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Thread: opinions on aperture sights

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    opinions on aperture sights

    Guys.. I'm on the cusp of "improving" my new Henry 357 levergun... I shot it with the factory buckhorns, and my grouping was pretty dismal at 50 yards. At 25 yards it was somewhat better, but still not what the rifle is capable of...

    The problem is 68 yr old eyes...

    I've heard that aperture sights will improve things greatly, but I am just curious if they will make this a hunting-worthy rifle.

    So, in you older guys' experience, will apertures allow me to shoot actual groups at 50-100 yards, or should I just go with a scope? By eliminating having to focus on the rear sight, does that bring the front sight and target into better resolution?

    I know the scope will make the rifle less "handy" to some extent, but I'm willing to do that if that's what I need to do to get good groups.

  2. #2
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    I'm a big fan of aperture sights, hornetguy. Cut my teeth on M1 and M14 service rifles, which have some of the finest aperture sights ever produced. I like ex-military sporterized rifles like Krags and Lee Enfields, and have an aperture sight mounted on almost every one I own. "Skinner" is a maker you'll hear highly praised in the lever action world. Side mounted receiver aperture sights from companies like Williams are also available, but may require a drill and tap job to install. However-- there can be no guarantees that installing one on your rifle will produce good groups. Too many variables in the rifle, especially a lever action rifle. Such factors as tightness of barrel band, pressure of forestock against barrel, etc. Then, you need to know the exact dimensions of your rifle's bore, discovered by slugging the bore, and cast and load accordingly. Installation of a scope will simplify sighting by reducing the sighting to one plane, that of the crosshairs, rather than front/rear sight alignment; but again, there are scopes and there are scopes, some much better for the purpose than others. In summary, you've got a lot of experimenting to do. Look at it as fun.

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    Last edited by Der Gebirgsjager; 11-30-2022 at 01:01 PM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy schutzen-jager's Avatar
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    aperture sights are a definitive improvement for accuracy overall + especially for older iyes - for hunting purposes experiment with larger aperture openings to find what suites your individual eyes -
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Aperture sights are far superior to open sights for most rifle shooting. You are eliminating one third of the eyes work and increasing clarity by looking through the hole. Open sights rear sight, get front sight properly placed both centered in the the rear sight notch AND vertically correct AND get that PROPERLY aligned combination on your target. With a properly adjusted aperture sight you look THROUGH the aperture or peep hole, place the front sight on the target. An aperture sight is much simpler to use and can be very precise. The size of the aperture can be changed for differing light conditions. Even very large apertures provide good accuracy at longer ranges - 200 plus yards. Military high power matches at 200, 300, and 600 yards use aperture sights, aperture sights are also used for some 1000 yard competitions. I know of NO downside going from 'barrel-mounted open sights to a decent aperture sight. In 1963 I put a Lyman 66 on my first centerfire rifle, a Marlin 336 30-30. AT 73 years, all my rifles that do not have scopes are equipped with aperture sights. You will find a great difference in your abilities between factory open sights and good aperture sights.

    For the Henry, both Skinner, Ranger Point Precision and the Williams (the WGRS-336) all make aperture sights that should fit on your Henry using the rear 'scope holes' on the receiver top. The Williams WGRS-336 is on Amazon, about 45-50 bucks.
    Last edited by MostlyLeverGuns; 11-30-2022 at 01:32 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I have Skinner sights on my 336. It comes with two apertures with the spare mounted on the front of the sight base. This allows you to change them out in less than a minutes from a tight target style aperture to something that allows more light in low light hunting situations. I'm a fan.

  6. #6
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    Having aperture sights will let you be more accurate, a scope can cause you to be less accurate, also a lot depends on how accurate your gun is, and how accurate your load is in any gun you start with. Start with the gun and load, then add the aperture sights and see if they work for you ? Then go to a good scope if you need to ? I have aperture sights or scopes on all my guns, even put air-gun aperture sights on my front stuffer. My long gun, 45/70 has only aperture sights on it and used out to 1000yds.
    A learning adventure, Where the fun is ! If it were easy anyone would do it ?

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks for the replies... I suppose I'll just start with the Skinner sight... it's only about a hundred bucks. If it doesn't improve my ability to line up on the target, I'll go with a scope. I already have a Leupold 1.5-4X variable that should work nicely.
    I have apertures as back up sights on my AR, but have not shot exclusively with them enough to know my capabilities, vision-wise.

  8. #8
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    A tang mounted peep can be even better for tired eyes to focus. I temporarily mount one on my '92 44-40 for load development then take it off and use the barrel sights. The aperture cuts my group sizes dramatically, but the barrel sights are still a bit faster for me to use in the field.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master pietro's Avatar
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    Besides a receiver peep sight, I find that a fiber-optic front sight in conjunction with it works wonders for me (I'm 80 y.o.)
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  10. #10
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    I’m partial to Marble’s tang sight. It gives a longer sight radius than a receiver mounted aperture and is “click” windage and elevation adjustable. Sits solid in the mount, unlike Lyman’s tang.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pietro View Post
    .

    Besides a receiver peep sight, I find that a fiber-optic front sight in conjunction with it works wonders for me (I'm 80 y.o.)
    I am waiting to see how the Skinner works with my existing front sight. They say that about 50% of the time the front sight is high enough.... otherwise, I will have to get a taller front sight, and fiber optic is high on the list of options. I hope I can still be shooting at 80 years old.... that's one of the reasons I like this 357... lighter recoil.... even at "almost 70" I find that I don't need (or appreciate) the buck and roar of the bigger bores...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Castaway View Post
    I’m partial to Marble’s tang sight. It gives a longer sight radius than a receiver mounted aperture and is “click” windage and elevation adjustable. Sits solid in the mount, unlike Lyman’s tang.
    I'm sort of on the fence about tang mounted sights... I like the "old timey" look of them, but mentally, they just look fragile to me... I might have to just bite the bullet and try one... maybe for the Rossi .45 Colt... I have an aperture for it that replaces the bolt mounted safety, but I have not mounted it yet.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by hornetguy View Post
    I am waiting to see how the Skinner works with my existing front sight. They say that about 50% of the time the front sight is high enough.... otherwise, I will have to get a taller front sight, and fiber optic is high on the list of options. I hope I can still be shooting at 80 years old.... that's one of the reasons I like this 357... lighter recoil.... even at "almost 70" I find that I don't need (or appreciate) the buck and roar of the bigger bores...
    I tried the glow rods - too cores for my liking bigger peep in the back - faster accusation, post or peep in the front, peep in the front works best for my liking, give me a fine adjustment. Even put a double peep, front and back air-gun sight, on my .50 cal front stuffer.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hornetguy View Post
    I'm sort of on the fence about tang mounted sights... I like the "old timey" look of them, but mentally, they just look fragile to me... I might have to just bite the bullet and try one... maybe for the Rossi .45 Colt... I have an aperture for it that replaces the bolt mounted safety, but I have not mounted it yet.
    The nice thing about a tang sight is that it's very close to your eye - and you can get eye cups with different openings (same as anything with a screw-in stem). I have also removed the eye cup in poor light conditions and used it as a ghost ring. Plenty good enough for most 75-100 yard shots.

  15. #15
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    Another approach is apertures on both the rear and on front. This is what I use on all my rifles--just lust look through two holes and put the thing you want to hit in the center. Couldn't get easier. It's basically a scope without glass. On my Henry lever I have a skinner rear sight and a Lyman globe front sight. 68 year old eyes aren't so bad-- mine are 76 and I've had cataracts in both.
    Hick: Iron sights!

  16. #16
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    Apertures will tend to be more accurate, but you'll not be able to get your sight picture as quickly as a open leaf.

    Something I like that I put on my Henry .22 is those bright fiber optic sights.
    I think the trade name on them is 'fire sights'.

    They probably won't group as tight, but their great for squirrels in the yard.
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  17. #17
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    I love aperture sights and have a variety of different manufacturers on my rifles. NOT a fan of tang sights, but then I do not shoot at long range with my rifles and generally 300 yards is my hunting max.
    Old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway!

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  18. #18
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    peep sights/apeture sights work great once you get used to them. very quick to get accurate shot. when I first started using them I'd spend a few moments sighting each target before firing. once I got used to them it just point and shoot. center it up and fire. ive got em on a bunch of rifles from tang peep on 25-20 to Williams fool proofs on winchesters and marlins.

  19. #19
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    My 73 year-old eyes really like the tang mounted sights over the open sights. Quick and easy, they don't take much getting used to, and at the ranges I shoot, they work fine. With old eyes nothing beats a scope, unless you don't want that type of look on a lever action. My opinion only, but a scope on a lever action doesn't fit with the look I want.

  20. #20
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    The Skinner front sights are nice with a brass bead that’s easily polished with a pencil eraser when it dulls. My advice is to follow Skinners instructions on front sight height but a tad shorter than the calculation figures. It installed easily and hasnt moved since I adjusted it

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