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Accessories Benjamin 397 – Part 10

Benjamin 397 – Part 10

397 with new stock
Benjamin 397 with my new curly maple stock.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

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!
  • Summary

Today I mount the Williams 64 peep sight to my Benjamin 397 with the pretty curly maple stock. Guys, I learned a lot today!

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.

397 rear sight
As you see, the 397 rear sight legs are short, so they don’t put too much pressure on the solder joint as they come off the rifle.

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.

Sheridan rear sight
The flanges on the Sheridan rear sight legs run the entire length of the sight.

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.

397 sight holes
The Benjamin 397 (and 392) has a flat on the right side of the round receiver. Two holes are drilled and tapped to receive the screws that mount the Williams 64 sight.

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.

397 Williams 64
This is what comes with the sight.

One mounting screw comes separate from the sight. The other one is under the elevation slide on the right side of the sight.

397 Williams 64 back
Here is the sight on its back. The screw poking through is under the elevation slide.

397 Williams 64 slide off
Loosen the screw on the right with the silver ring around it and the elevation slide slips up and off, revealing the other mounting screw.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

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.

397 Williams 64 mounted
And there is the sight, mounted!

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!

397 rear sight coming off
I tapped on the front of the rear sight with a rubber hammer and it slid back easily. Four or five taps got it to here.

397 rear sight off
The rear sight came off without any problem.

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.

397 rear sight inserts
Those two inserts tuck into the gap between the barrel and pump tube — one on either side. They accept the flanges on the base of the rear sight legs.

Summary

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.

397 finished
The finished rifle with the peep sight mounted and the rear sight removed looks sharp!

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!

27 thoughts on “Benjamin 397 – Part 10”

  1. B.B.,

    That looks so much better than with a scope! I don’t recall you talking about the diameter of the aperture sight hole before in relation g to the distance to the eye of the shooter. I know it benefits the shooter if the aperture was small and close to the eye. But, in this instance the aperture is placed farther than usual. Is there a rule of thumb that can be used to determine how big the aperture has to be?

    Siraniko

    • Is there a rule of thumb? Probably but I have never heard of it.

      The 1903 Springfield rifle positioned its peep sight much farther from the eye than this and it still works. It’s a Buffington sight. The O3A3 Springfield has a peep only and brings it back towards the eye more like this one.

      BB

  2. B.B.

    Why did you remove the entire rear site? Could you not just loosen the screw that holds the “top” spring legs and leave the brazed part on the receiver?

    -Y

    • Yogi,

      I don’t think you understand how this works yet. There is no screw that holds the legs and there is no brazed part on this rifle. Study the photos and it should become clear how this works.

      BB

    • Yogi,
      If you mean removing the cross screw on the forward part of the sight, where it forms sort of a hinge, that rolled over cylinder that the screw passes though sticks up high enough to get in the way. At least it did on my gun. Mine shot so high that I had to adjust the rear peep down as low as it would go and it still shot high, so I bought the Baker scope rail and a cheap scope. If your gun didn’t need that amount of down adjustment with the peep, you may not see the remaining part of the rear sight.

      Half

  3. BB: You’re probably beginning to think of me as a persistent old cuss, asking off topic questions at will. OK, you’d be right, and here’s tonight’s off topic query: I’ve got all these wonderful new toys, most recently ordering a new chrome Baretta 92 FS today. YEA! Of course I’ve been shooting the heck out of my favorite new toy, an Air Arms TX200 in 22cal. Oh, now to my question: are lead pellets going the way of fire arm ammo? I’ve had my chosen pellets on back order since April, and nearly all my selected ammunition is on back order with no in stock dates known at this time. HELP! Shall I go picking through the sand at the range for used pellets? I’ve still got a couple thousand rounds in my kit, but then it’s Air shots or whatever crap available my local big box store. Do you know of any hope for an old pinker like me? I feel like a kid at Christmas, waiting each evening for your blog. Oh, and thanks very much to Pyramyd AIR for sponsoring you. I may be old, but I still have all the questions of a kid. Thanks, Orv

    • Orv,

      Premium pellets are always in short supply. Although the factory manufactures a lot, JSB still inspects manually. The number of airgunners worldwide are also growing. So you have a lot of demand and a short supply. Some, like I do, use the cheap common pellets for fun shooting and reserve the premium pellets for when I’m serious about long range.

      Siraniko

      • I may well have to resort to the “cheap common pellets” for my everyday shooting as well. My only fear is that my accuracy will fall off . . . I’m not a good enough shot at my field target positions to know when it’s the gun, the pellets or me that causes my accuracy to be off. I have just about figured out which pellets work best in my guns and rifles, and under what shooting conditions, so changing the ammo around would likely cause me unneeded stress. Just last week I went shooting with my son, a career Army officer, and he kicked my butt shooting my TX200 the first time out; that’s enough stress for one day right there. On one hand, I’m all proud at what a shooter he is, while on the other I’m embarrassed that he can outshoot me without even becoming familiar with the weapon. I think the old man has become a mite shake shooting from a prone position or standing without something to brace against. That TX does get heave fast shooting like that. Oh well, have to shoot from the bench next time. Thanks, Orv

    • Orv,

      Couple of quick notes on the 92FS. Do not over adjust the wheel for the CO2 carts. Too tight will bend the lever.

      The brass wheel seemed to seize after awhile. I recommend removing it and putting in some never-seize of sorts.

      The laser sight made for it (mounts under) works great.

      Have fun,…… Chris

      • CHRIS: Thanks for the heads up on the CO2 loading. The Baretta loading sounds about like my Colt 1911 pellet pistol. I just hope that this new Baretta doesn’t wear on the wood grip too much, what having to remove it every time I need to change out the CO2 cylinder. On my 1911 it’s a bit of a chore getting that grip to seat properly the first try. Thanks for the heads-up on the never seize as well. The new Baretta should be delivered towards the end of this week or early the next for sure. Orv

    • Orv,

      Quick correction on the “lever” bending. It is the piece that the brass screw,.. screws into. Looks to be pot metal. The black lever at the butt of the grip presses against that piece. I have never had trouble with the black lever.

      Chris

    • Hoppy,

      The millions of new airgun shooters are depleting the supply of good pellets, just as they did firearms ammo.

      As ammo becomes more available with the large Remington plant back in business the firearm ammo shortage will decrease, and many of the “new” airgunners will go back to their firearms.

      BB

      • Thank you, Tom. You and Siraniko are advising me alike. I don’t like your answers, but sometimes the truth hurts. I guess that I’ll have to wait the supply chain out and keep my order at Pyramid in the que. We were on vacation in Colorado last week and couldn’t find 9 or 223 ammo in any of the stores. The clerk at Cabellas told me that they get a truck in on Tuesdays and that the ammo is pretty much gone by Wednesday. Interesting times we’re living in. Thanks again, Orv

  4. B.B.,

    Off topic as well, what is up with this product, it seems just a little overpriced but I could be wrong.

    /product/crosman-hand-grenade-shaped-bb-container-800-rds-2ct?a=4304

    800 bucks, a typo for sure, perhaps 8 bucks.

    Mike

    • Mike,

      That page is either a placeholder for a real product that’s coming or it’s an old April Fool joke that was left up. Look here:

      /product/flava-shots-edible-flavored-hunting-pellets-177-caliber-10-65-grains?p=1109

      BB

      • Those “Flava” pellets look like a real “gut-shot” to me. I’d come home from the range with a big grin on my face and my wife would say “is that chocolate on your breath old man?” Oops . . .I cannot tell a lie. Oh well, Orv

      • B.B.,

        I found that by looking at the new products page, it is no longer posted at the new products page so I posted a question as to what the heck.

        Perhaps an answer will come.

        Mike

  5. BB,

    In the picture of the gun, with wedges above,….. it looks like the sight was mounted and then the gun was painted (or whatever). What is that long mark/scratch and what am I seeing?

    Chris

    • Chris,

      That is oil that was left when the sight wedges came off the rifle. I left it there for the pic to show where the sight had been mounted.

      BB

  6. B.B.
    That Williams peep sight looks great on the rifle; it’s pretty much identical to the one I bought (through the Sheridan factory…for the whopping sum of $12.40) 45 years ago. The only thing is, unlike the new rifles, my old gun did not come tapped for the peep sight; my Dad’s machinist friend, Jim (thanks, Jim!), tapped the holes for me and mounted the sight; and fortunately, he removed the rear sight (which came off the same as off your old rifle); since he is a very meticulous and cautious guy, that process went better than if I’d done it myself. =>
    Really looking forward to the accuracy test with this sight,
    dave

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