Stubborn Front Sight Key - need removal hints
I have a barrel with a front sight key that's proving very difficult to remove. I'm guessing the barrel was re-parked with the sight in place.
Can anyone offer some hints on how to remove the key without damaging it? Thanks.
The key is fairly soft , so removing a stuck one without damage is difficult. I run into this from time to time. I have a punch with a flattened tip that is slightly narrower than the keyway. I start from the back of the key ( end toward the action) and try to drive it under the key until it starts to lift up. Once the end is clear of the keyway it can be pulled up and off with padded needle nose pliers.
Sometimes it bends anyway. However if you reseat it the same way it comes out , and get the front end down and engaged in the sight keyway, it will usually bend back to allow the sight to be reinstalled. Use of a front sight installation tool makes this job safer and quicker with less chance for damage to the sight or barrel.
I just grab on to them with a snug fitting set of vise grips then tap the vise grips outward with a light hammer. The key usually pops right out.
Once the sight is removed, there is a way that does not damage anything.
Turn the barrel upside down. At this point the key's body is half inside the keyway, half sticking out toward the ground. Tighten a vise around the sides of the protruding half. Tap upward just behind the front sight area of the barrel and whaalaa! The key is now in the vice and the barrel is free withing you hands. For me it has worked every time, even with keys that were heavily staked.
Agree with above. Also, try soaking the entire front sight, etc., overnite in something like Kroil.
Plinker; Are you by any chance referring to the cross-pin that holds the sight in place? The key is just to index the sight and is not removed until the sight is off the barrel. In fact, if it's stuck in the keyway, there's really no reason for removing it. If you're having trouble driving out the cross-pin, treat it with penetrant and let it soak for a day. You may have to make some wood jaws for your vise to hold the barrel so you can properly work on the sight. With the barrel secured, quickly heat the sight with a propane torch, then try to move the pin with a punch and hammer. You may have to repeat the whole process to get it started. If you don't have a vise and the other tools needed, like a front sight puller, you should probably let a gunsmith remove the sight.
Sometimes the keys get deformed. I found many imported take offs with keys that were in such poor shape that installation of a new sight was impossible.
I have also seen keys that were pounded in from the top. This makes the key deform on the bottom half and once removed from the keyway will no longer fit another barrel.
Inland 44 is correct about having the proper tools. That is 90% of the answer to proper removal/installation/changing of front and rear sights.
Thanks Bill Ricca
Just joined so i could respond to Bill's technique using a vice and mallet. Awesome. Came off first tap of the mallet. Restoring a paratrooper carbine and the Inland barrel had the tyoe 3 lug for bayonet. Im putting original flip up rear sight but also wanted to change to a front barrel band without the bayo lug. Was having a hard time getting the key removed. Nothing worse than destroying a $3 part and have to wait a week or more to get a new one not to mention $6-10 shipping. Great tip Bill
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