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Modding a Pietta New Model Army .44
https://full-bore.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=113&t=39550
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Author:  Ovenpaa [ Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Modding a Pietta New Model Army .44

Looking good so far, very pretty indeed.

Author:  Dark Skies [ Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Modding a Pietta New Model Army .44

Ovenpaa wrote:
Looking good so far, very pretty indeed.

Cheers. It has a really nice balance to it too - barrel is 4 1/4 from muzzle to forcing cone.

Author:  Dark Skies [ Wed Jul 07, 2021 7:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Modding a Pietta New Model Army .44

Took it to the range to get an idea of the height of the foresight. Improvised with a bit of wire and some blu tac (that is actually white). 8 inch Shoot N See target.
Currently 6mm from top of barrel to top of 'sight'.
Huge improvement over the standard Pietta New Model Army. I know it doesn't look like it but this is good for a slightly wandering front sight every two shots..

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Author:  Ovenpaa [ Wed Jul 07, 2021 9:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Modding a Pietta New Model Army .44

That is not bad at all, I have known them miss an A3 sheet at 10m in the past.

Author:  Dark Skies [ Thu Jul 08, 2021 11:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Modding a Pietta New Model Army .44

Ovenpaa wrote:
That is not bad at all, I have known them miss an A3 sheet at 10m in the past.


This gun was like that. At twenty yards I'd be lucky to hit the target background, let alone the target. I had to aim off by about ten inches. I always had to use the furthermost right lane as there is a handy wooden beam running up the wall that I used as a reference point. It was hopeless.

I've noticed that the blind depression for the sight on the cut off section of the barrel is about .5mm offset to the left, but otherwise I can see no issues internally that might account for it being so inaccurate.
And I tried everything regarding loads, powders, fillers, you name it I tried it.

Yet, cut the barrel in half, stick a dodgy makeshift wire foresight on, and I'm now reliably, albeit not tack-driving, on center. No idea why, but not complaining.

My next hurdle is mounting a foresight. I've been practicing on the removed section of barrel. Drilling a flat bottom hole about 1.5mm deep using a conventional 5.9mm drill to initiate a shallow pilot and then following up with a flat ground 6mm drill bit to finish. It works well enough as a pocket for silver soldering. Unfortunately the silver soldering is proving difficult. It doesn't matter how well I clean the parts (wire wool), de-grease, (acetone) and flux (borax) I just cannot get the 'easy' (lowest melting point) silver solder to flow. It just does that half melt bobble thing. It takes a lot of heat too - which I don't feel is a good idea and just feels wrong.

I may use JB Weld to cement one in - which appears to be what Pietta do because when the sight was pulled out of its pocket there was no evidence of solder - just a gray smear of epoxy-like remains.

If Oxfordshire had some gunsmiths I'd be minded to take it to one just to get the pocket properly machined, the bottom of the original sight cut down to the right height, and fixed in place. But all we appear to have are shotgun specialists.

Author:  Ovenpaa [ Thu Jul 08, 2021 11:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Modding a Pietta New Model Army .44

Gluing the sight on is an accepted practice. I had a re-barreled Ruger come in with a front sight fixed with JB weld and it was holding up OK when I shot it (Full fat .44 Mag)

Author:  Dark Skies [ Thu Jul 08, 2021 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Modding a Pietta New Model Army .44

Ovenpaa wrote:
Gluing the sight on is an accepted practice. I had a re-barreled Ruger come in with a front sight fixed with JB weld and it was holding up OK when I shot it (Full fat .44 Mag)


Was the front sight placed in a machined pocket and 'glued' in or just stuck to the barrel?
If the mating surfaces were properly keyed and glued I'd be more than happy not to have to drill a pocket. Ensures that nothing can go seriously awry.

Author:  Ovenpaa [ Sat Jul 10, 2021 7:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Modding a Pietta New Model Army .44

Just glued, no pocket and it does work quite well.

Author:  1066 [ Sat Jul 10, 2021 8:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Modding a Pietta New Model Army .44

Could you not file a traditional dovetail to allow for a bit of windage correction. A few thou either way makes quite a difference at 20 yards.

When you say "inacccurate" - Was it grouping ok, just in the wrong place, or not grouping at all. How are you shooting it? one --hand, two-hand, from a sandbag?

Author:  Dark Skies [ Sat Jul 10, 2021 12:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Modding a Pietta New Model Army .44

1066 wrote:
Could you not file a traditional dovetail to allow for a bit of windage correction. A few thou either way makes quite a difference at 20 yards.

When you say "inacccurate" - Was it grouping ok, just in the wrong place, or not grouping at all. How are you shooting it? one --hand, two-hand, from a sandbag?


Y'know I went through a period when I kept a shooting log of all the things I tried to make the 8" original shoot.
I just couldn't even get it to be a viable shooter. It shot very much to the left but the word 'grouping' isn't really applicable. I could get it to hit the target - and by target I'm including all the white surrounding areas it was printed on too. Where the ball would strike in that area was anyone's guess. I even had some of our really consistently very good BP shooters try and figure it out. No joy. Hence this gun being turned into a project. I was just done with it. I hated it.

I shoot one-handed as I shoot muzzle loading postal comps at 20 yards. I'm a reasonable shot - scoring consistently high 90s and the odd 100 with my similarly sized / weight Ruger Old Army.
High 80's / mid 90's with my Pietta 1851.
I even do reasonably well with the itty bitty Uberti 1849 - all on target albeit nothing to shout about
So I'm confident there really was an issue external to me - seemingly with the barrel. However, I suppose the weight of the gun plus the uncomfortable pressure the rear of the guard placed on my mid finger (I have large hands) may have influenced my grip / performance.

Now, had you suggested cutting a dovetail and putting on an adjustable sight back then I'd have been up for it. The worst that could go wrong was I mucked up the file work on a crap performing gun I wanted rid of. and I'd free up a slot by having it scrapped.
However, the mods I've made and the potential I've seen with just a mock up bodged foresight has rekindled my enthusiasm for the gun. I really like the look and balance of it. I favour a traditional period looking sight purely based on it just looking pretty.
That and I'd hate to place myself in the position of snatching disaster from the jaws of victory by making even the slightest of errors filing a dovetail into stainless.

Being told by a professional that gluing a sight on is considered acceptable practice now makes me feel less bad in exploring this approach - especially as Pietta have done this albeit in an interference fit pocket.
I have some ideas as how to make a sight with improved surface area for bonding - I'm thinking a length of brass T section from a modelling shop can be fashioned into a blade sight akin to the Colt SAA and fixed using JB between keyed surfaces. Furthermore I could zero it in before finally gluing it in place by trial and error using a temporary glue. I can hear gunsmiths spinning on their stools even as i type. :)

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