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Correct technique for aiming with peep sights?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by mountainclmbr, Dec 4, 2004.

  1. mountainclmbr

    mountainclmbr Well-Known Member

    I am buying a M1A and am interested in shooting in some high-power matches, but have not shot with peep sights much. Are there any good pointers for accurate shooting with peep sights like proper eye focus and sighting techniques? What are the sight options and what are the advantages/disadvantages? Thanks in advance.
  2. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Well-Known Member

    Get in position. Put your cheek on the stock, bone-to-wood firm contact. This is your "cheek weld" and getting one in the same spot on the stock every time helps (in a semi, no need to move your head either).

    Look through the rear aperature (hole) and focus on the front sight. Your eye will naturally center the top of the front sight blade or post (which is your aiming point) in the center of the aperature.

    Put the top of the post/blade front sight where you want to hit your target. Sometimes I'll refocus on the target to make sure I have the RIGHT target (remember the guy in the last Olympics who lost a gold cause he fired one shot at someone else's target?), then focus again on the front sight top of the post through the aperature again, slow your breathing, squeeze.

    Repeat till the mag is empty. The rear aperature, if you even see it should be a fuzzy "halo" around the front sight, and the front sight should be firmly "in focus" with the target slightly fuzzy beyond it.

    Larger aperatures are for quicker accurate shooting (ghost rings). You can get smaller aperatures for extreme accuracy shooting, however, it can be a little harder finding your target. For target shooting, a smaller aperature is generally better. The stock aperature on the M1A is quite good, they make "National Match" ones that have smaller click adjustments for windage and elevation and a smaller aperature. These are pure target sights, as opposed to the stock M1A aperature, which is a good combat sight AND a good long range sight.

    see www.brownells.com for a variety of aperatures.
  3. mountainclmbr

    mountainclmbr Well-Known Member

    Thanks MrMurphy.

    What is considered a good group size at 100 yds for the different firing positions? I know it is a function of gun, ammo and shooter. I was just interested in:

    1. What to strive for in my own practice before entering a high power course or match as a newbie.

    2. What is a respectable score in a local match.
  4. Freedomv

    Freedomv Well-Known Member

    In answer to your quistion on what to strive for in preperation for a match.

    There are a number of things.

    I would say first and formost "Be familiar with your weapon and it's operation and have faith/confidence in it and your ammunition."

    Work on your shooting positions. Practice setting up or developing each position by adjusting the sling of your rifle for both sitting and prone positions and mark the sling for those positions. You should be comfortable in each position to the effect that noting is on your mind except site picture, site aligienment and breathing & squeezing.(The trigger)

    Practice "DRY FIREING" while snapping into your positions.

    When on the firing line during your "Three minute prep" you will want to have all your necessary gear on line and devote your time to getting yourself into position and developing a "Natural point of aim". That is to say that when you are in position and all slung up with rifle pointed down range towards your target you do not have to "muscle" the rifle to put it back on YOUR target.

    If you fire a round and recover from the recoil only to find that you are pointed anywhere but on your target, you have a faulty position and/or natural point of aim. You should not have to "muscle" the rifle back on target.

    During rapid fire strive to maintain a constant rhyme/cadance while fireing. I have found it best to follow a sequince of firing the shot, take a deep forced breath and exhale untill your rifle comes back on target, at which time you hold your breath and squeeze off another round and repeat the proceedure. This serves to slow my firing rate down and keep my bodyand mind well oxygenated. Avoid firing two or three rounds and then sucking in some air. It won't work for a high score unless you are prone to be lucky.

    Be deliberate in your actions while changing magazines or recharging a bolt rifle. Have your reload ready at hand, remove your number one magazine and place it on the ground and then pick up your number two magazine and insert it into the rifle. Your actions should be smooth, deliberate and positive- no fumbling while trying to go too fast. You will have plenty of time if you do everything correctly and there should be only a couple of seconds between the firing of your tenth round and the target being pulled into the pits. If you find that you have over five seconds remaining after your tenth round you are not using your time wisely. Keep in mine that you are firing a well aimed shot "Quickly" not fast.

    This is getting a little long, it's a little after 0400. I think I'll sign off for a while and get some rest. Please keep in mind that this is not the absolutely only way to do this, but it works for me.

    Keep in mind that there is no disrepectful score unless you cheated to get it.

    Good shooting. If you're shooting at Baily, Colo. I can say that I've been there and done that. Nice place. Enjoy.
  5. twoblink

    twoblink Well-Known Member

    "Repeatability" is the key.

    Here's a really quick and dirty way to get yourself shooting really accurately..

    Like said, the secret is in the repeatability of the cheekweld.

    Get a piece of masking tape.. Pull the rifle up to you, and repeat that a few times, once you've got where you think is the "comfortable" place, mark where your chin/cheek is on the stock with the masking tape. Now get a 2nd person, and have them watch you. Have the gun in low ready, and with your eyes closed, pull the rifle up. Are you where you marked with the masking tape? If so, great! If not, either you are going to have to move your face, or move the tape.

    If you can, without opening your eyes, draw the rifle and plant your cheek right on the tape, 50 out of 50 times, you will shoot your peeps well. The secret's in the cheekweld, not the sights. ;)

    Also remember, the advantage of the peep sights are that human tendency is to center things so that the spacing around the front sight, through the peeps, have a uniform ring around it.
  6. Bwana John

    Bwana John Well-Known Member

    Somthing else, the smaller the aperture, the greater depth of field. The NM hooded rear sight on my M1a is fine for matches but too small for low light conditions. I prefer the 6 oclock hold for shooting matches (pumkin on a post). I have also see old boys whose sight is not what it used to be using diopters with magnification(2X) in the rear peep sight.
  7. 30Cal

    30Cal Well-Known Member

    If you keep all your rounds on the paper in your first match, you're doing pretty well. Don't worry about your group sizes. You shoot offhand first which is always a humbling experience. If you go into your first match with a set of expectations, you'll probably be disappointed, so just try to have a good time instead.

    Focus on the front sight tip. Don't accept a bad shot (but you will have to accept your wobble area). Put the gun down if you take too long trying to get a shot off. Focus on the front sight tip.


    P.S. In case I haven't gotten my point across, focus on the front sight tip.
  8. mountainclmbr

    mountainclmbr Well-Known Member

    I received the M1A today. It has been sighted in, but not by me. So I expect I will need to do some adjustments. I noticed that the front sight is a bit off-center and the rear peep sight is centered. Is the correct method to sight in to adjust for windage on the front? I could see an advantage of leaving the rear in the centered position and adjusting the front sight, then if you needed to adjust for wind and later wanted to set the windage for a no-wind condition it would be easier to go back to the zero position on the windage adjustyment.

    I appreciate all the good advice.
  9. Freedomv

    Freedomv Well-Known Member

    You are correct about returning to "Dead wind zero" and having the receiver sight set in the middle. It doesn't hurt to mark the windage Knob with nail polish to assure at a quick glance weather or not you may be one click off of your zero.
    Also if your sight has worn threads there will be back lash to deal with when you make sight corrections. Sometimes this is referred to as "false clicks".
    If you have been adjusting your sights either left or right and decide to take off some windage your first click may not move the sight as the threads will not have released there thrust from one direction and applied it to the other side of mating thread.
    The same is true for elevation corrections. I always like to make a correction by ending up with right hand twist for my windage and up or right hand twist for my elevation. thus insuring that I am always pulling the site in one direction.
    If I want one click right I click once. If one click left I click three and come back two. I have whitnessed many people get caught by this as they can't make effective small sight corrections be cause the sight isn't actually moving.
    Hope this makes sense to you.
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    I must say that I'm quite proud of my fellow THR members for giving you such great info! Welcome to a challenging and enriching sport!

    First off, regarding sights, I'd suggest you read this first:

    Then read this next:

    Now, regarding whether your sights are right...You should shoot from MZ (read the first thread), from a solidly benched position and see if it puts 'em in the middle or not. Then you'll move your front sight in the opposite direction you want the POI to move...if necessary. If you are only off an inch at 100 yards, I'd sugget you not move your front sight. A movements of just a few thousandths can have drastic changes at the target. Better to count and make note of your windage zero as compared to MZ so you always go back to it.

    On how accurate you should be, there are a lot of variables, first and foremost your level of skill. It would be unfair to compare what you do at your first match to what I do.
  11. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Well-Known Member

    Maybe these pics can help.



  12. Jon Coppenbarger

    Jon Coppenbarger Well-Known Member

    Where are you in the state?
    I can get you info for most area's in the state and who to contact for the matches.
    We even have a match this sunday in colorado springs at Frontier and it is a great match for the first time person or someone just starting. 200 yards 50 shot cmp match.
    If you need something like a mat or what ever We can help you at the match. I also send out a list of the matches in CO also.

    I am the match director at buffalo creek gun club up in Bailey and help set up the plans for the colorado shooter for the nationals.
    Email me at jcoppenbarge@earthlink.net and I can get you the info you seek.
    Jon Coppenbarger
  13. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    ARGH! I didn't even notice you're in CO.

    DEFINITELY contact Jon. He'll really help you out!
  14. mountainclmbr

    mountainclmbr Well-Known Member

    Thanks alot for all the great advice guys!

    Jon, I am between Golden and Boulder so I was thinking of trying one of the high power clinics at Bailey....from there maybe a match. I was also interested in trying the facilities there to see if it is where I would like to join. The club sounds very good from people I have talked to, but I have never been there.
  15. Jmurman

    Jmurman Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info on sighting in.

    I have a question, some folks set their sights at the bottom of the "black" and some use "center" what are the advantages or disadvantages of each?
  16. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    mountainclmbr, you're going to love Buffalo Creek (Bailey). It's my home range and it's absolutely gorgeous. Great pits!

    Jmurman, the advantage of the 6 o'clock hold is that you feellike you have a consistent hold point. It's pretty good for a beginner. However, the better your hold gets, the more you start seeing unexplained elevation errors during matches. The amount of light you have will change the apparent size of the aiming black and you will therefore have elevation issues. As a cure, you can switch to a center hold. The center never changes sizes, so it doesn't matter what the light is doing. Some will say that you may have fewer Xs using a center hold vice a o'clock if the light is always steady, but the better bet is to use the center and you will have tons of 10's. Once you get your hold even better, the x's will come back. I found that it is much easier to call an X or a 10 with a center hold than with a 6 o'clock as well. I just KNOW when I've fired a round at the center of the target, but when you're aiming at a point other than the center, you just have to have faith.
  17. Jon Coppenbarger

    Jon Coppenbarger Well-Known Member

    If you are looking for mainly a nice range set up for the rifle shooter its hard to beat.
    our fees are $40 to join with $40 a year for family membership with one work day a year.
    Targets and pasters are included in that price.
    We have a nice cabin with wood burning stove that sits a few feet behind the 600 yard line and firing lines at 200 and 300 also.
    We have 15 positions with full pits.
    We have great camping spots and a large covered patio pavillion or meetings.
    We usually have two gas barbeques for the members use.
    Our meetings are held in Golden the 3rd tuesday of the month.
    We have less than 200 members and of those I would say at least 60 or more are rifle competitors. most days you find the range all to yourself. I do know alot of members that have joined and use the club for a private camping spot that just happens to have the best views for a rifle range around.
    Richard Bowman takes the fees for the clinics and We share the other duties between the rest of us highpower shooters.
    You can go to our website and get more info.
    You are sitting in a great spot for within 2 hours of where you are you have access to 3 full 600 yard ranges that conduct lots of highpower matches.
    Buffalo Creek run by myself, Colorado rifle club run by Jerry Davidson and Cheyenne rifle club run by Paul Ward.
    Also starting in Jan. they have monthly matches of 200 yards in boulder run by Mike Walton.
    Our clinics are considered to be among the best as we usually have some great coaches that include several past national champions and shooters that shoot at the nationals every year.
    The match this sunday here in the Springs Starts at 9 and should end shortly after noon with a free barbeque after the match. The match is also free.
    If you want to see the range we can meet sometime and I or someone else can show it to you.
    Thanks for your interest

  18. mountainclmbr

    mountainclmbr Well-Known Member


    I would be very interested in seeing the range and finding out how to join. I had previously understood that a club member must vouch for your capabilities re safe gun handling. As I didn't know any club members, I didn't know how to do this. I won't be able to make it to the springs this weekend, but would appreciate any info on how to join the club.

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