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View Full Version : Painting sights - What colors?


whipkiller
04-30-2011, 3:25 PM
Picked up a Marlin 795 awhile ago and just shot it for the first time last week.

I had forgotten how bad the factory sights are, I'm getting older and my eyes have a hard time differentiating between black and umm, black.

Before I go spending money on Tech Sights or some sort of optics I thought I would paint one or both of the stock ones and see how they work.

So I went to the craft store today and picked some little bottles of:

White
Bright Red
Neon Green
Yellow Glow in the dark (Don't plink much in the dark, but whatever)

What color(s) or combination of colors have you guys tried and liked or not liked?

It may be fine just to paint the front one white to contrast with the black in the rear, but I figured maybe I'd play with a few ways and see what pops.

MaHoTex
04-30-2011, 3:32 PM
I used bright yellow and it is so/so. Maybe neon green would be better. I saw a kit somewhere (can not remember now) that had a few different colors in it. Maybe a google search would turn up the kit?

FWIW, I hate the sights on my 795.

Mongoblack23
04-30-2011, 3:33 PM
ive only had experience with white. and it does NOT work, the white blends worse than the black does for some reason. i have a white front sight on my mini and i can barely make out the top through the rear ring. i would stick to the florescent colors one color up front and another color in back... good contrast make easy line up.... that just my $0.02...

DippyPower
04-30-2011, 3:37 PM
I used model paint on the fr sight while leaving the rear black. It is what you would use for the yellow reflectors/turn signals on car models so it is metallic/sparkly/reflective. It works well enough if there is some light on it.

whipkiller
04-30-2011, 3:50 PM
I used bright yellow and it is so/so. Maybe neon green would be better. I saw a kit somewhere (can not remember now) that had a few different colors in it. Maybe a google search would turn up the kit?

FWIW, I hate the sights on my 795.

So did you do bright yellow front and leave the rear black, or what?

MaHoTex
04-30-2011, 3:55 PM
So did you do bright yellow front and leave the rear black, or what?

Yes. I left the back black. While it made a huge difference, I still do not like it. The sights are just junk in my opinion. I have not decided what I want to do, but it will not be a peep sight that so many recommend. I am sure someone will jump in with the recommeded peep sights soon enough.

Izzy43
04-30-2011, 6:00 PM
Get a small length of red, green or yellow fiber optic (small diameter) and super glue it to the top of the front sight. Shines like a light in the sun and works great.

donw
05-01-2011, 6:51 AM
i purchased some gun-sight specific paints a few years ago from midway USA or brownells and the only time they work is in bright sunlight.

I'm gonna go the fiber optics route

donw
05-01-2011, 6:53 AM
Get a small length of red, green or yellow fiber optic (small diameter) and super glue it to the top of the front sight. Shines like a light in the sun and works great.

great idea...where might a person get some?

Izzy43
05-01-2011, 8:38 AM
great idea...where might a person get some?

Sent you a PM.

whipkiller
05-01-2011, 11:00 AM
Sent you a PM.

Could you send that my way too? :o

Izzy43
05-01-2011, 11:45 AM
Link to fiber optic rods that I used. Enough to do the front sighes on about 300 guns. Link:http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=514010&cm_mmc=Froogle-_-Gunsmithing%20-%20Gun%20Sights%20(Metallic)-_-PriceCompListing-_-514010

Not cheap for what it is but if you gotta have it. :taz::taz::taz:

j1133s
05-01-2011, 12:09 PM
... I figured maybe I'd play with a few ways and see what pops.

This is what I'd do. But it also depends on what you shoot/when you shoot. I shoot very specific targets and can pick thhe rime (mostly mornings, almost never late afternoon/evening), so I'd pick colors that works best for me.

Izzy43
05-01-2011, 2:16 PM
Mybe some folks on this thread that are interested in the fiber optic thing could do a little group buy. The three rods are plenty for a large number of sights. Just an idea. I already have some.

Oldrice
05-01-2011, 3:43 PM
Guys, here's a MUCH better place to deal with when it comes to light tubes and fiber optics: http://www.fiberopticproducts.com/

Look under the "Fluorescent Fiber" section of the website. I have dealt with Fiber Optics Products many times and they are GREAT people to deal with.

When you cut light tube to the desired length, don't cleave through it. Score it with an NEW X-Acto blade as you allow it to roll under the pressure of the knife -- then snap it. If you do this, you get a better, clearer end to look at.

Based on my experience with a variety of good-quality CA (super) glues, I would expect the shock of the rifle to break the bond between the metal sight and the light tube element; CA glues have high tensile strength, but do not stand up well to shear and/or shock.

You would be better off using JB Weld to affix the light tube to the sight and I would even take a round file and score a channel for the light tube to lay in.

Just my .02

Kala
05-01-2011, 3:51 PM
Can't you just use lime green nail polish? Just borrow it from a lady friend! :p

covingtonhouse
05-01-2011, 4:45 PM
Guys, here's a MUCH better place to deal with when it comes to light tubes and fiber optics: http://www.fiberopticproducts.com/

Look under the "Fluorescent Fiber" section of the website. I have dealt with Fiber Optics Products many times and they are GREAT people to deal with.

When you cut light tube to the desired length, don't cleave through it. Score it with an NEW X-Acto blade as you allow it to roll under the pressure of the knife -- then snap it. If you do this, you get a better, clearer end to look at.

Based on my experience with a variety of good-quality CA (super) glues, I would expect the shock of the rifle to break the bond between the metal sight and the light tube element; CA glues have high tensile strength, but do not stand up well to shear and/or shock.

You would be better off using JB Weld to affix the light tube to the sight and I would even take a round file and score a channel for the light tube to lay in.

Just my .02




I 2nd the above link. I use these guys for archery equipment. Just a note on the super glues though... some super glue will actually melt the fiber and make it useless if it gets on the fiber itself. Also, if you happen to bend the fiber to the point that it cracks the casing, it loses its light transmitting qualities at that point. You need to cut it and start again where it broke. Melting the ends with a heat source like a lighter flame will make a little larger dot. This is similar to melting the ends of paracord or nylon rope to keep it from fraying. Just keep the flame off the fiber though.

whipkiller
05-01-2011, 6:50 PM
Can't you just use lime green nail polish? Just borrow it from a lady friend! :p

Lime Green nail polish?! :eek: My wife said I'm not allowed to have "Lady Friends" anymore :( (she's funny about that stuff like that) but if I had any, I would like to think they'd have more fashion sense than to wear Lime Green nail polish.

Oldrice
05-02-2011, 3:48 AM
I 2nd the above link. I use these guys for archery equipment. Just a note on the super glues though... some super glue will actually melt the fiber and make it useless if it gets on the fiber itself. Also, if you happen to bend the fiber to the point that it cracks the casing, it loses its light transmitting qualities at that point. You need to cut it and start again where it broke. Melting the ends with a heat source like a lighter flame will make a little larger dot. This is similar to melting the ends of paracord or nylon rope to keep it from fraying. Just keep the flame off the fiber though.

Thanks. :)

An even better method for melting the ends (swaging) of light tube element is to use the radiant heat from a soldering iron. Any decent iron will work, but the one that I prefer for doing this is a cheap, butane-powered iron that I picked up from Radio Shack for about $20.00... I don't use the flame, but rather the metal housing below the flame (which gets hotter than Hell!) for swaging. It works great - and is easy to control.

As far as nail polish goes, it's too brittle for a firearm application. It will chip off - if not pop off completely from shock.

I picked up a "gun sight paint" kit off of eBay a few months back and have done both of my MK IIs front blades with it. The kit came with cleaner/prep, White, Yellow, Green, Orange and Red paints. The paint is thick and the instructions recommend applying it with a toothpick, but I chose to use a fine, 10/0 red sable brush. It doesn't brush well, but I achieved good results by allowing the paint to flow onto the sight in small "patches" and then kept adding more, bit by bit, until I had the surface uniformly covered.

I used the Orange, but put a thin coat of White down first. The sights look great - even in low-level light. I can "pick them up" without a hitch and the sight picture is great.

The only drawback to the gunsight paint (aside from it's thickness) is that it takes at least 24 hours to cure - and the instructions state that "longer is better." I let mine sit for a week. Durability is not an issue. I'll post photos of the MKIIs if you want to see them...

As far as "What color should the sights be painted?" goes, I think that it's purely a matter of personal preference - but one should be able to acquire the sights quickly, and the higher the definition between front and rear, the better. I'm an old fart (with progressively bad/worse vision) so I like the Reds and Oranges (typically) for the front blades of my handguns. I did use the Green gun sight paint on my GSG 1911's front blade - and it's GREAT with the factory Yellow dots on the rear sight, but Green is easy to lose in foliage...

Dion
05-02-2011, 6:04 AM
I used model paint. Hasn't come off after nearly 1000 rounds on my Beretta Neos, which is the worst set of sights I've ever experienced.

yelohamr
05-02-2011, 8:49 AM
Bright orange acrylic on front sight, coated with glow-in-the dark. Nothing on the rear sight.

whipkiller
05-02-2011, 12:36 PM
Bright orange acrylic on front sight, coated with glow-in-the dark. Nothing on the rear sight.

Oooh, now that sounds like a winner.

Question: When you say Glow in the dark, are you referring to a glow in the dark that doesn't have a lot of it's own color? I bought a bottle of glow in the dark green, but it would kinda' wash out the orange, right?

yelohamr
05-02-2011, 1:36 PM
The one I use is called, DecoArt foam glo paint. It's an off white, but dries clear and the orange shows up pretty good. You have to "activate" it with a light source and then it glows with a greenish color.

The glo paint would peel off the front sight of my pistols, so I added a drop of super glue to the sight and then used the glo paint.

I found it at a Michaels craft store. A 1 oz bottle for around $3.00 is more than you will ever need.

mkane
05-02-2011, 5:52 PM
I've tried a few different colors, but blind is blind, only a scope helps me!