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Posted: 6/14/2016 11:39:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/15/2016 9:09:51 AM EDT by engineer40]
Hello all. I'm hoping you guys can help me call BS on a Gunsmith's claims to me.

I have GI style 1911. The front sight is staked, not the more common style where you push the sight in from the side.

I really like fiber front sights. So I ordered a front sight from Williams Firesights. Awesome product by the way.

Anyways, it's been back to the gunsmith 3 times because it keeps coming loose. Now they are claiming that none of those style of front sights ever stay on tight (even though the original never came loose).

I feel that is a blanant lie. What I really think happened was the first time they tried to do it, they did not do a good job and took too much of the metal away from new fiber sight. I mean, you have to remove some of the metal in order for the slide to work. But I think they just screwed this up fron the get go.

Any opinions on this? I appreciate any backup with my thinking. Thanks!
Link Posted: 6/15/2016 2:21:57 AM EDT
Sounds like they messed it up the first time and didn't stake it correctly to me.
Link Posted: 6/15/2016 9:45:24 AM EDT
Staked front sights come loose.

Yours, reads like a bad stake job.

Almost everyone on here will tell you if you are getting a new front sight have it machined for a dovetail, because of the known fact that staked front sights always come loose.
Link Posted: 6/15/2016 12:46:35 PM EDT
The only way I know a staked-on front sight will REALLY stay put is to silver solder it in place.

The problem with this method is that it is likely to ruin the finish in the area around the front sight, because it has to be heated so high. However, your front sight won't move after being silver soldered in place.


I agree that dovetailing the slide is probably best in the long run, but it isn't cheap, and you will have to forget about that FO sight you just bought.


Best advice going forward from here.... If you think you may want to switch sights later, don't buy a pistol that doesn't have dovetailed sights from the factory. I don't, for this exact reason!
Link Posted: 6/15/2016 6:05:55 PM EDT
The best way to stake them is with a ordinance front sight installation fixture - there is one on gunbroker right now. A freind of mine had one when he did pistolsmithing years ago. They stayed in tight, You could indeed solder
Link Posted: 6/15/2016 9:05:47 PM EDT

Experience over the years has proved that a properly staked front sight does NOT come loose.
Not every Gunsmith knows how to properly stake a GI type front sight.An experienced 1911 Gunsmith will know the right way and will have the right
tools for the job.I have GI staked front sights and Trijicon staked front night sights,no issues.All done the right way.

Also,there are narrow tennon front sights and wide tennon front sights.The correct one for the front sight cut has to be used.

Personally,i like the staked front sight's look,all my 1911's that came with staked front sights continue to have staked front sights,i had them restaked
just to be sure they were done right.
Nothing worse than out shooting and losing your front sight in the middle of the fun.....been thru that various times.

Also dovetailing a slide for dovetail sights is good.... easier to change and more selections available.
Link Posted: 6/15/2016 10:28:45 PM EDT
I should probably elaborate.... I have never had a staked-on front sight come loose, when it had been installed by the factory. However, I DO have experience with replacement front sights that were staked in. That is what I meant about never having staked front sights stay put - REPLACEMENT front sights!

Since coltnut says this:
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Nothing worse than out shooting and losing your front sight in the middle of the fun.....been thru that various times.
View Quote


I guess I am not the only one to see a staked front sight come loose, huh?

So, CAN staked in front sights be permanently installed and not come loose? It would certainly seem so, because the factory can put the original in and it never becomes an issue. However, there are an awful lot of gunsmiths out there who don't have the tools or the expertise to install the replacements properly. OTOH, the factory can control both the cut in the slide and the size of the front sight staking post, so they have an advantage the guy replacing it does not.

To each his own, but I simply will not consider purchasing a 1911's with staked front sights. I like to change sights to my preference, and life is just too short for such aggravation! (Unless of course, it is a historical piece, like a great WWI edition!)
Link Posted: 6/15/2016 11:37:04 PM EDT
Degrease, correct sized tenon, red locktite, GI staker, enjoy for decades.
Link Posted: 6/16/2016 3:30:39 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By fxntime:
Degrease, correct sized tenon, red locktite, GI staker, enjoy for decades.
View Quote

This!
Link Posted: 6/16/2016 3:49:31 PM EDT
The narrow tenon, tiny GI front sights aren't as much of a problem when properly staked.

However, the much larger modern sights don't have much tenon holding them on in proportion to their mass. When larger sights because fashionable, Colt went to a wider tenon to increase the holding strength. A proper staking job will require a relief cut on the underside of the slide to accommodate as much of the staked tenon as possible.

Kind of tapping it in and then grinding off half of it with a Dremel is no guarantee of long term success.
Link Posted: 6/16/2016 4:24:41 PM EDT
my Factory Colt enhanced model became loose within the first year of ownership.
my WWII rem (i think) slide Still has the org gi no mass front sight.
Link Posted: 6/16/2016 10:23:04 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Gregory_K:
Staked front sights come loose.

Yours, reads like a bad stake job.

Almost everyone on here will tell you if you are getting a new front sight have it machined for a dovetail, because of the known fact that staked front sights always come loose.
View Quote


Ok, guess I need to shoot more because none of my staked 1911 front sights have come loose. You can have the sight pinned also. Ain't comin' loose without some serious efforts.

That aside, if your going to start swapping front sights, and there are plenty of great reasons to do so, get the slide milled. Options, man. Options galore.
Link Posted: 6/17/2016 8:36:45 PM EDT
Staked front sights come loose because they're not installed correctly.

The whole "secret" is to use a Dremel carbide ball cutter to grind a small countersink on the inside of the slide, over the tenon hole.

This small countersink gives the sight tenon room to flow down below the surface of the slide.
That way, when the excess rivet metal is ground off to clear the barrel bushing there's enough steel left to hold the sight in place.

The mistake most people make is either not knowing or not wanting to take the time to do it right they just rivet the tenon and grind off enough to clear the bushing.
With the rivet laying on the surface, when the excess is ground off you also grind off most of the rivet.
Result is, there's not enough rivet to hold the sight and the sight shoots loose.

With the modern larger sights, even with the new style larger tenon, putting the small countersink in the slide is absolutely critical.
Done right and a front sight will never come loose.
Link Posted: 6/20/2016 9:08:56 PM EDT
Thanks for everyones opinions!

I've done some impressive home gunsmithing. Ive learned a lot over the years. Only reason I didn't do this sight myself is because the tools looked to be around $100 and I only have 1 GI style front sight. Spending the money on the tool didn't make sense. Now I'm thinking I should have bought the tool and did the research to perform the job myself!

This particular pistol I purchased from my dad. I grew up shooting it with him. Recently he needed some money so I bought it so it didn't have to leave the family and one day my sons will have it. All of that said, I have become a bit of a sight/scope snob. Hence my reason for wanting a fiber front sight.

Last time I dropped it to the gunsmith I told them I have time to wait, so please no junior gunsmiths working on it. I asked to have someone who knew exactly what they were doing work on it. They quietly agreed. And told me they will definitely stand behind their work. Which made me happy. I gave the the contact information for Williams Gunsights and the Item number. They stated if they had to they would buy a new front sight to do the staking again.

I'll update once I get it back and run a few rounds through it! Thanks all!
Link Posted: 6/21/2016 6:02:28 AM EDT
The GI style sights are small and lightweight.

The larger sights are heavier.

Physics. The heavier the sight is the more force is placed on the tennon and staking job during cycling of the slide.

My GI style sight never had issues. I had a larger sight put on and it came loose. The gunsmith silver soldered it and it still came loose. He re-did it and that time I lost it when it came loose. Had it cut for a dovetail sight, no more issues.

And yes, silver soldering did affect the blued finish on the slide around the sight.

Good luck with yours.
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