Iron Sight vs. Scope


PDA






dispatch55126
November 5, 2006, 04:51 PM
I've seen this argument on several threads so I'll add my 2 cents. Scopes are great and make things easier and improve accuracy. However, I filled my Doe tag last night with a head shot at 110 yds using iron sights on my MN 91/30. The bullet entered under the eye near the jaw and came out the back at the base of the skull severing the spinal cord. I chased the deer a total of 6" and had the cleanest field dress will NO loss of meat.

If you enjoyed reading about "Iron Sight vs. Scope" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
B yond
November 5, 2006, 05:03 PM
On a large target that is within 100-200 yards (depending on the rifle I'm using) I prefer irons. With smaller targets, at 100+ yards I generally prefer a scope. For me it's all about being able to see the target clearly.

I do a lot of target shooting, and as long as I'm close enough to see the bullseye I go iron. When I'm farther away and can only see the paper, I want a scope. That way I'm not guessing where the bullseye is.

Congrats on your kill, sounds like a good shot.

dispatch55126
November 5, 2006, 05:09 PM
To be truthful, I need to thank the pheasants. I had a pair of roosters walking through the field when the doe came into view. My first shot missed at about 130 yds and when it ran it stopped on a high point when the pheasants flew in front of it. I'm sure it was adrenaline, but that bolt has never cycled as smoothly as it did for that follow up shot.

Skofnung
November 5, 2006, 05:51 PM
Scopes make hitting a target easier. There is a shorter, easier learning curve.

For someone that doesn't care one whit about shooting, but wants to kill deer (e.g. the Fudds of the world) a scope makes things much easier. They can see the target better and they don't need to worry about lining the sights up. Adjustments are also easier for them to understand.

For those of us that look at shooting as a way of life, knowing how to use iron sights is crucial, and for some like myself, preferable. Most of my rifles are iron sighted.

I started shooting rifles when I was very young. My father started me out on a .22 with standard irons. I shot that rifle for years before ever picking up one with a scope on it. When I did, it just made the shooting all the easier.

Scopes have their place, but too many people use them as a substitute for aquired skill.

telomerase
November 5, 2006, 05:59 PM
Scopes have their place, but too many people use them as a substitute for aquired skill.

Not disagreeing, but remember you won't be young forever.

Mannlicher
November 5, 2006, 05:59 PM
Head shot at night? 110 yards? Iron sights on a Mosin?
hmmmmmmmmmm luck or bs, I am not sure which.

dispatch55126
November 5, 2006, 06:08 PM
By last night I mean 3 P.M.

Shawnee
November 5, 2006, 06:17 PM
Scopes have their place, but too many people use them as a substitute for aquired skill. . Use a rifle with iron sights!

Rifles with iron sights have their place, but too many people use them as a substitute for aquired skill. Use a muzzleloader!

Muzzleloaders have their place, but too many people use them as a substitute for aquired skill.. Use a bow and arrow!

Bows and arrows have their place, but too many people use them as a substitute for aquired skill.. Use a Bowie knife!

Bowie knives have their place, but too many people use them as a substitute for aquired skill.. Use a croquet mallet!

Croquet mallets have their place, but too many people use them as a substitute for aquired skill.. Arm wrestle them - best 3 out of 5!

... and like Telomerase says... no one is young forever. ;)

Congrats on making a fine shot, Dispatch!!!:)

The Deer Hunter
November 5, 2006, 06:26 PM
Scopes vs irons is a completely variable comparison. It really matters what your doing. For example, a scope would be good for long range shots while irons would be good for closer moving shots.

Skofnung
November 5, 2006, 06:49 PM
Not disagreeing, but remember you won't be young forever.

I'm still fairly young, but I already have crappy eyes. Most of my shooting is done at <200 yards, and 90% of that is under 100.


. Use a rifle with iron sights!

<snip>

. Arm wrestle them - best 3 out of 5!

I'm not opposed to better technology, I wouldn't argue that irons are better than an ACOG, but learning to shoot well with irons generally makes one a better shot down the road. At worst, it gives one more options.

But seriously, do you want to arm wrestle? :neener:

I certainly have nothing against scopes per se, but I've heard way too many Fudds on the firing line at the National Forest Range say something to the effect of "man, I need a bigger scope" after missing a target 100 yards away. They simply neglected to learn shooting fundamentals.

Cosmoline
November 5, 2006, 06:58 PM
There's nothing wrong with scopes, but too many American rifle shooters have come to believe that a rifle without one is basically useless. Never mind how many animals and men have been blown away by iron sighted rifles. Never mind the competition shooting scores people rack up with iron sights. They are convinced that unless you can see the target clearly and in detail you cannot hit it reliably.

Now there's no doubt scopes help identify targets, but if you know how to use irons you really don't need one in order to *HIT* targets. You focus on the front sight, and use the reference points around it--both on the rifle and the target itself--to line yourself up.

Plus, those old iron tangents so many people regard as useless are able to give you minute control over elevation:

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b52/Gussick/M-39.jpg

Shawnee
November 5, 2006, 07:16 PM
Hi Skof...

Not disagreeing with you but I'll point out that if they have, as you say "neglected to learn shooting fundamentals."... they aren't going to do any better or learn any more with irons than with scopes. Example - the sights do not teach one to perform the trigger pull correctly, or to breathe correctly, or to judge elevation/windage etc. Any silhouette shooter will verify that. :)

Hi Cosmo... if we're talking the "factory issue" iron sights that come on most production rifles - they are worse than worthless, and have been since WWII. But if we're talking serious irons, we're on the same page.
I used to have a Marlin 336 lever 30/30 with a set of Williams "peep" sights (with the disc removed) and a white bead front sight. Intentionally asked umpteen people to try it so I could watch them be stunned that they could do so good without a scope (out to about 150 - 175yds.). Most of the exposed-hammer lever guns are natural-born "peep" guns (to keep their "cool carry-ability" and to accomodate their stocking). Had a Marlin 1894 set up the same way - same result.
But at dawn or dusk, or in the gloom of woods, the properly mounted scope still rules. :)

RNB65
November 5, 2006, 07:18 PM
I'll take a scope, please. Thank you.

dispatch55126
November 5, 2006, 07:29 PM
My logic with iron sights is that you can aquire faster with iron sights and even if the front post covers the whole object at 200 yds, you're still guaranteed to hit within the area...all things being equal.

B yond
November 5, 2006, 07:33 PM
There's nothing wrong with scopes, but too many American rifle shooters have come to believe that a rifle without one is basically useless.

Strange, Cosmoline is the only person I've ever heard that from.

Cosmoline
November 5, 2006, 07:38 PM
There's actually a Leopold commercial that says exactly that. And I've run into the attitude, from you and others, that iron sights are basically an affectation and not practical. You just got through claiming that shooters have to put scopes on old military rifles in order to make them useful.

SoCalShooter
November 5, 2006, 07:40 PM
Nice shot, match is of course iron sight my hunting rifle has a scope but I am usually at distances of 200+ yards...tends to help a little.

dispatch55126
November 5, 2006, 07:41 PM
When dealing with hunting rifles at most dealerships, they'll sell you a rifle and turn you onto the scopes at the same time making it so it is marketed that a rifle w/o a scope is about as accurate as a Brown Bess.

Shawnee
November 5, 2006, 07:42 PM
Hi Dispatch...

if the front post covers the whole object at 200 yds, you're still guaranteed to hit within the area

Maybe I'm not understanding you right. :confused:
But, based on the above at face value, I would say I disagree that even if a deer's vitals are completely covered by the front post you are going to hit the vitals. That simply isn't correct. Fact is, there is a good chance you'll miss the deer... especially if it is one of those inconsiderate deer that moves even slightly while the shooter is staring at his/her front sight post.
That's true about the venders wanting to sell a scope for every rifle.

rbernie
November 5, 2006, 07:43 PM
These discussions are always wearying, because they always seem to devolve into some form of 'real men use iron sights, and scopes are for folks who can't REALLY shoot a rifle'. <sigh> I learned to shoot with irons, courtesy of Uncle Sam. I subsequently learned to shoot with scoped rifles, to extend my range in which I can accurately place shots. My ability or knowledge of how to shoot a rifle has no direct relationship with the nature of the sighting system that I use. If it makes your manhood swell with pride that you use iron sights, well enjoy all that. :rolleyes: I have the option of using either, and for most circumstances I choose optics over irons.

If you can't perform fast both-eyes-open target acquisition and tracking with an appropriate scope, you can't do it with irons, either. If you can do it with irons, then you can also do it with optics (only the optics won't be as sensitive to head location on the stock as will iron sights and therefore will be more forgiving in field use). Complaining about how a scope confines the field of view or somehow provides for less situational awareness only identifies that the optic in use was inappropriate for the range-to-target. Suggesting that HITTING a target is sufficient accuracy belies the need to actually PLACE the shot. Hunting medium or large game, for example, is not soldiering, and merely placing a round somewhere within a standard silhouette is not adequate for many purposes.

The folks that study this sort of thing for a living will tell you that appropriate optics enhance first-shot and follow-up accuracy and speed. My experiences do not run counter to that.

Cosmoline
November 5, 2006, 07:46 PM
Dispatch--you've hit pay dirt there. It's all about $$. They want you to have to buy a rifle stripped of iron sights then spend another $300 or more on fancy optics. Not that there's anything wrong with making a buck, but shoppers should be careful not to buy the nonsense about how scoped rifles are the only game in town.

telomerase
November 5, 2006, 07:50 PM
The folks that study this sort of thing for a living will tell you that appropriate optics enhance first-shot and follow-up accuracy and speed. My experiences do not run counter to that.

I haven't used scopes enough (no budget). Isn't there an advantage to irons in the rain? (Just asking, jump in here and correct if this is stupid).

Of course most of the time in civvie life the scopes do keep people shooting deer and not deer-colored sweaters...

rbernie
November 5, 2006, 08:13 PM
Isn't there an advantage to irons in the rain? Not a bad question at all. I don't think that a scope is a DISadvantage in the rain; the rain drops may make the view a bit less precise but it's not like driving a car without windshield wipers. A bigger issue with scopes is condensation; they can take out the view faster than you can blink..

If I spent any time still-hunting in cold/damp areas with a relatively close average shot (or hunting fairly large game), I would probably favor irons moreso than scopes purely based upon the issues associated with fog/condensation.

pascalp
November 5, 2006, 08:53 PM
I like iron sight, but agging eyes don't agreed.
I have some success with diopter or mojosight.
At least scopes permit me enjoying shooting.

pedaldude
November 5, 2006, 10:41 PM
Simo Haya used irons just fine, he didn't like the way period glass fogged up and it's alot harder to break iron sights. Also iron sights beat some scopes in low light conditions and while facing the sun you won't show your position. In addition some people are just better shots than others regardless of eqiupment.

Plus iron sights are cheaper and that gives you more money for ammo and to improve your shooting :)

mustanger98
November 6, 2006, 12:03 AM
I recall something Sheriff Jim Wilson wrote in Shooting Times... he said scopes don't help the size of your groups, but they do give you a better look at your target, or words to that effect.

My own opinion is I prefer good aperture sights, but I can shoot with open sights (depending on which open sights I'm dealing with- if you can't see 'em, you can't reliably hit with 'em) and I can shoot with a scope.

I sometimes talk about my Savage Model 11GL in .243Winchester... I've had it in mind from the start to mount a Williams FP/TK, but right now it's wearing a forty year old fixed 4X scope in see-through mounts. It's dead-on at 100yds, but it's good for a lot further. This rifle has open sights on the barrel and I can hit with them, but they're not my favorite irons. That's why I mounted the scope for the time being. I also have this Savage M340 in .30-30Winchester... it came with a 3-9X Bushnell and it's dead on at 100yds. But, my old 94 .30-30 with the Lyman #2 tang sight... it's as dead-on at 100yds as the other two are with scopes and I'm confident I can kill a deer to 200yds with it. I know they're zeroed because I shot all three just yesterday on the 100yd range I have access to.

Anybody here shoot smallbore rifle sillouette? Last match I shot, I used my match .22LR... most folks use scopes, but my rifle wears a Lyman #57RS rear and 17A front. I was drawing comments from a couple of older gentlemen who know me from the range and club meetings and the gun shops... they said I was outshooting some of the other guys who were using scopes.

BTW, while I'm not really one way or the other on the scope vs. irons debate, and I do lean towards apertures for my own use, I'm 32 years old and most guys my age seem to think scopes are "the only game in town" as somebody already mentioned so many seem to think. When I was shopping for the puchase that became my M11GL, I considered a Model 70 left-hand in .270Win. and mounting apertures on it. I commented on that to somebody at the range and they emmediately hollered "oh no! glass it!!!", but that was right before they found out how I generally go around and around with getting the eye relief right to get a scope to focus.

gila_dog
November 6, 2006, 12:10 AM
Like just about everything else in the world, nothing is all good or all bad. Iron (or non-optical) sights should be more rugged and therefore reliable, but the only rifle sight I ever busted on a hunting trip was one of those spiffy (but delicate) new "fiber optic" sights on a muzzle loader. I wasn't even aware of the tree branch hitting it and knocking it off. When I raised the rifle to shoot, all I had for a front sight was the little tube where the plastic fiber used to be.

Personally, I like a good scope for hunting elk and such because I can shoot more accurately, and quicker, with it in the conditions I am most likely to see such game. The heart/lung area of an elk or deer lurking in the dark woods just before sunrise is a much harder target to see clearly than a black bull's eye on a white background at the range at mid day. Cover part of that area up with a bead front sight, hide even more of it behind a rear sight, or reduce what little light is available by peeking thru a little hole, and it gets even harder. Look at the same target thru a decent scope that actually brightens the picture, and it gets easier. If what you are doing is shooting at paper or silhouettes, then the only harm done by not seeing your target well when you pull the trigger is some wasted ammo and frustration. But when I get within 200 yds of an elk standing broadside, the hunt is over. Now it's time for a clean, humane kill. A scope gives me a much better chance of making that happen. But, just in case I fall down a rock slide and destroy my scope, I sure like knowing that the rifle's original iron sights are there and can be used. That's why I make sure they are on-target at 100 yds before mounting a scope on the rifle.

MinScout
November 6, 2006, 03:46 AM
IMHO, a serious hunter uses a good low-mounted scope. In my area, deer are relatively sparce in number and a permit is required for antlerless deer. In order to discern antlers, especially towards sunset, a scope is almost mandatory. If I lived where deer were much more numerous and I could count on multiple sightings a day, I might use iron sights on occasian for the added challenge.

BTW, even the Benoits are starting to use scopes on their Remington pumps.

Sleeping Dog
November 6, 2006, 09:30 AM
iron sights are basically an affectation and not practical
Some of the rifle manufacturers seem to believe it. Some rifles are sold with no sights. Some others are sold with some POS stamping that claims to be a sight. I'd settle for a rifle drilled & tapped for a nice Lyman or Redfield rear peep. With a front globe that holds an aperture for targets or a bright dot (like that optical fiber stuff which name escapes me) for game.

Regards.

mustanger98
November 6, 2006, 01:38 PM
Some of the rifle manufacturers seem to believe it. Some rifles are sold with no sights.

That's the thing I don't like about Model 70's, many M700's, and a lot of everything else.

Some others are sold with some POS stamping that claims to be a sight.

Big problem on those that are so equipped. I gripe about the rear sight on my M11GL, but it's a low-end Williams. It's not bad, but it's not my preferrence.

I'd settle for a rifle drilled & tapped for a nice Lyman or Redfield rear peep. With a front globe that holds an aperture for targets or a bright dot (like that optical fiber stuff which name escapes me) for game.

I go back to my 94 .30-30... I didn't absolutely have to have the #2 tang sight, but I wanted one. Otherwise, I could've just gone with a Lyman (#66, I think) or Williams FP/TK which I also have which bolts right up on the left side of the receiver. While my Winchester wears its original gold bead front sight which works quite well, as I also said before, my match .22LR wears a 17A on the front and I have the different inserts for it so, yeah, it's a great set-up.

Essex County
November 6, 2006, 02:30 PM
Most of my rifles are scoped (except for my mil-surps). However, I recently realized I didn't have a light and handy foul wheather rifle in my inventory. I went out and picked up a bone stock Model 94. I hadent owned one in years and it was my intention to add a Williams Foolproof. After a couple of range sessions with my 60 year old eyes I've decided to save my money....Essex

If you enjoyed reading about "Iron Sight vs. Scope" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!