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Iron sights: How far can you ethically use them on animals

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by oklahoma caveman, Jan 21, 2011.

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  1. oklahoma caveman

    oklahoma caveman Member

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    Personally, I have been shooting iron my entire life, and actually prefer iron (open and or peep) over scopes, but with that being said, I am only confident with them while hunting out to 100-125 yards. How far are you comfortable with them?
     
  2. country boy marksman

    country boy marksman Member

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    how big of an animal? Although I have not yet had the opportunity to do so, I would feel comfortable shooting a deer at 150 - 200 yards (if absolutely necessary), But I have younger eyes, and would not do so at that long of a range with smaller game. I want to ensure proper shot placement; and my name isn't Matthew Quigley, nor do I own a Sharps buffalo rifle!:) With target shooting, on the other hand, the further the better/funner!
     
  3. kk0g

    kk0g Member

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    Using a capable rifle equipped with a good aperture sight - open sights are worthless in my opinion - using a tight sling and shooting from a good prone or sitting position at a deer sized or larger target, with ideal wind conditions, I'd be comfortable shooting out to about 300 yards, maybe 400 if I was feeling really lucky.
     
  4. HOOfan_1

    HOOfan_1 Member

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    For a deer, as long as I can pick a spot on the animal's vitals window that is no bigger than an 8 inch dinner plate and not have the front site completely cover that spot, then I am fine. I would say that is on the order of 60-70 yards. I shot a deer at 50-60 yards with factory iron sites on a Winchester 94, hit it where I expected to hit it and it died within 30 seconds. I only use open sites when I am back in the woods where seeing a deer past 80 yards isn't likely to happen anyway.
     
  5. TexasPatriot.308

    TexasPatriot.308 Member

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    38 years ago I used open sights on M-16s and M14s on large vermin. as a rifleman and marksman I was comfortable with 500 yard plus shots, that what we trained for. I can still do it. it's called marksmanship....practice, practice, practice...
     
  6. oklahoma caveman

    oklahoma caveman Member

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    I know that 500 yard shots are possible, and I have made them at that range with my sharps, on targets. but I am talking an ethical kill shot on deer sized game. If you can honestly do that Texas Patriot then I applaude you. I in no way doubt your claim but would love to see you make that shot. I also know that my limitations are far under that. I would not feel comfortable shooting at any animal at that range with irons
     
  7. Robert Wilson

    Robert Wilson Member

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    I manage a good aperture sight nearly as well as the low-powered optics I typically use. I enjoy getting as close as possible to game animals, which means that I don't know how far I could actually take a game animal with either method, but anything under 200 yards is acceptable to me with both.

    With really good open sights - something like the target sights Smith & Wesson puts on their revolvers - I limit myself to about 125 yards. With crummy open sights - like those found on typical mass-produced hunting rifles - maybe 100 yards. And the classic dangerous game combination of shallow V with bead front, well, I start losing confidence with them when the range grows much beyond 50 yards.

    <edit> An interesting question might be "...and how far do you shoot with optics?" There are people at THR who brag about 500, 600, 700+ yard shots at game animals. It wouldn't be surprising if those folks were comfortable with very long iron-sight shots as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  8. TexasPatriot.308

    TexasPatriot.308 Member

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    in the Marine Corps and for Army rifleman you use iron sights on a regular basis in training for shots of that range. it's what you learn in basic training.
     
  9. 1stmarine

    1stmarine Member

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    Like Texas Patriot is saying. With good iron sights you can reach 500 very well but you have work it out. With so many aimpoints, acogs, NFs and the others people are forgetting how to do this but this is how you qualified for marksmanship.

    I still mount a nice buis in almost all my systems and they are zeroed to 100yards. http://www.cgwgun.com/MATECH-BUIS-Sight__MATECH-BU.aspx

    Just keep practicing and after 200,000 rounds you will hit them blindfolded!!. Do not try little prairie dogs at 500 though! lol! Also make sure you visit the ophthalmologist as you age. I need glasses now. lol!

    Cheers,
    E.
     
  10. Hunt480

    Hunt480 Member

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    About 30 years ago I actually killed a deer with iron sights nearly 300 yds with a model 670 Winchester in 270... It was a fine shooting gun and I was deadly with it. I never used scopes until I got older and even now I will hunt with a levergun with just irons once in a while.
     
  11. brandon_mcg

    brandon_mcg Member

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    as far as the ethical part of the question.......

    i would say as far as you are confident in your ability to make the shot.

    i would also add as far as the effective range of your rifle, but most of us could never make a shot that far out on any wild game with iron sights.
     
  12. TexasPatriot.308

    TexasPatriot.308 Member

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    any competent military rifleman can make that shot, back in the day (early 70's) I ruined a few peoples day at more than 500 plus meters. I think I can still do it. got an M1A on order, cant wait to see if I can still do it, got a feeling it's like riding a bike. acquire target, account for variables, squeeze trigger....target goes down in a red spray. job done..I live to fight another day.
     
  13. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

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    I can still shot irons out to 200 yds with no problem, coyote sized animals. As TexasPatriot and 1stmarine have stated, practice and shooting many thousands of rounds, one can feel confident about the shots. Today, my aging eyes have to have bi-focals, having qualified as marksman in the Navy many years ago, can't do it anymore, scope is my iron sights now.
     
  14. Hunt480

    Hunt480 Member

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    I have a feeling you still can...

    I've been kinda revolving back to hunting with irons, there is a lot of hunters that ever never squeezed off a shot without a scope. Hunting with irons is a lost art it seems. Even squirrel hunters think they need a scope now days...
     
  15. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Starting with the premis that "ethical" for this thread means you are going to place the shot in the heart/lung area of the animal, or the head/spine...,

    This is true..., but the area where one scores a 10 in the military at that range is much much larger than the ethical kill zone on a deer..., so what is applicable to humans in combat is not really applical to game animals when hunting. Now a Marine or Soldier who can hit the head of the 500 yard target on a regular basis could justify using iron sights at that range for deer..., but not most hunters.

    It's not just the sights friends. Does the cartridge really have sufficient energy, simply arriving at 500 yards isn't enough. How flat is the trajectory, or is the shooter using a laser range finder, for estimating the proper range beyond 300 yards is very difficult, and knowing the range is important. Many rifle cartridges that one might use, and have zero'd out to say 300 yards are pretty low by 500 yards. Zero those same loads at farther ranges and they shoot pretty high if you have over estimated the range, and the target is at say 375, instead of at 500. It's not the same as on a known distance shooting range.

    I think open sight silhouette targets give you a good indication. Steel Pigs are about as large an area that if the target was a deer you would place the bullet in the vitals, and they are shot at 300 yards. So if you can hit a steel pig target at whatever range you wonder about, and do it consistantly, you're good to go with the open or peep sights. If not..., you're not (imho).

    For me, it's plain iron sights, not peeps, and I get the deer in at 110 yards or less..., I know as in the area that I hunt the farthest that I can see them and draw a bead on the vital area..., is 110 yards. My local range is only a hundred yard range too, so that's the farthest that I can practice.



    LD
     
  16. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    There is really no limit as far as I am concerned. What one person thinks is a comfortable quick, clean-kill shot, another person might need to be ten times closer, or more than ten times!

    There is not really a correct answer.
    There is, however, an incorrect answer and that would be far enough out to miss or graze the animal or hit the animal in the gut (stomach, intestines). For some people, that could be no greater than 50 yards.
     
  17. Leaky Waders

    Leaky Waders Member

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    I think alot of you would be surprised at how well one can shoot at random 25-500 meter pop-up targets that only yield themselves as a target for a few seconds, while the rifleman uses iron sites, some fogged up safety glasses, and is wearing 40 plus pounds of hot sweaty uncomfortable kevlar plates. One has to constantly shift positions and acquire targets and shoot quickly.

    Compared, to a hunting situation where one can wear comfortable clothing, get a good rest and take their time on a called shot.

    That's why people who did well with their military marksmanship feel comfortable about their shots. They are riflemen,
     
  18. birddog

    birddog Member

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    The question answers itself: As far as you can make a clean, ethical kill.
     
  19. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    With open sights I am very comfortable taking deer at 175 yards. With peep sights about 225 yards.
     
  20. ritepath

    ritepath Member

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    I like iron sights for shotguns and maybe squirrel hunting with my old winchester 22 bolts.

    I love to shoot open sights for the challenge, but when it comes to turkey or deer, I want an optic.
     
  21. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    +1
    Good post.
     
  22. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    Got to give it to you. You guys that are spot on with iron sights at 400-500 yds, you must be Olympic grade marksmen. More power to ya.

    Me, 100 yds. Iron sights, woods, quick resolution of the target, mod range.

    Here`s a question. Does everybody move the "ramp" up or back when shoots are other than the original sight-in set up? Your good say for 100yds
    then you go for the 400 yd or longer shot . Do you just guess or move the ramp? Just asking.
     
  23. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Varies with field position, but I'd say the limit is how far can you reliably hit the end of a beer can. IMO, that holds for any firearm that's used, irons, scope, whatever.
     
  24. TNboy

    TNboy Member

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    This inspires me to do some field research. I often shoot spent 12 ga shells with a .22 at about 50 feet. I aim for the bottom of the shell because that really sends them flying! I hit the target about 50% of the time but that's a pretty small target. I once hit a 16 oz water bottle full of tanerite with open sites on a very old 30-30 at 150 yards, so a deer would certainly be no problem for me at that distance, did the same thing at the same distance with a m-16. I think under the right conditions I could hit the kill zone of a deer at 250-300.
     
  25. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    I can hit a man sized tareget out to 400. 3hats somewhere in the torso. Aiming for the vitals on a deer and as long as I can see it well, I can hit it. That's about 200 yards. I can't diferienate that area on a deer at that distance in anything other than perfect light
     
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