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Old June 9, 2022, 07:41 PM   #1
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Improve handgun rear sights

I like to shoot old revolvers but the sights make good shooting difficult, especially for old eyes like mine. Basically the notches are too small or the wrong shape. In the few cases in which I have done a little modification I have found that making the rear notch a bit wider and deeper really helps. I do better if I can float the front blade or bead in the rear notch with a little space around it. My question is, what is the best way to increase the rear notch size on an old solid frame revolver, say, an H&R 922. I suppose it is a matter of filing for an amateur, but what kind of file and what technique? Any tips on such a process would be appreciated.
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Old June 10, 2022, 12:19 AM   #2
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I did that, several times, mainly to adjust windage. I used swiss needle file to the sides of the rear sight notch. Going slow, and test fire to check progress.


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Old June 10, 2022, 07:49 AM   #3
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Use diamond files.
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Old June 10, 2022, 08:36 AM   #4
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I've used a thin file with a safe side, from Brownells.
It might even be sold as a sight notch file.
I have not done any filing on the rear notch of fixed-sight revolvers, but have shortened and narrowed front for zeroing.
Runs off at the mouth about anything 1911 related on this site and half the time is flat out wrong.
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Old June 10, 2022, 06:05 PM   #5
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As above a square Swiss needle file with either a safe (no cut) edge, or stone or grind off the cutting teeth on one edge to make a safe edge.
I recommend buying a higher grade file, not the usual hardware store hobby low quality type.

If you're widening a notch, have the safe edge down so the bottom of the notch is not cut.
If deepening the notch, have the safe edge on one side of the notch and keep away for the other.

Fixed sight revolvers can be targeted by filing the side of the notch to shift the impact over, but be very careful, a little goes a long way and you have to sit down and actually THINK about which side to file to get the group to shift the right way.

Brownell's sell professional quality files that are made for this purpose......
Buy #2.
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Old June 11, 2022, 01:56 AM   #6
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For me, filing on the gun is the council of last resort.

I get it, its your gun, and you want it to hit where you aim it, with what you want to shoot in it. But isn't worthwhile to try different loads FIRST??

There's almost always something that will shoot to point of aim (or close enough) I can work with it. I'm also not adverse to holding "off" to get on target.

If you can't find anything that shoots to the sights, or as mentioned, you can't see the tiny sights on an older gun, go ahead and work on it, (provided its not a valuable collectable/rare gun - if it is, I'd think hard about putting a file to it)
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old June 11, 2022, 02:38 AM   #7
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OP isn't asking about adjusting the sights for a different point of impact.
Do you know about the TEXAS State Rifle Association?
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Old June 11, 2022, 09:14 AM   #8
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For deepening the slot, look at a luthier's supply (Stew-Mac is a great one) for 'nut slot files.' They come as narrow as .009", and only cut on the narrow edge; great for deepening a slot without widening it.

Personally, I'd deepen the slot first, to ensure I keep it straight and square, and widen it as I sight the gun, allowing for windage adjustment. Doing both at the same time (deepening and widening) seems more prone to getting the whole thing out of square and less precise, but that's just me.

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Old June 11, 2022, 10:06 AM   #9
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Some of us call those “second cut” files. I use them at work all the time when I want to deburr an edge that rides up against an important feature that I do not want to cut or deface. I am a huge fan. I get semi fine “Mill Bastard” type by Nicholson. I swear by them.

But then again, these are over 1/8” thick and are made for machined parts of some size. I am sure the smaller ones mentioned above do the same thing, but are the appropriate size. Just make sure you tend to any finish you may have removed in this process! I do agree with that line of “A little goes a long say”, and might I also add that whatever you take off of one side (ex. One or two strokes of the file) you do the exact thing immediately to the other side as to even out your cuts. Can always easily cut it off, it is a bear putting it back on!
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Old June 12, 2022, 03:19 PM   #10
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Jewlers files, you can get a set on amazon for around $10 to $15 slow and steady, much easier to remove metal than to put it back.

or find a gunsmith in your area.
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Old June 12, 2022, 10:16 PM   #11
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Not sure if you are equating a solid frame revolver with fixed sights, but have changed out rear sights on several adjustable sight S&W's, for the reason you describe. Bought another rear sight, then opened it up with files from Brownells. Put the combat in several of Smiths combat masterpieces. For my purposes, it worked very well.
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Old June 13, 2022, 08:16 AM   #12
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My FLG is a machine tool guy.
He could have filed mine but he set it up on the milling machine and cut it straight and square. That accomplished changing the historic SAA "V" notch to square and shading it to the right to adjust windage.
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Old June 15, 2022, 05:45 PM   #13
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For me, filing on the gun is the council of last resort.
I filed the blade only on the adjustable rear of a S&W M25.
Worked great!
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