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Old 12-23-2010, 09:30 PM

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Oh fudge... (loose front sight on 7-4)

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In reality I let loose the grand-daddy of 'em all. A word I'd heard my father say almost every day of my life.

In keeping with the shooting sports at Christmas I've started this with some interpretation of Ralphie in the movie "Christmas Story".

The northeast racing season starts next week with a NorAm Cup race combined with the Junior Worlds Team trials held in Jericho, VT at Camp Ethan Allen Training Site. The best 17-20 year old biathletes from around the US will be in attendance racing for a slot on the US Team and competing in Novoe Meastro, Czech Republic in mid January. The race organizers allow duffers like me to compete with the other FOGs who show up with the only thing on the line is a little pride and bragging rights.

Back to the Oh fudge....

I have a 50 meter range at the house but not enough snow to ski and wanted to work through some range procedures before racing. Shooting with skis on is very different and I was having issues with my groups moving around and the paper targets used for zeroing looked more like I had used a shotgun rather than a .22. The home range is not idea for shooting with skis on until there is a lot of snow so I figured I'd head the 90 minutes north to attend a practice session with my biathlon club.

Part of the testing was also putting on a new blinder to test it before sending some off to Europe where they are used by athletes on the World Cup. I was testing a new layup on the composite blinder. When I picked up the rifle something moved and I figured the bedding bolts were loose. Checked them and they were fine. I placed my thumb onto the barrel and pushed it a bit and it too felt solid but the nasty feeling of something loose was still there.

I started checking the rear sight. Okay, the butt plate, cheek comb, mag holder, handstop, carry harness. All okay. I figured I was imagining the feeling so I started going through the mounting and dismounting to see how the blinder folded up on my back and popped into shape when the rifle came off my back. I lift the rifle off my back by hooking my thumb under the barrel weights attached to the front sight and felt a definite, click. Upon examination I discovered the front sight mount is loose and wobbled around.

Here is the spot in the story where the Oh fudge came forth. I had no idea how the front sight is held onto the barrel. Was it press fit? I sure hope not. I remembered how there is nothing on a Russian rifle that has no purpose and there is a hole on the underside of the globe where the spring that keeps the sight cover in place is visible. I always thought this was an oil hole for lubing the spring. Just maybe it was the access hole for some kind of set screw that keeps the sights in place. Taking of the snow cover required grinding off the end of the pin which acts as a hinge and also runs through the plunger inside the spring. A 4d nail pushed it right out and looking down into the hole I saw a slot. Inserting a screwdriver and giving it a twist had the sight held firmly into place. I figured zero would take a few more rounds when I got to the range. I used the 4d nail as a replacement for the pin I ground off. The head was large enough and I just bent over the nail and cut it off. Works fine.

Turns out the extra training day was earlier than I arrived so I missed it and have no idea how off my zero is. I'll just spend tomorrow morning at home re-zeroing and try to squeeze off a few round while on my skis and hope for the best next week. On the up-side, I had a blast skiing around on wonderfully groomed snow. My kids were with me and we spend almost two hours chasing each other around.

If anyone was wondering how to remove the front sight its held in place by a single set screw hidden by the spring..
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