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Thread: When did scopes become the norm on every day stalking rifles

  1. #1

    When did scopes become the norm on every day stalking rifles

    Just wondering was it the1970's or 1980's or indeed later when most people started using scopes on their stalking rifles. I appreciate Scopes have been around 100 plus years but fora long time they were considered to be pretty fragile and somewhat secondary to the reliable open sights. And a scope was somewhat unsporting. Nowadays if you turned up with an open sighted rifle it might be suggested you use the estate rifle. How long ago to this change occur. Certainly when I started stalking in the mid 1990's scopes were in every day use, but my father and his generation all grew up with and used open sights.

  2. #2
    It must be the seventies, i've been involved in the shooting world since the late seventies and I have never seen a stalking rifle in the field without a scope on it.


  3. #3
    Just after the war scopes really were not an option. Eventually as things started to return to some sort of normality scopes started appearing. I was still using aperture and open sights into the mid fifties. I got my first scope in the early sixties. In truth what others were using was pretty well unknown as there was no internet!
    I would guess scopes were in common use by the late sixties early seventies.

  4. #4
    How long will it be before thermal imaging will be an accepted part of stalking ?
    once the price comes down I expect and will they be considered as unsporting as telescopic sights were when they first became readily available to the average stalker

  5. #5
    In 'The Sporting Rifle' 1951 , 'The Ruffle' (!) says 'Telescopic sights are not used extensively in this country, but they are the rule, rather than the exception, on the Continent'.

    In 'Notes on Sporting Rifles' 1953, Major Sir Gerald Burrard's chapter on sights is mainly to do with the iron variety, and the bit about telescope considers at length the problems of mounting, of weatherproofing and of the general delicate nature of the devices as well as mentioning the advantages.

    In 'The Sporting Rifle and its use in Britain' 1962, Henry Tegner describes being a member of a stalking-party of five and finding his was the only 'scopeless rifle. I quote "The telescopic sight, or scope, as it is sometimes called, has come to stay. I do not think it impossible that one day, in the not too distant future, the use of this magnifying sight will be universal on all weapons used for sporting purposes"

    In 'Deer Stalking' 1980, Edmund Luxmore, while not disallowing the idea of open sights (don't fog, less likely to get knocked, better field of view) is accepting that 'scopes are the thing - 'With care, the advantages far outweight the disadvantages'.

  6. #6
    Slight deviation but I remember reading articles and books by a certain author back in the early 1980's, the guy would sometimes use open sighted Mannlicher Schoenauer rifles. I am having a senior moment perhaps because I can't remember the name of the author but I do remember that he was married to the artist Elizabeth Halstead who is well known for her paintings of deer. Can someone please remind me of his name as it's starting to annoy me now.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  7. #7
    I started shooting rifles with my father in the early sixties he was a keeper with a bit of stalking involved ,at that time one did see the odd scoped rifle but they were still pretty much in the minority , in fact my father never had a scoped rifle in his working life.

    In the mid 80s I had a client who stalked stags with an open sighted 30-06 Springfield with which he was just as competent as most scope users at normal stalking distances.

  8. #8
    My father got his first scope in 1973, being the only one with a scope in our area in South Africa. Was a Weaver wide angle 4 mag with a very fine reticule. edi

  9. #9
    I'd love a open sighted rifle for muntjac in woodland, would be great fun!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by olib007 View Post
    I'd love a open sighted rifle for muntjac in woodland, would be great fun!
    Had a bit of a bad experience two weeks ago with my 30-30 open sighted Winchester. Sika doe ran down ~90- 100yds in front of me as it was possibly disturbed by my shooting buddy who walked higher up parallel to me. The doe stopped and I shot her side on. She ran back up only to come back down maybe half a minute later and I fired again at her running as I thought she is surely wounded. A few shots later she went into some scrub and we gave her ten minutes. When we came to the spot she was dead with 4 shots through her, one high heart, one low heart, one liver and a back leg. She had covered quite some ground, luckily I was on a high spot and could see her well most of the time. I am sure with a scope I would have known better if the first shot was good or not. The next shots were only trying to make good.
    I put a red dot sight on the rifle now and will try the hornady leverevolution instead of the Remington 150gr soft points next.
    Last edited by ejg; 05-01-2014 at 01:13.

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