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Easist way to make a new sight look old
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March 30, 2018 - 1:09 am
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Hi all, i just purchased a new Marbles tang sight for my 112 year old M1894 rifle. Obviously it looks very out of place on a well worn rifle with a nice patina. Now I would like to artificially age the new sight. I’ve tried 0000 steel wool which has taken the sheen off the sight after 2 hours but not removed a significant amount of the bluing. I don’t want to do anything to impair the function plus I only want to wear away the finish on contact surfaces while leaving bluing in protected areas. Ideas?

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March 30, 2018 - 2:22 am
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 Mark, welcome to the inexact art of gun smoozing. rule (1) Do not do it unless you can live with the results, good or bad. rule (2) It usually turns out bad. rule (3) Try it on something cheap first. That said, new blue can be darken by warming the part and applying Birchwood/Casey Plum Brown barrel finish. Temperature is key, start with the metal  hot to the touch and if that doesn’t work try again a little warmer. Do not get it hot enough to make the browning solution sizzle on the metal, you won’t like the color. Use a small cloth to apply solution evenly, when your done rinse with water. You can use your oooo steel wool and oil after to tone. This method has produced a dark purple to brown smooth finish when applied over new blue. Removing blue is simple, use courser steel wool or Scotchbrite. My advice, buy a sight that matches your gun, you can always spot a smooz job! T/R

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March 30, 2018 - 5:04 am
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Best scenario would be to buy a vintage sight that would match the gun.  You can try using a copper brush on the surface, works decent on replacement screws.

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March 30, 2018 - 11:34 am
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Thanks for the advice. I have tried the vintage sight route. The gun came with a 1A Lymans mounted and I also tried a vintage Marbles W1. Both sights had enough play that they were affected by recoil. My intention is to use this gun for long range (up to 200 yards) competition so repeatability is important. The bluing or copper brush may work. I guess I need to start more aggressive and work my way to a smoother finish. I’ll post some pictures in process ASAP 

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March 30, 2018 - 4:32 pm
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Leave it outside in the rain for a few months and You’ll have a good “Rustic” patina on it.Laugh

J/K

Maverick

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April 2, 2018 - 1:30 am
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[email protected] said
Thanks for the advice. I have tried the vintage sight route. The gun came with a 1A Lymans mounted and I also tried a vintage Marbles W1. Both sights had enough play that they were affected by recoil.   

Certainly true of well-worn Lymans, & there are various shifts to compensate partially for wear of the staff & collar; would appear that Lyman didn’t harden moving parts, but I could be wrong.  But any “slop” in the Marbles I’ve used always disappeared when the lock ring was tightened down. The “new” Marbles I’ve seen look crude in comparison with the originals.

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April 2, 2018 - 1:38 am
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Maverick said
Leave it outside in the rain for a few months and You’ll have a good “Rustic” patina on it.Laugh

J/K

Maverick  

A know-nothing (or practical-joker!) once told me that burying brass parts in the soil for a few weeks was an easy way to produce an authentic-looking patina. I was gullible enough to try it.  Result: horribly splotched & corroded parts that had to be heavily buffed to be made useable for anything!

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April 2, 2018 - 6:24 pm
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A successful fix I discovered for tang sights to lock the shaft in place:

–round rubber washer of a thickness that, when cut, will snuggly fit the shaft tube.  (But–too tight of a rubber width, and you’ll likely have “fun” trying to remove the section if necessary.)

–cut a length from the washer a tad longer than the height of the base of the shaft when it is in the position for accurate shooting.

–thread the section of washer into shaft hole.

–insert shaft and tighten.

If your washer section is the proper length, tightening the shaft will press the rubber down until the shaft won’t move down.  At this point, the shaft will not move when shooting.  The shaft can be adjusted slightly higher from here and still not budge from recoil.

Sometimes it takes trial/error to find the perfect length of rubber.

On Lyman sights, there is a small window into the tube near its base.  If you need to remove the rubber section, a toothpick or a pointed tool poked through the window will facilitate easy removal of the rubber.  Can’t remember what I used on Marbles–Maybe just gravity? or a thin screw?  This getting old and losing one’s mind doesn’t make for the best instruction!

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April 3, 2018 - 5:50 pm
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Attached are my initial results using a brass wire wheel on my bench grinder. My goal is to imitate long term wear on touch, or contact surfaces, while leaving protected areas alone. Next step is to add a little rust color as the sight is wrapped in a damp rag and then it will be placed in a leather bag and worn daily for a week or two.

Marbles-aged-01.jpgImage EnlargerMarbles-aged-03.jpgImage Enlarger

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April 3, 2018 - 6:17 pm
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 Mark, Why would you age a sight that doesn’t even remotely look like a original? A 100 year old 1894 deserves better than that. T/R

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April 3, 2018 - 8:18 pm
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TR said
 Mark, Why would you age a sight that doesn’t even remotely look like a original? A 100 year old 1894 deserves better than that. T/R  

I am of the same mind…..Why not just buy an original that has naturally aged.  There is a plethora of them on ebay ranging from $100-250…..Aren’t newer production Marble’s sights about $100 new anyways??

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April 4, 2018 - 2:38 am
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[email protected] said
Attached are my initial results using a brass wire wheel on my bench grinder. My goal is to imitate long term wear on touch, or contact surfaces, while leaving protected areas alone. Next step is to add a little rust color as the sight is wrapped in a damp rag and then it will be placed in a leather bag and worn daily for a week or two.
 
   

These are made, no doubt, for installation on new pseudo-Winchesters, Marlins, etc., and for that purpose, they’re good enough.  But nothing you can do will make it look “right” on an antique gun!

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April 4, 2018 - 3:03 am
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My shooting buddy has a method that has worked well enough for him. I’ll ask him next time he gets a kitchen pass. Personally I just install a Marble sight and shoot it! I also install a sight blank in the rear sight dovetail and place the rear sight, tang screws and where applicable, the front sight hood in a carefully labelled bag in my parts box.

I’ll never try to pass a modern sight off as original but I’ll also never pass up a chance to shoot a bona fide piece of American history. My presbyopia be damned! I’m going to shoot this thing!

I think I have a new siggy line.

 

Mike

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April 4, 2018 - 2:18 pm
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I tried two different old tang sights, the Lyman that was on the gun as purchased, and a Marbles “W1″ sight. Both had enough play in the at the raised position that they weren’t consistent at the range. Also, neither had a small enough aperture (.030”) for target shooting, which is what I will do with this particular gun. I may even use it in some competitions in the future. I’ll save the the Lyman for another Winchester.

I’ve no intention to attempt to fake a new sight to look like an old sight in order to pull something over on someone or to make a sale. Like my other guns, this gun will never be for sale in my lifetime. All I am looking for is better performance at the range. When I looked at the new sight on the gun as the sight was delivered it looked so out of place I knew I had to do something to make it more closely match.

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April 4, 2018 - 5:16 pm
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W1’s are threaded for swapping apertures.

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April 4, 2018 - 11:54 pm
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Yeah, I tried two, one was about .050 and the other considerably larger. I could have probably made my own by filling the larger with silver solder and redrilling to .030.

BTW, the gun is pretty accurate even with the loose Lyman sight. I shot a best 5 shot group of 1.31 inch at 50 yards off the bench using a sandbag forearm rest. Not bad for a 112 year old lever action, but I digress. 

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April 5, 2018 - 8:10 pm
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I think I got my responses mixed up.  Restorers like Turnbull can age any of the finishes that they do so it looks like the rest of the gun.  Price is another question. 

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April 5, 2018 - 8:12 pm
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Digress Away!

I’ve tried to live a clean life–It is said that in Heaven they eat hot fudge sundaes for breakfast while they chat about Winchesters.  So, your note on accuracy makes for sublime conversation.

Oh, yeah. . . In Hell, sundaes are obviously not on the menu.  And–it’s Hell!–so no talk of Winchesters!

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April 10, 2018 - 11:55 pm
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Here’s the finished project after purchasing new screws from Marbles. The old Lyman screws don’t work in the new Marbles mount. I also installed a .41 inch Marbles front sight with 1/16 bead.

20180410_193154.jpgImage Enlarger20180410_193228.jpgImage Enlarger

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