Why don't some guns have sights?


January 20, 2004, 05:14 PM
I'm obviously a novice with long guns. I've been checking out a bunch of center fire rifles and the one thing that always puzzles me is why some have sights: Remy model 700 & 7 and others don't: Ruger M77 Mark II compact & Winchester model 70.

I notice it varies on the Savage guns too. What confuses me is that some of these guns with no sights are really expensive. So, why wouldn't they have them? Isn't it supposed to be an advantage to helping you shoot better or is it a moot point?

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January 20, 2004, 05:16 PM
It is assumed that a scope will be mounted on these guns.

January 20, 2004, 05:26 PM
To expand on fix's post, stock design plays a part, too. Many rifle stocks, especially the Monte Carlo and American Classic styles, are designed only for scope use and often can't be used with regular iron sights because they don't allow you to get your eye low enough. There's no point in installing sights that can't be used :)


January 20, 2004, 05:32 PM
Try using the sights on a Remington 7400 and you'll see how useless they are with the stock provided.

January 20, 2004, 05:33 PM
Which are the better rifles then? Sights or no sights?

January 20, 2004, 05:44 PM
You can't really judge better or worse by the presence or absence of sights. It all depends on what you want to use the gun for. There are $10,000 rifles with sights and $10,000 rifles without sights.

If you plan to use a scope, having backup iron sights is nice, but only if the scope can be quickly removed AND the stock allows you to actually make use of the irons. Otherwise, I don't see much point in having iron sights on a scoped rifle.

Since it seems the vast majority of bolt-action rifle buyers these days install scopes, most stocks are made for scope use, and many/most manufacturers don't bother to install iron sights anymore, since they won't be used anyways. Some companies like Ruger and Savage offer you the choice of sights or no sights.


January 20, 2004, 05:52 PM
Because many rifle makers stopped paying attention to what Elmer Keith and others told them re. the importance of iron sights. And many rifle shooters forgot how to use them.

It's a lose-lose situation all around. It's gotten so bad that CZ makes "American" versions of its fine rifles with the excellent sights torn off. If that's really what American shooters are all about, we need help SOON!

Beetle Bailey
January 20, 2004, 06:34 PM
Which are the better rifles then? Sights or no sights?

You could re-word the question "Which are the better sights, iron or scope?" ;) And I guess the best answer would be, "Depends on what you want to do with the rifle." At the risk of getting flamed, I'm gonna generalize here. Scopes are enhanced sights that help you see in bad lighting and with increased magnification. Basically, they help you aim better, and you still have to do your part, but it's generally easier with a scope. Iron sights are a little more resistant to environmental hazards, like mud, snow, breakage, and stuff like that. As Cosmoline suggests above, iron sights are considered, hmmm. . .the better ones to use to really learn the skills of marksmanship.

For example, I just got my first scoped rifle a few weeks ago and transitioning from iron sights to a scope has been pretty easy, or at least the shooting part of it is (learning how to properly zero it took longer than I thought, but it was probably just me :rolleyes: ). If you only shoot with a scope, it's generally harder to go to iron sights than vis versa. A good test of skill is to get a rifle that has iron sights and also can take a scope. Shoot it with the scope to find the limits of your rifle/ammo combo and then take the scope off and try to match that level of accuracy and precision with iron sights :D . It's a pretty good challenge (and one I haven't been able to meet, but I'll try ;) ) and degree of difficulty varies with set-up. HTH.

January 20, 2004, 06:53 PM
For hunting purposes, a scope is important. I don't get much of a chance to take an animal, so I don't want to risk missing with iron sights. It is easier to be more accurate with a scope, especially at longer ranges. That being said, I learned on iron sights and still have "non-scoped" rifles.

January 20, 2004, 06:54 PM
Thanks for all the replies. Talk about food for thought....:what: I had never considered the guns would be designed for scopes. Being a novice, when I do decide to buy a rifle, I'll probably place to get one with the iron sights in the .223 and plan to buy another in a stronger caliber with a scope. If I get the Beretta CX Storm -- it'd probably fit nicely with this accessory.

January 21, 2004, 09:02 AM
Why aren't there more rifles made with iron sights?

Because the makers realized that the Baby Boomers can't see them anymore, don't need them, don't want them and don't want to pay for them?

I still want open sights on a dangerous game rifle or a self-defense rifle, but otherwise...shrug...give me the clean lines of a nekkid barrel.


Art Eatman
January 21, 2004, 09:34 AM
An aspect not mentioned is that of one's eyesight. After age 40 or so, eyes generally can't simultaneously handle the different focal lengths for the sights and the target. It gets worse as one gets older. For me, and many others, iron sights are only usable at close range.

Precision shooting with iron sights takes a lot of practice. The majority of buyers do little more than a sighting-in and then a few shots during their hunting season. For them, a scope allows far greater precision in shot placement...


January 21, 2004, 12:10 PM
Art's right, eyesight is the main factor as you age. I began noticing a difference at 43 . Now at 51 I'm not comfortable with iron sights past 50 yards. I know of no one who can shoot distance as well with iron sights as they can with a scope. On the hunting aspect, the ethical hunter will only take a shot that he knows will put the animal down for good. There is no room for poor accuracy to do the job right.The last thing you want is an injured animal.The scope is an advantage for precise shot placement to help insure that this does not occur.

El Tejon
January 21, 2004, 12:24 PM
Remember Freeman's Laws of Firearms? I can't remember which # it is but, "A rifle without iron sights has no sights.":)

Mas, the reason is that the people who design and build rifles, do not always know how to use them. The old hardware vs. software problem.:(

January 21, 2004, 12:32 PM
Scopes are easier to use, not because they magnify, but because they put the sights ("crosshairs") into the same focal plane as the target - you can focus on both at the same time, a thing not possible with iron sights, no matter what the age of your eyes.

OTOH, a person who has only a scope has not met Murphy - yet. Sure the Remington iron sights aren't great, but wouldn't it be nice to have them when you've just shattered your scope on a rock and you're five miles from camp? Speaking as a person who falls a lot, having both is a cheap insurance policy.


January 21, 2004, 04:15 PM
I'm partial to the Remington model 7 and 700 -- is it possible to install a scope on a gun that already has metal sights -- or do you need a gun without sights to do this?

January 21, 2004, 04:25 PM
The reason some guns don't have sights is because they are designed to be spray fired from the hip.


Seriously, you can usually install a scope on a rifle with iron sights. I have seen some scopes where the "bell" on the object (not the one you look into) end touches the rear sight or won't fit at all without taking the rear sight off.

January 21, 2004, 04:37 PM
I'm partial to the Remington model 7 and 700 -- is it possible to install a scope on a gun that already has metal sights -- or do you need a gun without sights to do this?
It is possible to do so, however it requires that the scope's front lens (bell) be able to clear the rear sights. Scopes that are very long or have very wide bells or objective lenses may require mounting rings that raise them above the level of the sights.
It's really not too much of a problem. I'd highly recommend an iron sighted Remington Model 7 or 700 with a scope mounted as the primary sight. It's good to know how to use both.

Art Eatman
January 21, 2004, 04:39 PM
Mastro, most rifles are drilled and tapped for scope mounts, whether or not they have iron sights. (Or, like the Ruger, et al, set up for proprietary mounts.)

Jaywalker, your argument about Murphy does indeed have merit. However, taking luck over skill any day, for the last forty years I've been able to walk and chew gum at the same time. :D


January 21, 2004, 04:45 PM
I appreciate the info. I'll probably go with the 7 and 700 Remy with the iron sights and plan on getting a good scope down the road. Suggestions where to look? I assume a smith will have to install this when I decide to go this route.

January 21, 2004, 04:54 PM
I assume a smith will have to install this when I decide to go this route.
Just someone who is knowledgeable and can use simple tools.

Some gun store/depts will install a scope for a small fee, or even free with the purchase of either scope or rifle. I used to do it all the time. I even "boresighted" them, and one guy actually killed a deer without even test firing it.

Personally, I don't like iron sights on a scoped bolt action rifle. They snag on things and the rear sight can be a moisture trap leading to rust.

What caliber are you getting? If it was me, I would get a decent bolt action 22 first, and then buy a centerfire rifle later. You can shoot all day with a 22 for a few dollars, and the practice will carry over to a larger rifle. Some years, I don't even shoot my deer rifle between seasons - just practice with the 22.

January 21, 2004, 05:04 PM
Art:However, taking luck over skill any day, for the last forty years I've been able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Ah, would that I could, too. My last tumble was this year, trying to cross a raging 20-foot wide river, AT LEAST 10-inches deep. There I was tip-toing from one mossy rock to another in the dark to keep my socks dry, and I ending up chasing fish, rifle in up hand to protect it. I lay there a few seconds with water streaming into my jacket, trying to figure how to get up. I finally had to roll over to get to my knees, incidentally getting my front and dry side wet. I squooshed back to my tent, changed clothes, and went out again - in another direction. I can't say if I banged the scope, but if I didn't, it wasn't for lack of trying. Fortunately, my spare rifle was only 50 feet away (I've done the rolling dive off rocks before).


El Tejon
January 21, 2004, 05:14 PM
Mas, without hesitation I would recommend Robar. The boys in the GWR have worked on a couple of rifles before.:D

January 21, 2004, 05:20 PM
I've been mulling over whether to get a .223 in the Remy 7 and the .243 in the 700 or to get two of the same caliber but one with sights and one without....

The bolt action .22 holds appeal as well -- I've also looked at the Henry "Golden Boy" gun but I don't know too much about this long gun so right now, I'm just trying to get all the info I can.

January 21, 2004, 05:44 PM

The "Golden Boy" is a quasi-replica of the original 1800s Henry rifle, and seems a little over-priced to me. But if you like it, who cares? :) For that price range in a lever action, I would get a Marlin 39, which is an actual 1890s design (as is the Win Model 94 30-30).

Marlin makes some nice 22 bolt action rifles, too. You could probably get a Marlin 25N and a scope for about $200 - maybe a little more, I don't know how prices are back there. A scope for a 22 doesn't have to be very expensive since the shock from recoil is minimal.

The 243 is a great cartridge and is what I use for deer. It's also good for varmits, especially coyotes. But the ammo is not especially cheap unless you get into reloading. The 223 and 308 are the bargain calibers.

Heck, if you just want to get into a rifle cheap and shoot cheap, try an EAA Saiga 7.62*39 semi-auto for about $240. Not big on accuracy, but a lot of bang for the buck. Or maybe they are illegal in MA ...? :(

January 21, 2004, 05:56 PM
I haven't made up my mind on the Golden Boy just yet as I agree it's over priced. My father kind of considers me getting a .22 a waste of money...I disagree. We can get the Bounty Hunter Cowboy shot gun here by Baikal so maybe the rifle is available -- though not sure if it's used only since I didn't ask when I was down to pick up my Single Six. I'm considering this (Bounty Hunter) for a side by side in a 20 gauge but again, still trying to get info on it. You should check out the local gun store on guns you can't buy in Massachusetts at www.fsguns.com

Really kind of sad...:(

Baba Louie
January 21, 2004, 07:50 PM
A can o' worms I tell ya, rifles and sights and scopes and such...
One thing begats another thing which begats another thing...

Whacha gonna shoot at? Paper, bunnies, deer? (Don't answer that yet)
How old are yer eyes? Glasses or glass free? (Don't answer that yet)
Anybody in yer family do much long gun shootin'? (Don't answer that yet)
Got kids -or- going to someday? (Don't...well you know)
Got a place to go shootin'? How far/long a range they got? (DATY)
You rich? (You can answer that one cause I'm nosy :D )

Rifles with iron sights... all of the above posts apply as to stock design, etc., you want good eyes, short ranges, slow targets (unless you're in the military)
Rifles with no sights to be scoped... a couple of ways to go here. Get a GOOD scope of magnification level you'll actually use for the purpose you'll be using it. (i.e., don't let someone sell you a 1,000 yd 20X mil-dot reticle rangefinding super duper whatever if you're punching paper at 100 yds or planning on shooting bambi at 150 yds or less)
Plan on spending about an equal $ amount on the scope as the rifle cost you or thereabouts for lasting quality.
I'd suggest having a good smith do the mounting and instruct you on the hows and such-not of different mounts/rings w/ your cheek weld/eye hgt/eye relief all taken into consideration.
.22, .223 and .243 can be found with and without scopes mounted on them. At my age (we won't answer that) a single focal plane is best as Messr's Jaywalker and Eatman described... YMMV
For learning a long gun, a .22 with open or iron sights and getting the sight picture basics down should be a requirement... so there! Grownup or kids. Besides that, ammo is cheap, so you'll practice more...
For hunting bambi near dusk hours, scopes help pull in a bit more light.
For plinking and paper... your call.
Just remember what your overall intent is with each rifle, factor in your eye sight and budget and your answers to the rest of the above questions...

I am kinda surprised that you're looking at Remingtons tho', being a good Italian girl and such (heck, for all I know you could be Irish). Beretta handles SAKO and Tikka (EXCELLANT RIFLES!) and unless they're on the banned list in MA, I figured you for a Beretta freak through and through (even tho' they're a little more scandanavian than mediterrainean in nature). Do you live in Remington Country or is that all you can get locally?
And then you said something about shotguns... but since this is rifle country... we won't go there. (However, Sshhhh... Beretta makes some really fine smoothbores)

January 21, 2004, 08:46 PM
I'm Sicilian/Irish -- funny you should comment...:) I don't have a whole lot of money which is why I looked to Remy because it's not as expensive and has a good reputation. For now, I just want to start out and get familar with the long gun and step up eventually. My only experinece is largely with Beretta autos...:D and a 686 S&W and a Ruger Single Six. I've been told the .223 and .308 are the cheaper loads so I want to buy in one or both of these calibers when I start getting better. The .22 I admit is a good place to begin...

I do wear glasses but I'm thirty-six so I guess the scope is not needed for age reasons but my range doesn't let us shoot any closer than 50 ft. so maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea. :uhoh:

January 22, 2004, 12:23 PM
I have a scope on my Marlin .30/30, but I use the High-rise see-through rings so that if all else fails, I CAN use the iron sights.

And being 50+, glasses since 5th grade, now using "tri-focuses", the iron sights are not really usefull past about 75 yds for me.

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