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Identifying an original Flat top rear sight
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ME
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November 25, 2023 - 3:15 pm
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Can anyone advise if there’s a way to distinguish an original Winchester flat top rear sight. I see several flat tops on guns or on eBay that appear to be filed down, some with serrations on the side, some without, some filed with a forward angle, some with the aperture insert & set screw & some without, and my 1905 catalog shows the edges have a tip upward like the photo below. It’s hard to tell sometimes which ones are original, especially if a little cold blue was applied to mask the filing. 

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November 25, 2023 - 6:30 pm
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Can’t answer your question, but catalog illustrations don’t always match exactly the “real thing.”  On top of that, minor production variations often creep into products manufactured over a long period, because changes are made to the tooling & jigs, somebody thinks of a “better way” to handle a procedure, etc.  

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November 25, 2023 - 6:55 pm
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  If the cut is crude, if the screw-locked insert or screw is trimmed it’s not original. Also the blue on the flat top has to be original to the sight. Shape and size may vary. T/R

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November 28, 2023 - 1:40 pm
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Thanks for replying. I’ve seen several lately that are filed down semi buckhorn 22 series described or listed as original flat top. I had a few 33 model 86 with original flat top sights but they’re long gone so I have nothing to compare to, but thought maybe there was something more definitive to identify an original. Did originals actually come with serrations because these are the majority that appear to be filed down. 

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November 28, 2023 - 3:51 pm
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RickC said Did originals actually come with serrations because these are the majority that appear to be filed down. 
  

Originals of which sight?  Before WWI, catalog drawings show serrations on the buckhorns, but not later catalogs. I’m a little skeptical that “so many” would take the trouble to do this mod. 

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November 28, 2023 - 4:29 pm
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clarence said

RickC said Did originals actually come with serrations because these are the majority that appear to be filed down. 

  

Originals of which sight?  Before WWI, catalog drawings show serrations on the buckhorns, but not later catalogs. I’m a little skeptical that “so many” would take the trouble to do this mod. 

  

Talking about the flat top rear sights that I see with serrations. I don’t recall any of the original flat tops that I had were with serrations. These flat tops with serrations always seem to be filed down semi buckhorn sights. Easy fix to make a flat top back in the day I guess!

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November 28, 2023 - 7:45 pm
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Rick,

There were at least several different variations of the Winchester Flat-top sporting rear sights manufactured over time, and the early variations did indeed have serrated sides (for easier grasping when moving the elevator piece).  Like Clarence, I am not of the belief that people took the time to “file down” an original full buckhorn sporting sight… way too much effort with no gain in the function of the sight.

The attached pictures are the original platinum lined Flat-top sight on my 50 Express high-wall (s/n 12302).

Bert

12302-50-95-WCF-022.jpegImage Enlarger12302-50-95-WCF-023.jpegImage Enlarger12302-50-95-WCF-024.jpegImage Enlarger

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November 28, 2023 - 7:51 pm
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Bert H. said
Rick,

There were at least several different variations of the Winchester Flat-top sporting rear sights manufactured over time, and the early variations did indeed have serrated sides (for easier grasping when moving the elevator piece).  Like Clarence, I am not of the belief that people took the time to “file down” an original full buckhorn sporting sight… way too much effort.

The attached pictures are the original platinum lined Flat-top sight on my 50 Express high-wall (s/n 12302).

Bert

12302-50-95-WCF-022.jpegImage Enlarger12302-50-95-WCF-023.jpegImage Enlarger12302-50-95-WCF-024.jpegImage Enlarger

  

Great examples and photos Bert. Thanks for advising flat tops also had serrations. It looks just like the one in the 1905 catalog. 

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November 28, 2023 - 8:07 pm
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  I have seen enough primitive file jobs on flat top sights to believe they were modified when tang sights were added. Instead of removing the rear sight when installing a tang sight the owner took a file to the top. If it’s crude it’s not original. The pictures Bert posted show a nice clean original sight, that’s not what I’m talking about. T/R

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November 28, 2023 - 8:31 pm
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TR said
  I have seen enough primitive file jobs on flat top sights to believe they were modified when tang sights were added. Instead of removing the rear sight when installing a tang sight the owner took a file to the top. If it’s crude it’s not original. The pictures Bert posted show a nice clean original sight, that’s not what I’m talking about. T/R

  

Yes I agree Thomas about being modified for a tang sight added. The crude ones are evident but some are done nicely with a little cold blue added to mask the altered sight. 
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November 28, 2023 - 9:31 pm
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  I have seen enough primitive file jobs on flat top sights to believe they were modified when tang sights were added. Instead of removing the rear sight when installing a tang sight the owner took a file to the top. If it’s crude it’s not original. TR said  

Plausible, esp if found on gun having tang sight.  Or maybe some previous owner had the brains to recognize what a bad idea all buckhorns are; every gun writer denounced them, but dopes don’t read. 

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