Help Removing Ruger Mark III Front Sight Screw

etrain16

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I'm trying to remove the stock front sight on my Ruger Mark III so I can replace it with a Hi Viz fiber optic sight. My problem is that the front sight screw won't budge. I've managed to get a screwdriver that's just the right size, not too big, not too small. But no matter what I do, I end up coming out of the slot and I'm starting to mark up the screw head. I've stopped trying so I don't do any further damage.

I've searched Google as well as the forum and still haven't been able to find a good answer. I did find one suggestion to use heat to try and loosen it. But no other real good suggestions. I'm surprised I'm not finding an answer in my searches, so I'm going to throw the question out to you folks.

Any ideas on how I can get this screw loose without marring the screw head or front sight in the process?
 

BillM

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Going on the assumption that it is loc-tited in----

Clamp it in a padded vice securely.

Heat it up. 200° or so--just about hot enough to sizzle water.

Put the screwdriver in the slot, push down while putting some loosen torque
on it, and while pushing and turning tap the end of the screwdriver with a hammer.
 
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etrain16

etrain16

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That's helpful, thank you. The other information I found about heating it, suggesting also that Loc-Tite is involved, didn't give any information on how much heating, etc. I do have a heat gun, but I didn't want to risk damaging the pistol in some way. I'll give that suggestion a try, thanks for your response.
 
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etrain16

etrain16

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Does your screwdriver have a hollow ground tip? If not it will continue to damage your gun screws.

View attachment 91767
As a matter of fact, it does. I've run into the discussion of screwdriver blades before, so I made sure to get some hollow-ground tips - and even those were slipping out on me. Nice diagram by the way, it makes the distinction between the 2 types really clear.

Boil a pot of tea water.. Pore the pot of water over the front sight, loosen screw.
Really? That's the fist I've heard a suggestion like that. I have to honestly say I can't tell if that's tongue-in-cheek or serious :confused: Although I have used boiling water to remove cosmoline from a Mosin, so I suppose it really shouldn't hurt anything.
 

Velzey

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Nope I'm dead serious, no need to go buy a heat gun or propane torch when boiling ht water will get it more than hot enough to break the grip of thee locktite..

Old Gunsmithing trick!!
 
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etrain16

etrain16

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Well, it's worth a try. I do already own a heat gun, but I know it can be a bit difficult to get to just the right temp on the surface you're working on. At least boiling water is consistent ;)
 

ZigZagZeke

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When I was removing the old gas block from my Bushmaster AR barrel, which was put on at the factory with Loc-Tite I had to get it considerably hotter than boiling water. I think it had to be in the neighborhood of 400 degrees. I used a torch very carefully.
 
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etrain16

etrain16

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I realized today I forgot to update this thread. I ended up deciding to try the boiling water method first, reserving my heat gun for the next try if the water didn't work. I filled an electric kettle with water and heated it to boiling, then slowly poured it over the barrel at the front sight. Since it's a bull barrel model, I figured it may take just a bit longer to heat things up properly. After the first application, I tried the screw, but it didn't budge. I filled the kettle again and ran the boiling water over a second time - success! The screw finally broke loose and the sight easily came off. I'm glad I took it off because I found some small areas of rust under the front sight that I could deal with. The threads of the screw turned out to have red Loctite on them - I guess that's why it took a bit to get that screw out of there.

Thanks for the suggestions folks - it worked! And I got my new fiber optic front sight installed :D
 
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etrain16

etrain16

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Never use red locktite on a gun.
Going through what I did to get the screw off the gun, I agree. This was the original screw, with red loctite applied by the factory. I even ordered a replacement screw and it came with red loctite already applied to the thread.
 
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Interesting, I have read the applications for locktite and red is for high heat and engine applications.
I better go see it locktite has changed there guidelines.
 
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etrain16

etrain16

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I doubt the barrel of a Mark III is likely to experience really high heat, but maybe Ruger is trying to take the safe road. When I put the screw back in, I used purple instead (as recommended by someone here).
 
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Good you finally got it. I wouldn't have thought to use boiling water.......that was interesting.
For future reference, there is a tool called an "impact driver" , it is about the size of a large toothpaste tube, made of metal, comes with variety of different types and sizes of screwdriver bits. It is made to be wacked with a rubber hammer or the like. When it is hit, it compresses and turns the screwdriver bit. It is reversable so, you can either tighten or loosen. It is often used in motorcycle repair to remove those phillips head screws that hold motor parts.
The simultaneous impact and turning action the tool delivers to the stuck screw will nearly always get it loose enough you can finish extracting it with a regular screw driver. When the proper bit is selected and the object with the stuck screw in a vise or held securely on a flat surface (padding optional), you rarely damage either the screw or the object you are working on. I don't use mine alot but, there are times it is the only tool that will work. I wouldn't be without one.
 
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etrain16

etrain16

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I do have an old one I got from my dad, but I didn't think about using that on this screw. I would probably have been unsure about keep the finish properly protected. Good to know for the future though.
 

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