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  1. #1
    Plinker ftwphilly's Avatar

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    S&W revolver front sight height

    I'm looking for a replacement front sight for a 4" S&W 686. I'm looking at a HiViz fiber-optic one on midwayusa, but it lists its height as 0.269".

    The stock sight height on the 686 is what I feel is .360". There is a very small amount of light between the stock sight and the barrel. My caliper reading is ~.370". This is what makes me think its more along the lines of actual height of .360". Dawson Precison has variable widths and heights available. They have, what I feel, is a direct replacement in a .360" tall x .125" wide serrated fiber-optic sight.

    Is the HiVIz one brighter than the Dawson Precision? Ideally I want a "bright" front sight but I don't want one too far out of spec for elevation adjustments. I've checked the firearm manual but it doesn't give a min-max amount for adjustment. Is the .01 in the HiViz going to be a big deal in removing some potential elevation adjustment, or should I go with the Dawson? I feel the HiViz would be brighter, but they don't seem to be as friendly with changing the fiber-optic colors if so desired. I'm all over the place...

    On another note, does anyone have experience with either of these two spring kits? Would one be better than the other? I think they're both made by Wolff...

  2. #2
    Expert marvin02's Avatar

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    I don't know about the height, but in my limited experience the Dawson fiber optics are brighter than HiViz.

  3. #3
    Expert BJones's Avatar

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    I have these on all my revolvers. They have several different heights and widths.

  4. #4

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    My suggestion is to call Dawson so they can point you to the correct sight for your firearm.

    The HiViz sight says the "fiber optic" is overmolded and appears to be non-replaceable so if you damage it, you will have to buy a new sight. The Dawson (and most others) use standard sizes of fiber optic rod and is easily replaced if it is ever needed...or to change colors.

    As a side note, you can buy replacement FO rod from the usual firearms suppliers in 2-6" lengths or from FO suppliers at about the same cost for ~3'... Fluorescent Fiber, Archery & Gun Sight Replacement
    Last edited by gmcttr; 08-01-2019 at 09:38.

  5. #5
    Plinker ftwphilly's Avatar

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    Well the HiViz is out. I'm leaning towards the Dawson, but the LPA is a through-and-through design. I'm assuming the LPA pinned one is the one I need, but it's not as tall as the stock sight. They have it at .275 tall. I guess I could file and fit a blank. Does .01" difference ruin that much elevation adjustment, or is it a non-issue given what the elevation adjustment can do. I've never messed with it. 158 grain bullets seem to be right on. Is that the bullet weight S&W adjusts to from the factory?

  6. #6
    Expert Bosshoss's Avatar

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    First off check and see what front sight you have.
    Smith uses a Classic which is a quick change front sight and a pinned front sight.
    The Classic will have a hole above the bore looking at the muzzle end of barrel.
    Measure original sight from top of sight (installed) and top of barrel.
    If installing a different height front sight you will need to check for adequate adjustment range of rear sight.
    Looking at the rear sight where the rear sight leaf is there is a serrated round portion that the leaf fits in. There should be a gap under this and above the frame. Measure this with feeler gauges.
    Putting on a lower(shorter) front sight means the rear will need to go down the same amount to maintain zero.
    If you have a .360 front sight(that sounds really tall for that gun BTW) and go to .275 front sight you need .085 clearance to lower the rear sight.
    If you don't have that much clearance(which is a lot BTW) you will need a shorter rear sight blade.
    With that tall of a front sight sight yours probably has a really tall rear sight blade.

    None of the pinned front sights are drilled so you will need to drill the front sight when installing.
    LPA or Dawson both are good sights. I usually put LPA's on customers guns unless other wise requested. The LPA's are easier to replace the FO as they are drilled all the way through. I always drill the Dawson and SDM sights all the way through so they are easier to change in a hurry.

    The LPA comes with solid pins that are oversize(.062) but I reuse the stock roll pins when I install.

    Rear blades are not hard to change if you know how and have the tools.

    Good luck

  7. #7
    Plinker ftwphilly's Avatar

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    Doh! Too much coffee or too little. I am indeed wrong in the sight height. It is the pinned version and I imagine .275 is perfect. LPA it is. I like the straight through best. I'm off to get my eyes checked...

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