Friday, April 26, 2019

S&W Model 67 Sight Insert Repair

In 1936 an FBI Special Agent by the name of Frank Baughman approached Smith and Wesson and requested a revolutionary departure from the typical front sight of the era.  Prior to this shooters had a choice of a half moon styled front sight that was very narrow and difficult to see without good lighting conditions, or a Patridge style sight that was specific to target shooting.  Neither was very useful to the defensive use of a revolver.

Baughman's ramp saw further adaptation in 1952 with the addition of a dovetail cut in the ramp and a red colored, plastic insert installed.  Called the Blanchard Front Sight many shooters have found this to aid the rapid acquisition of their sights and prefer this option.  S&W has installed thousands of these types of Blanchard Sights on all of their revolvers over the past seventy seven years.

Several years ago a friend gave me a four inch model 67 that had seen better days.  Among the signs of use was the red plastic insert barely holding in place.  I had intentions of building it into an IDPA revolver and started the process of cleaning it up and had the chambers chamfered.  I pulled out the insert and used some paint in the dovetail for the time being.  I had intentions of filing out the dovetail and creating a semi Patridge style front sight but never got around to it.  After shooting several matches I put the 67 away as personal commitments cut deeply into my IDPA time.

Fast forward to now and I've decided that I want to start shooting the 67 again.  As I'm a bit more cognizant of the relative values of some of the older S&W revolvers I decided that I'd leave the forged front sight alone but wanted to fix the gaping hole left by the lack of the insert.  Also, I don't like the red ramps.

View of the dovetail with paint.
Side view of the dovetail.

The first actionable step of any project is preparation.  In this case I acquired some silicone sealant and orange paint.  Then I had to clean the old paint from the dovetail and remove the remnants of the old insert.
Overhead view of the cleaned dovetail and retention holes.  I have to wonder if all the holes are off centered or if mine is unique.
Once the dovetail was cleaned I mixed up a concoction of the silicone and paint.  I was looking for a bright color for contrast and believe I was successful.
Concoction of silicone and paint.

The trick to this project is having something to provide a form so that your concoction won't flow out of the dovetail.  I used a couple of scrap pieces of leather and a binder clip however, you can use most any material.
Allowing the sealant to set.

Once the concoction had set firmly enough to hold without the need of the form pieces, I removed the binder clip and leather and trimmed with an X-ACTO knife.

The final product.  It's not perfect but acceptable for a first attempt.

There are a few steps left to turning this into a solid competition pistol.  I'm going to disassemble the model 67 and install heat shrink over the trigger.  This model had a serrated trigger that tends to abuse my trigger finger during longer range session or in matches.  Claude Werner, aka The Tactical Professor clued me in to the use of heat shrink.  Look forward to another picture heavy post when I take on this project in the next few weeks.

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