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Old September 21, 2021, 10:32 PM   #1
bamaranger
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stake on 1911 sight

I have bought a set of "retro" higher profile sights to replace the GI style sights on my budget 1911A1 pistol. I've considered buying the staking tool and doing it myself, but am exploring local options to have a 'smith do it.

One such fella states that after staking the front sight with a staking tool, he then taps a small weld on the underside of the slide on the tenon, then dremels the weld flush and smooth, claims the sight is then there to stay, but can be broken out and replaced easily if needs be.

Never heard of that......sounds "off" to me. More than a bit reluctant to allow anybody to take a welder to the slide, no matter how small a spot.

At present, not interested in dovetailing the slide.
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Old September 21, 2021, 10:34 PM   #2
Aguila Blanca
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Other options are silver soldering, and using green (wicking) Loctite 290 after staking.

https://www.amazon.com/Loctite-29031.../dp/B004FCH82C
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Old September 21, 2021, 11:17 PM   #3
dahermit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamaranger View Post
I have bought a set of "retro" higher profile sights to replace the GI style sights on my budget 1911A1 pistol. I've considered buying the staking tool and doing it myself, but am exploring local options to have a 'smith do it.

One such fella states that after staking the front sight with a staking tool, he then taps a small weld on the underside of the slide on the tenon, then dremels the weld flush and smooth, claims the sight is then there to stay, but can be broken out and replaced easily if needs be.

Never heard of that......sounds "off" to me. More than a bit reluctant to allow anybody to take a welder to the slide, no matter how small a spot.

At present, not interested in dovetailing the slide.
As I remember from my early adventures ('70s) in reguard to the front, staked on sight of the 1911, staking was adequate for G.I. sights inasmuch as they had a small mass. Anything bigger than a G.I. front sight did not seem to work with just displacing (staking) that small amount of metal that holds the sight. That is likely why the gunsmith adds a small amount of weld to the staked tenon.

However, with todays sights being customarily dovetailed in place, the issue of heavy front sights departing the slide is no longer an issue.
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Old September 22, 2021, 08:13 AM   #4
jcj54
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Welding

A small tack weld on the sight tenon will put less heat into the slide than the other standard method of silver soldering the sight on.
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Old September 22, 2021, 08:45 AM   #5
HiBC
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There can be more than one good way to do a job. Folks look at what they have and what they know,and make it work.

I would expect a quick tack weld using TIG or MIG would usually be a great solution.

An exception would be the Trijicon tritium stake on sights I have put on a couple of my 1911's.
The tritium vials might not work out with a hammer driven tool or heat.

I bought the swedging tool and it worked fine. Seems like I made a custom support "anvil" for the job or modified the supplied one. Its been a while,I don't remember.
I did not buy the high dollar (over $300) tool. Seems like mine was most of $100
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Old September 22, 2021, 09:17 AM   #6
4V50 Gary
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GI sights were tiny half moons. Our huge modern sights look like a submarine's sail (conning tower). Much more mass. I've not objecting to a small weld just to secure it.
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Old September 22, 2021, 11:01 PM   #7
bamaranger
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mass

The greater mass of a modern front sight v. staking the diminutive GI front sight makes sense, and I read here there seems no aversion to a small weld. The front sight I have purchased is tall so that I may file same down to obtain zero when project is finished.

Sight set from Harris Designs.
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Old September 22, 2021, 11:21 PM   #8
Jim Watson
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I have watched sights being staked on.

The trick isn't the punch, what is needed is support for the slide and sight to hold everything in line together while you whack the tenon.
The swedge tool for the job looks more self contained but I have not seen one of those in use.
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Old September 22, 2021, 11:51 PM   #9
5whiskey
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I have personally staked a modern (i.e. much larger than the GI half moon) sight and done nothing but add locktite. It's held for many thousands of rounds since then. DO keep in mind that there are different tenon widths, do your research on your firearm to find the correct tenon width before ordering. If you are already tracking this, sorry to assume that you may have not been aware. I almost ordered my first aftermarket 1911 sights assuming they would fit, but since the fine print listed the tenon width I decided that they must have that listed for a reason in that there are different widths. There are in fact.

The wider (.125" maybe?) width tenon should be more durable. Mine is the smaller width of under .1" and it has still held just fine.
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Old September 23, 2021, 06:59 PM   #10
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If you don't know how to do it properly, you will feel it is an unreliable way to secure the front sight of a 1911. If you do know how to do it properly, you will realize that the front sight blade is riveted in place and has little to no chance of coming loose. Now, having said that, there are thousands of front sight blades that are staked in place that come loose every year, and there are tens of thousands of them that do not come loose. It's not by poor design, it's by poor execution.
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Old September 23, 2021, 08:47 PM   #11
Aguila Blanca
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As Scorch noted, there are tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of 1911s with staked front sights that haven't come loose. One point is to use a small ball-tip grinder to open up a shallow dish around the slot on the inside of the slide, so the metal displaced by staking has somewhere to go. If you don't create a place for the metal to go, it will be ground off when you smooth out the interior of the slide and there won't be any stake at all.
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Old September 24, 2021, 06:39 PM   #12
Dfariswheel
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As above, the reason even modern Colt type sights come loose is because of improper installation.

Without the "crater" on the inside of the slide to give the tenon rivet room to flow down below the level of the slide, when the excess rivet is ground away there's nothing left to hold it.

With the modern Colt wide tenon and a proper preparation job of grinding in the small crater, a front sight will never come loose.

Welding would be a answer but I don't like permanent alterations just to install a sight.
Silver brazing is even worse since the heat destroys the finish.
The only thing I'd do other then the correct preparation and staking was to use a good drop of Red Loctite as a "belt and suspenders" addition.
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Old September 24, 2021, 10:42 PM   #13
bamaranger
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duly noted

I've done my homework on the tenon sizes and have ordered the correct, smaller version appropriate for my pistol. There appears to be an ample recess on the bottom of the slide for a proper stake job.

I REALLY don't like the idea of welding..........the idea of a "permanent" alteration just does not ring true, as noted by Dfaris.....

Jury is still out on the whole business.
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Old September 25, 2021, 12:01 AM   #14
Sarge
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Here's how I jig mine up; I add the red loctite before staking. I've mounted front sights three times the size of the GI post and haven't had one loosen up yet.



https://www.thesixgunjournal.net/sta...1-front-sight/
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