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Thread: Iron sight stalking vs red dot vs scope?

  1. #1

    Iron sight stalking vs red dot vs scope?

    I have just returned from a week's hind stalking on the west coast. What a week. After suitable range practice I took a pals 1917 Rigby on the hill one day- its fitted with fixed traditional iron sights only (flip up 100 and 300yds) and a peep sight (adj 100 or 300 only) on the rear of the bolt. Both sighting options fire about 5 inches high at 100yds which is workable once you know, and it groups surprisingly well (I'm not sure whether this high POI is as intended or what). I made sure to get into circa 70yds of a group and took a hind and calf quickly to the front of the engine room and without any fuss. In fact, I found open sights a revelation for quick target acquisition, good sight of reaction to shot and quickly onto the next target. The whole thing was pretty exciting! They are less 'fine' of course than a scope but that can be an advantage in practical terms. It was a very special day (needless to say a few drams were had that night), but I probably won't make a habit of it because it does limit possibilities and perhaps puts my enjoyment ahead of an increased risk of a misplaced shot.

    Now, all this fun makes me wonder about taking the Swaro 6x42 off my woodland stutzen and having a go with a quality red dot or similar (aimpoint?). Maybe that combines the best of the open sights (quick target acquisition and follow up, lightness etc) with accuracy which is a bit closer to that of a scope out to say 100yds? I have never really looked into this kind of sight and would be grateful for thoughts on it. Is aimpoint the only game in town?

  2. #2
    I use open sights on a woodland rifle and tracking rifle and really enjoy the whole thing but you have to realise your eyes fail long before a scope so bare that in mind I have used a red dot but could never get my head position right as i needed a higher comb so sacked it off with the preference to simple, I wouldn't use open sights all the time just for a pleasurable stalk in woodland short range but always when tracking, atb wayne
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  3. #3
    Nothing wrong with open sights and a peep at the rear does help focus things - not that any of us need longer arms to use a smartphone. I have though just put a 1-4x20 s&b on my 275 Rigby for use on a forthcoming running boar trip. It has a square topped tapering post L2 reticle and seems very fast to use. Easily able to shoot with both eyes open. After sighting it the other day I took the dog for a walk and rather than leaving it in the I carried it with me - unloaded I hasten to add. Two ducks jumped up from the pond - very easy to follow and swing through. I might just leave it on there as my wood land rifle.

    I have looked through several red dot sights, but to be honest I think I would rather use open sights or a low power scope.

  4. #4
    I have an aimpoint micro 2 and I must say target acquisition is virtually instantaneous even out to one hundred yards it has a two inch dot.

  5. #5
    both ! use peep though rings or an offset dot for 75+ mover

  6. #6
    Go for it! Over half my rifles have nothing but iron sights ( but a lot of them are vintage military rifles ). And half of my others have iron sights with scopes in QR mounts ( German claw, swing off, slide off Paul Jaeger and Griffin & Howe, Warne, Weaver and Leupold lever rings ).

    The red dots are fast, and stand out in dimmer light and on dark fur. But iron sights can be faster to line up in bright light against a light background, when you don't get right on fur first. You can play with the rear sight and front sight combinations to get something that works in all sorts of light, for your eyes. The Merit Sight Disc aperture is adjustable for different light. Remove the disc and just use the thread hole for a ghost ring sight for fast shooting with both eyes open on jumped or driven game.

    Iron sights, open or aperture, have the advantage over most red dots of being more fine and more sharp, so the 300 yard leaf on a sporting Mauser is not a joke, or ornament. Go have a look at my post in Open Topics about black powder sharpshooters in the American Civil War, shooting muskets and rifles consistently into 16x16 inch wood plank targets at ranges up to 800 yards.

  7. #7
    My favorite rifles to shoulder with iron sights are my CZ 527 7.62z39, My Husqvarna M146 in 9.3x57, and my Husqvarna 648 in 8x57. The reason is that when I look at an object and throw the rifle up into my line of sight, the sights are usually lining up on the target. In other words, they fit me extremely well. This can be the stumbling block for many would-be iron sight shooters. If you are hunting for the sights every time you shoulder the weapon you will become frustrated, fast. I remember practicing at our range one day shooting a hanging bowling pin off hand at 100 yards. I'd start in the ready position. staring at the pin. I'd then snap the rifle up and when the buttstock seated, I'd squeeze. I hit 6 of 10 and the 'misses' would have killed any deer I aimed at. This was with the Husky 8mm. There is nothing like a rifle that fits. Oh! And I find a hood invaluable for this kind of shooting.~Muir

  8. #8
    I'm a fan of irons and quite like red dots, too. However, I like a smaller dot as it can be disconcertingly large in relation to the target at 100yds.

    An alternative for fast acquisition is variable power scope with a "true" 1x lower end. I have a 1-4x Vortex PST on my .300Blackout. It's not going to look right on a charming old stutzen-stocked rifle but at 1x, with the illuminated TMCQ reticle, it behaves just like a red dot and you can shoot both eyes open with minimal distortion.

    You then have the option of up to 4x mag with quite a fine aiming point.

    Last edited by xavierdoc; 25-11-2016 at 07:37.

  9. #9
    There must be something wrong with your scope set up if you can use iron sights quicker and better than a scope that,s why the military now use scopes all the time red dot is for very close quarters(not a illuminated dot scope or a reflex sight)

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by smokey View Post
    There must be something wrong with your scope set up if you can use iron sights quicker and better than a scope that,s why the military now use scopes all the time red dot is for very close quarters(not a illuminated dot scope or a reflex sight)
    Nope- nothing wrong with my scope set ups last time I looked! I think you may have misunderstood the point though.

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