King's "Reflector Front Sight"?

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Woodtroll
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King's "Reflector Front Sight"?

Post by Woodtroll »

Folks,

I've been poring over an old copy of Lawrence Koller's Shots at Whitetails that a friend gave me (he understands my bent for old hunting traditions, methods, and tools!) Koller is talking about front sights suitable for hunting the "big, deep woods", and mentions,

"Developed along the lines of better illumination by light reflection is a hunting front sight made by King called the "Reflector front sight". This sight incorporates a built-in chromium reflector in the base, which reflects light from overhead and throws it on the bead. The principle is good, certainly it is quite new, and it makes this sight outstanding for all hunting under poor light conditions."

This book was first published in 1948, so this sight was "certainly new" about then, but obviously did not catch on. I was curious if any of y'all might have run across one of these somewhere, or, even better, had pictures or diagrams of one?

Many thanks! Take care, friends.
Regan
Running the ridges and rivers of Virginia's southern Appalachians
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Shasta
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Re: King's "Reflector Front Sight"?

Post by Shasta »

I saw my first such sight just last weekend. I met a fellow out deer hunting who had a very nice old custom Mauser rifle in .257 Roberts. I noticed the front sight right away and commented on it. It had a round mirror, perhaps 1/8" in diameter, set at an angle just behind the sight blade. He said it was on the rifle when he got it, along with a receiver rear sight. The guy had removed the rear sight and installed a scope on the rifle. The front sight was soldered to the barrel so he left it on. It was a very interesting sight!
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CaptainFinn
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Re: King's "Reflector Front Sight"?

Post by CaptainFinn »

I've seen pictures of one of these sights on a Colt 'Shooting Master' New Service revolver...it was in an article in either American Handgunner or Guns a few years back.

Apparently they were popular on rifles too.
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Mike D.
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Re: King's "Reflector Front Sight"?

Post by Mike D. »

The "Reflector" sights were produced in many styles and for a long time by the D. W. King Gunsight Co, of San Francisco, CA. The sights had a small point of mirrored chromium placed on the top to aid in picking up light. You see them at shows fairly often, and they sell for anywhere from 10 to 75 bucks. Here is a correspondence from Dean King to a friend, in reference to their duck hunting club. Various sights are pictured on the letterhead as well as on the envelope. The date is a bit too early for the "Reflector" sights, but does show the Sheard type gold bead ones. :)
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hfcable
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Re: King's "Reflector Front Sight"?

Post by hfcable »

i have one or two and did have one on my 1895 405; i will take a picture of one if i have time tonight; i believe it is a good idea and useful for woods/low light shooting.
cable
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Re: King's "Reflector Front Sight"?

Post by hfcable »

here is the only one i could find in my 'sight boxes. it fits the 3/8" standard dovetail. they were also available in 5/16" dovetail to fit the stevens and some others. the brass bead faced the shooter and the little mirror 'illuminated it' pretty well.
they came in a variety of heights and this one was too short to work well with my 405 which has the 'african' style express sight on the rear dovetail:

Image

Image

there were so many really good 'sight solutions' available nearly a 100 years ago!! you could set up your rifle to really suit your conditions and your eyesight!
cable
Woodtroll
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Re: King's "Reflector Front Sight"?

Post by Woodtroll »

Folks, thanks for the information, and special thanks to hfcable for the photos! I had a hard time picturing what these sights would look like based solely on the description. I'm intrigued, and will have to watch for these at gun shows or on auctions. Perhaps these are more common in the western US, but I've certainly never seen one before here in the VA mountains (but then, of course, I certainly haven't seen everything here by any means!)

Thanks, y'all! Take care,
Regan
Running the ridges and rivers of Virginia's southern Appalachians
John in MS
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Re: King's "Reflector Front Sight"?

Post by John in MS »

I have one on a Winchester 71, and enjoy using it. As noted above, the golden era of iron sight shooting produced a lot of fine sights, and now we find ourselves searching for certain ones to use... The King Reflector sights are not commonly found in my experience, but I lucked into a couple of new ones, still in the cellophane wrapper. They come on yellow cards with installation info, models of rifle they fit, etc. If anyone wants one to fit a Winchester 54/70/64/71, I have 1 I can spare. Feel free to email me at PSWRITERJF @ aol.com.

John
"Pistols do not win wars, but they save the lives of the men who do. The noble 1911 is a mechanical marvel, whose ruggedness, dependability & ferocious power have comforted four issues of GIs and which, unlike any other instrument you can name, is as much superior to its rivals today as it was in 1917."
-Col. Jeff Cooper, 1968
hfcable
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Re: King's "Reflector Front Sight"?

Post by hfcable »

John in MS wrote:I have one on a Winchester 71, and enjoy using it. As noted above, the golden era of iron sight shooting produced a lot of fine sights, and now we find ourselves searching for certain ones to use... The King Reflector sights are not commonly found in my experience, but I lucked into a couple of new ones, still in the cellophane wrapper. They come on yellow cards with installation info, models of rifle they fit, etc. If anyone wants one to fit a Winchester 54/70/64/71, I have 1 I can spare. Feel free to email me at PSWRITERJF @ aol.com.

John
your email wont work for me, but i have a friend who wants one, what do you want for it? my email is

hcable99@yahoo.com

thanks, cable
cable
John in MS
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Re: King's "Reflector Front Sight"?

Post by John in MS »

Hi, Cable,
Sorry for your trouble with the email address -- I put spaces in front of and behind the "@" symbol to
defeat the spam-bots searching for email addresses. Figured everyone would see that, but I should
have mentioned it. I will email you shortly with the info.

John
"Pistols do not win wars, but they save the lives of the men who do. The noble 1911 is a mechanical marvel, whose ruggedness, dependability & ferocious power have comforted four issues of GIs and which, unlike any other instrument you can name, is as much superior to its rivals today as it was in 1917."
-Col. Jeff Cooper, 1968
BenT
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Re: King's "Reflector Front Sight"?

Post by BenT »

I definitley need one of these sites. I'll have to keep my eyes open at gun shows. I deer hunt in heavy woods and if it is an overcast day I can't even see my front bead till about 45 min after legal shooting hours . So I get to watch deer walk around my stand without being able to draw a bead on them. This year I'm using a scope with detachable mounts for early morning light. The fiber optic beads are just to big.
John in MS
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Re: King's "Reflector Front Sight"?

Post by John in MS »

Hi, folks,

I was doing some reading a while back and found this info on the King's Reflector front sight, from a noted author and technical expert of the era in which they were made. Hope you enjoy it!
John

The “King Gun Sight Co.” Reflector Sight

By Phillip B. Sharpe, in “The Rifle In America,” Copyright 1938

“An excellent type of front sight is the King, having a built-in reflector, a slightly convex piece of chromium set into the base of the sight to pick up all overhead and side light and throw it on the bead. This makes the King bead stand out sharply even in dull light. On occasion, it can be used under starlight and excellently under moonlight. Regardless of the intensity of light, if the flat-face bead is used this reflection of light on the bead itself is surprisingly uniform, varying only in intensity which is dependent upon the source of supply.”

Regarding the choice of front sights for hunting, noted authority Sharpe explains, “[An] important angle to be considered in the choice of a front sight for hunting purposes, is the type of face. Beads are manufactured with oval faces, slightly rounded faces, hemispherical faces, and true flat faces. Which to choose? While this is also a matter of personal preference there are certain elements which must be considered if fine shooting is to be conducted. This author recommends the flat face and explains these reasons below.
In the first place, any sight with a curved-face surface (the face is that portion which is visible to the man behind the gun) is inclined to create errors in aim. Assuming that there is normal daylight with the sun shining and with the sun practically overhead at high noon, the top portion of the bead reflects the rays of the sun, and, in aiming, this particular bright spot is unconsciously used. This amounts to the same thing as a higher front sight which means that the shot will strike low at any normal range.
If the sun strikes the left side of the sight and is reflected from that point, the normal error of aim will cause the shot to strike to the right and vice-versa. These facts are extremely important in the woods. Today, the modern hunter searching for big game does not get a shot every half-hour and a missed shot may mean the only one he will have during his sojourn in the woods. Accordingly, he should not handicap himself with sights reflecting light in a manner to give an optical illusion. The flat-surface front sight will not do this.”
"Pistols do not win wars, but they save the lives of the men who do. The noble 1911 is a mechanical marvel, whose ruggedness, dependability & ferocious power have comforted four issues of GIs and which, unlike any other instrument you can name, is as much superior to its rivals today as it was in 1917."
-Col. Jeff Cooper, 1968
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