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Old 02-18-2012, 02:08 PM
MRW MRW is offline
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Colt 1903 32 Replacement Sights?

I picked up a nice chromed 1903 at the gun show recently. It shoots rather well but the front sight gives me a headache just trying to focus on it, especially because it's chromed. I can probably find a replacement dovetailed rear sight, but the front sight has me puzzled.

Is it staked in like a 1911 sight? Will a 1911 sight work as a replacement? I have the tools to re-stake a 1911 front sight and was considering doing the work myself, but didn't want to start until I had some idea of where to go.

Any advice would be great.

If you look like food... you will be eaten.

Don't be so open minded that your brains fall out!
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:57 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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Yes it's staked in, but the factory sight is taller than a 1911 sight. I've known guys who used a 1903 sight as a replacement for an early 1911 by filing it down, but of course finding the part is going to be really tough. Nobody has made that style of sight for many decades.
Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1946 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:49 AM
MRW MRW is offline
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So would it be possible to get a 1911 front sight with a narrow tennon (I assume) and use it with a lower rear sight? I don't necessarily want to duplicate the original front blade profile, but would like a post of some kind, maybe with a white dot. don't they make tall 1911 sights that might work?

I'm looking to build a useable shooter pistol for my wife or as a trainer for my kids. The only liability right now is the sights. Sorry that I wasn't clear about that in my original post.

thanks again!
If you look like food... you will be eaten.

Don't be so open minded that your brains fall out!

Last edited by MRW; 02-19-2012 at 10:51 AM. Reason: revised
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:58 PM
BBBBill BBBBill is offline
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Location: Alabama and Florida, US
Posts: 9,459
Originally Posted by MRW View Post
So would it be possible to get a 1911 front sight with a narrow tennon?...
MGW makes several narrow tenon 1911 sights that might work as a sight blank for your application.
brownells stock numbers w/retail prices. Prices may be a little out of date, but won't be off by much. Trade prices are a bit less.
Plain black post - 584-006-345 , $9.11
Serrated ramp, black - 584-007-145 , $9.11
Serrated ramp, white dot - 584-006-545 , $11.27

Brownells order line - 800-741-0015

I recommend the serrated ramp as it is sloped on the rear face while the plain post is vertical with no serrations. I do not recommend the white dot. If you end up having to file the sight top to zero elevation, your dot will be off in relation to the top of the sight and you might actually/most likey will cut into the dot before you get it zeroed. The MGW is .195", taller than either early 1911's or 1903's.

I don't know what the tenon dimensions are on a 1903, but if it is the round pin configuration of the original 1911, a few strokes of a file should get it adjusted enough to slip in. You can expect to have to make slight tweaks no matter what. Just normal fitting as all guns and all sights are subject to vary a little bit. Now, how do you intend to stake it? The slide dimensions may prevent you from using your current tools. You might have to fabricate another tool for the job.
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:42 PM
herman07 herman07 is offline
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I have seen some that have sent the 1903 slide to Novaks and had front and rear dovetails milled. Opens the door for many sight options.
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:00 PM
Dave in Idaho Dave in Idaho is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Idaho
Posts: 131
Contact Cylinder and Slide. They did a complete upgrade on a 1903 for a magazine article last year I think. They should be able to give you a direction to go.
Well not exactly but methinx an excellent resource none the less.
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