Canuck Bob and I have started a discussion of iron sights. As between us we cannot possibly “know everything” we thought a thread on irons would be fun.
Starting a discussion of iron sights on lever action rifles and there is so much to talk about it is difficult to know where to start.
I have poor eyesight and when it comes to iron front sights, I prefer large gold beads or the flat top Sourdough with gold insert. I do not see red insert front sights very well in bright sunlight and cannot use the red insert sourdough sight very well under any but artificial light.
White beads are a good second choice but they are always second behind the Gold Bead for my eyes. My father still drives without glasses and he uses the White Bead just as well as the Gold Bead.
Francis Sell wrote that in order to shoot small groups we must use small beads or narrow front sights and he was correct. Sell often wrote of slipping a bullet between branches or tree trunks when shooting at partially obstructed deer. If you have good eyesight or if you may get a shot at a deer in the open beyond 100-yards a small bead does have its advantage.
Most of my iron sight hunting is well within 100-yards and most animals are in motion when first sighted. For this type of hunting a large bead with a color contrasting the background works best for me.
The 1/16” bead covers 11 ¼” at 100-yards assuming 30 inches from eye to front sight.
My preferred 1/8” bead covers 15” at 100 yards.
The 1/16” bead covers 15” at 200-yards.
My preferred 1/8” bead covers 30” at 200 yards.
As you can see, it is easy to cover a deer with your front sight as the range increases.
There are several ways around the problem and the use of a flat shooting cartridge such as the 307 Winchester, 308 Marlin Express and the use of the new Hornady LeveRevolution flex tip ammunition in the 30-30 WCF and the 32 Winchester Special are example of using ammunition to overcome the sight picture problem.
The next method is Trajectory sighting which was advocated by all of the older riflemen from E.C. Crossman through Francis Sell.
A. W. Kabernagel wrote the article: “Trajectory Sight In” for the 1956, 10th ed, of the Gun Digest. There are similar description in Crossman’s book Military and Sporting Rifle shooting and a number of hunting books from the 1930’s and ‘40’s.
I will put up the chart for 30-03, 32 Winchester Special and 303 Savage as an example of the theory. As you will see the use of the trajectory sight-in will extend the point blank range of your rifle while using a 6 O’clock hold which does not obscure your game.
Granddad and his Grand dad knew how to sight in rifles and there are examples in old writing of trajectory sight-in being used for Kentucky rifles.
The use of the open iron sight was discouraged by Gunwriters in the pre-WWII era and writers such as Townsend Whelen wrote in detail of the advantages of the tang and receiver sights.
I agree about the advantages of the tang sights and receiver sights over the open rear sight, however, in my experience; more than satisfactory results can be obtained on deer and rabbits inside 50-yards, even when sighting on moving game.
For this type of shooting it is hard to beat the Marbles Flat Top Folding open rear sight - I prefer the model with windage adjustment.
I am going to put up a few pictures just to start the discussion. Most of these are my pictures but some are not. I hope Ken K sees this and puts up a good clear picture of his modern Williams Receiver sight on his Marlin.
This will require some editing to ad discussion to the pictures but it will stat the discussion.
First, the Lyman sight picture drawing.
Then the Lyman 103 Tang sight. A picture of Major Whelen with his Savage 99 and No. 103 Tang Sight. I’ll take some pictures of the Lyman No. 2 Tang sight to include in another post.
Then a few receiver sights. Note the advantage of the Lyman receiver sight over the Willaims. The Lyman sight is adjust with a coin while the Williams require two screwdrivers for adjustment of the hunter screws or one screwdriver for adjustment of the target knob models.
The Lyman slide is removable at the push of a button while the Williams require the use of a screwdriver.
Sadly, the Lyman Company is not attempting to give Williams a reasonable competition with sight availability and Marlin has stopped drilling the sides of receivers for proper mounting of the receiver sight.