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Dovetailed front sights,There are several different sizes available. I usually use a .330 x 65deg front sight but, .300 x 60deg ones are available also. So, with two different front sight standards, I have two different Carbide dovetail cutters. When installing front sights, I prefer a MGW front sight. I feel it is the best sight for the money. Installing one of these sightsfront1s.jpg - 12944 Bytes requires a Vertical milling machine. I personally use a Bridgeport, but any old mill will work. You will need the appropriate dovetail cutter for your sight, which is available from Brownells. I use a carbide cutter over a HSS cutter because you can spin the carbide faster and it makes a cleaner cut; but it does cost quite a bit more. I start with the tools you see in (Fig 1). First chuck your slide in your Vise, I use paper between slide and vise so as not to mar the finish. Ensure your slide is level (Fig 2). Next check to see how deep your dovetail cut will need to be (Fig 3). Always measure your dovetail, because depth will vary from sight to sight, even from the same manufacturer. Next, see how far from the rear of the slide your cut should be (Fig 4). Alright, your slide is in your milling machine vise and level, and you know you need to make a pass with your carbide dovetail cutter spinning at 1100RPM, about .160 from the rear of the slide and .060 deep.front2s.jpg - 10994 Bytes The way I find the top of the slide with my bit is to put a piece of paper on the top of the slide, and with bit spinning and quill locked, slowly bring slide up to bit until bit just starts to grab paper and attempt to turn it. Since your paper is .003 thick then your bit is .003 from your slide top (Fig 5). Remove paper and move your slide several inches in to the right of your bit. Now slowly start to move slide left towards your bit untill it looks like (Fig 6). Stop when bit is just flush with front of slide. Slowly turn bit untill the longest part of the bit is flush with slide. Only move table in one direction to stay away from the backlash that is in all old machines. If you need to go backwards back up about 6 inches or more then come back in again fresh. front3s.jpg - 12196 Bytes Once you look like (Fig 6), zero your table and zero your knee dial. Now all you have to do is move your table to the left another .160, move slide in or out so you can raise table .063, and make a pass spinning at 1100 RPM. You should now look like (Fig 7). Once you make your pass, you can pull your slide from the vise and take it to your bench. Attempt to install your sight. You will probably find the sights dovetail is still too large to accommodate your sight. Using your 65Deg file from brownells, start on one end of the dovetailed sight until your sight tightly slides in. I usually attempt to create a slight taper on the sights dovetail such that the sight will install half way with finger pressure and then finish with a nylon rod and a small ball peen hammer. A quality install should not show any light after installed, either under dovetail or under sight blade. If you decide to serrate the front of your sight, I use a 40LPI checkering file, in (Fig 8) you can see a picture of the jig I use to help me keep the serrations straight. front4s.jpg - 11580 BytesIf you used a MGW front sight you will now need to drill a 1/16 hole for the pin. Ensure you spin the 1/16 bit very fast, (2000RPM) and use a slow feed, and clear chips often, or you might experience bit breakage. I use a 1/16 roll pin I make from stock. Afterwards coat roll pin in blue loctite and install in front sight. Don't go too far with it, or your bushing won't go in. All that is left to do is mill front sight height to suit. If your old sight was the right height, then measure from the inside of the slide to the top of the sight with a micrometer and mill new sight that height.
Thats all there is to it. Good Luck

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