you have the allen wrench all the way in before trying to loosen or tighten. Good Luck!

January 24, 2005, 05:28 PM
If the sight is original equipment, call Springfield. They have a good warranty.

If not, call Novak and describe the problem. They might ask for dimensions so keep a caliper handy, if you have one.

It should rely mainly on the dovetail - not the set screw, to stay in place. Set screws alone have a poor track record for holding.

If you just want to fix it and forget it, you could degrease the sight and apply a thin coat of nail polish or enamel paint to the underside. Let it dry completely, then tap back into the dovetail. Some of it will shave off, but what remains will eat up the extra space. Tighten the screw with the correct allen wrench.

Harry Bonar
January 31, 2005, 09:36 AM
Dear Sir:
Since I work for Wayne I run on to this sometimes on guns where the sight dovetail is not cut by Novaks. There is a cure; put a "gib" in the dovetail and then drive in (a "gib" is a sliver of thin steel placed in the side of the dovetail to "shrink the length of the dovetail).
The other cure I personally use is to use a 5/16 drill rod and with the sight out put the rod on the rear of dovetail at an angle and smack it; this lowers a slot in the dovetail and sight should be tighter - but, there is NO excuse for milling an oversize dovetail.
My dovetails are always (well, almost always!) are to a standard set up on the mill so that the small (worthless) set screw is not even needed. Same with the front, although I always put in the roll-pin.
I'd try the "peening" on the top of the rear dovetail with some red loc-tite. I don't put much stock in Loc-titing in sights.
Sorry this happpened to you!
Now, the real fix for a screwed up dovetail job is to completely mill out the area, silver solder in a block, contour to the slide radius and then make a new cut; this works on front dovetails also - we must do this on most Browning Hi-Powers to fit the rear sight; it is virtually invisible!
P.S. Either carbon or stainless works! Use Brownells "silvaloy." We've never had one come loose.