Rifle Sights May Not Always Be The Best Choice

We hunters have been going through a high-tech, sight craze as well as ammunition craze, spouting the accolades of short magnums, super short magnums, and many other products that have hit the market in an attempt to relieve us of what little money we have left since those in Washington D.C. have gone completely insane.

I don’t know if you have ever seen an East Texas whitetail deer that was shot with a 7mm Winchester Short Magnum or a 300 Winchester Short Magnum, but all I can say is they sure cut down on the amount of meat that has to be butchered and wrapped.

In a similar fashion of overkill, many guns purchased nowadays seem to require a scope, or some electronic sighting contraption. It is not uncommon to see rifles, shotguns, handguns, and even crossbows with optical scopes, laser sights, or some other more exotic electronic sighting equipment on them that is subject to predictable failure of anything that man creates, and at a time when needed most, as well as substantially adding weight to the combination.

Scopes Not The Best Choice For Some Game

Many rifles today do not come with sights at all, but are set up for scope mounts. Even though that may be the case it can’t hurt to take a look at what else is on the market before automatically purchasing a scope and having it mounted. This is if for no other reason than to make absolutely sure the scope you purchase is the scope you need to do the job you have in mind.

Talk to most any hunting guide in the northwest area of our country where big bears are prevalent and he will readily condone and use scopes in hunting antelope, deer, elk, and most other meat animals. But you put that same guide in the position where he must be prepared to defend himself or backup a hunter hunting dangerous game, such as brown bears, and I don’t think you could run fast enough to give him a scope; any scope.

paper shooting target
This is a three-shot group of my 45/70 shot at 100 yards with iron sights. The center circle made with the broken line is 1-inch in diameter

Another example would be hog hunting in the thick timber or brush. How about using a 3×9 scope when you are stalking a 450-pound boar in thick timber and undergrowth? No, give me my good old Marlin 1895SS, in 45/70, with the iron sights and I would feel much more comfortable. Also, if you wonder about accuracy at longer distance with iron sights, I recently put three Sierra 300-grain, jacketed hollowpoint, bullets in a 1-1/2-inch group at 50 yards with the same old lever action 45/70 rifle and iron sights.

There are two basic types of iron sights: the leaf-and-blade pattern and the peep sight with the rear aperture mounted close to the shooting eye and a front bead, post or circle at the front of the barrel.

My Marlin 1895SS has the standard factory issue leaf and blade sights. They are fast to use and offer a good sight picture, however, there are some drawbacks to this type of sighting system.

To begin with when using the blade and leaf, when you are on the target the bottom of the target is blacked out by the bottom of the rear leaf so the entire target cannot be seen. Another disadvantage is the impossibility of the eye to focus on three planes at one time especially when they are 100 yards apart with the closest point 15 inches from your eye. That is the position of the rear sight, front sight, and target. So what the eye actually does is jump back and forth between all three points very rapidly, perfecting and holding the alignment until the trigger is pulled.

Now let’s take a look at peep sights. Believe it or not they are among the most accurate sighting systems available for all rifle shooting. The reason they are so accurate is as a person looks through the peep aperture in the rear sight the human eye automatically centers the front sight in the circle so the shooter lines up the front sight on the target, ignoring the rear sight. A beginner will figure this system is extremely imprecise until they get use to not trying to forcibly center the front sight and let nature handle it.

So before you leap onto a new scope take a practical look at the sight market and make sure you are getting the sight you really need to do the job.

Make sure you visit Sportsman’s Guide for a wide assortment of shooting supplies.

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