Sights 101....


Dave McCracken
August 1, 2003, 06:30 AM
There's several options here, let's start with the simplest.

Simplest, of course is none. Assuming good fit, form and technique, amazingly good work can be done. Some excellent game shots take the beads off. Since we focus on the target, oft good close work is not as hard as one might think it is.

The plain bead, whether mounted right on a non ribbed barrel,on a platform, or on a rib, has a lot going for it. It's easy to use, cheap, and works for a variety of missions and conditions. A bit of bright enamel or one of the fiber optic versions can aid in low light or generally for some people. I find them distracting, but YMMV. For a pure D wingshooting gun, a bead's the best choice. For "Serious" work, a good one.

Two beads, one mounted about midways betwixt muzzle and eye, are often used in trap shooting and found on many shotguns. The middle bead can detect cant or bad fit, and one can adjust. This also works well for turkey hunting and slug use, tho other sights are better for the latter most of the time. Downside, they can lead to aiming, not pointing.

Open sights are often found on slug shooters and "Serious" shotguns. The short barrels typical of these leave rather short sight radii, not much more than a handgun. They're also hard for older eyes to use. If they work for you, fine.

Better for most folks, peep sights add sight radius and ease acquisition. It's fashionable to call these Ghost Ring or GR sights in recent times. By any name, these are oft the best choice for slug use and "Serious" shotgunning. Easy to adjust, the better ones are very durable and keep zero.

Scopes have limited use for shotgunning. Some deer hunters use them for longer range slug work, but the best slug gun in the world is not a long range weapon. They also, in the better brands, add a few minutes to the hunt by gathering light in predawn and twilight, times the deer move most. I don't use a scoped shotgun, but if I did, I'd pick no greater than 3X in a fixed power scope and 1.5-5X in a variable.

Red dot scopes have their fans, but they're bulky and often delicate. Some folks praise them to the skies, so choose wisely.

I pick sights by mission. My wingshooting shotguns have beads. My trap shotgun has a two bead setup and my "Serious" shotguns double as slug shooters and have peep sights. I can group slugs from a single bead sighted, short barreled 870 into 3" from the bench at 50 yards, but YMMV.

For beginners, I suggest trying out various sized beads and becoming accustomed to one before getting into other setups.

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August 1, 2003, 07:13 AM
Excellent Topic and Great Content Dave.

I'm in the single bead or add a midbead camp. Taught to shoot without a bead. I too prefer the plain -no fiber optics. Its that gun fit - or "If I can see it -it's down" deal for me. I've not spent enough time with peep's so for ME they are distraction on A SG.

I don't recall when I actually benchrested for slugs. I sit and use knees/kneel with forearm on knee, or Stand. I figure I'll sight the way I'm most likely to use, mostly standing. I have a sling that I use rifle style ( snugs weak hand to forearm) for serious game...still allows the MOA semi or shucker. I must be the only fella left using the old rifled slugs. IIRC my old SX1 ( 28" bbl) standing I believe did 5 rds into 5" @ 50 yds. I was shooting more at that time...the gun will , its the nut behind it I have to work on.;)
Figure that's closer than gummit work, big enough for venison.

Thanks Dave.

August 1, 2003, 08:37 AM
Soooo, you're saying I shouldn't add a laser to my Mossberg? :scrutiny:

(I'm kidding!)

Thanks for the info, Dave. When I get my 395k up to par, I plan on it becoming my slug rifle.

One question: Does barrel length play a factor in choosing sights, or is it just application?

Dave McCracken
August 2, 2003, 05:27 AM
Thanks, guys. Like the other 101 threads, this is part of a basic guide to shotgunning for new shotgunners.

73, we must be the last two people in the world still using a sling as it was meant to be used when shooting. I oft use the "Hasty Sling" approach. Shove the elbow into the loop, push it down until the thing tightens, launch. Maybe 3/4 of my deer have been taken that way.

I bench to eliminate the human factor, to see what the tackle is capable of doing. Practice, OTOH, is done from field postions. And 5" at 50 yards from field positions sounds like a freezer filler to me.

Peeps are best when shotguns are shot like rifles, for "Serious" use and slugs. Good choice for rifles also, which is why they've been on our martial rifles since the 03-A3.

Darrin, lazers are delicate, expensive, and not so hot in fog. But it's YOUR shotgun, do as thou wilt.

Application more than length by far. If I were going to duplicate TUSIHC today, I'd go with an E R Shaw barrel of 22-24" and a 1.75X5 power Leopold scope. The scope would work with any length, including Old Ugly's 18".

The big thing with sights here is radius, the distance between them. The greater distance, the better accuracy, all else equal.

August 2, 2003, 08:31 AM
73, we must be the last two people
LOL- well though I'm not that "old" per se' I do think the "old ways worked darn well. Gunsmith buddy was joking about how you know those folks re-enacting times gone by-blacksmith's broom-making...etc. Maybe if we get a bit older and "failin"...they put us up and pay to shoot know like history and show the young' uns we actually took game and hit clays with blue and wood. LOL :D It's a thought..."will work for shooting/game getting/game and tips..."

aw heck I'm not too proud to admit I probably wobbled one way and the critter the other and the twain met...if it's down -its down. ;)

Dave McCracken
August 2, 2003, 01:23 PM
Thnaks for the chuckle, it'll help hold off fossilization...

After a few days in Colonial W-burg, paper shells and wood stocks seem futuristic.

However, getting paid to shoot critters, hhmmm....

Maybe we oughtas check into it, call the firm "Geezers With Guns"...

August 2, 2003, 07:19 PM
Curmudgeon instead of Geezer. Alleviates the age and gender, preserves the attitude, principles and ideals.
Being an CIT ..."I are one" already. :D

Dave McCracken
August 3, 2003, 06:35 AM
Agreed! CWG it is.

Did the re-enactor thing in the 60s. Pop was a Civil War Buff, and I spent many a hot summer day pretending to be a Reb infantryman. It did spark an interest in history, so did trips to Williamsburg. Maybe re-enacting my own history is the next step...

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