Williams Sights, Who Gives A Peep
Williams sights of the 1950s are considered an asset too many firearms they were installed on. Although Williams peep sights were probably their biggest seller they would also produce front sight ramps, hammer extensions, giant head safeties, and of course different styles of mounts.
The Williams peep sights were very popular because they were inexpensive and would adapt very easily to the lever action rifles of that period. The Winchester 94’s and the Marlin 336’s where two examples of firearms that were very popular with Williams peep sights installed.
My main issue with Williams sights was that they did have a tendency to alter many fine firearms when the Williams products were installed. Many of the bolt action rifles were drilled and tapped for receiver sites and the wood sometimes would have to be altered in order for them to be installed. This was also an issue with the Williams side mounts of that era.
The receiver of the firearm would have to be drilled and tapped to accept the side mounts and would also have to usually have the wood altered. As a gunsmith in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s I would see many rifles come through that had Williams mounts installed. Many Remington pumps would have Williams’s side mounts or Williams peep sites installed, which would require drilling and tapping the side of the receiver.
I visited a man in the 1980s that had a nice collection of older Winchester lever action rifles. Almost all of those rifles had Williams front sight ramps installed. This required the barrel to be cut on some models to remove the integral factory sight on the barrel. He did not seem to see a problem with the installed sights. He did ruin a couple of nice old Winchesters.
When collecting firearms of this period, many people seem to forget that a lot of those type mounts and sites are not original to the firearm. Winchester firearms or Remington firearms and many others did not drill and tap for side mounts or alter wood to install mounts.
These issues will definitely affect the guns value. The Williams sights can be great additions to the hunting rifles of the 50s and 60s. But they can hurt the collectability when these issues are present.