Dovetails ?

Discussion in '1911 Forum' started by Hot Sauce NARC, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. Hot Sauce NARC

    Hot Sauce NARC New Member

    how big of a deal would it be to have sight dovetails cut into the top of the slide on a 1911? I found a pretty good price on a RIA M1A1 and im thinking about making it into a project gun but the sights on it are the old GI style and thats just not what i want. So can any machine shop do this job or is it only for specialized companies ? What would u pay for it? Is there a reliable company that i can ship it to have it done?

  2. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

    Never had it done myself but I know most gunsmiths have the capability to do it. I've heard the price averages about $75 or so. I do know that you can send the slide to Novaks and they'll cut the dovetail and install the sights you choose. This is one reason I generally recommend the RIA Tactical as the price difference between it and a GI is usually less than the cost of a dovetail & sights - and you get other goodies as well...

  3. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

    Ooooo..... talk about a sore subject. (With me anyway....)
    It's no big deal if it's done RIGHT. Once upon a time, I took a Colt 1911 to a local "professional" gunsmith to do just that. He basically ruined the slide by trying to hand file the new dovetails and the required clearance cuts. (Bomar sights.)

    It was a series 80 gun and he ended up cutting half way through the firing pin locking pin bore, and the spring was partially sticking out of the top of the slide underneath the rear sight! :mad:
    Add to that -- not one straight, flat surface on any of the cuts he made!
    I HATED that gun ever since, and couldn't stand the sight of it. Needless to say it got sold at a loss.....

    That was the day I decided to learn to do my own "smithing" from then on.

    Uncle Larry sez: [ame=]YouTube - How to cut a precise dovetail using a milling machine[/ame]

    Note however that his dovetail cut is too wide, and the sight slides in MUCH too easily! :eek:
  4. masterPsmith

    masterPsmith New Member

    The best thing I can suggest is, Unless you know the gunsmith personally and have seen his or her work, I would ask to see samples of his or her work before any milling is done on my 1911 or anything else. As for Colt slides, the heat treatment is such that it requires the use of carbide cutters to do the sight cuts. Don't take it to any old machine shop, they normally won't have the dovetail cutters required to do the cuts for different brands of sights.(they don't all take the same cutters)

    You didn't say what sights you wanted installed, as prices will vary depending on the sights. For example, front dovetail cut $50 to $95 depending on the gunsmith, Novak low-mount rear $115 to $150, Bo-Mar rear $115 to $150 for the plane cut and $130 to $190 for the Bo-Mar rear with side shields. These are just a few examples and will vary depending on the gunsmith. Then add the price of the sights themselves, as they are not included in the prices listed above.......

    I still do quite a bit of 1911 work, if interested, you would have to PM me for a quote.

    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  5. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

  6. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

    My point exactly! Just stated much more clearly. Thank you Jim.
    Bottom line...... KNOW the qualifications of whom ever you are going to have do the work. Just because they have a shingle hanging out front, doesn't mean they know what they are doing. :eek:

    Been there, done that, got the T-shirt....