Benjamin 397 – Part 10
This report covers:
- The 397 open rear sight
- BB learned more!
- The Williams 64 peep sight
- What does this sight fit?
- Talk about easy!
- Remove the rear sight
- BB learns even more!
The 397 open rear sight
In Part 9 I told you I was going to mount the Williams sight when it came in. And of course that meant that I had to remove the rear sight that was on the 397, because the Williams sight would look right through the open notch of the factory rear sight when it was sighted in. I did think I could lower it out of the way but today I discovered that was impossible.
I dreaded taking the sight off, until I examined the 397’s rear sight closely. I saw that it was attached to a base and Crosman had made the four flanges on the springy legs that hold the sight in place short, so they wouldn’t put much strain on the soldered barrel joint when the sight was removed.
I will now compare that rear sight to the one on my Sheridan Blue Streak from 1978.
BB learned more!
I was not aware until writing this report that the Sheridan rear sight also clamped to a separate mount and not directly to the barrel. I have owned that rifle for 43 years since it was new (and I was also a lot newer) and I had heard so many stories of the rear sight breaking the solder joint when it was removed that I just accepted that the clamp was direct to the barrel.
But you do need to take caution, because removing that sight is the number one cause of the barrel solder joint breaking. I guess the longer clamping surface is responsible, or maybe some guys just put Vise Grips on the sight and pull it off. I don’t know the reason, but I do know removing that sight can break the solder joint.
The Williams 64 peep sight
The Williams company makes sights of all kinds. This peep sight is not made to fit any particular firearm or airgun, but many of them can be adapted to fit it. Because of that, it doesn’t come with directions. It’s very simple and straightforward to install, but don’t look for the directions. However I am going to show you how I got it to fit this 397.
What does this sight fit?
The Pyramyd Air website says this sight will fit rifles made in the last five years. Well, I know that the description has said that for several years, so the guns it will fit go back farther than just five years, but how much farther I can’t say. Don’t take chances. If your airgun is older, call the Pyramyd Air tech department and ask whether this sight will fit. If you just bought a new airgun the sight should fit, no problem.
One mounting screw comes separate from the sight. The other one is under the elevation slide on the right side of the sight.
Talk about easy!
I had the sight on the rifle in seconds. Then I slipped the elevation slide back down and tightened the jam screw on the right.
Now I brought the rifle to my shoulder and looked through the peephole. The hole was almost perfectly aligned with the rear sight notch. It was maybe off to the right just a little. Yes, the rear sight leaf is elevated a little, but I could see that even if it was all the way down it would still be in the way of the peep.
Remove the rear sight
Now I came to the part of this job that I had been dreading — removing the rear sight. It appeared that just tapping it with a soft rubber hammer was the way to proceed, so I did. And it was!
BB learns even more!
After the rear sight was off, BB learned one more thing. The “base” he has been talking about isn’t a base at all! It is a pair of triangle-shaped individual grooved inserts that tuck into the barrel/pump tube gap and allow the flanges on the legs of the rear sight to ride in their grooves. They are held in place by the spring pressure applied by the rear sight legs. It’s an ingenious way of mounting the rear sight. And, when BB examined his 1978 Sheridan, he discovered that it has the exact same inserts. But that sight has a solid sight flange on each side that isn’t as delicate as the one on this 397.
This job took me about an hour because I stopped to take the photographs. Removing the rear sight was the most tedious until I realized that it was made to come off. Yes, BB did learn a lot today, and the design of the new rear sight with it’s shorter flanges is an improvement worth mentioning.
Next time I will sight her in and see what kind of accuracy she has. Remember — I’m still looking for the best pellet for this rifle!