Installing iron sights

Discussion in 'Large-Bore/Small-Bore Rifle/Shotgun' started by RunningOnMT, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. RunningOnMT

    RunningOnMT New Member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Akron, Ohio
    Most centerfire rifles these days come without them, offering either already scoped models or those drilled and tapped for scopes.

    -How much is involved with installing a set of front and rear iron sights on these?

    -What if any drawbacks or limitations are there to doing this?

    -What is the procedure for aligning the sites radially on the rifle barrel?

    -I'd prefer a military style peep sight mounted on the receiver rather than the typical barrel mounted V notch or buckhorn sights. Any problems with that?

    -What about the front sight? Do these require welding or are there any that compression mount with a barrel ring?

    -And finally, is there any way an installation like this could be done by the average gun owner or is this strictly a job for a gunsmith.

    -What would be the typical cost?

    Any info would be appreciated.
  2. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Usually the barrel has a slot milled in for both sights, and the sights are simply drifted into the slots. Unless you are an experienced machinist this is a job that should be trusted to someone who has experience in this process. Check with a local gun smith, the cost shouldn't be high for instalation, however, the sights them selves may cost a lot more. A smith can help you decide which sights you want. Personally I would install some flip down rear sights, that way you can add a scope at a later date. If your rear sights don't fold down, you would have to use some high rise mounts for a scope.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012

  3. gunplumber

    gunplumber New Member

    Apr 14, 2010
    My experience is that guns that come from the fac without sights are not dovetail cut for them nor are they drilled and tapped (cntr fire). The least exp way to install sights on these are to use the type that are screw on. Then you just need to drill and tap the holes. Have a smith do this or a good machinest because you could end up with a gun that looks like a rabid woodpecker got hold of it. Just a couple degrees diff from front to back hole alignment will look like a wreck. $15.00 per hole is about right around here. Milling cuts are 45-65.00. Used Win, Rem or Savage take-off sight sets are 35-55.00. Folks have dinked-up more rifles tryng to put holes in the right places with a WalMart drill press than you can say grace over.....:eek: Also there is a formula for front sight height compared to rear to allow for adjustment. Since most bbls are tapered, the position of one in relation to the other will allow the most adjustment. Doing this seemingly simple job incorrectly has caused more bad public relations than just about anything else in the gun business; trust me.
  4. RunningOnMT

    RunningOnMT New Member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Akron, Ohio
    Thanks guys. I'd basically like to end up with a scoped rifle that can also use iron sights without removing the scope. Am considering purchasing a Howa .308 for the project.
  5. CHW2021

    CHW2021 Well-Known Member

    Feb 16, 2009
    My .02 is to install a rear peep sight and have a "slip on" type front sight soldered to the front of the barrel. The rear sight (ex. williams fool proof) would need only to have holes drilled and tapped at the unstressed rear of the receiver; having a dovetail cut in the barrel for conventional sights would possibly harm accuracy. The barrel can tolerate low temp solder at the front of the barrel, milling a dovetail would probably cause stress to the barrel during the heat caused by firing that can really affect accuracy.
    Your best bet would be to have a gunsmith install your sights as he would likely have the tools for properly aligning them.

    There are front sights that can be clamped or attached to a mounted block, generally for target rifles. What type rifle are you using?
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  6. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

    Jan 11, 2010
    ROMT you can get look through scope mounts

    and theres a heap of options for mounting foresights as long as you get it straight!

    and even more options for rear iron or peep sights
  7. al45lc

    al45lc Active Member

    Mar 8, 2010
    colorful colorado
    This is where a good Smithy is worth the price. The "average" gunowner hasn't a clue to sight alighnment, temps for silver soldering and so on.
    Although dovetails aren't that tough to do, it still takes skills that are best left to be developed somewhere else, not on your gun.
    The greater the distance betwen the sights, the greater the accuracy, and the more precise the alighnment must be.
    Then there's touch up blueing or parkerizing and it just gets way over most people's skills. Not to mention time spent without good modern equipment like a Smithy has.
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