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Maximizing Range With The Iron-Sighted Rifle

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Unread 09-19-2010, 03:52 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Maximizing Range With The Iron-Sighted Rifle

These days, most hunters utilize scopes to take aim at their quarry. A few of us, due to choice or legal requirement, still do things the old-fashioned way and attempt to take game using iron sights of one configuration or another. There’s no question that those who hunt with iron sights must settle for a maximum effective range that’s considerably less than that achievable by shooting the same gun topped with a scope. There are two main reasons for this, both related to eyesight. First, the iron-sighted hunter is handicapped by a lack of magnification. Second, iron sights tend to obscure large portions of target animals, especially at longer shooting distances, making precise aiming extremely difficult. While there is no fix for the magnification problem, the effective shooting range of hunters using iron sights can be significantly extended, given thoughtful choices regarding the type of sights one uses, along with an innovative aiming method.
This is a thread for discussion of the article, Maximizing Range with the Iron-Sighted Rifle , By Paul C. Carter. Here you can ask questions or make comments about the article.
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Unread 09-23-2010, 11:58 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 33
Re: Maximizing Range With The Iron-Sighted Rifle

I loved the article!!! After reading this Im gonna have to go put some peep sights on my muzzle loader now.
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Unread 03-04-2011, 01:44 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Arizona
Posts: 17
Re: Maximizing Range With The Iron-Sighted Rifle

GREAT article! Thank you!

I started shooting a peep sight on my bow around 1990. Shortly after that, I installed a Williams peep on my Thompson Hawkins'. I became very, proficient out to 100 yards immediately. I didn't "push" much beyond 100 yards.
This article explains a wonderful technique to get additional yardage out of the appropriate rifle.
Thank again!
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Unread 07-06-2011, 06:54 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: charlo, MT
Posts: 86
Re: Maximizing Range With The Iron-Sighted Rifle

loved your article!!
so nice to hear from someone who isn't on the high tech bandwagon. i love simple machines. the high tech stuff works, but too much can go wrong. knock off the scope, dent, cracks, etc. and most of the ballistic programs along with rangefinders etc. all have electronics demanding batteries. hunted too much in alaska and batteries are no good in the winter and that eliminates a lot of the tech stuff.
i have shot the mauser for years. love the barley corn front sight, very pin point accurate but poor in low light. the ladder rear is fantastic. i used to hit a 6 foot square rock at 1000 yards with it with hardly a miss. my second son took his first 2 caribou at 1400 meters with it. he can see better than perfectly and they were so far away they never moved till he walked the rear sight up and started to drop them. i also got enamered with the peep. put a vernier williams on the tang of my 45-70. turned it into a 500 yard thumper. i think it would do very nicely at 1000, just couldnt see that far anymore w/o help. love your system. great article.
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Unread 11-06-2011, 04:34 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Philadelphia, PA.
Posts: 53
Re: Maximizing Range With The Iron-Sighted Rifle

10 inches @ 125 yards, 13 inches @ 150 yards, 15 inches @ 175 yards, 18 inches @ 200 yards, 20 inches @ 225 yards, and 23 inches @ 250 yards.


I enjoyed your article immensely. I do have a question. If your bead subtends 10" @ 125 yards, why isn't the ratio staying the same as distance increases? MOA is an angular measurement, your bead subtends 8 MOA. This should remain the same as distance increases. For example - 8 MOA @ 150 yards is 12"; 8 MOA @ 175 yards is 14", 8 MOA @ 200 yards is 16"; etc.. Please explain, thank you.

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Unread 09-06-2012, 06:10 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Champaign, IL
Posts: 203
Re: Maximizing Range With The Iron-Sighted Rifle

Originally Posted by ADMIN View Post
This is a thread for discussion of the article, Maximizing Range with the Iron-Sighted Rifle , By Paul C. Carter. Here you can ask questions or make comments about the article.
When I was a kid (12-13), I had a Remington Model 510 .22 single shot w/iron sights that shot pretty darned good. When you're young, you have really good eyes. Back then I could go to Walgreens and buy a box of shorts for 20-25¢. I used to spend a large portion my allowance for ammo, for shooting walnuts, hickory nuts and anything similar that would float, I found in a woods nearby. I'd throw them in a nearby river and shoot at them as they floated downstream. I could pop those walnuts out to about 75-80 feet at times and 25-50 feet pretty regular. I earned about 5-6 dollars a week delivering papers. That's a lot of shooting. I could buy ammo without my parents & no one thought anything about it back then. I still have one of those rifles to this day, although it's in better condition than the one I had as a kid.
Today, even with a good rest, there is no way I could come close to shooting like that.

I gave up shooting with iron sights when I was in my early 30's with nearly everything except my Military High Standard target pistol. Eventually I put a 1.5x scope on it. I was wearing bifocals by then. I've got a Mod. 39 S&W w/iron sights & now I can't focus clearly on the front sight. It's almost shape, bit to shoot well I should be able to see it clearly. Looking through the close-up portion of my glasses I can focus clearly on the rear sight. When I was in my 30's this pistol shot very well with conical cast bullets using Bullseye. If I tried to shoot it at 25 or 50 yards, I wouldn't be able to see the black rings clearly. Maybe I could if I focused on the target, but the the front and rear sights would be a blur, especially the rear. Iron sights are for young ones or those with good eyesight. Sometimes gettin' old sucks.

Probably peep sights (like you mentioned in your article) would work much better, since the small aperture tends to increase your depth of field just like on a camera, but I've never seen peep sights on a pistol before though, The increased depth of field may not work so well with the aperture so far away from your eye.

BTW, Thanks for your article, it's a good one.

Lord, I sure do ramble on at times.
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