Posts Tagged ‘open sights’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
The See All Open Sight is revolutionary!
This will be a different Friday blog — I promise you.
First of all — all talk of machining the See All Open Sight sight is off the table. I spoke with the See All creators and learned that the reticle is actually on film — shrunk to the size where the point of the triangle is 0.0002 inches across. That’s two ten-thousandths of an inch, or 0.00508 millimeters! This in in the realm of optics — not mechanical things. So, don’t try to modify the sight.
Second, they told me some folks may need to wear their glasses when using this sight. I haven’t been doing that, so I wore them for this test.
What I thought might happen today
After the last test in Part 4, I thought the sight might work better if it was held farther from my eyes — like it would be when mounted on a pistol. The magnifying optic enlarges the reticle even more the farther away it is, so this sounded like a possible solution to the reticle being indistinct on target. Also, it’s easier to tilt the sight when it’s mounted on a handgun. I’d hoped that would make it easier to align the peak on the end of the triangle. This is what I was thinking when I told some readers I had a better idea of how to test it.
What went wrong with this test?
When I first attempted to test the sight on Tuesday, I mounted it on a Beeman P1 pistol using an 11mm-dovetail-to-Picatinny adapter that you cannot buy. I used this base because it has some droop, and I thought I needed that droop to get the shots on paper at 10 meters. What I got, however, was pellets striking the target too low after all the upward adjustment in the sight had been made. The results were so bad that I quit testing the sight and moved to something else. I mentioned that in the introduction to Wednesday’s blog.
While I was resting from this first attempt, it occurred to me that maybe this sight works in the reverse of how I was thinking. It has seemed that way every time I attempted to test it. So, for today’s initial test, I turned the base around so it’s sloping up toward the muzzle. The sight was pointed slightly up in relation to the top of the pistol.
For safety, I began shooting at 12 feet. If the gun was off at that distance, it would still be hitting the pellet trap.
I’d already fired a group of 10 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite pellets at 10 meters with the P1′s open sights. They landed in 0.598 inches, so that was how well I was shooting the gun on this day. I know from experience that the Crosman Premier lite is one of the best pellets in this pistol.
Ten Premier lites went into 0.598 inches at 10 meters with the pistol’s open sights. The P1 can shoot.
It seems I can still shoot my P1. Now, how well can I shoot it with the See All Open Sight mounted? Well, I was right about the droop in the first place. Reversing the mount so it sloped up landed the pellet 12 inches below the aim point at 12 feet! I did need a drooper base after all, and one with the most aggressive slope possible. Fortunately, I had just what I needed, so that base was mounted on the gun and the sight was attached to it.
See the steep slop of the base adapter? It still wasn’t enough to raise the pellet to the point of aim.
With this new steeper-sloped base, the point of impact did rise; but even with the See All sight adjusted as high as it would go, the pellet still struck about 3 inches below the aim point when shooting from 12 feet. And, yes, I did read the adjustment directions as I was adjusting the sight.
I couldn’t get the pellet to strike the point of aim, so on to Plan B. Plan B is where I move the aim point very high and let the pellets impact below. At least that would tell me about the sight’s potential. I used a black dot as an aim point and backed up to 10 meters. When the first shot landed 5 inches below the point of aim, however, the test was over. That is so low that it risks not hitting the entire pellet trap, and that’s a risk I’m not willing to take. Two more inches and the shot goes off the paper.
A 5-inch drop below the aim point was enough to make me stop the test. This is the end of the P1 test.
This test (on the P1) is over
I have tried for two agonizing days to get the See All Open Sight to work on my Beeman P1, and everything has failed to work. I now have more pellet holes in my house (Edith knows about them), and that’s as much damage as I’m willing to do.
I’m not saying the See All Open Sight doesn’t work. There are too many reports that it does work — including one from our blog reader GunFun1. But I’ve done everything in my power to get it to work for me, and you’ve seen the results. My shooting buddy Otho has done the same. He did get better results than I did, but even he wasn’t satisfied with what he got.
I’m going to set the sight aside and just think about it for awhile. If I were testing this item for Pyramyd Air, my recommendation would be “don’t buy” right now. That’s not saying I won’t find a gun it works on; but, for now, I’m pretty burnt out.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
The See All Open Sight is revolutionary!
Today, we’ll test the See All Open Sight on a firearm! Last week, my shooting buddy Otho brought his Thompson Center Contender rifle to the range. It’s chambered in .17 HM2, a chambering and conversion he did himself.
With a scope mounted, this rifle will shoot about a one-inch group at 50 yards. He mounted the See All on it and proceeded to shoot groups.
At first, he wasn’t able to adjust the sight. That was tracked down to the sight being loose. That mounting system they use is really marginal — not just for spring-piston guns but for firearms, as well.
The base clamp of the sight relies on 2 screws that run down to push the jaws of the sight up against the Weaver or Picatinny dovetails. Those screws are seen on the upper left of the base.
But that problem was solved, and the test proceeded. Sight-in went quickly once the sight was stable. Otho discovered, as I did, that it takes only a very little movement of the adjustment screws to move the strike of the round. Despite there being marks on the sight, they aren’t helpful when adjusting. You have to just look at the position of the Allen wrench leg and go by that.
Once the See All sight was tight on the rifle, Otho was able to adjust it pretty quickly.
He shot 2 10-shot groups at 50 yards. While I didn’t measure them, the first one may be the best. It appears to be about a 2.50-inch group, with 9 shots in 1.25 to 1.40 inches.
I never saw this horizontal adjustment graphic until I took this picture. This is enlarged and enhanced.
The vertical adjustment marks are still nearly invisible, despite enlargement and sharpening.
Otho’s first group was the best. Ten shots went into about 2.5-inches, with 9 of them going into about half that size. An American quarter is just under one inch in diameter.
Otho complained that he wasn’t able to put the point of the triangle on the bottom of the target. The black line and green material above the tip of the triangle made it necessary for him to guess where the tip was located. He would like to see the material removed down to the tip of the triangle for greater precision while aiming.
The material above the point of the triangle, plus the horizontal black line, make it difficult to position the tip of the reticle precisely.
His second group is about the same size as the first, but more scattered. Look at how tight it is from side to side. It’s clear there is an aiming problem in the vertical direction but not in the horizontal.
This second group shot by Otho is about the same size as the first, but this one’s strung out more vertically. Yes, there are 10 shots here.
By the time he was done with the second 10 shots, he was finished. Guessing where the tip of the reticle was has taxed him. So, he turned over the rifle to me.
This is the first time I’d shot this rifle, so I was unfamiliar with it. But it has a fairly crisp trigger, and I didn’t have any problems shooting it.
As you can see, I had even more difficulty than Otho with the vertical component. Seven of my shots landed in 1.427 inches at 50 yards, but the 10-shot group measures 4.433 inches between centers. I had a very hard time seeing where the tip of the triangle’s located relative to the target.
My group is very vertical, measuring 4.433 inches between centers. But as you can see, I got 7 of them into 1.427 inches, which isn’t bad.
Otho brought up the point that the See All sight might not be ideal for shooting targets, but then he figured that the black bullseye was still giving the most exact aiming point possible. If the sight has trouble with vertical placement on a bullseye target, it will be much harder to control against a gray animal.
Please note that Otho is wearing glasses when he shoots. He has to wear them even when shooting with a scope, so the See All did magnify the reticle for him, as we’d hoped. He and I both believe this sight has something very unique to offer.
He wants to try the sight again on animal silhouettes. I have some nice Shoot-N-C animal targets he can try it on. That should give us the information we want.
Otho is also thinking of shaving off the top of the green plastic, to put the tip of the triangle at the top of the reticle. He wants to remove the horizontal black line, which I agree is distracting.
He also finds the green on either side of the triangle difficult to work with. He wishes it wasn’t there. I don’t have a problem with it myself.
Neither Otho nor I know if modifying the sight is the right move or not. The black line tells the shooter where the tip of the triangle is. But it’s so difficult to get the tip on the target where you want it. I think the See All folks must have tried several iterations of this already, and I am not convinced removing the top of the green is a good idea. When you look through the sight without a target to focus, the tip of the triangle is easy to find. It’s only when you aim against a specific spot that it becomes more difficult.
I’ll be shooting the See All next on my Beeman P1 pistol.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
The See All Open Sight is revolutionary!
Today, I’m testing the See All Open Sight on the new TX200 Mark III that I’ve been testing for you. Because that rifle figures into today’s test so much, I felt it was important that you be able to examine the rifle’s accuracy in past tests — most importantly, the red dot sight test I just did in Part 13.
I also want to mention that See All is aware of the difficulty in mounting their sight on a straight-line rifle like the M4. They even mention it in the frequently asked questions on their website. So, what happened the last time I tested this sight was my fault for not checking all the information.
Mounting the sight
The first step was to mount the See All sight to the TX200. Since the rifle has 11mm dovetails and the See All has Weaver-width dovetail jaws, I used a prototype Leapers base that converts 11mm to Weaver/Picatinny. For this test, I used the same scope stop pin that I showed in the last test with the dot sight. The pin popped out of the hole on the first shot, so the base had to be remounted and the pin locked down again. After that, the base remained tight and solid throughout the test.
The base of the See All sight has no locking crosspins like those found on a Weaver or Picatinny sight. It has 2 vertical screws that bear down on the sight base and push the See All up so its jaws grab onto the dovetails of the base. Since the base I used has the crosspin slots for a Picatinny-type sight, I slid the See All until both locking screws were pushing down into the bottom of a slot, instead of on top of a locking ridge. I felt that would give a more secure attachment. But there were still some problems, as we shall see.
I sighted-in with H&N Baracuda Match pellets. They had tested well with the dot sight at 25 yards, and I felt they would be a good pellet for this test. But I had problems getting the pellet to go where I wanted. This is where I discovered that the See All sight behaves like a front sight and not like a rear sight. The sighting reticle must be moved in the direction opposite of where you want the pellet to go. The instructions included with the sight are very clear on this; of course, I wasn’t reading them — yet! There’s a marking on the right side of the sight that is supposed to tell you how to adjust the sight for windage, but I found it difficult to read.
I thought I’d solved the sighting problem and tried to shoot a first group, but the results were horrible. Pellets went everywhere! But within the first 5-inch, 10-shot group there were four holes together. Since I had seen the first hole through the spotting scope I knew the first 4 shots went to the same place, then the rest scattered everywhere. Pretty obvious what was wrong.
The sight was loose on the base! After tightening it down, I shot the first group for record. Ten Baracuda Match pellets went into 1.085 inches at 25 yards. It’s an okay group for open sights and an average spring rifle, but it’s horrible for a TX200.
Then, I checked the screws and found the sight had loosened, again, during the ten shots it took to fire the first group! Now I knew what to do. Check the screws after every shot and tighten if necessary.
Crosman Premier heavys
I switched to Crosman Premier heavy pellets for the second group, fully intending to come back to Baracuda Match pellets at the end of the test. But this shooting was proving tiring, and I didn’t want to jinx the other pellets by shooting them when I was tired. I checked the sight screws for tightness after each shot on this string.
Ten Premier heavys went into 0.978 inches at 25 yards. You can see a smaller group of 7 within the main group. It measures just 0.451 inches between centers. That tells me the See All Open Sight really works, but I was still getting used to it. The shots outside the main group are from my aiming errors, I believe.
I was learning to use the sight as things progressed. The space just above the reticle triangle is difficult to line up with a bullseye target — at least for me. But as things progressed, I discovered that I was aligning it faster and faster. I was learning to judge where the reticle was, even when I couldn’t see the tip. That’s no doubt what lead to those shots that are not inside the main group, and I think as I learn this sight more I will get better with it.
Crosman Premier lites
Next, I tried the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite pellet. By this time, I’d found it necessary to check the See All screws after only every 5 shots, and they were no longer loosening even then. Ten Premier lites went into a nice group that measures 0.686 inches between centers. It’s a very round group, which indicates I’m learning the sight picture as I go. But the Premier lite was also very accurate in the test using the red dot sight.
Now, it was time to return to the H&N Baracuda Match pellets and see what I could do. I was still checking the See All screws for tightness after every 5th shot, but they weren’t loosening. This time, I managed to put 10 pellets into 1.259 inches; but as you can see, 9 of them went into 0.695 inches. It’s clearly my fault the group is as large as it is. The See All Open Sight can make it much smaller, if used correctly.
Conclusions so far
The See All sight does work as advertised. But you do need to read the instructions and follow them.
Small adjustments of the sight make very large changes in the impact point. Go very, very slow with your adjustments. And read the instructions to see which way to turn them. The markings for adjustment directions on the body of the sight are not very clear.
Plan on taking some time to get used to the sight. It does work, and I think it works well for people with poor eyesight; but it’s unlike anything you’ve ever used. Although it’s analogous to a dot sight, it works nothing like one in application.
I did find that I needed some light on the sight to see the reticle. I had the room lights on where I was shooting, which is something I never do with other open sights or scopes.
I think this sight may be better-suited to PCPs and CO2 guns than springers. But that’s just my impression from this first test. I’ll know more as the tests continue — which they will. I still think this sight is a significant new device.
My friend, Otho, is also testing a See All sight on some firearms for me. His eyesight is so bad that he hasn’t been able to use open sights for several years, so we’ll get a different perspective from him.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
The See All Open Sight is revolutionary!
This is the first test of the See All Open Sight. I chose the Crosman M4 –177 as the first rifle to be tested because the See All comes only with a Weaver base, and the M4-177 has a Picatinny rail that will accommodate it. The choice was based solely on that and little else, except the M4 had been shown to be fairly accurate at 10 meters.
For the test, I decided to fire a 10-shot group using the factory sights, which are a peep in the rear and a post up front. Since the rifle was stored in the box without its sights, they had to be mounted and sighted-in. I started with Crosman Premier Super Match wadcutter pellets but switched to 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lites after seeing the size of the Super Match group.
I was shooting from a sandbag rest at 10 meters. Five pump strokes were used for every shot in this test. The group of 10 Premier lites measured 0.84 inches, so that’s what I’ll use to compare the results from the See All sight.
Mounting the See All Open Sight
The sight went on the flattop receiver easily enough, and the 2 screws that hold it in position work well. But after I mounted the sight, I discovered that it was impossible to get my head low enough on the stock to see the reticle. All I could see was the See All name that’s beneath the triangle. The sight needed to be adjusted up.
I adjusted the sight up as far as it would go and got the reticle up to where I could just barely see it if I held my head artificially low on the stock. To sight the rifle on the target, I had to tilt my head far to the right to get my eye low enough to see the full reticle. I used a 6 o’clock hold on the bull for all my shooting with this sight, which is the only way to be precise with a sight that covers the bull.
With this sight picture, I missed the entire paper at 10 meters. So, I walked up to within 10 feet of the target and aimed again. This time the pellet struck the target backer board about 6 inches below the aim point. Something had to be done, and done quick!
I had positioned the See All sight as far forward on the receiver rail as space permitted, so now I moved it back as far as it would go, like the position of a peep sight. This made sighting easier, though I was still tilting my head way over to the right to see the reticle.
With the sight in this position, I put a Shoot-N-C bull at the top of a blank sheet of target paper and shot 4 shots at it from 10 meters. They landed about 7.5 inches low on the paper, as you can see in the photo.
This wasn’t working! And the reason it wasn’t is the straight line of the M4-style rifle. The flattop receiver doesn’t permit mounting the See All Open Sight high enough to be seen easily. It’s not the sight’s fault — it’s the rifle’s.
I was ready to call it a day when Edith suggested that I mount the sight to the Picatinny rail where the rifle’s front sight is supposed to go. It was simple enough to move the sight, so I tried it and found I could see the reticle much easier. A test shot showed that it was hitting the target way too low, however. Because the sight had been moved from the rear to the front, the adjustments had to be reversed to work.
You move a front sight in the opposite direction you want the strike of the round to go, so now I had to adjust the sight as low as it would go, to bring the point of impact up as high on the target as possible. The See All sight doesn’t have much adjustment up and down — only 45 minutes of angle. When it was down as far as it would go, the pellet was still hitting the target about 2 inches below the aim point, but that was a lot better than it had been before. So, kudos to Edith for this suggestion that kept the test running!
I shot 2 groups with the sight in this position. The first one isn’t very good, as I had half the aim point covered by the target paper, and the tip of the triangle was on the center of the bull rather than at 6 o’clock. But I still got a group that is good horizontally. It’s just spread out too much vertically.
This 10-shot group is tall, at 1.803 inches between centers, but not that wide. The aim point was an estimate of where the center of the top bull was located because the target paper covered half of it.
When I mounted the second target, I fixed the situation. The second group was shot with a 6 o’clock hold on the top bull. The aim point was much more precise in this case, and the group shows it. Although the overall group is the same 1.803 inches as the first group, 9 of the holes are in 1.125 inches. Like the first group, this one is also strung out vertically.
It seems that the See All sight isn’t made for a rifle with a straight stock line like the M4′s. The eye is too high relative to where the line of sight is. This can be seen when the factory sight is mounted next to the See All.
The straight lines of the M4 rifle are all wrong for use with the See All Open sight. With a flattop receiver, it’s impossible to get the sight mounted high enough to see without holding your head at an odd angle. So, this test was inconclusive. All it proves is that the wrong rifle was used. However, this should serve as a warning to those who might think of using the sight on their other M4-type rifles. Unless you put a high adapter under the sight to raise it up, it won’t work.
The vertical adjustment range of the See All sight is not large enough for an air rifle whose barrel is slanted downward, as so many of them are. It’ll be necessary to mount the sight on some kind of compensating base for the next test. I’ve selected a TX200 Mark II as the next test rifle, and we’ve already done a test of this rifle with a red dot sight. I have a drooper base that Leapers made when we developed the UTG drooper bases for RWS Diana rifles, and this one has no recoil shock shoulder; so, it’ll go right on the TX200 without a problem.
I’m encouraged by how easy it was to acquire the sight picture once the See All was mounted in the right position. It was much faster than a peep sight picture; and even though the overall group made with the sight is larger than the group made with the peep sight, I see that many of the pellets went to the same place. That gives me confidence that the See All Open Sight will work well when mounted on the right rifle.
I also see a bright future for this sight on pistols. The farther away from the eye the sight is, the easier it is to see the reticle. Holding it an arm’s length from the eye is no problem. I’ve already confirmed that the Leapers base fits my Beeman P1, so a test of that pistol is in the works, as well.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
The See All Open Sight is revolutionary!
I mentioned this sight in my last SHOT Show update last week and started a firestorm of discussion! Apparently, many of our blog readers see the same potential that I do! Let’s start a long, detailed look at the See All Open Sight.
What can it do?
I see several uses for a sight like this. First, there are a number of airguns that come without open sights, and I get asked repeatedly what can be done about it. Let me take one of the more common ones, which also happens to be one that is extremely difficult to deal with — the TX200 Mark III underlever spring-piston rifle. If you’ve read this blog for any time at all, you know that I’m a huge fan of the TX200. I’ve written dozens of reports about it — the most recent batch being a 12-part series that just finished. Or I thought it was finished. Now, there’s a good reason to test that rifle once more with this new sight!
But the uses don’t stop there. If the See All really works as well as we all hope, it solves another problem because it is easier to see than other types of open sights. There’s a magnifying function built into this sight that may make it easier to use for shooters whose eyes are less than perfect. To test for that, I’ll rely on my shooting buddy, Otho, who’s been complaining about his eyes for years. He used to be a wonderful shot with open sights, but now he has to wear glasses to even use a scope! If he can use the See All successfully, then there’s hope for other shooters whose eyes are troubling them.
I bought a See All Open Sight as soon as I returned from the SHOT Show, and it’s been delivered. But the See All folks called me last week and offered to send me a second sight for testing. I reckoned I could get Otho testing one while I’m testing the other, so I can give this sight a thorough wringing out. Besides a lot of installments for this blog, I plan on writing about the sight for Shotgun News and also for the new Blue Book of Airguns that’s coming out late this spring.
Another use for the sight are those target guns whose costly and often hard-to-find sights are missing. Will the See All be a useful replacement for target sights? I don’t know, but we’re about to find out.
Still another use for it will be on certain air pistols that lend themselves to optical sights, but for which no good sights are made. I’m thinking of the Beeman P1 and the P17 pistols for starters, but it could expand to many others.
As things progress, I’m sure we’ll find even more uses for this sight. It all comes down to one thing: Does it really work? Just from looking at it, I’m intrigued. It looks like it ought to work very well. People whose opinions I trust who have seen the sight feel the same as I do. There’s a sense that it’s right and ought to work as advertised. We’ll see!
A brief look at non-electronic optical sights
What follows is not a thorough history. It’s just a few things I happen to know about these sights. Shooters have looked for many years for open sights that enhance the eye’s ability to sight the gun. Elmer Keith inlayed gold and silver lines in the front sight post of some of his revolvers so he could refer to them when shooting long distances. He killed an elk with a .44 Special at over 400 yards, so his sights must have worked! I suspect his eyesight was much better than what passes for perfect sight today, and that had a lot to do with how successful this idea was for him; but it’s still a part of our shooting history.
The King Sight Company developed a front sight that has a small reflector to shine extra light on a gold bead. I once owned a Smith & Wesson Triple Lock in .45 Colt that was customized with such a sight. It had probably been installed in the 1940s or ’50s; but when it was put on the gun, the barrel was also cut back to about 3 inches. I was never able to hit anything with that revolver.
This ad from the 1948 “Shooter’s Bible” shows the King revolver sights that used a reflector to brighten the bead.
But the sight that has intrigued me the most is the Nydar optical sight. It was a non-electronic dot sight that was touted as great for shotguns in the 1940s. It used a mirror to concentrate a dot in the center of a circle on what today looks like a holographic screen. This was an adaptation of anti-aircraft weapon sights from World War II. Did it work? I’m sure some shooters found that it did for them. I’ve never seen one, but I’ve had a fascination for them since reading about them as a teenager.
The Nydar sight is an example of an optical sight that doesn’t use electronics. Also taken from the 1948 “Shooter’s Bible.”
The See All Open Sight
What is the See All Open Sight? It’s a single unit that attaches to the top of a gun and presents a sight picture to the shooter. This sight picture or reticle is placed against the target to align the gun for the shot. You can use the sight with one eye closed or with both eyes open — I don’t yet know which is the better way.
This is what you see when you look through the sight. This wasn’t as easy to photograph as it looks. The first person who suggests I retake the photo with a bullseye target on top of the triangle gets excommunicated from this blog!
The sight is lightweight, weighing 1.8 oz. So, recoil shouldn’t affect it that much. There’s no need for a front sight, as the See All is complete in itself. Just like a dot sight, it stands alone. But now that you see the reticle you can see that it isn’t really a dot sight.
The sight is made from aluminum with some pieces being made of synthetics. It looks like a great deal of thought went into the design and nothing looks cheap.
It mounts to a gun with an open dovetail clamp that’s as wide as both the Weaver and Picatinny dovetail bases. But there’s no crossbar locking rib on the integral base of this sight. Instead, there are two Allen screws that are adjusted to push down onto the gun, forcing the clamping jaws of the sight base up against the dovetail flanges of the gun’s mount base. So, the See All holds to the gun by clamping pressure, alone. I’ll determine if this is a problem with recoiling spring airguns.
The sight base will clamp to a Weaver or Picatinny scope dovetail, but it has no crossbar to lock the sight in place. The 2 screws seen here are used to jam the sight base into the jaws of the dovetail.
Because the integral sight base is made for a Weaver dovetail, it’s too large for the 3/8-inch or 11mm dovetails that are common on rimfire guns and airguns. But there are adapters that can change 11mm bases to Weaver bases. I’ll find out how practical these are for our purposes. The people at See All have told me that if there’s enough of a demand, they’ll also make their sight with an integral 11mm base. Perhaps, they could provide an adapter with the sight so it would fit both Weaver and 11mm dovetails/bases, similar to what Tasco does with their ProPoint line.
The sight reticle (See All calls it a crosshair reticle) is engraved on a bright green plastic plate made from something they call edge glow material. I’m red-green colorblind, yet have no trouble seeing this reticle. You look at the reticle though a plastic lens they call the optic. It magnifies the reticle, and what you see is a triangle with a line above it. Put the target on the point of the triangle to sight correctly. The instructions say the sight is parallax free, which is wonderful if true! I certainly plan to test that because positioning the head is such a problem for me since I test so many different guns.
This is what you see through the magnifying optic.
There are adjustments for both windage and elevation. The instructions say there are a total of 45 minutes of angle of vertical adjustment and 75 minutes of horizontal adjustment. Because we know that many spring rifles have a barrel-drooping problem (the axis of the bore is angled downward, relative to the sight base on top of the gun), I will take care to mount the sight as close to the bore axis as possible.
The makers claim that the accuracy is unsurpassed by any sighting systems without the use of magnification. That’s a claim I plan on testing with a 10-meter target rifle. It should be easy to shoot some groups at 10 meters with conventional aperture sights and then duplicate the test with the See All. I hope the claim turns out to be true because this is something many shooters have been searching for!
I originally mounted the See All sight to the MK-177 multi-pump I recently tested for you because that rifle has a long Picatinny rail along its top. But then a new Leapers UTG scout scope arrived for testing, and that rifle is ideal for testing that scope, so I switched the See All to my M4-177.
A couple years ago, I tested the M4-177 and got this 10-shot group with Crosman Premier Super Match wadcutters. I shot from 25 feet with 5 pumps per shot. A 10-meter group shouldn’t be much larger. When I test the new sight, I’ll reshoot with the factory sights just to be sure.
I’ll get to this first accuracy test very soon because I know many of you are waiting to see how well this sight works. I’m pitting the See All against the peep sights that are on the M4-177 rifle from the factory. This isn’t the 10-meter test I mentioned earlier — it’s just a start at testing what could turn out to be the most exciting new open sight to come along in our lifetimes.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
This is a subject that is dear to a lot of experienced shooters and a turnoff to younger shooters. Peep sights are a blessing to those who have discovered how easy they are to use, but they are avoided by shooters who aren’t familiar with them. The common misconception is that a peep sight is somehow more complex than a traditional open notch rear sight, but the truth is that the peep sight is actually simpler and faster to use than the open notch.
With an open notch sight, you have to align the rear notch with the front post. There can be several different variations of how it works, such as post and bead or squared-off front post, but the process of using them is the same for all of them. The rear element and front element must be aligned, then held against the target in a certain location (i.e., 6 o’clock hold or center hold).
With a peep sight, you don’t do that. You just look through the rear hole and align the front sight element only against the target. Your eye uses the peephole to adjust your vision by forcing your pupil to adjust for the best depth of vision. It’s an unconscious and automatic response to looking through the small peephole; and, if you allow your eye to do its job instead of fighting it, your brain will help you obtain a more precise sight picture than with open sights.
There are shooters with remarkable vision who can sight with open notch sights extremely well. But if you don’t have great vision, and by that I mean if your vision is average or worse, the peep sight should work better for you. But that’s only for those who don’t fight the rear sight and just look through it.
Today, I want to address something that I’ve seen discussed a lot on the internet, and that’s the size of the peephole. I see that many people feel the hole must be large or they cannot use it. Indeed, I’ve seen several peeps that have been drilled out by their owners. The fact is that there are good reasons for both large and small peep holes.
Large holes allow more light to pass through; and, when used, they acquire the target faster. They’re used on American military arms like the M16, the Krag, the 03-A3 Springfield, the M1 Carbine, the Garand and many others. They’re also found on slug guns used for deer in brushy forest hunting situations where speed is more important than precision.
The M1 Garand peep is about average size for a battle sight.
The 03-A3 sight adjusted for windage as well as elevation. Not all of them did. I can shoot MOA with this sight.
The M1 Carbine peep was a rough and ready sight. The rifle wasn’t that accurate, so the sight didn’t need to be precision.
The battle sight in this No. 4 Enfield is huge. When the sight standard flips up there is a hole less than half this size. It adjusts only for elevation.
Can such large holes be precise? Yes, they can. I have shown you at least one one-inch five-shot group shot with my 03-A3 Springfield at 100 yards. But the norm would be a larger group. Even the Garand would shoot about a two-inch group at 100 yards on most days. Your goal with a large peep is minute-of-bad-guy.
One secret I’ve learned about using a large peep hole with greater precision is to hold the sight away from my eye. The farther back I place my sighting eye, the more precision I get from a large hole. I didn’t invent that idea; I learned it while shooting the Buffington peep sight on my Trapdoor Springfield that was made in 1875 (the rifle, only — the sight didn’t come about until 1884). The Buffington sight puts the rear peep hole about 14 inches from the sighting eye, and the hole is not that large. You would look at it and imagine that you could never use such a sight, but the truth is that when there’s enough daylight that peep gives precision that rivals the finest tang target sights found on target single-shot rifles. The reason is because of how far the hole is from your eye.
Col. Buffington designed this rear sight that combines a peep (several, actually) and a notch. It can be used for long-range precision fire. A great many buffalo fell to this sight on this rifle.
A small peephole passes less light and forces you to hold your sighting eye closer to the hole to see the sight picture. Many sights with small holes also have some kind of flexible shade to shield the sighting eye from light that’s not coming through the peep hole, thus sharpening the sight picture noticeably.
The precision FWB peep sight has a large rubber light shade to keep the sighting eye in the dark.
Crosman mounted their version of a Mossberg S331 peep sight on the 160 target rifle. This sight, alone, is worth at least $75 today. Notice how small the hole is. That’s what’s needed for precision.
Small peepholes take longer to use but provide a more precise sight picture. Use them when fractions of an inch are important, such as when target shooting or when hunting game at longer ranges such as 400 to 600 yards.
This is Ballard’s mid-range peep sight mounted on the tang of my Ballard rifle. My eye is so close to the hole that I push the sight forward when the rifle recoils.
The secret to using a small peephole is to get as close to the hole as you can. Do this even with recoiling rifles. My Ballard, for example, is in caliber .38-55 and kicks about like a 30-30, yet I put my eye less than an inch from the peephole. I have to because it’s so small that I couldn’t use it if I was much farther back. When the rifle fires, my forehead always folds the sight forward as the recoil brings the gun back. That’s how I know I’m using the sight to its best ability. Of course, if the sight doesn’t move when you hit it, you don’t want to do this!
When my FWB 300S target air rifle comes back in recoil (the action moves in the stock to cancel the feeling of recoil) the rubber eyepiece always pushes against my eye. That’s how I know I’m sighting correctly . It works okay on that rifle, but my HW55CM comes back a little too aggressively, and I’m more cautious about holding that sight close to my eye.
Use BOTH eyes!
It is of paramount importance to keep BOTH eyes open when using a peep sight. If you close the non-sighting eye, the peephole will also close up. It’ll do so variably, depending on how much you’re squinting to close the other eye, and the result is you no longer have a round hole to look through. I told you about the man who was shooting the M1 Garand a couple weeks ago and was closing his off eye. He was getting 12-inch groups at 100 yards from a rifle that was probably capable of groups one-sixth that size.
If you want to see how this works, take a piece of card stock and poke a hole in it. Look through the hole with both eyes open (one eye looking through the hole and the other eye just open). Then, as you’re looking through the hole, close your non-sighting eye and watch what happens. The hole seems to close up! That’s what you are doing when you close your non-sighting eye while using a peep sight.
Peep sights are an advancement over open sights. They don’t work for everyone, because those with severe eye problems often have trouble using them. But the majority of people can use a peep sight and obtain better accuracy with less time spent if they don’t fight the sight. They’ve been used on all American military battle rifles since 1884; and though the move is now toward optical sights, a peep will probably remain as the backup sight for some time.
If you’ve never tried a peep sight, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. Use this report as a primer for learning how to use the sight and see if it doesn’t give you greater accuracy with less work.
by B.B. Pelletier
A couple weeks back, we talked about straightening bent airgun barrels to improve accuracy. We want to do that so we can hit targets with the sights that were installed. There is, however, another reason for bending barrels. Some guns have sights that do not coincide with where their barrels are pointing, even when they’re not bent. For this situation, we also need a fix.
Many guns have replacement rear sights. I own a BSF S70 breakbarrel rifle that has a Williams peep sight that was either installed by Air Rifle Headquarters (the original company in Grantsville, West Virginia) or was a sight they sold for owners to mount. ARH did inform the customers of the necessity for the rear sight to have a complimentary taller front sight installed, and on my rifle that didn’t happen. I think this was an owner-installed sight that they probably hated ever since.
This is the problem I’m faced with.
The special Williams peep sight is low and fits the rifle well. It looks good, and I want to keep it.
I like the vintage look of the original front sight. Bending the barrel is the only solution!
In either case, the rear sight cannot be adjusted low enough for the rifle to strike the target at 10 meters. Since 10 meters is such a common shooting distance for an air rifle, this is not handy. The other possibility would be to raise the front sight higher, but I don’t want to do that. I happen to like the look of the front sight that’s there and want to leave it as installed. My only option is to bend the barrel.
Several blog readers, including Kevin Lentz, commented on having bent many airgun barrels and how easy it is to do. My buddy Mac has also bent a number of airgun barrels to get them on target.
While a barrel may be bent in any direction, up is by far the most common direction you’ll have to go since the majority of breakbarrel rifles shoot a little low. The second most common direction is down, which is what I need to do to fix the kind of problem I have.
I was in my reading room a few days after that; and from the pile of literature lying on the sink, I picked up the 2000 Edition of The Gun Digest and stumbled across an article by Todd G. Lofgren titled, Sighting In Single-Actions. The author describes, shows and tests the results of bending the barrels of numerous Colt Single Action Army revolvers to get them to shoot to the point of aim at 25 yards. He knew that the traditional way of doing this is to either file down or add to the front sight for height and to bend it (the front sight blade) in the direction opposite of where he wanted the bullet to go, but that didn’t appeal to him. He built a jig and used a 12-1/2 ton hydraulic press to actually bend the barrel in the direction the bullet needed to go.
He fixed guns that were off in all ways, but by far the most common directions were to the left and low. And then he shot three groups at 25 yards to prove the guns now shot to their point of aim. Before bending each barrel, the extractor housing was removed; and in every case, it was installed after the bend without a problem, thus proving that the bend itself was only a very small distance.
Lofgren commented that the first-generation Colt barrels are easier to bend than the barrels of guns made today. That means their metal is softer and more ductile, and lends itself to slight deformation better than barrels made from harder steel. That bodes well for airguns, because they’re also still being made of soft steel that should deform easily.
Lofgren also happened to favor the short 4-3/4 inch barrels, and all of the guns shown in his pictures have barrels of that length. Compared to that, bending a 12-inch or longer air rifle barrel made from thinner steel stock should be a piece of cake!
While he uses a hydraulic press to bend his barrels, I think that bending an air rifle barrel that’s sitting between two blocks 12 inches apart will be easy enough to do with a common screw like the kind found on a C-clamp. If the jig is constructed correctly, it should be possible to control the amount of pressure very precisely, which is desirable for collectors who don’t want to ruin their fine guns.
What about guns with fixed barrels?
It should be possible to bend guns that have fixed barrels, as well, provided the barrels are solid. This process will not work on barrels inside jackets or shrouds, which lets out many airguns of modern design.
Don’t over-think this!
Some readers might think this operation through and wonder if bending the barrel in the direction you want the pellet to move is correct. If you bend the barrel, you also move the front sight — and we know that the front sight is supposed to be moved in the opposite direction that you want to pellet to move. But Lofgren cautions his readers not to over-think this and just bend the barrel as they want the strike of the round to move. It’ll work out perfectly that way.
This fixes bent barrels, too
The initial reason for bending barrels was to straighten them after they’re bent from an accident or from their manufacture — not because they weren’t hitting where the sights are aiming. But one bend is the same as the other. It’ll work for both problems — I guess. At any rate, seeing a man bending the barrels of collectible first-generation Colt revolvers and getting the results he was after has given me the courage to try the same thing on this air rifle.
The next step is to damage a spring-piston barrel and then try to bend it straight again. If I can do that, then bending the S70 barrel shouldn’t prove too difficult. In the process, I hope to construct a simple low-cost barrel-bending fixture that will serve all my future needs. It should be a fun experiment!