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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I can’t speak to how Ruger aligns it’s sights at the factory, but the design whether it’s the old style sight or the newer winged sight uses a pin that fits in a hole drilled through both the sight and about a half pin diameter of the barrel.



Normally, when you are fitting a new front sight to a Mini 14 or rifle with a similar sight design, you ensure it is zeroed (in windage at least) and then clamp the action or barrel in a vice to prevent any movement of the rifle and adjust the vice and or a target dot so that the sights are aligned on a target dot several feet or yards away. You then remove the old front sight, slip fit the new front sight and rotate it until you have proper alignment of the rear sight, front sight and target. Then you drill the new hole through the sight and barrel. Using that approach you don’t end up any worse off than you were with the old sight.

Choate front sights come with a divot in the side of the sight that allows you to center the pilot drill, and with a drill press or milling table, you get a nice properly trued hole through the sight and barrel, and then you upsize the hole to the final dimensions.

Lacking a jig, getting things not to move from the vice to the drill press or milling table can be accomplished with one of the green loctite compounds designed for cylindrical fit operations and you have a few minutes to align things before it sets up. 641 has a lower maximum temp of 300 degrees F which makes it easier to remove the sight if you screw up the alignment or wand to replace it. 620 withstands a temp of 450 degrees for at least 30 minutes, and up to 600 degrees F for shorter periods. Choose wisely based on your needs.

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Several years go I bought a Mini 14 ranch rifle as surplus from the NC department of corrections. It had a monstrosity of a muzzle device that served as bayonet lug, flash suppressor and front sight. The device was pinned, but unfortunately the front sight was on the opposite end of a rotating piece that held the bayonet lug. The set screw provided was not enough to hold it in place. NC DOC didn’t care as they scoped their rifles.

But it meant that when I replaced the front sight I had no baseline for alignment of the new front sight.



However, since I was using a Choate front sigh, which like the old style Ruger sight has a lot of surface area in contact with the barrel and was a snug fit to start with, I was able to zero it without drilling the sight. I wrapped a piece of tape around the rear of the sight and another piece of tape behind it on the barrel. I made an index mark on both pieces, rotated the front sight as needed to zero the rifle in windage and then made a second set of index marks.

Given that unfortunate barrel already had two holes in it from the two prior front sights, I wasn’t real excited about drilling another hole in it. I degreased that section of the barrel as well as the inside of the sight and used Loctite 620 to secure the sight to the barrel, using the alignment marks to ensure proper alignment. I then shot a group to confirm it was dead on with the rear sight mechanically centered before the compound set up.

I let it cure and then out a couple 30 round magazines through it rapid fire to bring the barrel temp up as hot as I’d ever anticipate it getting and didn‘t even get half way to the 450 F mark at the front sight location per my infrared thermometer. As such, I didn’t bother drilling and pinning it. It’s never moved or loosened.



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Looking at your replacement sight it appears to be 3D printed and designed to use the existing hole in the barrel with holes already present in the sight. That makes installation easy, but proper zero with a mechanically centered rear sight, would require a) the new front sight to be identical to the old front sight, and b) the rifle close enough in overall mechanical alignment that Ruger didn’t have to drill the original hole very far off the vertical.

That doesn’t appear to be the case with your rifle and sight.

You could move the sight slightly fore or aft so that it still covers the original hole and drill a new one, after using the above process to get proper alignment. The challenge will be hitting the hole on the opposite side of the sight when you drill from the front side through the barrel. That takes very precise alignment with a drill press or mill.

A crutch there is to drill the hole half way through from both sides. A roll pin should be flexible enough to negotiate any minor alignment error, and the error is now on the inside where it doesn’t show.

You could also just use Loctite 620 and see if you have enough surface area to secure it.
Thanks for the detailed response. I installed one of those Choate sights on my other mini-14, and I ended up using epoxy to set the new Choate front sight to zero, and once it was set, then I drilled the new hole through the top of my barrel.

I guess I can't use the existing drilled out Groove that secured my factory front sight for the new front sight. It sounds like I will have to drill a New Groove for the new front sight, or just deal with keeping it slammed all the way to the left...

When I drilled out the groove for the choate front sight, I used a portable drill press and it worked out great.


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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
"proper zero with a mechanically centered rear sight, would require a) the new front sight to be identical to the old front sight, and b) the rifle close enough in overall mechanical alignment that Ruger didn’t have to drill the original hole very far off the vertical."

- from Model52

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If not already mentioned, the centerline of the blade may not be centerline of the bore on the sight.

If you know how and have the proper tools, you could verify if that's an issue.
 

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Before I changed front sights, everything was aligned fine...
I damaged my stock front sight, so I removed it (very difficult) and installed a new Cogburn Arsenal HK style front sight... and, for some reason, I had to push the rear aperture extreme left to get it zeroed.
When looking down the rifle to the front sight, the new front sight appears square and straight... not sure what's causing the extreme deviation...
But, are you saying alignment of the front and rear sights doesn't follow the same analysis of aligning a scope, for example, with its zero (bore axis)??.. the way the line of sight, factored in with height over bore, causes your rifle to basically only be zeroed at one point?

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You say you damaged the front sight, are you sure that is all the damage that was done?
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
You say you damaged the front sight, are you sure that is all the damage that was done?
Yes.
The red dot I had on before changing the front sights still held zero.
There's nothing wrong with the barrel/ gun.
It has to do with not reusing the same groove in the barrel for a new sight.

The red dot held zero, and accuracy is consistent with the red dot before and after.

Apparently, the amount of movement in the rear aperture isn't the same as with the corresponding movement to the front sight.
The front sight just doesn't look that off... but, you can clearly see the amount the rear aperture is moved off center to get the irons zeroed

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This reminds me of the initial sighting-in procedure for M1 and M1A/M-14 rifles. In that case, the rear sight aperture was centered, and then the front sight blade was moved in its dovetail to provide initial windage adjustment. This allowed maximum adjustability of windage on rear sight, and perfect windage initial zero.

OP, if the current set-up bothers you, you are going to need to re-mount the front sight and drill a new hole for its cross-pin. Suggest using the included setscrew in the unit for initial windage adjustment of front sight, with rear sight centered. Once the FS is correctly adjusted for windage, lock it in position with setscrew, and drill new slot for the pin.

IIRC, I have heard of some users using high-temp red loctite or high temp epoxy in lieu of the cross-drilled pin. In that event, the setscrew is given a slight "point" at its tip (make sure the "point" is centered), and the corresponding point on the barrel is given a slight divot with an appropriate drill bit to accommodate the pointed "tip" of the setscrew. When making final installation of setscrew, use appropriate hi-temp loc-tite, and DO NOT over-tighten the setscrew. Finger tight plus a little tug on the Allen wrench will prevent the over-tightened setscrew from creating a "high point" inside the bore of the barrel.

Any work you do will be covered by the collar of the OEM front sight if it is re-installed.
 

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This reminds me of the initial sighting-in procedure for M1 and M1A/M-14 rifles. In that case, the rear sight aperture was centered, and then the front sight blade was moved in its dovetail to provide initial windage adjustment. This allowed maximum adjustability of windage on rear sight, and perfect windage initial zero.

OP, if the current set-up bothers you, you are going to need to re-mount the front sight and drill a new hole for its cross-pin. Suggest using the included setscrew in the unit for initial windage adjustment of front sight, with rear sight centered. Once the FS is correctly adjusted for windage, lock it in position with setscrew, and drill new slot for the pin.

IIRC, I have heard of some users using high-temp red loctite or high temp epoxy in lieu of the cross-drilled pin. In that event, the setscrew is given a slight "point" at its tip (make sure the "point" is centered), and the corresponding point on the barrel is given a slight divot with an appropriate drill bit to accommodate the pointed "tip" of the setscrew. When making final installation of setscrew, use appropriate hi-temp loc-tite, and DO NOT over-tighten the setscrew. Finger tight plus a little tug on the Allen wrench will prevent the over-tightened setscrew from creating a "high point" inside the bore of the barrel.

Any work you do will be covered by the collar of the OEM front sight if it is re-installed.
That horse has already been beat. It’s quicker and easier to use index marks on pieces of tape to mark the position of the sight when its zeroed for windage with a mechanically zeroed rear sight. No real need for pointy set screws, drill bits and divots.

Also green Loctite, not red Loctite, is designed for cylindrical fit operations. 620 is the high temp version. It still has about 70% of its original strength at 250 C / 482 F and requires heating to 300 degree C / 572 F for about 30 minutes for removal.
 

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Aside from your very informative comments on various loc-tite compounds, I stand by my original comments with NO offense to you. Other users have used the same procedures as I have suggested, in the past, to good effect.

What has worked well in the past, following proven procedures, is likely to work well in the present.

I understand that "past procedures" can -and should be- modified in light of new methods and materials. That is not the case here.

IIRC, what I proposed is very close, if not identical to, original Choate installation instructions.
 
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