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  #1  
Old 12-12-2019, 10:46 AM
Jhp147 Jhp147 is offline
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Expensive/impossible fix

This picture is a Commander slide. The rear dovetail was enlarged at the base to accept a Novak sight, including milling down the slide, with this as the result. I was asked if it could be repaired. My responses were based on things I have seen here. Options-1. Caspian for a new slide.2-Maybe could be rewelded/re-milled with a "Dutchman" type block then re-cut to regular spec dovetail and 3. Have someone fabricate a rear sight for the "one of one" short Novak cut. I'm not even remotely a 'smith, so I thought I'd bring this here and ask some.
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Butchered Dovetail Mil to Novak.PNG  
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  #2  
Old 12-12-2019, 11:17 AM
donw donw is offline
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Shouldn't be a big deal. The original dovetail looks as though it was just enlarged front to rear rather than deepened. If so, then the slide should be able to be cut as normal for a standard Novak installation.
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  #3  
Old 12-12-2019, 11:25 AM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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I saw a similar case on another board. My advice was to learn to love it.
Yours is worse.
1. A new slide will cost $250-$300 or more depending on options and finish.
I don't know what a Dutchman or a one-off sight would cost, but I would be leaning to a sight made to fit the existing dovetail and flat.
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  #4  
Old 12-12-2019, 11:57 AM
SFSMedic SFSMedic is offline
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Not a difficult repair. Should be pretty easily salvageable.


Brett Cifaldi

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  #5  
Old 12-12-2019, 01:11 PM
BBBBill BBBBill is offline
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I'm with Don on this one. That dovetail looks to be stock depth and wider front to back. A properly machined Novak dovetail completely removes the old dovetail down to the bottom of the cut, leaving a flat surface for machining a new, correctly positioned dovetail of the correct width for a Novak sight. I'm guessing that it either was not finished or that it has a very tall front sight. Best answer is to send it to one of the pros here or even to Novak as they cut slides every day. Just don't send it to Novak with that non-Novak brand sight installed.
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  #6  
Old 12-12-2019, 01:17 PM
Jhp147 Jhp147 is offline
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The sight that is in it is Novak spec'ed dovetail size. A cutter was in fact broken cutting it going down into the slide from the original factory mil-spec dovetail. It is now like .495 front to back at the base of the dovetail at at the same centered location as the factory sight dovetail. Wish I had better pics or had explained it better. The person doing it used the spec from the Novak web site, but did not take into account how far forward it had to be compared to the factory sight, I think.
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Last edited by Jhp147; 12-12-2019 at 04:41 PM. Reason: Detail added for clarity.
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  #7  
Old 12-12-2019, 02:51 PM
SFSMedic SFSMedic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jhp147 View Post
The sight that is in it is Novak spec'ed dovetail size. A cutter was in fact broken cutting it going down into the slide from the original factory mil-spec dovetail. It is now like .495 front to back at the base of the dovetail at at the same centered location as the factory sight dovetail. Wish I had better pics or had explained it better. The person doing it used the spec from the Novak web site, but did not take into account how far forward it had to be compared to the factory sight, I think.


Just saw your PM. Responded. I was dealing with a near mishap with a water heater. Got lucky heh.


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  #8  
Old 12-12-2019, 05:05 PM
Jhp147 Jhp147 is offline
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Pics and measurements

I appreciate all the help here. Trying to get around new slide due to fitting complications, have an offer to look at it. Here are a couple of pics that show it better. There is not a flat behind the top of the dovetail. Bottom of dovetail is .475, top is .392. Click image for larger version

Name:	dovetail 2.jpeg
Views:	39
Size:	955.8 KB
ID:	569644

Click image for larger version

Name:	last rear dovetail.jpeg
Views:	37
Size:	736.0 KB
ID:	569646
Bottom line is it is fixable, much moreso than I thought. I appeciate all the help, you have saved this guy's old .38 Super Commander's life.
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Last edited by Jhp147; 12-12-2019 at 05:26 PM.
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  #9  
Old 12-12-2019, 05:16 PM
SFSMedic SFSMedic is offline
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Looks like all they did was recut the existing mil spec dovetail. This should be a very straightforward job for a qualified 1911 smith.


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  #10  
Old 12-12-2019, 05:58 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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Simple (with a mill).
Cut off the projection to the rear of the male dovetail.
Slot the male dovetail block.
Press, solder, or glue in a flat blade.

I have a CZ 75 done that way to get more prominent sights without major surgery on the hind end of the slide. Not ugly.
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  #11  
Old 12-12-2019, 10:48 PM
BBBBill BBBBill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jhp147 View Post
The sight that is in it is Novak spec'ed dovetail size. A cutter was in fact broken cutting it going down into the slide from the original factory mil-spec dovetail. It is now like .495 front to back at the base of the dovetail at at the same centered location as the factory sight dovetail. Wish I had better pics or had explained it better. The person doing it used the spec from the Novak web site, but did not take into account how far forward it had to be compared to the factory sight, I think.
The size is not in question. The location and depth is. As noted before, the location appears to be the stock location with the original depth, just cut wider for the sight. A proper Novak dovetail is not cut that way. Specific machining details are widely available and have been posted on this site as well as others.

In a nutshell the new Novak spec dovetail should be .210" +/- .002" from the top of the slide and the flat behind the dovetail should be .085" +/- .001" from the top of the slide. You dovetail is not that deep and there is no flat to the rear of the dovetail. Your dovetail is too far to the rear. The back of the sight should be flush with the back of the slide. It all appears to be easily salvageable with no welding/soldering required.

Last edited by BBBBill; 12-13-2019 at 03:37 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #12  
Old 12-13-2019, 01:10 AM
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Wilsonedbrown Wilsonedbrown is offline
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You may be able to flat top the slide and recut the site cuts to remove the old cut..
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  #13  
Old 12-13-2019, 09:13 AM
Jhp147 Jhp147 is offline
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I've been covered up with helpful assistance, options way beyond what I expected-just hearing input has taught me a BUNCH in my contining effort to learn about working on these guns. When you can just ask and get a reply from some of the most well-known and knowledgeable people in this game, that is reminds me why I stay around this forum. I'm in the process of setting up to send the slide off for a fix that some responses have indicated were MUCH easier than what I imagined. If the measurements and depth are where they appear to be, I'll get it fixed and post a pick.
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Last edited by Jhp147; 12-14-2019 at 08:31 AM.
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  #14  
Old 12-14-2019, 06:31 AM
Rwehavinfunyet Rwehavinfunyet is offline
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Recutting a slide.....

Dawson Precision out of Florence, Texas, is a good source for gunsmithing and parts. Dave Dawson has a very successful business, and has been in the firearms business for quite some time...!
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  #15  
Old 12-14-2019, 09:18 AM
Smokey99 Smokey99 is offline
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Mill the slide to accept a MRDS!
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  #16  
Old 12-19-2019, 04:18 PM
SFSMedic SFSMedic is offline
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The impossible expensive fix has been accomplished simply and inexpensively.


Brett Cifaldi

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  #17  
Old 12-19-2019, 04:32 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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That worked out well, the botched installation was so shallow that the correct cut wiped it out.
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  #18  
Old 12-19-2019, 04:35 PM
SFSMedic SFSMedic is offline
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He basically extended the mil spec dovetail forward. Which is the height of the flat for the Novak. Luckily not to far forward.


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  #19  
Old 12-19-2019, 11:05 PM
Sistema1927 Sistema1927 is offline
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All's well that ends well, but the person who did the original job should have a horse whip taken to them.
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  #20  
Old 12-20-2019, 09:35 AM
Jhp147 Jhp147 is offline
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I wanted to mention that Brett's at Cifaldi Precision has been great to work with and I appreciate his communication and fast work. After seeing that no flat had been milled and how to compare the sight dovetail to the serrations as a fixed reference point, I was able to understand what he was explaining about the repair. It was not near the train wreck I thought. It has been a good learning opportunity for me. I don't know how to run a mill but would like to some day. As for the person who did the original job, I can say that he no longer poses a danger to any 1911s.
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  #21  
Old 12-21-2019, 10:18 AM
azpoolguy azpoolguy is offline
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That’s a good save.
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  #22  
Old 12-21-2019, 10:21 AM
SFSMedic SFSMedic is offline
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Now to fix the front sight install done by the previous guy as well.




Brett Cifaldi

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  #23  
Old 12-21-2019, 10:56 AM
Jolly Rogers Jolly Rogers is offline
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Some people have not learned what their limitations are for sure!
Were the cuts done on a mill? Front sight cut looks off. Not to mention what he did to the poor sight itself...
Joe
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Last edited by Jolly Rogers; 12-21-2019 at 10:58 AM.
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  #24  
Old 12-21-2019, 02:10 PM
Dustin_Housel Dustin_Housel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFSMedic View Post
Now to fix the front sight install done by the previous guy as well.




Brett Cifaldi

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Sure looks to be done by hand. Yikes. Dutchman or custom? Damn I made a rhyme.

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  #25  
Old 12-21-2019, 03:24 PM
Jhp147 Jhp147 is offline
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It was a “video class certified” gunsmith. He allegedly used a mill. He evidently used a jackhammer punch on that expensive Trijicon HD sight. I hope I’m at the shop when the owner picks it up, he is going to be really happy with Brett’s work.
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