View Full Version : old smith target model .38
05-01-2005, 04:43 PM
i have this old hand ejector model (i think), smith in .38 special that has the finest adjustable sights ive ever seen. the trigger pull and action is absolutly flawless.( wish you could buy a gun like this today). Anyways my problem,,, it has the front sight base milled right in the barrell steel and the sight itself is a slim blade with a slight rounded top to it, and this is pinned into the ramp. the only bullet i can find that will shoot close is a lyman 35887 127 gr. wadcutter, and this shoots about an inch or so high. any of the 150- 172 gr bullets shoot 8-10 inches high (with the rear sight screwed all the way down)! I shoot light charges of bullseye (2.5-3.0) with the 358311,358429 and rcbs158 and they are all to high. Where could i find a taller front sight or what kind of a load could i use to bring the p.o.i. down. Really like this old gun but it aint worth nothing shooting like this. I wonder if smith made this thing to shoot very light bullets way back then? By the way it has a 6.5 inch barrell.
I don't think there are any of the old sights for this gun left. The good news is that it is a pretty simple job to make a new front sight. I have duplicated a couple of these and any good machinest or gunsmith should be able to make you one. I'm bettin' that with the right load that old gun will still shoot possibles at 50 yard bullseye. That is a good find.
05-01-2005, 11:36 PM
.............Use feeler gages (stackem if you have to) to measure the width of the front sight blade. Get yourself to a hobbyshop, as these normally carry brass sheet, and shapes used for model building. Buy the closest thickness to what will fit, erring on the fat side. You can file or sand it the few thous difference you might need. Make it about 1/8" taller then what you currently have. Load some ammo and take a file with you to the range.
If you want a fatter front blade also buy some thinner brass and solder a piece to both sides of the new front blade. File it to a nice shape. You can buy brass black, but it won't really be black. You can also use a black marker to blacken it but this may still shine. Use sight black or smudge it up with a lighter.
I don't know how complicated the slot is. If it's just a straight flat bottom that's easiest but it may have a circular shape to it. Ideally steel would be much better for a front sight blade but it could be a bit more work. However it would blue.
The old 1893 Marllin 30-30 of my great grandfather's had a piece of an old quarter dollar soldered in for a front sight. This was on a dovetailed base and it looked cool.
05-02-2005, 07:48 AM
The "light charges of Bullseye" might be the key to your problem. When you slow down a bullet in a revolver barrel, it leaves the muzzle at a time the muzzle is higher in the recoil arc than when a bullet is moving faster--therefor hitting higher on target. Chances are, the wheeler was regulated for 158 grain RN like the 358311 at about 850 FPS. I understand about wanting to keep things low-pressure in a revolver of this vintage. Try Unique in place of B'eye, and "stair-step" 10 rounds each from 700-850 FPS. I'm guessing that at some point the hits will group in the 10-ring using a 6-o'clock hold. Point of aim/point of impact is a fairly recent doctrine in pistol sighting regimens--most of the older wheelers shoot a little high to the sights due to regulation for 6-o'clock holds, and for 50-yard distances.
05-02-2005, 05:16 PM
the load i shot of bullseye and the 358311 was going 718 f.p.s. average for 20 shots.Do you think if i get it up to 800 or so that it will bring it down 8 inches or so? I use a 6 oclock hold on a 3 inch bull. The way it is with the 158 grs. is that if i put the very tip of the front sight in the bottom of the rear sight than i can shoot closer,,,,but still 3 inches or so high. Anyway will probaly have to try making a taller front sight. thanks for the replies fellers........
05-02-2005, 06:01 PM
The revolver you have may have been specifically sighted for light bullet loads. This was a common pratice before WWII for accuracy, to save money and reduce recoil, for extended shooting events. Phil Sharp's book the Complete Guide to Handloading shows a variety of loads for the 38 Special, using light weight bullets and some discontinued powders. If you can get your hands on a copy of this book it is a wealth of information for older loadings. His loads start at 73 grains (bullet weight) and go up from there. A number of powders he lists are no longer available, but he does list velocities and pressures as well who developed the loading data. It is a good resource book for some of the older guns and calibers. Just my ramblings and may not be anything there to help you today. Good Luck.
05-02-2005, 06:44 PM
I usually make my front blades out of an old hinge.
Just sand the galvanized off to thickness, and start filing. It takes a good blue.
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