The German Walther PPK is a great little pistol that has been around since the 1930s. While it may lack the larger cartridges and lighter weights of the modern polymer guns, it definitely holds a place in the history of firearms.
One of the downsides to the PPK is its relatively small sights. In this post, we’ll take the slide of a PPK clone, a Hungarian FEG PA-63 and install a set of Novak sights on it!
For reference purposes, you can find a similar post by Roy Siefert here, at the Kitchen Table Gunsmith. In his post Roy uses different measurements and sights than I do, but he finishes with some good results. I would suggest taking a look.
We will be installing Novak sights that were originally designed for a Colt Mustang. We usually buy our parts from Brownells, but they don’t carry these so we ordered them directly from Novak. We are using a tritium front sight (DFS01-6.160) and plain steel rear sight (LMC38001). Installation of the sights will require the removal of the integral front sight, and cutting a new front and rear dovetail.
Before we get to work, please read the following disclaimer:
The contents of Rifleshooter.com are produced for informational purposes only and should be performed by competent gunsmiths only. Rifleshooter.com and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.
Any modifications made to a firearm should be made by a licensed gunsmith. Failure to do so may void warranties and result in an unsafe firearm and may cause injury or death.
Modifications to a firearm may result in personal injury or death, cause the firearm to not function properly, or malfunction, and cause the firearm to become unsafe.
For this project, I ordered the following from Brownells:
- Cryo-treated 65 degree x .330 dovetail cutter
- 4-flute solid carbide end mill
- Do-Drill cutting oil
- 65 degree file
- Bench stone
- Bronze vise jaws
- 44-40 Instant Gun Blue
Both of the sights fit a 65 degree x .330″ dovetail. The front sight requires a cut that is .060″ deep, while the rear sight requires a cut that is .062″ deep. To make these cuts, I ordered a Cryo-treated 65 degree x .330 dovetail cutter from Brownells.
A project like this requires access to a milling machine. While I assume it would be possible to file out a dovetail, most people that would have the skill set necessary to pull this off and have it look good, would likely have a mill. So if you don’t have one, it’s probably a job for a professional gunsmith.
I’m only using 3 tools in my Bridgeport, from left to right, the dovetail cutter, a 1/4″ 4-flute solid carbide end mill and an edge finder.
I made sure my milling machine vise was squared up and found a set of parallels that were the right height. Since I’d rather avoid refinishing the slide on this PA-63, I used a set of bronze vise jaws to prevent damage to the finish of the slide. The slide has a fixed front sight that needs to be removed without damaging the serrations on the top of the slide. For this I used a 1/4″ end mill with a z-axis edge finder to determine the position of my tool. This tool is exactly 2.000″ above the work’s surface, so you can touch a tool off of it and know exactly where you are.
I managed to machine the front sight off in two passes without disturbing the serrations.
Next up was installation of the front sight. I like to start all my dovetail cuts with a standard end mill to remove the majority of the material. Using the edge finder, I determine where the front end of the slide is. Next, I move the x-axis over .370″, and make a cut -.058″ deep with the 1/4″ end mill. This cut is slightly shallower than the .060″ finished depth I need, but it allows the dovetail cutter to clean the cut up. If the 1/4″ end mill was too deep, the dovetail would have a groove in the bottom of it.
I switched over to my dovetail cutter and ran it -.060″ deep. This is a slow cut. Brownells recommends a spindle speed below 700 RPM, so I use plenty of Do-Drill cutting oil and take my time making the cut.
The rear sight of the pistol is slightly more involved because the back of the sight needs to sit outside of the dovetail. The rear of the slide is cut to the bottom of the existing dovetail to accommodate it. After that, a new dovetail is cut.
Instead of trying to drift out the rear sight, I simply cut it out with the end mill.
Next, I made a roughing pass with the 1/4″ end mill and followed that with the Cryo-treated 65 degree x .330 dovetail cutter centered .759″ from the rear of the slide. The depth of cut is based off of the rear shelf I just cut, with the bottom of the dovetail .062″ below this shelf. Using a 1/4″ end mill to rough the cut made for a nice perpendicular cut on the rear of the serrations, alternatively, a 3/16″ 4-flute end mill would have allowed the serrations to blend into the sight.
The rear sight looks good!
Finally I use some 44-40 cold blue to touch up the slide.
The finished installation of the front sight looks nice and clean as well.
This slide is ready for decades of continued service, and now it has a great set of sights on it!