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Seems pretty simple to me, just line it up and rout it out. why is this such an expensive process? and how should i go about getting it done? Gunsmith? Send the slide to Novak? what should i do with my front sight?
 

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It's alot more complicated than it looks, and as stated above, buying a mill and learning to use it correctly can take some time and money. I can tell you from experience that doing mill work with hand files seriously sucks. Novak is the trade name for the cut but it's one of the 3 most common types and can be done by quite a few smiths at what I would consider to be a reasonable price considering how important it is to have it done correctly.

John P..
 

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One other thing you should consider is whether or not your slide already has a different cut. This would require adding material shaping the material to the slide contours, and then making the novak cut (quite a bit of work).

--Wintermute
 

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From what I've seen, the cut really isn't expensive to have done...if all that's you have done.
Car repairs shops are around $70 an hour now as a comparison.

However, add the front sight dovetail, front and rear sights, "glowing" sights, perhaps refinishing and now you have spent some real money!

Anything done "after-market" will be more...has to be!
 

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It is a deep dovetail with an unsymmetrical flat on one side. My gunsmith hates to do it. I hate to pay for any of the oddballs, so I try to pick sights to fit the standard dovetail of a stock gun. The last gun I bought came with a Novak clone sight so I make the best of it. But I would not have paid extra for it.
 

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Machine work can cost $$. It continues to amaze me that some people just don't understand why some things cost what they cost.

Just to set up the machine for a 'simple' sight cut takes a little time especially if that is all you will do is that cut. Most machines get set up to do as many of the same thing as possible to save money and time for another set up. We used to farm out some slide machine work. The machinest did not want LESS than 12 slides at a time.

The tooling is another very exspensive item. Carbide tools used to be around $60.00-$90.00 each. I am sure they are a bit more now.

Someone needs to know exactly what they are doing so the sight fits properly or they will be buying someone a new $300.00 slide.

In light of the rising costs today of EVERYTHING, most machine work by a talented 'smith is really a bargain considering.
 

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Someone needs to know exactly what they are doing so the sight fits properly or they will be buying someone a new $300.00 slide.
That is why I have a Novak cut slide. I started with a military match slide, to get a cross dovetail front but a Novak Competition sight in the GI rear dovetail. Cutter broke and ripped out the front dovetail, so the 'smith replaced the slide. I don't know if he thought a Novak rear would soothe my feelings, or if that is just what Caspian had in stock for rush delivery.
 

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One other thing to consider is that gunsmithing isn't the kind of production machining that most machine shops do. Consider that at a normal machine shop, if you want a single item machined, it's going to cost you at minimum $1,500 (sometimes up to $3,000 even for something simple). The reason for this is that most machine shops really make their money by doing lots of the same operation on their equipment (eg. bulk orders) and they setup all of their machines, jigs, etc... for each bulk order. If you want to get a single item done, they have to take a machine out of the rotation for producing their bulk orders which will then delay the completion of that order. A gunsmith basically provides the service of a prototyping shop except that they usually only work on guns. Now if you consider what it would cost to have a machine shop do the cut ($1,500 minimum) or a prototyping machinist (probably around the same...I used to bill out at around $400/hr as a prototyping machinist), a gunsmith providing you that service for less than around $400 is one hell of a bargain on the machining side.

--Wintermute
 

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Don't forget that you can get a brand new Caspian slide with whatever sight cuts you want in it for a whole lot less than $400 from Brownells.

If you're not attached to your slide, buy a replacement slide and any other parts and then sell your old ones off when you're done.
 

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Just this weekend, I was quoted $85 by a reputable smith to do the cuts, without installation of the sights (I want the slide refinished with Melonite first.) How does this compare to what others are charging?
 

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Don't forget that you can get a brand new Caspian slide with whatever sight cuts you want in it for a whole lot less than $400 from Brownells.

If you're not attached to your slide, buy a replacement slide and any other parts and then sell your old ones off when you're done.

Then you have to fit a the new slide to your frame, bushing, barrel. Not real economic either.
 

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$85 is maybe $10-20 more than I'd personally want to pay, but it seems fair.

Make sure you do the final fitting and installing of the sights, then remove them, before you send off the slide to be refinished.


Then you have to fit a the new slide to your frame, bushing, barrel. Not real economic either.
Depends on what you pay for the new parts and what you end up getting out of the old ones. Everytime I've done it, it's almost always been a wash, or very close to a wash, for me. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've had more than a few Caspian slides drop right onto Springfield frames with no fitting required. There's Kart ezfit barrel options and fitting a bushing isn't exactly rocket science. Anyway, maybe not the perfect option for everyone, but an option nonetheless.
 

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You get what you pay for in this world, you could do what my neighbor did and take it to the local hack because he wanted to save money. He later brought it to me to fix, I had to charge him more than I usually do because I had to have it welded up so I could remachine it (Thanks Pete Single). Roll the dice and take your chances, a mill, the right bits and experience aint cheap.

Do you know the difference between a machinist and a pistolsmith, The size of their scrap pile.
Chris
PSS if its too expensive do it yourself.
 

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You are going to get both the front and rear done for $85.00? Sounds like a bragin if he knows what he ie doing. My smith wants $130.00 but that includes rebluing as well.
 

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I never approach any gunsmithing work with the "you get what you pay for" attitude. I've seen plenty of very cheap and very expensive hack jobs done. I've also seen a lot of excellent work done for both a fair price and a hefty sum.

I'd personally be more concerned with seeing some previous work and knowing what will be done to take care of me if something should go wrong.
 

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I just sent the slide of my zeroed pistol to Parkersburg and got it back with tritium night signts mounted in a week.

All Novak rear sights are the same height, just the front needs to be changed out to zero the pistol.

-- Chuck
 

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Sorry, but that's not correct.
Slightly tangential .... I recently went looking for the Novak made for OACP length guns. Brownells doesn't seem to list them in the newest catalog.
:confused: What about Heinie? I don't see a taller one listed there either.
 
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