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Thread: Best Shim Stock Material for Blued Steel and where to get it

  1. #1
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    Default Best Shim Stock Material for Blued Steel and where to get it

    I've got an old Marlin Model 60 that I swapped the rear sight on last year and now shoots way too high. I removed the factory v-notch type rear sight and replaced it with a Williams peep sight mounted on the 38 dove tail rail. Now the gun shoots at least 6" high, even at 10 yards. I've run out of adjustment on the elevation. Because my son likes the peep sight SO much better than the original, I'm going to try shimming the front sight to raise it up, so it will lower the point of impact.

    What is the best material to use for shim stock on a project like this? (Aluminum? Brass?) Where can I buy some locally (in Anchorage)?

    At this point, I'm considering hacking up a soda can and using that.

    Also, do the shims (I assume I'll need more than one layer) need to cover the entire bottom of the front sight ramp (necessitating me to drill a hole for the attaching screw), or will two pieces, one in the font and one in the rear of the ramp, suffice?

    Lastly, does anyone have any idea how much change in front sight elevation will change point of impact? (for example, if I add .030 of shim under the sight, how far will that move the bullet point of impact at say 50 yards?)

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    You can use aluminum, brass, steel, material really doesn't matter as it's not structural and any metal will do the trick. Personally I'd go with a one piece shim with a hole for the screw, less chance of it falling out and the shim should be the same size as the sight base.

    As far as figuring out how height changes the point of impact, it's a simple algebraic equation. Not knowing how far apart the sights are, I'll assume they are two feet apart. So, to calculate for the shim it's sight distance vs range 2'/150' = X/6" where X equals shim thickness and 6" is the desired change to POI. Or, X = 2*6/150 where X = 0.08". Adding an 0.080" shim will probably require a longer screw. If you want to calculate change in POI for a given shim height the equation is 150'/2' = X/0.03 or X = 150*.03/2 where X = 2.25". You can substitute your actual distance between the sights for the 2 I put in for 2' to get a more accurate number for your gun.
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    Well, I'm a history teacher for a reason; there is no such thing as anything simple in Algebra. =) (Actually, I can do that math lol.) Thanks for the lesson. I think I'll hack up a coke can and mic that for starters and see what that gets me. I wonder if Ace/True value carry a longer screw in the same dia. and thread pitch. (I hadn't accounted for that, yet.) I seem to recall gun screws are an odd thread pitch (like a -48 instead of -32, or something like that.)

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I think you'll have to go to a gun shop or gunsmith to get a longer screw. You're correct that guns use extra fine pitch screws and I'd be amazed to find one at a hardware store.

    Quick google search showed soda cans are roughly 0.004" thick, going to take quite a few shims. Also it's pretty tough to drill thin materials, probably be easier to just put the shim on a piece of wood and hammer a nail through it to make your hole or at least have a nice pilot hole to finish with the drill.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    Yeah, that ain't going to work. .080 would require 20 pcs of aluminum. This is going to require more forethought and expense than I had hoped for. Step one is to go back and shoot and an exact distance on a paper target and measure an exact point of impact. Then do the math. Then I'm going ot have to find some no kidding shim stock (maybe AIH will have some), and then do the work. I was hoping to just slap a few pcs of metal under there and go. That's okay. This will turn out a better product in the end. Guess I better pull that front sight screw and order a new one from Brownell's while I'm at it.

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    Thar be other ways to make your front sight higher.

    You can probably buy a higher sight that will fit your gun. I've done that several times. Look on Brownells.

    You might have a bead sight, but if it were a square post, you can solder more on the top and file it down. I've done that, but I'm a good solderer.

    One time Andy raised a front sight for me by welding more material on top so I could file it down to what I needed. He can even MAKE a new sight from the old one. (Using metal from an old Car.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Thar be other ways to make your front sight higher.

    You can probably buy a higher sight that will fit your gun. I've done that several times. Look on Brownells.

    You might have a bead sight, but if it were a square post, you can solder more on the top and file it down. I've done that, but I'm a good solderer.

    One time Andy raised a front sight for me by welding more material on top so I could file it down to what I needed. He can even MAKE a new sight from the old one. (Using metal from an old Car.)

    Smitty of the North
    Hmmm. Those are some interesting ideas I hadn't thought of. I have a friend who welds. BTW, it's a ramp-type post sight.
    Probably the only thing I ever liked about the AR15 was he ability to dial the front sight post up and down; I wish this one had that.

  8. #8

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    Yup. Smith supplies for your screws, whether from a local shop or Brownells.

    If I need anything thicker than a single layer of pop can, I just go to a hobby store and pick up sheet brass. They have it in a range of thicknesses and some smaller pieces, too.

    Easiest by far with a ramp front housing a dovetailed sight is to replace the dovetailed sight. Unless you're already at the max extension of the rear sight, you can buy a sight you thinks too tall and probably still be alright. I'd pick up 2 or 3 sizes while you're there and toss the extras in a drawer. Sooner or later you're likely to need them, and they're certainly not going to be cheaper than they are now. Same for buying screws when I need them. I always get extras. Be sure to put those in a small baggy and mark the size. Lose, they're hard to find after they work down to the bottom of the drawer, and then you have no idea what size they are. Years ago I bought a screw assortment from Brownells and loved it, but got sloppy about refilling the empty slots as I emptied it, so now it's pretty much useless. Time to buy another and start over, refilling as I go along.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    Hmmm. Those are some interesting ideas I hadn't thought of. I have a friend who welds. BTW, it's a ramp-type post sight.
    Probably the only thing I ever liked about the AR15 was he ability to dial the front sight post up and down; I wish this one had that.
    If the metal, or the (Plastic??) like you find on 22s these days, won't take welding or soldering, you can use epoxy. Or maybe JB Weld, that files down and you can color it with a sharpie.

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  10. #10

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    I have used a hole punch like you use on paper on soda can shims many times with good results. Just thought I would throw this in and maybe someone will get some use from it down the road.

  11. #11
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    Hobby shop is the best retail place or true shim stock from someplace like Granger.

    You can bed an .080 layer of JB-weld under the ramp easy enough. Remove ramp and apply black electric tape to bottom to make a pond and plug the screw holes with clay/bubble gum/etc. Set the rifle so barrel is level and overhanging giving room to work then apply a relief like One-Shot or a wax. Mix JB and pour in the pond you made, apply the ramp to the underside of barrel so no JB gets in the hole and the pond doesn't run out then affix with black tape so its about .080" off barrel for overnight. Next day re-drill the hole, clean the squeeze out with a file or wife's nail file, paint black with a Sharpie an Bobs your uncle.

    The screw should be an #6x48 and not easy to find other than gun shops and the like.
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  12. #12

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    Take a pair of tin snips and cut the side out of a brass 454 casull case, or some other big magnum revolver case. The shape will match your barrel and the brass won't rust under the sight where you can't clean.
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