View Full Version : S&W Rear Sight Bottomed Out

September 15, 2007, 04:38 PM
Has anyone else had this experience with a hand gun?

Just bought a S&W Model 25-11, their "Heritage Series" .45 Colt, produced by their Performance Center in 2001. Goregeous gun, awesome color case frame, only 150 made. It wasn't cheap.

It was used, but looked completely unfired. Came with box, lock, test fired case, etc. Naturally when I see any used gun that looks this good I wonder whats wrong with it. The dealer, a friend of mine, allowed me to test fire it before I bought it. Worked fine.

Got home to my range and found that it fired about 8 inches high at 25 yards. Went to adjust the sight, but the rear sight had already been cranked all the way down so the assembly was flush with the top of the frame. Ah Ha!! Thus the reason the previous owner traded it in in new condition.

I tried somelighter loads, but the difference in elevation wasn't substantial. I called S&W, who connected me with their Performance Center. They verified that my serial numbered gun was shipped with such and such sized front and rear sights. While no higher front sight is made, the gentleman did say he would send me a new rear sight assembly with a lower sight insert which should solve my problem. No Charge.

I'm impressed with the record keeping and instant service they offered. But, I imagine they must have had this problem before with this particular gun. You'd think they'd have tested point of impact, and sight adjustment span before they shipped it, along with a basic function test.

Anyway..hopefully this will resolve the issue.
If it doesn't,... then what?

September 15, 2007, 05:51 PM
M25s usually have a pinned front sight blade. If that is true of yours, a gunsmith should be able to make a taller front blade for it.

September 15, 2007, 06:17 PM
Cowart..ah..yes. It is pinned and thats a good fall back position, although there isnt a gunsmith worth his salt within 75 miles of me.

Interestingly, that little gold bead embedded in the front sight on this model is rather annoying. I tried to black it out with magic marker (no bluing would work) , but the black it applies is too shiney. A new front sight would eliminate that problem as well.

Push comes to shove I'll try this.

(ps: if i keep the existing front sight, any tried and true suggestions on how to flat black that bead permanently?)

Harry Bonar
September 15, 2007, 06:49 PM
A gold bead front is very desireable and the charge for one is extra. I'd not black it.
What ammo and bullet weight are you shooting. With a handgun, "barrel time" is effectual in raising point of impact. Fast light bullets will shoot lower while heavy slow bullets will shoot high due to the weight and barrel time. I'd check that. It sounds like you might be holding your 25 a bit loose - this will cause high impacts.
I doubt that Smith, with a revolver this nice fouled up the sights - check out all this before giving up that gold bead - they are great in the woods. Also, where are you putting the bead in the rear notch? Even with the top - not the bead of the front. The very top flat of the front must be level with the rear top - not the bead.
Harry B.

September 17, 2007, 06:41 PM
Thanks for the input Harry.

I am using 250 grn cast FN (Oregon Trail) bullets, with 7.0 grns Unique. I tried 200 grn FN, and there was no discernable difference in impact point. I also tried 8.0 grns and 6.3 grns of Unique with the 250 grn bullet, with the first shooting even higher, and the second simply unsatisfactory on all counts.

The thing with the gold bead is that it appears to be just slightly to the right of center on the front sight. Short of replacing the front sight, blacking out the bead gives me a nice sight picture, with the top of the black front sight even with the top of the rear sight.

My grasp on the revolver is the same as it has been for the past 40 years using my .357 mags, and .44 mags...nice and firm but not excessively tight.

I like my guns to shoot at point of aim; that is, I cut the target in half with the top of the front sight and thats where I want the bullet strike. While not the classic target hold, I find this works well for target as well as steel plates, and for hunting (since a 6 o'clock hold on a deer is a problem for me without a nice target painted on his sholder).

Right now I have to hold 1"- 1 1/2" below the outter most blackened ring of the 25 yard target, and the bullet strikes just above the X. Thats like 7+ inches higher from where the sights are aligned.

That the previous owner had it cranked all the way down, and that the representative at the Performance Center didnt seem all that surprised at this condition, tends to infer they've encountered it often enough.

Thanks again.

Harry Bonar
September 20, 2007, 04:11 PM
I understand completely - that bead being off center clues us, doesnt it? It sends the message that someone "butchered":) the job!
It seems as though you like black sights and I'm all for it!
If that sight is pinned in take it out, raise your rear half way and get it shooting where YOU want it and you'll have that fine gun fixed.
If it isn't pinned in a good man with a mill can mill that sight out and "make" a pinned sight out of it. Put one slightly high in and then slowly file it down as described and then heat-blue it and you'll be back launching those big boss slugs downrange - HEY!!!.:)
Harry B.

September 20, 2007, 06:09 PM

Today I received TWO seperate rear sight assemblies from S&W performance center. By micrometer..the one in my gun is the tallest, and the two they sent are midsize and shortest. I've installed the shortest one and will try it out tomorrow.

Yeah..that front sight never should have left the Performance Center. I'd ask them for a new one (yes, it's pinned), but I don't want to be a pest / wear out my welcome with them, since they were so generous and fast with the rear sights. Let me see what I can do as is.

Any idea what i can use to permanently blacken that gold bead until I decide to pursue a new front blade? Gun blue, aluminum blue, brass blue doesnt work. Magic marker dries shiney and rubs off. I tried a dab of primer followed by some flat black paint, but it doesnt last either.


September 29, 2007, 05:52 PM

Just wanted to fill you in and thank you again.

First... i installed the low sight that S&W Performance center sent me, I now can hold 2 inches below center of impact. Quite an improvement from the 8 inche holkd under the original sights required.

Second... I bought a pair of S&W's N frame target grips that transform the small round butt into a big square butt hand full. The consistancy of accuracy is remarkable, like night and day from the tiny round butt that the gun comes with. Control of barrel whip is 100% better. I'm getting 5 out of six rounds inside a 3" circle at 25 yards.

Finally... "Bright Sights" has a permanent black enamel sight paint, in limited quantities, that they dont advertise on their site, but is available on special request. http://www.brightsights.com/index.shtml
This "permanent" black on my front sight will resolve that off center gold dot problem. Should have it in a few days.

Harry, thanks for your advise and input. Without it I doubt I would have thought about bigger grips for better controlof the barrel whip.


Bill DeShivs
September 29, 2007, 07:19 PM
If the sight is gold, not brass-the only thing you can do is paint it or remove it. If it's brass, 44-40 cold blue will blacken it. Any of these will wear off, though.