View Full Version : Help a idiot......?

July 29, 2009, 06:43 PM
So I'll admit right up front that I'm not to smart but will someone give me the answer before I mess something up...........

So the question is:

Does it matter which way I try and drive a dovetailed sight out of a old Marlin 336? I mean is the dovetail tapered one way or the other?

I ask because with a good bit of tapping, dowel and mallet so as not to trash anything, it is not moving either way.


July 29, 2009, 06:44 PM
Most American made and many foreign made guns have slightly tapered dovetails.

The "standard" is drive a sight out from left to right, and in from right to left (as you'd sight down the barrel).

The "trick" is to get the gun in a good, well braced no bounce-no move setup.
Use wood blocks or whatever needed to brace it. If, when you hit it the gun moves around, the force is dissipated and the pin or sight won't move.

Use a brass or hard nylon drift and a small steel or brass hammer.

July 29, 2009, 06:49 PM
Thank you........... I'm headded back to give it a better wack now.....

July 29, 2009, 07:00 PM
That was not a bad question. It kept you from screwing up your gun. :)

July 29, 2009, 07:12 PM
So it's out.......... Had to gradguate to a brass rod to get it to move: it had been there for well over 40 years and there was a little bit of corrosion under it.

But at least with the right information I felt safe in giving it a harder lick...


DT Guy
August 6, 2009, 07:20 AM
I agree with Dustin-a real idiot would have been asking something like, "I beat on this sight with a prick punch for an hour and a half and it won't move, but it sure looks bad-what should I do?"


August 6, 2009, 07:46 AM
BTW - If you try to drift a sight that's mounted in a ramp dovetail ILO directly in the barrel, be very sure to support the ramp (and not just the barrel) against the blows to keep from shearing off the ramp screws or soldering.


Mike Irwin
August 6, 2009, 10:34 AM
I always douse a dovetailed sight with penetrating oil and let it soak for several hours before I attempt to drift it. It really helps.

August 6, 2009, 08:25 PM
I have the opposite problem. On a Browning .22 semiauto, the sight moves in the dovetail and won't stay in place. How do I tighten it up without making it immovable?

August 6, 2009, 08:33 PM
You can tighten a dovetail sight by using a prick punch and dimpling the barrel. You don't need too many, generally less than 10 of them to be effective. Gentle too. It will raise a bit of metal, won't show and will tighten things up. Some gunsmiths have used a flat punch to hit the top thin edge of the dovetail to tighten a sight too, but that may leave a mark on the barrel as well.

Mike Irwin
August 6, 2009, 08:42 PM
When faced with that problem I don't do anything to the dovetail slot, I use the punch on the sight slider itself.

Open the jaws of your bench vice just wide enough to support the upside down slider. Put a thin piece of leather or lead in the vice to protect the sight, then take either a flat nose punch or a prick punch and stake the front and back edges of the slider.

Be gentle, and keep test fitting to where you get the tension that you want.

Replacing a sight slider is a lot easier than replacing the barrel, or cutting a new dovetail because you punched too hard and rolled the edge.

August 15, 2009, 02:24 PM

I had a problem with an Auto Ordnance 1911 where the rear sight dovetail was loose enough that the sight fell out at about 200 rounds.

I put a dab of blue Loctite in the dovetail and reset the sight and it's been there for 20 years.

August 15, 2009, 06:34 PM
[On a Browning .22 semiauto, the sight moves in the dovetail and won't stay in place. How do I tighten it up without making it immovable?]

Since a .22 has negligible recoil, the simplest solution is to cut a BCS (beer can shim) a bit smaller than the area of the male dovetail, and place/slide it halfway into the slot before starting the sight in.
When the sight's seated/centered, it should drag the shim along with it - but if a little bit sticks out, it can be easily camo'd with a black Sharpie.


August 16, 2009, 02:06 PM
I don't know - you struck me as being fairly smart. Or maybe you just have good common sense, which will often get you further than "book learnin". Good job.;)