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Old February 7, 1999, 06:24 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: October 28, 1998
Posts: 11
Hi all, sorry in advance for the long post. I'm new around here, but hope you can help, since my frustration level is quite high. I'm having some difficulty with my gunsmith's installation of a set of Heinie fixed sights (tritium) on my Series 80 Colt Gov't model.

Upon picking the pistol up, I was shocked to find that there was a big gap (over .014) between the bottom of the sight and the slide, both under the flat part of the sight and around the dovetail. The gunsmith insisted that he cut the slide according to Heinie's instructions and didn't know why it came out like that. Very poor looking, but I paid him anyways and took it shooting. Well, after the second magazine full of 45 ball, the sight worked itself completely loose from the dovetail and fell to the ground.

So I took the gun back to him for a fix. He still insists he did nothing wrong, but agrees to weld up just the dovetail and recut it so the sight stays put. Almost a month later, the gun is done. The sight does appear to be tight, but of course the unsightly gaps remain. But I can live with that.

The problem is, the gun now shoots approx. 3.5" low, whereas it previously shot dead on with the stock sights. I check with Heinie, who says he installs hundreds of these, with rarely any variance in point of impact over 1". So I have the gun looked at by 3 other local gunsmiths. It turns out that the gunsmith milled all the rear cuts .030" too deep (Heinie called for a .100" cut for the flats, he cut it .130" deep) All agree the sight was not installed properly.

I call him up and present him with these facts. He says there's no way he screwed up a .100" cut, and that we must have measured wrong, and to bring it in to let him have a look at it. I call him back a couple days later to make sure he's in, and now he says that the reason why he cut it to .130" was because the existing dovetail was more than .100 deep and he had to cut as low as the existing dovetail was. His solution is that he will weld up the FRONT dovetail and recut it .030" lower, but that I'll have to pay $25 for him to do it. Yes, this is some solution, but now I lose some front sight height (.190 - .030 = .160) and therefore quality of sight picture. BTW I checked with Brownell's and another gunsmith who said Colt Series 80 dovetails are cut to .100 (not .130) which is probably why Heinie chose that depth to start with.

So here's where I'm at: I haven't brought the gun in yet, but I'm really quite furious at this point. I paid him to do a clean, professional installation of the sights to the manufacturer's specifications. Am I asking too much? In the opinion of several experts the job was done wrong. It really irks me that he wants me to pay him more money (however reasonable) to fix an error that he made. What surprises me is that this gunsmith is nationally known for building good IPSC open and ltd. guns-he's an up and comer. I'm surprised that he would let his name be associated with such shoddy work...I'll be taking a Walt Marshall class in March, a Gunsite class in the summer and compete in IPSC, so many will get to see the "quality" of his work.

What do you all think I should do? Honestly, if I were a gunsmith who cared about my reputation, I would replace the slide and install the sights right. But maybe I'm just old fashioned that way. I'd really appreciate your input. Thanks,
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