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Winchester Model 67 sight renovation: making a rear sight elevator and front sight bead for a Winchester Model 67 turned out to be a good reason to go over the whole rifle.

A middle-aged man came to my shop with a much used and rusted Model 67 Winchester .22 rimfire single-shot rifle. He wanted the rear sight elevation step replaced and a bead installed on the front sight. The old gun wore the ravages of downright abuse and neglect. The man said he couldn't hit anything with it and asked if these measures would correct the problem. At first glance, I could see the rear sight elevation step was gone and had been replaced with a piece of wood the thickness of a common, flat toothpick.

As he gave me his information for my FFL records, his name seemed familiar. Turns out he is the grandson of a farmer whom I had worked for as a teenager back in the late 1940s. My duties then were many and varied, including assisting in butchering an occasional young steer to feed the family. That old Model 67 was the same one I used to humanely dispatch the critter, as well as shoot small game and occasional pests around the farm. The gun was never cleaned and was set in the corner of the milk house when not in use. I hadn't seen the gun in more than 60 years, told the story to the grandson, and that I'd go over the gun and sight it in. He was very pleased to learn about the old gun's history and that it would receive my personal attention.

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The Model 67 Winchester was offered from 1934 to 1963 and bore no serial number. The rifle had a 27inch barrel. Cocking is accomplished by pulling rearward a round, knurled knob. It features a swing-up safety that blocks passage to the sight line when activated. This is a simple and dependable design.

Repairing The Sights

First, I worked on the rear sight elevator. There is a linear slot extending along the back base portion of the rear sight passing beneath the sight leaf. A common wedge-like rear sight elevator serves to hold the rear sight upward at the required elevation. The slot for the rear sight elevator is 0.060" wide and finding a piece of metal of that thickness simplified the job. A common fine-toothed hacksaw was used to rough-cut the piece, which was finished with a fine file and wire wheel. After successfully trying for fit, the piece was blued. Unfortunately, a live-fire testing found the rifle shot four inches high at 25 yards even with the rear sight elevator as low as it would go. I planned to add a bead to the front sight.

The front dovetail sight came to a rather sharp bevel at the top and was quite low, causing the rifle to hit high at the desired 25 yards. I made and attached a linear bead out of brass for easy viewing. The added height of a bead atop the blade-style front sight was expected to reduce elevation, so I went about making and installing this added part.

I used a 3/8" length of 3/32" round brass stock to form the bead. This was soldered to the top of the front blade sight and file finished to uniformity. This resulted in lowering the barrel enough to bring bullet impact on at 25 yards and be within the amount of adjustment in the rear sight elevator.

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Though the exact sight picture may vary among shooters, with open sights the most common is where the top of the front sight is even with the top of the rear sight. This is the picture I saw as I sighted-in the Model 67. As the years slip by, one's visual acuity tends to diminish. Using open sights requires the eye to focus on three places at once: The rear sight, the front sight, and the target. Anyway, I sighted-in the customer's rifle and did very well. Using Winchester standard velocity, solid point bullets I was delighted to find the rifle could be adjusted right on target at 25 yards with the new rear sight elevator set at mid-adjustment.

Considering all the work I did on the old gun--which also included stock refinishing, replacement of both trigger guard screws, and buffing and cold bluing the metal--there was an element of sentimental attachment that helped reduce the charges I made.

The gun's new owner was delighted to see his grandfather's old gun look and shoot so well after decades of neglect. Guess I was just as happy as he was.
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Title Annotation:RESTORATION
Author:Johnson, Norman E.
Publication:American Gunsmith
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 1, 2016
Words:750
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