Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Old Eyes and Iron Sights -- more techniques to see better

Old Eyes and Iron sights Series --  Part 3
Ben Avery Small bore match -- Nov 14
 This was my first Small bore match after arriving back in Az for the winter shooting season.  I had hoped to score about 1580 which would be about 11 pts above my average for these 1600 pt matches (using iron sights).

100yds  198-10x 
Wolf  ammo $4.50/box
     I have changed the way I set-up the sights since I had left AZ in May and was looking forward to seeing if this years improved MN summer scores would continue into the fall matches in AZ.
   As I posted last spring, I had been having a lot of trouble getting a good sight picture, and good sight alignment now for some years as my eyes have gotten older (68 in Dec).  Discussions on this problem with German Salazar, and Mike Toliver convinced me that opening the rear sight aperture, for more light was exactly the wrong thing to do. I had been using a rear aperture setting of 1.6mm to 1.9mm in order (I thought) to see better.  The guys convinced me to "turn down" the rear aperture till I could just barely see through it and then pretty much forget about the rear ap, while concentrating on the Front aperture, and getting the shot off as quickly as possible.  German S. says that if the Rear Ap is small enough it will be almost impossible to missalign the sights, as your eye must be on the proper axis to even see through the sight. Well, I'm here to tell you that this works for me and my scores have gone up about 10 pts since changing my method.
  Some other things have also come into play.   I have determined that the proper "sight radius" is also very important for old eyes like mine to be able to see the front sight and bullseye as sharp and clear as possible. I believe that when using a .3 Diopter in the front sight, a sight radius of 32 inches is required to get the your eye into the proper "focal length" for that diopter, and to give you a "exit pupil" (image size) of the maximum size that your eye can use. 
  So, to make a long story short---I recommend to older shooters, who are having problems seeing the target, and the front sight clearly to: 

1.  Mount the rear sight or adjust your butt plate so that your eye is very near the rear sight-- taking in the need for a small amt of separation needed due to recoil. 
2.  Use a very small Rear Aperture   .7 to 1.0
3.  Use a .3 diopter in the Front sight  (none in the rear sight)
4.  Set up your sight radius to be about 32 inches
5.  Use a 30mm front sight (such as the "Right-Sight" sold by Wayne Forshee ( or any other). This large front sight tube will then just fit properly into view through the rear aperture set at .9mm
6.  Adjust the front aperture to approximately 4.2mm to fit properly around the bull
7.  Get the shot off quickly -- within 3 sec. -- before the eyes go dim. This requires some creative visulation and anticipation of sight picture before the looking through the sights so you know what you are looking for when you do get on the gun. This also requires you to take up the slack on a two-stage trigger as soon as you start to look through the sights so there is no hesitation in breaking the shot when you "see a 10".

All of this is working for me. My scores have gone up 10 pts over the summer using these techniques. If it works for my old eyes -- It might work for you.

So what was the result---- I shot a 1581--  Success!  Maybe a little benevolent scoring by Ken Nelson helped a bit.  OBTW,  Ken fired a 200-19x on the last target (50yd) to win the "Rick Curtis, no sighters, challenge match".  That's right--200-19x with no sighters!  Who says Canuks can't shoot?

Keep em in the middle

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