Filing a sight dovetail

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Filing a sight dovetail

Postby njc110381 » 23 Jul 2017 04

Hi guys. I'm more of a reader than a poster here but I've come across an issue that I think you may be able to help with.

I have a.... Wait I'm not sure how to say this... A Marlin 1895 :oops: ... That has had the barrel shortened and a muzzle brake fitted. I bought the rifle that way and it was scoped, but I would like to remove the scope and fit either some sort of tang sight or maybe a sight in the original rear dovetail. My problem is that the front sight dovetail isn't there any more!

I've seen kits that clamp on to the barrel and hold the file square, so allow you to DIY file a dovetail. How accurate are they? I don't want to mess it up! I'd like to do it myself and have a reasonable level of practical skill, but the thought of messing it up scares me a little!

Is it a good idea, or better left for a pro to do? I'd appreciate your thoughts as I expect a number of you have probably done it?
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Re: Filing a sight dovetail

Postby Ranch Dog » 25 Jul 2017 17

See what it would cost for a local gunsmith to do it.
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Re: Filing a sight dovetail

Postby akuser47 » 25 Jul 2017 22

Without precision equipment to align your file to cut the dovetail slot accurately will be hard. As RD mentioned it may be better to find a smith that has the right tools to do it.
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Re: Filing a sight dovetail

Postby njc110381 » 28 Jul 2017 15

I think that could be the sensible way. I like to DIY things now and again but I'd hate to file it wrong. It's not something that could easily be repaired if I fluff it up!
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Re: Filing a sight dovetail

Postby Ranch Dog » 29 Jul 2017 07

njc110381 wrote:I think that could be the sensible way. I like to DIY things now and again but I'd hate to file it wrong. It's not something that could easily be repaired if I fluff it up!

Rossi messes it up once in awhile!
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Re: Filing a sight dovetail

Postby zippy » 29 Jul 2017 08

If your asking the question here, then perhaps you don't have a gunsmith you already trust. Since your inclined to give it a go, why not try? It's the perfect piece to attempt on , since it's already been chopped.

Of course Larry Potterfield makes everything look easy, but this seems straight forward. Watching the process brings up three concerns.

Since there is no existing dovetail to reference, you'll need to choose another reference plane.

Was the original sight dovetailed or braised on? Is the barrel wall thickness enough for the cut.

Once the job is setup, recheck before you bottom the cut to make sure the fixture and gun are still located level.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcfAFxsfqA0
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Re: Filing a sight dovetail

Postby Ohio3Wheels » 31 Jul 2017 14

Pretty much agree with Zippy. A fixture and the proper file will make all the difference. Dovetail files are available from a number of sources that sell gunsmith tools. Needs to have the correct angle for your job and be safe (no teeth) on one side. Slow and steady and check for fit frequently.

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Re: Filing a sight dovetail

Postby echo89 » 12 Aug 2017 23

i cut several disasters before cutting a dovetail. Learned the hard way to practice several times on scrap before sawing and filing on a prized possession. Old junked muzzle loader barrels are the way I practiced, and the nice thing is you have ALL that surface area to mar before doing the actual job.

All the previous posters are correct in check, recheck, and recheck level. If you use layout fluid, reapply it over and over, there's no race to win.

Ditto on the dovetail file usefulness, they are all over and come in varying angles. My fave is the 60 deg I got from Brownells, with one blank side. Jeweler's files are also helpful.

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Re: Filing a sight dovetail

Postby dalek » 04 Sep 2017 23

I do not know how this fixture looks like but I sure think Brownells has it. If the jig wraps around the barrel and has a lot of meat on the top (or has a flat top), do what has been done in FALs: place a rod that is perpendicular to the groove guides on the jig. Then do the same on the receiver; you will need to be clever here. The idea is that if both rods are parallel the jig is perpendicular to the rifle. In the FAL the front rod goes where the front sight blade screws in and the rear clamps onto a field stripped receiver.

Option 2 would be use some levels and do the same thing in principle: line them up.
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