General Information There are several suppliers of quality front and rear sights for single-shot black powder cartridge rifles. Since I’m often asked for a list of suppliers, my initial intent here is to identify them for the reader. But since this web site is focused on Miroku manufactured Browning or Winchester M1885 BPCRs, I will also provide specific details you may need to know when selecting sights for these rifles. When reading the following information, please keep in mind that I’ve only had direct experience with three suppliers (AMT, Montana Vintage Arms & Lee Shaver) therefore I’m not prepared to provide details on the overall quality, benefits and features of one supplier versus another. To make a final selection will require further research on your part. I suggest you run an Internet search and/or ask for references and recommendations on several of the Internet BPCR discussion forums.
Note, regardless of the supplier you choose, I strongly suggest selecting a vernier soule-type rear sight design, and a front sight with a spirit level which helps in reducing rifle cant when shooting at long range targets. A “soule” or “soule-type” sight is named after the inventor, John W. Soule, who was issued Patent No. 410,039 on August 27, 1889. It has the windage adjustment in the base of the sight rather than on the eyecup or peephole assembly. Adjusting the sight for windage on a “soule” sight moves the entire sight staff and eyecup.
Another excellent accessory is a selectable-aperture eyecup. Key to a clear and crisp sight image is using the correct aperture diameter to match the ambient light. Traditional eyecups with fixed aperture diameters work well, but a selectable-aperture eyecup is a real convenience when frequent adjustments are necessary for varying light conditions. Hadley-style selectable-aperture eyecups are available from Lee Shaver Gunsmithing, Davide Pedersoli, Montana Vintage Arms (MVA) and Kelley Sights. Lyman-style selectable eyecups are available from Kelley Sights and Baldwin Sights. For additional details refer to the article titled Selectable-Aperture Eyecups.
Merit Corp. offers several models of iris-type adjustable aperture eye discs, but as of this writing, due to the nontraditional design, they are not approved for NRA sanctioned BPCR silhouette matches. I do understand the Merit discs are permitted in BPCR long range target matches. The Merit #3 Adjustable Master Aperture eye disc is available directly from Merit or from Midway USA. Regardless of the brand or style of eyecup, just be sure that the threads on the mounting shaft match up with the threads in your rear sight elevator.
When purchasing a rear sight keep in mind that the sight base mounting holes must be of the proper size and spacing to match up with the holes in your receiver tang. The sight staff vertical detent angle should also match up with the tang angle of your rifle to ensure that the staff is close to perpendicular to the rifle bore line of sight. Several sight suppliers offer bases with adjustable detent angles. And don’t forget that the mounting screws must have the same threads as the drilled and tapped holes in the tang. Therefore, be sure the sight supplier fully understands the brand and style of rifle the sights will be mounted on.
Browning & Winchester BPCRs The following comments discuss specific details to keep in mind when purchasing sights. The tang angle is approximately 18 degrees and the two tang sight base mounting holes have a center-to-center spacing of 2.185”. The tang sight base screws should be 10-32x1/4”. Although all the sight suppliers are well aware of the original Browning BPCR tang and front sight requirements, some may not know that the more recent Winchester BPCRs are identical to the Browning’s. Therefore, if you’re purchasing a rear sight for a recent Miroku manufactured Winchester BPCR you may have to ask for one that fits a Browning BPCR.
Another area of concern is the front sight dovetail dimensions, especially when purchasing one of the Miroku manufactured limited series Winchester BPCR that comes without sights, but has a front sight dovetail. Sight suppliers may indicate that the correct dovetail width is 3/8” (0.375”) or 0.3925”, but I have accurately measured many of the original Browning’s and more current Winchester BPCRs and found the actual width is between 0.380” & 0.384”. Therefore, a 0.3925” wide dovetail can be made to fit relatively easily with some filing or by removing material from the base with emery cloth. The dovetails have standard 60-degree shoulders. By the way, the front sight should only be installed from right to left with the rifle pointing forward.
Finally, if you plan on purchasing an adjustable aperture disc, Hadley-style or Lyman-style selectable aperture eyecup for the AMT sights, the thread size and pitch must be 10-32.
Sight Manufacturers & Suppliers:
Advance Manufacturing Technology (AMT) Also know as Advance Engineering Technology (AET) 3329 West 2555 South, West Valley City, UT 84119 Phone: (800)-691-1233, (801) 973-9462 AMT manufactured the front and rear sight assemblies for the original Browning Black Powder Cartridge Rifles (BPCRs) and some of the more current Winchester BPCRs. In August 2011, AMT announced they were no longer selling sights, but will continue to supply parts for existing sights until their parts inventory is depleted. By the way, some of AMT’s sight parts are available from Brownells at the following link: http://www.brownells.com/. aspx/pid=0/sid=377/schematicsdetail/1885-High-Wall#
Baldwin Soule-Type Sights (Steve Baldwin) P.O. Box 971, Jones, OK 73049 Phone: (405)-399-2875 http://www.baldwinsights.com/ A well-known high-quality supplier of BPCR sights
Buffalo Arms Co. (BACO) 600 Vermeer Court, Ponderay, ID 83852 Phone: (208) 263-6953 www.buffaloarms.com Buffalo Arms is the leading supplier of products for the BPCR reloader and shooter. BACO sells the following brand of soule-type sights: Baldwin, Kelley, Lee Shaver and Red River. Also available are Lee Shaver and Pedersoli brands of selectable-aperture eyecups commonly referred to as “Hadley”-style eyecups.
Distant Thunder Shooting Products O’Hare Tool, Inc., W8515 County Road N, PO Box 138, Niagara, WI 54151 Phone: (715) 251-3839 http://www.distantthunderbpcr.com/DTPages/DTProduct.htm High-quality sights for BPCRs. By the way, Distant Thunder also makes a superb hand primer decapper, which is described as “the handiest little decapper ever devised”. I’ve used one for several years and agree that it is the best hand decapper on the market.
Kelley Sights & Accessories High-quality sights for BPCRs. To check out the Kelley sight offerings go to www.kelleysights.com/ or Buffalo Arms Co. (www.buffaloarms. com). Kelley sights are only available for purchase from Buffalo Arms.
Hoke Long Range Rifle Sights 207 West Locust Lane, York, PA 17406 Phone: (717) 848-4276 firstname.lastname@example.org Kermit Hoke is well-known high-quality supplier of BPCR sights. Unique to the Hoke sight design is an adjustable gibb that removes any slack in the windage adjustment. Also, the sight staff is engraved on both sides for right- and left-hand shooters. You can view a photo of the Hoke sights at http://www.kermitool. com/hoke_rifle_sight.html, but the contact information is not valid since Kermit Hoke no longer owns Kermitool, Inc. He retired several years ago but is still making sights. Contact him at the phone number or email address listed above.
Lee Shaver Gunsmithing P.O. Box 570, 1020 Broadway, Lamar, MO 64759 Phone: (417) 682-3330 email@example.com www.leeshavergunsmithing.com Lee supplies his own line of sights and works on Browning (AMT) sights. He also manufactures a Hadley-style selectable-aperture eyecup. Contact Lee directly or go to Buffalo Arms Co. (www.buffaloarms.com) for his products.
Merit Corporation P.O. Box 9044, Schenectady, NY 12309 Phone: (518) 346-1420 www.meritcorporation.com/products.html Merit manufactures adjustable aperture discs for shooting glasses and rifle sights. The Merit #3 Adjustable Master Aperture eye disc is also available from Midway USA (www.midwayusa.com). It is currently not approved for NRA sanctioned BPCR silhouette matches.
Midway USA Customer Service, 5875 West Van Horn Tavern Rd., Columbia, MO 65203 Phone: (800) 243-3220 www.midwayusa.com Midway sells the Merit #3 Adjustable Master Aperture eye disc.
Montana Vintage Arms (MVA) 61 Andrea Drive, Belgrade, MT 59714 Daytime phone: (406) 388-4027, Evening phone: (406) 388-3405 www.montanavintagearms.com MVA is a well-known high-quality supplier of BPCR sights. MVA also manufactures vintage-style rifle scopes and selectable-aperture eyecups for BPCR sights
Red River Sights Dept. B, 206 Oxford Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3M 3J6 Phone: (866) 239-9451 (best to call after 6 pm CST) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Note, a web site address is not available Red River supplies Ukrainian made sights previously offered by Parts Unknown Inc. Red River sights are also sold by Buffalo Arms (www. buffaloarms.com).