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Kentucky Bob

A Beginner's Guide to Firearms For Survival, Hunting and Defense

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What is the best way to sight in a rifle?

 

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Well, it depends upon the type of sights that are on the rifle.  The following information should work to explain the sights on a rifle or pistol, and to some extent even some shotguns.  There are iron sights--which are divided into "open" and "aperature" sights--and optical sights such as telescopic or 'dot' sights.  First lets talk about the iron sights since they're the most basic. 

 

Iron sights on a firearm consist of a front and rear sight.  The front is usually some sort of metallic blade or post, sometimes with an embellishment like a brass bead, white dot, or red ramp to improve visibility.  The rear sight will consist of either a "notch" or groove for "open" sights or a small, round opening for an "aperature" or "peep" sight:

 

A picture of open sights, front and rear, on a handgun (Browning Hi-Power).  The front and rear sights have colored inserts for increased visibility:

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In this picture, the front and rear sights of a .22 rifle are properly aligned--just not at the target:

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To properly align the sights, the front post must be viewed through the notch, with the target over the front sight:

 

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If you don't properly line the sights up on the target, you won't be accurate.  In this image, you can see what it looks like if the front sight isn't centered in the notch (TOP LEFT) but is too far to the left of center, your bullet will hit to the left.  The opposite applies if the front blade is right of the center.  In the TOP RIGHT image, the front sight is too low in the notch of the rear sight and the gun will shoot too low.  If the front post is above the top of the rear the firearm will shoot too high.

 

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Now that we know how the open sights should be aligned, let's see how to get them to shoot the way we want.  If you have a bolt-action rifle you can save yourself a little ammo by "bore sighting" the rifle.  Remove the bolt from the rifle so that you can see through the barrel from the rear and rest the rifle on sand bags.  Looking through the rear of the rifle barrel align the bore with the center of the target.  Once you've done that, look at the sights to see if they are also aligned on target.  Check back and forth until the bore and sights are both centered on the center of the target.  Adjust the sights to line up on the center of the target if they aren't already.  If the sights are adjustable there should be screws set into the side and top of the rear sight to drift them right and left or up and down.  The owner's manual will tell you how to turn the screws for the proper adjustment.  You can also purchase some nifty gadgets to do the same thing, but most have to be inserted into the gun muzzle to do the job.  Be sure to REMOVE THEM BEFORE THE GUN IS FIRED.  Big Blue had a dandy photo of a rifle fired when some doofus left the boresighter in the muzzle.

 

When you fire, you may see that the bullet didn't strike in the center.  Here is how to adjust the sights.  The main thing to remember on a standard set of open sights is that you need to move the rear sight in the direction you want to move the bullet impact.  If your shot went to the left, the rear sight must be drifted to the right.  If your shot went low, you must raise the rear sight.  The opposite will be true if you find that you have to move the front sight to adjust the sight alignment.  This can happen on handguns and military rifles.  In this case, if the gun shoots low, you must lower the front sight (this would effectively raise the muzzle higher when aligning the sights).  If the gun shot to the left, you must move the front sight to the left.  For the most part, you will be adjusting the rear sight on most modern firearms. 

 

Aperature sights are adjusted in the same way as open sights, they just align differently and have a different-looking sight picture.  The front post still is centered with the target just over it, but the aperature or ring that you look through replaces the notch rear sight.  This type is used on both military and target rifles.  Military rifles usually have protective "ears" on either side of the front sight post to protect it:

 

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In another segment, we will discuss telescopic and dot sights.  If I've missed something or anyone has a question, please let me know.

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Very good K-Bob.

 

I like your discussion of bore sighting. It is a simple way to save a few rounds of ammunition.

 

Bore sighting also refers to a device with a rod that is inserted into the muzzle of a weapon and has an optical target used for sighting telescopic sights.

 

They work well to get your shots onto the paper at 100 yards, but do not constitute a real sighting in of the weapon.

 

I know this was a discussion about Iron sights, but the term is also used with other sights so I wanted to avoid any confusion.

 

We may wish to discuss peep sights as well.

 

Peep sights (aperture sights) are similar to the military sights discussed, however, the aperture or hole in the rear sight is much smaller for a finer sight.

If you are looking for a way to acquire a target quickly, use a buckhorn sight, if you want precision with an iron sight, use the peep.

 

On the old buffalo rifles, the peep sight was mounted on the tang, or the piece of metal bolted to the stock behind the hammer. The precision came from the long sight angle of the peep sight up the length of a very long barrel. The longer the sight plane the more accurate you become over long ranges of up to 1000 yards. 8|

 

The peep sight was sighted by means of a threaded rod from top to bottom and side to side. The threads are very fine for minute adjustments for windage or distance. They were very easy to move, so some carried the vernier sights separate from the rifle until it was going into use.

For many years until the advent of good optical sights and lenses for telescopic sights the peep sight was the gold standard of precision.

 

This is one reason pistols are not as accurate over long distances is the short sight plane. The short barrel limits the length of the plane and even though your eye is removed further from the rear sight, the distance between the sights is only a few inches increasing the room for error.

 

As people age, it can become difficult to use iron sights as the ability of the eye to focus on both near and distant objects at the same time is reduced.

 

But for quick target acquisition, simplicity, and durability, Iron sights are hard to beat. :thumbsup:

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I've been meaning to get more done here, but this cold has knocked me on my backside.  :dead:    I will try to get more done in the next week or so, including loading and unloading a revolver and a semi-auto, a piece on rifle ammunition, and some other odds and ends that I've got rattling around in my head.  If anyone has a topic they would like to see covered, please let us know.

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Yes, I know I've fallen behind!  This weekend I'm going to work on some new material and photos.  I haven't taken the time to research the better material available for different types of rifle bullets (not catridges....bullets) that I wanted to cover.  Next I'll try to finish double action revolvers and begin on semi-automatic pistols.

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I got three shots with my 243 at a running coyote today.  scared011.gif  I missed  :cry:    sad042.gif

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These bills are pretty scary thats for sure but I dont see any of them passing. I hope.

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Freedom means taking responsibility for your own actions and is always scary. You stand alone with only your guts, your convictions, and your courage against the world.

Right now, this bill is looking to pass with veto proof majorities, and the support of most of the state.

 

As the man said, "Montana must lead the way".

 

 

 

"ALL THE GREAT THINGS ARE SIMPLE AND CAN BE EXPRESSED IN A SINGLE WORD:

FREEDOM, JUSTICE, HONOR, DUTY, MERCY, HOPE."

Winston Churchill

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Im with you Wolf I might have mis stated my position. The bills Im talking are the anti gun things they keep bringing up. More power to Montana. Its about time some one did some thing. Its getting silly. There trying to pass a law against carrying folding knives in Hawaii.  :nono:

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I've avoided saying anything about gun control (or knife control) here in the Beginner's Guide, but I will say this and then let it drop:

 

If you do not stand up and speak out to your elected represenatives you have no one to blame but yourself when you lose your rights.  There are an estimated 80 million gun owners in the US.  There is one reason why we still have our right to keep our firearms.  The NRA.  You can disagree if you wish, but no other group has put forward the effort and--yes--the cash to fight every scheme that is presented to erode away our rights.  Many complain that the NRA just won't compromise, and I say you're darn right.  Why compromise?  If you look at the "give an inch and they'll take a mile" rule you will see that this is exactly what those who would destroy our rights are doing.  Many complain that the NRA is always asking its members for money.  Also true.  The NRA Institute for Legislative Action, the Political Victory Fund, air time, tv time, educational programs, it all costs money.  People forget that the NRA has also fought hard for their hunting rights into the bargain.  All the members have to do is drop the letter requesting a donation in the garbage.  The way I see it, with just the 3.5 million or so of us that are members now, if we each just gave a dollar extra a year... :greed:  If just a quarter of the gun owners in the US joined the NRA...imagine a membership of 20 million.  8|  But I don't believe it will ever happen, those who don't want to join will let the rest of us fight for them with our energy and yes, our money.  After all, the anti's don't want their hunting guns, right?  :glare:  And if that day comes that the government tells them they have to turn in their duck gun or deer rifle they'll cry "Why didn't the NRA stop them?"  :cry:

 

Agree or disagree with me as you wish.  This is the last word I will say on the subject, period.  We get too riled up over politics and I do not want to debate.  There are other places and other times to debate this issue.  I feel that this thread is best left for information for newbies to firearms, and that is where I will be directing my energy.  Peace out.  :peace:

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I could not agree more KB! I know people think gun owners are  a bit radical, but the gun grabbers wont stop until they get all the guns, not just a few choice ones.  :ack:    I am finished also.    :thumbup:

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I think an open debate about our right to own guns is Ok considering the constant threats by outside interests groups and individuals in Congress considering how important gun ownership is to urban survival and survivalists like ourselves.

 

I think enough has been said here however and its up to each of us to support dissent against any more gun legislation. Especially now when over on million people are now unemployed.

 

Ive mentioned this before that todays population is totally unprepared for a depression and I can visualize massive problems when homelessness and starvation hits a couple of million Americans.

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Well they talk about improving the economy. But yet want to ban pocket knives now and that will lead to the all around ban on knives in general. And to ban and take away firearms. Which will ultimately lead to people losing their jobs from these ridiculous actions. So instead of helping the economy they will be hurting it more.

 

Where does all this craziness stop. It don't and won't. wacky078.gif  Can only wonder what it will be next that you won't be able to own or carry in your pocket.

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That was some phony excuse about the Mexican crap wasnt it? First I want to know just what they call an assault weapon.  :curse:

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Well semi auto shotguns will be included in the new ban. But yes The Mexicans  happy097.gif And banning these weapons will not deter crime or stop the criminals from obtaining them. Its like trying to ban pocket knives.

 

 

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Like the Mexicans care if we ban simi autos they get their guns from Russia and their own police. Im really proud of the Democrats about now. Hopefully they wont get any where.

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You know neither party is any good. Look at Jindal and his comments. I think they need to over haul all of the govt. They want to improve the economy but by banning things it takes away jobs also. Or bailing out the big 3 or banks again. They need to stop. Tell them sink or swim.

 

 

Its a shame that honest gun owners can't have the weapons they want to have for their use in the sport of shooting.

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Swede and I agreed that some discussion on gun control would be germane to a discussion on firearms for beginners and urban or rural survival.  So let's see if we can keep it as unpolitical (Dems vs Reps) as possible.

 

I think I'm going to switch parties to Libertarian.  I just emailed Pres. Obama through the official White House website (I was very polite  :angel: ) asking him to reconsider and to remember what happened to his party after Pres. Clinton signed his assault weapons bill and the Brady Bill.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease, folks.

 

To answer your question Swede, it depends upon the wording in the bill.  The original cosmetic changes gun makers used on their rifles (for instance, the Colt HBar AR15 had no flash suppressor or bayonet lug) didn't change them very much.  The anti's will more than likely use tighter definitions that could mean a simple Marlin model 60 would be an "assault weapon".  Again, it depends upon how the anti's word the bill (and make no mistake, the anti's will write it).  I would reckon that high-capacity magazines will also be included with this legislation.

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