Learning to shoot with open sights: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Leslie Foran is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card! Congratulations!

Leslie Foran (aka Desertdweller) took this winning photo of his grandson Nicky Crocker shooting a Daisy 856.

Part 1

Today, we’ll look at peep sights. Do you think a peep sight is a modern invention? Wrong! Despite what Wikipedia says, peep sights date from at least as far back as the 1840s and perhaps even a half-century earlier. There were sights enclosed in tubes during the American Revolution (1775-1783), but those had not yet reached the full development of the sights I will discuss today. By 1840, peep sights were being offered by a great many rifle makers.

The first peep sight consisted of a round, flat plate with a hole drilled through its center. It was mounted on a threaded stalk; and when turned, it could be screwed up and down for vertical adjustment. One-half turn was all that was required, because the plate was the same on both sides. It was located on the tang of a rifle and was used in conjunction with a very fine front bead sight that was mounted atop a tall thin post. This early peep sight has been called a lollipop sight for more than a century because of the resemblance to that candy.


This lollipop sight is from a later schuetzen rifle, but it’s very similar to ones made before the American Civil War.

The front sight was so thin as to be fragile, and so was enclosed in a steel tube — or what we now call a globe. The earliest type of front bead was made from pig bristles that were touched on their tips by a red-hot iron. The heat caused the bristle to melt into a tiny ball that became the bead. The other end of the bristle was stuck in a small piece of soft pine and covered with shellac to hold it in place. The piece of wood was then attached inside the front tube, completing the sight. Later front posts were filed from steel, but they could never be as thin as the ones made from pig’s bristle.


This steel front post and bead is many times thicker than the pig’s bristle front sight mentioned in this report.

Using the peep sight
To use the peep sight, the shooter looked through the hole in the plate (the peephole) and focused on the front bead. The bead was then held either in the center of the target or just under the center, depending on the type of targets being used. An early target was a wooden shingle blackened by fire and scraped white in the center. This white spot was called the mark, and early target shooting was called “Shooting at a mark.”

You’ll notice that I didn’t discuss where the front bead is supposed to be positioned relative to the peephole. That’s because it doesn’t work that way! If you look through a peephole and keep both eyes open, your brain will automatically center the bead in the center of the peephole, because that’s the source of the brightest light.

From the shooter’s perspective, all he does is look through the peephole and put the front bead on the target. His eyes do the rest. That’s why the peep sight is so much more precise than sporting types of open sights.

When the front sight is a square post, it works the same; but you have to estimate the location of the middle of the peephole. On some sights with large peepholes, that can be difficult. It’s still many times faster than a post-and-notch sight set and at least as prercise.


This is what a square-post front sight looks like through a peep. The aim point is 6 o’clock on the bull.

The front aperture
Around 1874, a new type of front sight came into widespread use. It was an aperture atop a post, and the reason it took until 1874 to come into use was because most targets weren’t round until then. Most shooters shot at targets that were squares, so a round aperture wasn’t of much use. But when the American Standard target came into accepted use (the National Rifle Association lobbied for it), it brought the front aperture with it.

To use this type of front sight with the rear peep sight, you look through the peep and focus on the front aperture. Center the black bull in the aperture, and you’re done. As long as your front aperture is very close to the same size as the black bull downrange, all you have to do is align a series of concentric circles.


This is what you see through the peep sight when the front sight is an aperture and the bull is round.

Keep both eyes open!
It isn’t just a good idea to keep both eyes open when using a peep sight — it’s absolutely essential to their proper operation. I did a blog on this back in 2009 that gave you a quick experiment to conduct. If you do so, you will discover why you must keep both eyes open to use peep sights!

Quigley rediscovered
In what era do you place the movie Quigley Down Under? Be careful, because the rear sight on his rifle had not been used on an American rifle before 1874. That was the year the UK champion Irish Rifle Team challenged the US team to a match to decide the world championship. The US had no team at the time of the challenge, nor did we have any standard rifles that were up to shooting the 800-, 900- and 1000-yard distances involved. Even the rifle range known as Creedmoor was specially built for this challenge match.

To help the American team, both Sharps and Remington made special Creedmoor match rifles fitted with the very first vernier rear peep sights ever used in this country. They also had wind-gauge front sights to adjust for the drift and winds on the range.

When I return with the next section of this report, I’ll show you what an advancement this really was.

134 thoughts on “Learning to shoot with open sights: Part 2

  1. Could you explain (either in the comments or the next instalment) how to properly adjust sights?
    I can never remember which way(up-down-left-right) to move what sight (rear or front) to shoot which way.
    I bought a Daisy model 99 and it came with a pretty crude rear peep sights and it seems no mater which way I’m adjusting the rear sight it’s alway shooting right.
    And what if the rear sight isn’t adjustable for windage (on a RedRyder for example) and this one is shooting to the left?
    It seems one of the sights wasn’t put at the right angle, is there something I could do? It’s the pink one I bought for my daughter and I don,t want to put her off by having her use a rifle that just cannot shoot what your aiming at…

    J-F


    • When adjusting REAR sights (which is what you generally adjust), move them in the direction you need the pellet to go. If you need it to go higher, move it up. If you need it to go left move it left.

      Front sights (which, of course, are adjusted a lot less frequently) work in the opposite direction.

      For short BB gun ranges you’ll have to move the sight quite a bit. It takes more movement to correct for 1″ at 15 feet than to correct for 5″ at 50 yards.

      If the front sight isn’t on straight, yes, that’ll seriously mess things up. You say “Model 99″… are you sure that’s the model #? Do you mean “499″ or “1998″?


      • Now that’s clear! Thank you.

        Yes I’m sure of the model number, you had me doubting so I got it out and it is indeed a model 99, I bought it this summer from JG airguns, it had been on gunbroker for a few weeks, so I wrote to him has I can’t go thru gunbroker, we waited for the auction to end and I bought from him, I think I paid 70 or 80$ for it, it’s a little crude, with paint chips and painted, dinged wood stock but I like it that way. I might strip the paint on the stock but the rest will probably stay the way it is.

        The hole in the rear peep seems a bit too large, I’d like a smaller one, I don’t know if I can change the sights on it. I can’t move the rear peep to the left or right, I can only make it pivot on the screw holding it down.

        The tube holding the BB’s REALLY closely ressembles the one on my model 25 but shorter.

        If you guys are interested I’ll take some pics of it and post them here.

        J-F

        ps: Edith this is my second posting of the same message, the first one got to my email (as I’m receiving everything posted) but didn’t show up on the blog… my other reply (to Flobert) posted right away???



    • J-F,

      Move the rear sight in the direction you want the shot to move.

      The Germans are opposite in this aspect of the sport. They put the word “bei” in front of the adjustment arrow. If you think of that as the word “too” you will never make a mistake. In other words, if the shot is too right, move in the direction of the bel rechts arrow, you will be moving the sight to CORRECT a too right situation.

      B.B.


      • B.B.
        So that’s why the sight on my 48 looks wrong.
        Like I said, it was not a big deal. Did not take long to figure out which direction to go…without knowing German logic.

        If all else fails, and there are no markings at all to go by, just give the knobs a good crank and see which way the sight moves.

        twotalon


      • What confooses me the most is that adjuster wheel operation isn’t consistent. Does turning the windage wheel clockwise move it left or right? If the threaded rod is anchored to the sight base it moves it right, if it’s anchored to the blade it moves it left.

        Unless it’s reverse-pitch.


      • This always screws me up.
        In archery you move the sight in the direction the arrow is landing…if the arrow is hitting high, you raise the sight (to drop the arrow).
        I’m always getting the two mixed up ;-)


        • CSD,

          Your archery sight acts like a front sight, not a rear one. The front sight is always moved in the opposite direction that you want the pellet to go.

          B.B.


        • CSD,

          If you are using a typical setup with a peep sight embedded in the string and some form of pin(s) attached to the riser, then you are adjusting the front sight when you move a pin. Hence, moving the pin up makes the arrow impact lower, etc.


  2. We love this stuff!

    BTW, while you keep both eyes open, a sort of translucent “blinder” in front of your off eye is a good thing.

    J-F – you can tune your windage on a sight like that …. with a file. Just file the notch out wider, taking material off of one side, to zero it. My Red Ryder’s dead on. What an amazing gun for $25.


    • MY RedRyder (and Marlin) are also dead on but the pink RedRyder I bought for my daughter isn’t :-(
      Must be because it’s pink that I can’t shoot it LOL

      J-F


  3. BB,
    I hope you don’t consider peep sights to be open sights? Technically, they are “metallic”, “aperture” or “iron” sights (i.e. non-optically enhanced), but not open sights, which have, naturally, an opening at the top of the rear sight.


    • I thought peeps would be in the general class of “open” sights because the entire sighting apparatus is not enclosed as it is with a scope or red-dot.


      • I went to a shoot one time and was told that I could not shoot a particular rifle. When they said “open sights”, that’s exactly what they meant. No peeps or globes. No hooded sights.

        twotalon



          • They set their rules so that nobody had an extra advantage. They could have required that open sights be non-adjustable too, but were not that strict.

            twotalon


            • There are “primitive” ML’er shoots that don’t allow adjustable sights, and some do not allow shaders; I’ve even heard of some that will not allow tinted shooting glasses or discs (over eyes). Most shoots for open sights allow adjustable for the simple reason that many production rifles have them. Adjustable isn’t really that much of an advantage in a paper match, anyway, as long as it is open sight against open sight. Regarding the advantage (really more ease of use) of a peep on paper bulls, it is certainly there. There is a rule at NMLRA (national muzzleloading rifle association) shoots that rifle open rear sights have to be at least 6″ (I think) in front of the breech, because at one point, someone discovered that by locating a sight back at the breech and wearing an appropriate hat that covered the top of the sight, they could convert an otherwise legal open sight into a good approximation of an aperture. That design is called a Friendship Cheater (Friendship, IN is location of the NMLRA national shoots) and only allowed in certain special classes, which, I believe are AMS (any metallic sight, not just open) anyway, so it is not much of an advantage.



    • BG_Farmer,

      I’m not going to get into this discussion. I used the term open to connote non-optical sights — not for any of the current readers by for search engine optimization. When ol’ Harley Werthit is researching the topic he won’t look for non-optical sights. :)

      B.B.


      • Some folks might just say “iron sights”, which would include both peeps and blades. Of course, then you have to worry about fibre-optics not being iron.

        Sigh. Classification of the real world always makes me tired.


  4. BB,
    Thanks for always reminding us about keeping both eyes open. I have tried it in the past ans I know it works, but it is a hard thing to turn into a habit. For me, it’s like not looking at the keyboard when I type.
    Flobert, I will try putting some frosted scotch tape on the one lens of my glasses. Sounds like a good idea.


  5. B.B.

    Your first diagram….
    I seem to remember it from the owner’s manual with my Daisy 25 (that was a long time ago). Also the “open sights” diagram (you did not show) . Have seen both many times over the years.
    Way back then there was something about both diagrams that was clearly wrong to me. They only work with a fixed size target at a fixed distance. Not suitable for my purposes. I elected to use a dead center sight picture.

    twotalon


    • twotalon,

      ALL sights work at fixed distances. Shoot anywhere else and you have to interpolate.

      Let me get through the next installment and I will explain.

      B.B.


  6. BB:
    I had a great experience using a peep sight.
    While a member of my old gun club we used to go to a 100 yard army shooting range near Nottingham.
    This fella let me shoot his 7.62 target rifle fitted with a peep sight.(can’t remember the model,sorry)
    No spotting scope so I had to just shoot at this head size target on a stick and hope for the best,using the kicked up sand as a reference as to where the shots where landing.
    After about ten rounds I checked the target.Very few hits to the head :(
    However plenty through the 2 inch wide stick which it was stuck on.
    A slight adjustment to the elevation and that sucker would have been mine.
    DaveUK


  7. I have never liked aperture sights. I shoot at spinners and other various steel targets and for paper targets I always use these pages with 20 or so bulls on a page. With my eyesight, I just can’t see what I am shooting at well enough. It might be different if I shot at larger sized targets or shot from up close instead of being at least 25 yards away.

    I bought a Paul Watts Slavia 630 stroker that Paul set up with very nice sports aperture sights with an adjustable iris and nice hooded front sight with different apertures. I love the gun but don’t shoot it due to the aperture sights. I hate to take the nice sights off and replace them with a scope but that’s what I need to do if I am going to ever use the gun.

    David Enoch


    • David,

      Up close! The sights I am now discussing are used at 1000 yards! Schuetzen shooters use them at 220 yards all the time.

      You do have to get used to them, but it isn’t a lesson that takes any time. What it requires is a breaking down of your resistance to the proper technique. After that, you’ll never go back.

      I’m stealing thunder from the next installment, but what I just said is the reason peep sights have been in use on all American battle rifles since 1884.

      B.B.


      • BB, I will keep reading (and hopefully learn how to use the aperture sights). I look forward to the next blog on these sights.

        Oh, I like the extra level of security.

        David Enoch


        • There’s a fine science to finding the right size of rear aperture, front ring or post, for *your* eyes and the light conditions. The M16 has a “day” and “night” sight, the “night” rear aperture is larger so you can see through it in the dark.

          (The M16 also has the elevation adjustment in the front sight, which you move opposite the way you want the group to move, and windage adjusts in the rear sight, where you move the sight the same way you want the group to move – confusing for recruits but it’s an elegant design.)


  8. How far should your eye be from the rear aperture? Now I know why the pellet was all over the place when shooting my 10-meter rifle…I was using only one eye. Are you suppose to keep both eyes open for red dot sight too?


    • qh,

      Red dots were made as quick acquisition sites. Both eyes should be used. I keep both eyes open for everything, even when using a scope. It does take some discipline….

      /Dave


    • qh,

      The distance the eye is from the aperture is important, but not as much as you may think. On a battle rifle, which isn’t a precision target gun to be sure, the eye can be as much as 8-10 inches back from the aperture and still work well.

      This is part of the next installment, where I will discuss it in greater detai with explanations.

      B.B.


      • Forgot the sight picture for 10-meter is different, there is no front post. How can those shooters be so precise at aligning all those circles?

        Shooting with both eyes open…does that mean people with only one eye can’t shoot accurately?


        • qh,

          Most target shooters shoot as one-eyed people. They use a shield called a “blinder” over their opposite eye, so they don’t get confused by the image of what it sees. So a real one-eyed shooter would have no trouble.

          Squinting is what causes the problem, and one-eyed people don’t tend to squint when their sight guns.

          B.B.


          • OK no squinting while shooting! Makes a lot of sense ’cause squinting does affect both eyes. You see it all the time in movies where the shooter squints.


          • That’s why I never saw any difference!
            I do not squint when I close one of my eyes, I can close one eye kinda like an owl would do.
            The sight image doesn’t change if I close one eye or if I leave both eyes open.

            J-F


            • J-F

              The sight picture should change depending on which eye you close. If the sight picture doesn’t change, you are probably closing your non-dominant eye. When opening and closing your dominant eye, you should see a shift in the position of the image.


              • Of course if I close my right eye the pictures changes but when aiming I can close my left eye without squinting (I believe it’s the right term) kinda like owls do, and the pictures doesn’t change wether I’m aiming with open or peepes sights.

                J-F


                • J-F

                  That means that you are right eye dominant. If you are also right handed, you are fortunate. I am right handed, but left eye dominant. That means that when I look through the sights, if I close one eye like the Great Horned Owl or merely squint, the image will shift. It is a huge handicap. I should look into if this is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

                  Then again you are Canadian, so maybe it is different up there! ;-)


        • QH,

          you bring up a good point. I have macula degeneration in my left eye. I’ve observed that when my bladed sights are adjusted for my right eye, others who pick up my rifle will shoot way to the right. I can’t remember if this also applies to a scoped rifle but I have read that very few can shoot the same “zero’ on a scope. As for peeps, I haven’t experimented with others but in talking to Mac, he was of the belief that a properly adjusted aperture sight will be consistently on target for everyone.

          Fred PRoNJ


  9. Thanks to Pete Z and Kevin, I sent away for clear plastic front aperture sight inserts to replace the globe and barly corn post inserts within the hooded front sights – they are interchangeable on FWBs, HWs and Dianas. The clear plastic insert has a hole drilled in the center and these holes can be of different diameters. Champion’s Choice sells a set of 8, I believe. I mention Champion because PA doesn’t sell this option (champchoice.com), only metal inserts.

    This sight allows you to put that hole right on the target you are aiming at – no worries typical of the 6 O’clock hold (is the front post supposed to be centered, just touching your target, showing a slight space below the target and so on) or in the case of the globe front sight insert, you can more clearly see the target with no metal posts interferring with the light. You chose the aperture based on the target size if you want. I find this front aperture together with a rear peep to be as accurate and precise as a scoped rifle. The only downside is if the target is too small, I have a problem seeing it when centered in the front sight aperture. I highly recommend it for precise shooting requirements.

    Fred PRoNJ


    • Fred PRoNJ,

      The plastic inserts are what I always used in competition, and in my experience, are every bit as good (possibly better) as any optic. They got me into the NRA’s 1600 club.

      Victor


      • They’re great and what the top shooters use. Very few people can shoot as well with a post, I believe Gary Anderson shot with a post, and there was a Croatian guy in the mid-90s who was the top in the world I think, who used a post.

        For field shooting though, plinking, taking out Mr. Squirrel, using a ring front sight is idiotic. Post all the way. Some German scopes even have a reticle that looks just like a post front sight.


        • Anderson did shoot with a post front sight. I’ve often wondered how much better he might (or might not) have been if he had used a circular aperture.

          pz


          • I’m pretty sure he had loads of people urging him to try a ring, and he probably did, and just didn’t like it.

            Everyone’s eyes and nervous system are different, and while I (and most shooters) think a ring is best, Gary may have found that a post really does work best for him.


    • Fred PRoNJ,

      I really like the clear inserts. I like the various sizes of openings but find myself using the larger ones more frequently. The additional light they allow helps me.

      You said, “The only downside is if the target is too small, I have a problem seeing it when centered in the front sight aperture.”

      Here’s one solution. It installs between your adjustable iris and the rear aperture sight:

      http://www.sinclairintl.com/.aspx/pid=44975/Product/SINCLAIR-AOS-MICROSIGHT

      kevin


      • I corresponded with the inventor. This might work. Of course, if it does one or another of the sanctioning bodies will probably outlaw it in short order.

        Worth looking at Google to find more info than the advert has.


        • Lenses are a no-no on the rifle in Olympic shooting, but shooting glasses are fine. The two big makers are (or were) Knobloch and Neostyle. Helps your eyes and makes you look badass all at the same time!


    • The size aperture used depends on how you are shooting. For prone, or rested shooting, the smaller aperture helps obtain tighter groups. However, when shooting non-rested, like offhand, the larger apertures help you acquire your target better. Of course, much of it depends on your eye-sight.
      Victor


      • A larger aperture has another advantage. It reduces the appearance of shake, and so reduces your ‘need’ to ‘correct’ your aim to bring the bull back to center. And in so doing it actually does reduce shake if the size relationship between bull and aperture is right.


  10. I’m really enjoying these open-sights articles. They’ve got me itching to try some iron sights after getting all FT-addicted and spending so much time with oversized optics in recent years!

    I got some lovely advice here last week, when I asked about good, lightweight, open-sighted rifles that I might use with my kids.

    Along those lines, B.B. and friends, do you have a strong preference for rear peeps v. notches when teaching kids and newbies? I see that, in the various old “teaching to shoot” blogs, B.B. seems to be leaning towards peeps, e.g. in the yardstick method for teaching triangulation and sight picture.

    One easy option for me and my kids is my existing Discovery rifle with its rear notch sight, and with the fiber optics blacked out with Sight Black. But I still wonder if it’d be more rewarding for the kids to learn on something a little more precise, and I wonder if I should make it a point to include peeps (or even exclude notches) at first…

    Thanks,
    Jan


    • Jan,

      One word — Bronco!

      I designed it for older kids and adults. The trigger is superior to the Discovery factory trigger and the accuracy is great. The sights ARE NOT fiberoptic, at my request.

      B.B.


    • GenghisJan,

      My two cents on teaching kids to shoot.

      Initially it’s more important that they have fun rather than be precise. My vote is for open sights. I have a card that I drew up that illustrates a post to high in the notch WRONG! another picture that illustrates the post too far left WRONG! and a third illustration that shows the correct sight picture for a post and notch with a six o’clock hold on a bullseye.

      Close range and large reactive targets like old eggs or balloons filled with water or flour keep the kids interested longer. If they quit shooting while it’s still fun they will come back for more. You can start moving the targets out further then start shrinking them. The 3″ Shoot N C targets and orange clay pigeons usually make most kids start asking for tips on how to shoot more accurately and you then have an invitation to introduce the kid to more advanced shooting techniques. They have to evolve at their pace. You have to keep it fun or they get bored and/or frustrated.

      kevin


      • Necco wafers, animal crackers, saltines, for the more skilled, individual peas out of a can (best use for ‘em) individual pieces of popcorn….

        Fun targets and biodegradable :-)


    • Thanks, fellas! Kevin, great advice. And juvenile reactive targets are just as entertaining for me as for the five- and eight-year-olds!

      B.B., does your Bronco recommendation imply that you’re agnostic on teaching with peeps v. a rear notch? Of course, everybody knows that it is fun and easy to adapt a Williams peep to a Bronco…

      Thanks,
      Jan


      • GenghisJan,

        If the plan is to eventually get your kids to shooting in small-bore, or precision air-rifle, then getting them started with peeps is probably the way to go. Shooting for super-precision is very different from plinking or hunting. Shooting with aperture target sights is about constructing perfect circles. The thing about aperture sights is that they give the shooter just the right amount of information to make that bulls-eye.

        Lots of people say, “shooting is easy” because they can hit a can at some distance. Competitive marksmanship is a whole other universe in terms of demand level. Competition tends to be very tight, so shooters need to learn to solve problems in order to move up in rank (e.g., Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert, Master). Competitive marksmanship is about self-discovery, patience, and tenacity. It’s about attitude, belief, will, and desire. This becomes much less casual, but can be very rewarding. If you can learn to be passionate about one thing, then you will be passionate about other things. This is where sports, including shooting, help young people to become winners in life.

        Victor



    • Jan………

      Any kind of sights are double edged swords. Good at times and bad at others.
      That being said, I would just start out with opens. Later on (if the kids stay interested) get a reciever peep. Be careful that you get one that will not be too high to zero. Peep and post is very good in good light.
      See where things go from there. They will like it or they won’t.

      twotalon


  11. b.b.
    A recommendation please.
    As you know I shoot in a local casual league with my 853c (there are a few other 853′s, an FWB and some Crosmans…a real hodgepodge). My average is 570/600.
    The one thing I’m thinking of doing is upgrading the sight.
    At the moment I am using the upgraded Daisy (the one patterned after the Gamo.
    I’ve been wondering if this would be a noticeable improvement? http://www.gehmann.com/pages-en/detail.php?id=562&headline=Zoom


    • CSD,

      Yes, that Gehmann sight would be a noticeable improvement over the upgraded Daisy sight because there is almost no backlash and the detents are crisp in both directions throughout the travel.

      It would be easier to sight-in and to adjust. It would not be more accurate.

      B.B.



        • CSD,

          I’m not familiar with the 853c. Aren’t there some vintage sights (weihrauch, fwb, walther, anschutz, etc.) that would fit the 853c? They can be found for a fraction of the cost and even if you purchased an adjustable iris you would have less money into it than the new gehmann or centra sight.

          kevin


          • Kevin, you may be right, but I live in Canada, eh!
            Seriously, the closest dealer that would have anything like this, new or used is 700mi away (and I live in a city of nearly 1 million…it’s pathetic).
            So on stuff like this, I tend to buy new.


            • CSD,

              Just trying to save you time and money LOL!

              What about ebay or the airgun classified ads? They ship directly to you and these might be better places to find the used rear sights I mentioned anyway.

              kevin


          • Kevin,

            The AirForce rear aperture would be perfect for CSD, but I sensed he wanted the Gehmann. I understand that, and so do you.

            B.B.



            • I’d have considered the Air Force but my dealer doesn’t stock it.
              In Canada I’ve found a dealer who, though hundreds of miles aways is, on a much smaller scale our version of Pyramyd in that they are well known for their above average customer service.
              More than a few times I’ve found that I’ve miscounted pellet tins or thought I had more targets (the ISSF style) than I did and they’ve always been great at getting them into the mail, expidited and in my hands in time for a local match.
              For this reason (plus they’re very reasonable in their pricing) I always try and buy their product over another brand if it fits my needs.
              They stock the Gehmann, but not the Air Force.
              It’s also why I’ll buy new from them rather than used.
              I have a stong belief that if we don’t support dealers like this (and Pyramyd) whenever possible we’d all to soon be settling for whatever the local Walmart has to offer.


  12. As luck would have it, I am fresh out of boar bristles and I am not finding them an PA’s accessories page.

    Perhaps cat whiskers will do in a pinch.


  13. B.B., I look forward to the next installment. I want to mention another movie I like in which a Sharps with vernier rear peep sight plays a role; “Valdez is Coming”. I can’t squeeze an airgun into this one either, but I find parallels with “Quigley”.

    I must start saving up for a PCP. Cocking a springer is currently not a good option. I appears that while the drug Lyrica masked the symptoms I have been causing myself further injury in recent months.

    I wish everyone here good health.

    Ken


    • Ken,

      I’m sorry to hear of your medical problems, but I can appreciate where you are coming from more than most. Take a long hard look at the Benjamin Discovery. It is super-light and quite accurate. Doesn’t hurt that it is also affordable.

      B.B.


  14. Working 12 to 15 and occasionally 18 hrs a day (and even some 20- to 24-hr days for me), 7 days a week, 365 days a year, 6 years running is as much as airgunning can ask from Tom (and me). We’re pooped & have almost no personal time. Wikipedia will have to depend on others. We’re toast :-\

    Edith


    • It’s so nice working for yourself as a freelance. It gives you lots and lots of spare time to pursue all of your interests. A leisurely life. (not) (at least not if you like to eat and want to keep a good reputation).

      Oh, Edith, is it possible to move the Captcha line up above the submit comment button? I’ve screwed up several times because I’m used to doing things in sequence: spellchk; submit; captcha… ooops.

      pete

      And, darn it, I just did it again!!


  15. There is a method to use an open site as a peep site. While not exactly the same it does work and is very fast. I use it all the time for Cowboy Action matches. It will work with either a buckhorn or semi-buckhorn rear site but the buckhorn works best. The method is to zero the rifle with the front site in the middle of the “circle” made by the buckhorn. Even though the buckhorn site is open at the top, it still makes a large “peep”. You often need to install a taller front site to make this work. So, to engage your target, you only need to place the front site on the target as long as it is in the center of the’”peep” made by the buckhorn. While it has probably been used by others as not much is new in this world, I came up with this myself and have had good luck with it.

    Mike


  16. BB,
    Very interesting article. Every once in a while you throw us a real bone. :-)

    I have a boar-hair hairbrush and I can see why “pig hair” was a good choice. It is very resilient and stiff. I’ve had my brush for years and you cannot see any wear on the bristles or their stiffness at all.

    I have become a peep sight addict since getting my Challenger, which came with one. For my 10m shooting I prefer it over any scope. I never thought I’d eschew a scope but I love that peep.

    pete, when I got home from my ride today my trigger was waiting on my door step. Tomorrow I’ll be installing it.

    I was disappointed with the pellets though. Someone in PA shipping made a bad assumption and instead of sending me the three different sizes of the H&N Finale Match Pistol I asked for, they sent me three tins of 4.5mm (which I already had plenty of). No extra play time for me. I checked the shipping order and the three sizes are listed correctly but all three tins show 4.5mm. I don’t know if they take calls on Saturday so I might have to wait until Monday to get this straightened out.

    In the mean time, I have other pellets to test the trigger with.
    -Chuck


  17. twotalon,
    Oh, how right you are! Tomorrow is play time after all. The tins are clearly marked on the bottom. Who knew? Well, I guess I’m the last to find that out, anyway. You taught me something new. I’m sure glad I made a fool of myself on this blog before doing to with PA. Thanks for saving me two embarrassments.
    -Chuck


    • Probably easier and cheaper to just print labels for the bottom than to make different lids for the sizes. The numbers can be hard to read . Use a majic marker to write the size on the lid.

      twotalon



  18. Edith,
    On the subject of spam filters, I think you might have got caught, too. Unless it was intentional and you were trying to save me from more embarrassment, I got the email notification of your reply to me giving UPS credit where FedEx deserved it, but I could not find that reply on the blog itself.
    -Chuck



  19. I had a “senior moment” last Thursday night when I was proofing Friday’s blog: I forgot to announce the winning Big Shot of the Week from Pyramyd Air’s facebook page.

    I’ve edited the blog to include the announcement…and the winner is our very own Desertdweller (Les). So sorry I messed up. Belated congrats to Les!

    Edith


  20. desertdweller,
    Congratulations! And Nicky looks like he knows what he’s doing. I see: shooter in sitting position, target is acquired, poised to shoot, AND what’s that I see – yellow shaded safety glasses? Good job, Nicky! I see grandpa’s training paying off.

    desertdweller, am I correct in seeing the landscape not living up to your blog handle? :-)
    -Chuck


    • Thanks, Chuck, J-F, and Edith,

      It was a very pleasant surprise to see this!

      Nicky is advancing very well. When I took that picture, we were taking turns shooting ping-pong balls at about 25 yards.

      Yes, he is wearing safety glasses. It is a rule at the range, and something we always do anyway. My regular glasses are prescription safety glasses, so I just attach the side shields and am ready to go.

      Nicky also shot a .22 rifle for the first time that day. He did very well on the 100 yard range. I am hoping he will enjoy shooting as a lifelong sport.

      “Desertdweller” was a name I chose while on a two-year job assignment in the Chihauhuan Desert. I retired last April and came back home to western Nebraska, but kept the name. I love the desert. Lots of BLM land where you can do anything you want, as long as you don’t hurt anyone.

      We are in a semiarid area at the end of the Great Plains. The wooded area around the shooting range is in the South Platte River Valley.

      The range we shoot on is within the city limits of Ogallala. It is the law enforcement range, used with their permission. To do this, one needs to join a local sportsmens’ club. Demonstrate you know what you are doing, understand the range rules, and be appointed a range safety officer. You can then get access to it by signing in at the police station, where you get the key and a red flag to fly on a pole to indicate the range is in use. You can bring guests in with you, but you are responsible for their actions.

      The NRA has a local program for kids shooting BB guns. I want to get Nicky involved in it. In addition to renewing my memberships to the Big Mac Sports Club and the National Association for Gun Rights, I also joined the NRA this year.

      Les


      • Desertdweller,

        Congratulations! You have every right to be a proud grandfather.

        Once upon a time I hunted a lot in Nebraska. Walked lots of stretches in the South Platte River bottoms. Wonderful countryside with great people. I’d be tempted to walk that tree stand in the background of your photo with decent looking cover to see if I could flush a pheasant or two. Old passions die hard.

        kevin


        • Kevin,

          That tree line may contain some pheasants, and certainly holds some rabbits. But it is off-limits to hunting.

          Les


  21. pete z,
    Since you found out there is a normal return policy for the trigger I assume you went ahead and ordered one. I know I am going to like the trigger very much.

    For a lefty, in my opinion, it is so much better and comfortable than having to reach for the old trigger that slants to the right (I always felt I had to reach). It is very easy to remove the old trigger and install the new one. Slide old off, slide new on. You’re done. There are no springs to go flying around. The trigger is a post that attaches the same way the old trigger did and the shoe is adjustable up and down the post for shoe height, and can be turned 360 degrees left or right on the post. The new trigger can still be slid forward and back like the old one to adjust the reach. However, the up and down angle of the shoe itself on the post can’t be adjusted, just left to right. I don’t think this will be an issue for me. The post angle itself is not adjustable, either, just like the old trigger isn’t.

    The gains are more for a lefty because of getting rid of that right cant on the old trigger. So what you gain, as a righty, is the shoe itself, which I think, in itself, is better than a blade, and the ability to twist the shoe left or right and slide up or down to match the position your finger. At this time I don’t have any info on accuracy improvement. It’s been a while since I practiced, but you might notice an improvement if you’ve been keeping up.

    I ordered the trigger and pellets on Dec 29th and I got a back-order email on the 30th. I knew the trigger was out of stock when I ordered it. They were expected to be in by Jan 5th. I expected the date to be extended due to high demand. On Jan 4th I got an email saying the trigger was in stock and ready to ship. Later that day I got an email saying it had shipped. The trigger arrived on my doorstep on the 6th probably around 1pm. How do you like them apples?

    -Chuck


    • I like those apples a lot. But my on-line activities last week were limited, as was my thinking. An MRI scan for something minor (that was negative) turned up positive for something potentially very serious. Until the lab tests come back next week my cognitive functions are not very good. :( The odds in my favor are good. I’m nervous but not terrified.

      Actually, I dragged out the Izzy on Thursday evening and shot up a storm with it. Right now I’m not sure I need to touch the trigger. I think it’s better positioned than I’ve been able to get my Steyr! And so very nearly as good. We’ll see next week.

      pz


      • Pete, I certainly hope all goes well. Although you don’t mention whether this concerns your neck I want to offer a couple of asides. August 15th, 2000 at 12:05 am my wife, a nurse, was on her way home from the hospital when she was hit head on by a drunk driver who was driving down the wrong side of the highway. She peaked an overpass and there he was. She was hurt badly and her neck was broken. The driver’s passenger died immediately and the driver was hurt very badly (so much that, although charged, he was not taken into custody when he left the hospital; his family helped him escape to Mexico at some point. His fate is in the hands of one who can best judge).Details aside, she survived and although has permanent problems, she is a trooper.
        I was going between home and the hospital in the first few weeks after the wreck. I stopped off to see a movie, just to engage in some passive activity. The movie was, “The Cell” and I don’t think I made it half way through (I had gone in blind as I have numerous times over the years). Once home I got online and did quick search, mostly trying to reach some closure. That night I visited www. crankycritic.com which is a movie review site owned and run by Chuck Schwartz. If you decide to take a look, click on the Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do just under the big logo. I know it won’t make either of us feel less anxious, but it offers another real life example of a survivor who deals with a lot every day.
        I apologize if I have strayed too far off base. What I do want to offer is that I have read most, if not all of the postings of the past few days. I know that there are thoughtful survivors who meet here. I want to commend the Gaylords for their devotion to the sport, their integrity and their civility. Although I thought many of us were seeking quick and simple answers to the incident that occurred in Brownsville, I commend all whose comments were posted. My own physical and cognitive difficulties made me unable to respond a meaningfully as I think I might (I understand I may be suffering delusions about this), I did manage to read a fair amount of uncivil discourse elsewhere. Omniscience seems to be widespread. This is a serious business and I do want the best investigation possible with all the variables explored. I have some thoughts but mostly they are questions. This situation is borderline at best, but living is our post P.C. world (post Columbine), if you haven’t researched “active shooter” I recommend it, as there is a lot of training going on and every situation will need to be explored in detail. The right questions will have to be asked before the right answers can be spoken with any assurity. The rules changed after Charles Whitman climbed the tower at the University of Texas and the rules changes after Columbine (not all the rules, but some important rules). An informed, educated citizenry is a must if we are to preserve this union, whether that dystopia occur as a catastrophe or as a gradual erosion.
        I expect it is more important to me to write this and send it that it is for anyone to ready it. There are many good things to think about; I wish you all balanced focus and certainly some pure fun too.


      • Pete,

        I’m sorry to hear about your health issues. However, I’m glad that your doctor was on top of things! I hope your treatment is effective and your recovery speedy and complete.

        Edith


        • I’ll be up front. I’m getting a bit deaf. As part of the total eval they do an MRI scan to look for brain rumors on the audio nerve – usually benign. So I did this a week ago. No tumors!!

          The scan caught a corner of my jaw under my right ear & showed a small but suspicious mass. This not/not good. Friday at 8:00am I was in the MRI torus again. At noon back in the ear doc’s lab where he stuck 3 long needles into my parotid saliva gland to pull up tissue samples. By Wednesday we should know if it is benign or malignant.

          > 80% of parotid tumors are benign. Virtually all well defined “sharp” edge tumors are benign. Mine is a small, compact & well-defined tumor, well encapsulated. Prob of normality is > 90+ %. And even if it’s malignant, the surgery is simple with high survival rates even without chemo and rad. Better odds than my shooting six consecutive tens with my AP.

          So wish me good luck on the phone with the doc this week. I know many of you have already been there.

          ..pete


      • Pete,

        Please take care of yourself by doing anything and everything that might help your body help itself. Rest is always important, but I know that things can get very frustrating, making it possible to act against our own interest. If there is some kind of exercise or therapy that might help, do it.

        Victor


        • Either it’s benign & I forget about; if it’s not, it’s quite small, and the doc takes it out.

          Thanks to All for the good and friendly wishes.

          ..pz



        • Right now, rest isn’t what I need. I’m feeling better than I have in weeks (back under good control), it’s a gorgeous day. If I had an outdoor range, I would be there. But I don’t. So I’ll go downstairs after a late lunch and break some paper. Poor defenseless paper; it can’t even try to get away.


  22. Edith/BB,
    I got the following email and don’t see it on the actual blog article. Is someone else addressing this guy’s question?
    -Chuck

    Anonymous noreply-comment@blogger.com

    12:25 PM (59 minutes ago)

    to me
    Anonymous has left a new comment on the post “The Benjamin front-pump pistol – Part 1″:

    I thought I posted, but somehow didn’t go through I guess.
    I recently came into possession of my Dad’s Benjamin Model 122 air pellet pistol that I last remember seeing back in the early 50s when we lived in St Louis. The gun has been in my Dad’s unheated garage for years, and shows the wear. It looks like corrosion around the grips, and wear on the barrel.
    My question: where can I get this gun restored? The air chamber leaks also.
    I want to keep for sentimental reasons, but don’t want it to go to rust.
    No one in the St Augustine FL area seems to know who can work on it.
    They all shrug shoulders and say who knows.
    Any help appreciated:

    tomleemo@sbcglobal.net
    (417) 839-8981

    Post a comment.

    Unsubscribe to comments on this post.

    Posted by Anonymous to Air guns – Pyramyd Air Report at January 07, 2012 12:25 PM



      • Chuck,

        That says it was posted to the old blog…on Blogger.

        We’ve taken some time off today and just haven’t gotten to answer that comment, yet.

        I’m sure BB will take care of it when he gets back to his computer.

        Edith


        • Chuck,

          And what I forgot to say was that it didn’t show up here because it was posted on the other blog :-)

          Edith

          (I’m writing this while preoccupied…we’re watching “The Debt” and Tom’s doing some reloading :-)


          • You remind me to check the library system for, The Debt, a movie that may give me pause to think. Perhaps like Munich, Breach, The Good Shepherd and The American among others I can’t think of or haven’t seen.

            In 1970 I shot myself in the left foot with an “unloaded” Hawes single action .357 revolver. I long ago stopped mentioning this because anyone who sees that I have both feet and walk just fine understandably question my truthfulness or my memory. It happened, and although alone, I had a working phone and remained calm enough to go through the process of getting help. I didn’t realize I had shot myself until I looked for the hole in the floor (there wasn’t one). I felt no pain until after the anesthesia wore off, although surgery was 8 hours after the “event”. Once at the hospital, they shot me up with morphine. I didn’t realize this until years later. When asked how I was doing, I was saying “I’m having a blast” or “I’m having a swell time”. I wasn’t entirely rational, but I felt mostly okay.

            The missing detail is what happened only a few days before I committed this act of stupidity.
            My friend looked at me and said, “You know, neither of us knows what we’re doing. Do you think we should load them light?”



  23. And we’re back online! Pyramyd Air’s retail sites are still offline. There’s a wide-ranging outage that’s affecting a number of sites.

    Edith


  24. B.B.,

    Thanks for another excellent article! When aperture target sights (front and rear apertures) were introduced in international 300 meter competition, records were absolutely shattered. Whereas records are normally broken by a few points, the introduction of aperture sights resulted in a new recorded that bested the previous record by around 50 points!

    With that, clearly Gary Anderson was an extreme exception in that he benefited by using a front post. There must be something different about his vision that give him some kind of special depth perception, or something. My son had a condition when he was young that gave him special depth perception. When looking at those 3-D pictures that some of us can never make out, he would see the hidden object instantly. Well, as a baseball player he was able to hit damn near any pitch. It was truly remarkable. Trouble was, he was inclined to hit anything within reach, whether inside the strike-zone, or not.

    Victor


  25. B.B.,

    One other thing regarding the term “open sights”. When I competed, most prone tournaments had one day for “iron sights”, and another day for “open sights”. In this context, “open sights” meant that you had a choice as to whether you used iron sights or a scope. In the case of the Nationals at Camp Perry, and a couple regional championships, it’s 2 days of “iron sights” and 2 days of “open sights”.

    The only advantage that I found with using a scope was that you got instant information about conditions via mirage. When using iron sights, you have to use a spotting scope for that, which just adds a little delay.

    Victor


  26. Edith,

    I guess my request got buried in a longer post.

    Can you swap the Captcha around with the Submit Comment so that it’s more natural to solve the puzzle before hitting “submit” and then being bounced back. Happens to me at least 1/3 of the time. Or is that [4-3]/[3] = { }?

    pete



      • Pete,

        best wishes for everything to work out in your favor. However, given your level of education and knowledge, it would have been more elegant for you to have submitted a differential equation whose answer would have been 1/3, thereby causing everyone on the blog (with the exception of Lloyd, Flobert, Chuck, BG Farmer and a few others that I forget) a colossal headache,


  27. Yeah, open sights! I dropped by the Damascus range today. Yanked the scope off of my Discovery, and dialed in the open sights. I haven’t bothered picking up some Sight Black yet, so I was shooting with the stock fiber-optic setup. Still, I had a terrific time, and surprised myself at how precise I could be with the opens.

    It was one of those range days where you couldn’t wipe the cheese-eating grin off of my face. The Disco is practically weightless without a scope, and the open sights sure give the illusion of offhand steadiness (compared to offhand through the 32x scope!). Between 10 and 30 yards, I felt like I couldn’t miss little spinners and such. And the opens were still decent for big spinners and tin cans at 50!

    I think the open-sighted Disco is gonna be a great way to move my eight-year-old from the bench to his first offhand-shooting experience. That is, if I ever give him a turn…

    Thanks for the inspiration, B.B. And thanks for all the sage advice, everybody.

    Pete: all the best.

    -Jan


  28. I continue to revel in the accuracy of my humble Daisy 880, did a nice long shot on an annoying bird, headshot and confirmed.

    I guess I can’t come up with much for health problems (knock on wood) but I bought a 1996 Kawasaki Eliminator, a motorcycle that’s basically a 600 Ninja engine in a cruiser-styled Standard frame, with shaft drive. I really didn’t do a big test-ride, just a 5-mile loop, braking test or two, got on it a bit but not too much, etc. So, this morning, I could barely move! My kick-ass bike kicked *my* ass! I haven’t been riding, or working out, for a couple of years and the bike I had before was a 250 Rebel, embarrassing to be seen on but sips gas. A very low-effort bike. This “Eliminator”, when you gas it, you do have to hang on. High-performance and higher effort. The end result is, my body from the waist up got a *real* workout, and I’ll need to work up to longer rides; ultimately I got it to go to places 50 or so miles away. I’ve never hurt so much from riding a bike. Heck the only time I hurt this much from *crashing* a bike I broke some ribs.

    TL;DR – I always thought bikers had it easy and the only exercise they got was “12-ounce curls”. Longtime biker myself, 100,000 miles easy in my lifetime, and here I discover that riding a motorcycle is rather physical.


    • Flobert,

      cruisers can be very uncomfortable due to the laid back / cool look. You’re always doing a pull-up with the handlebars in order to fight the the wind resistance at speed. Also, if you are sitting too far back or reclined, you put all the weight on your tail bone (easier to spell than coccyx) rather than sharing the wieght on your thighs, making for uncomfortable rides for any length of time. I suggest you check out windshields for your bike on e-bay or Craigs list and perhaps rotating your handlebars forward a bit to reduce that inclined lean. You may know all this already and if so, I apologize for telling you something you already know.

      And the answer is not 42 – it’s 9 as in meters pe second.

      Fred PRoNJ


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