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Optics Some frank talk about optics

Some frank talk about optics

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Dot sights — the good and the bad
  • The downside of dot sights
  • Dot sight summary
  • Compact scopes
  • Compact scope summary
  • High magnification
  • Summary of high magnification
  • Know the limitations of your equipment

Last week I asked for help determining how to test and evaluate a set of scope rings and a new scope. I got some good suggestions, but there was also a lot of discussion about optics that I would like to address today. I’m calling this report “Frank talk about optics” because this is what I would tell you if we were speaking privately. I’m not trying to sell you anything today. I just want you to consider some fundamentals when you select an optical sight.

Dot sights — the good and the bad

A dot sight shows an illuminated dot inside an optical tube that can be placed on a target of your choosing. Let’s start with the good stuff. I am preparing to demonstrate the Air Venturi Air Bolt system to the public at the 2016 Texas Airgun Show this coming Saturday, and I mounted a dot sight on the Sam Yang Dragon Claw 500cc rifle I’m using. I needed a sight that is quick to acquire the target and also very reliable, so I selected a red dot sight.

Dot sights usually have no magnification, and if they do it is very low magnification. So finding the target is quite easy. Of course it’s hard to see something very small that is also far away — say a tin can at 100 yards — so a dot sight is not the right tool for targets like that. Dot sights are for close targets that are similar to those you would shoot with open sights.

A dot sight is faster and easier to use than most open sights because there is just one thing to look at — an illuminated colored dot. Place the dot where you want the projectile to hit and you are done, as long as the gun is sighted in. I will be shooting at a 19-inch by 19-inch arrow stop placed at 25 yards. I have discovered that the Air Bolt is accurate enough to keep the arrows within two inches at that distance (stay tuned for more reports on that!) when I shoot offhand supported by a monopod, so the dot sight is the best way to go.

The downside of dot sights

As I was sighting-in it occurred to me that the dot sight runs on batteries. What if my battery goes dead in the middle of my demonstration? That would be like loosing a battery while you are hunting. The fix? Carry a spare battery and also a means of removing the dot sight from the airgun if you have to. You might want to use dot sights on guns that have open sights (that are sighted-in), or have an alternative optical sight at the ready. If you are going out for a half-hour of shooting, a backup plan isn’t as important as if you are flying with this gun to Alaska for a $10,000 guided hunt. Use common sense.

Dot sight summary

Dot sights are quick to acquire targets and easier to use than open sights at close distances. They are not precision sights, beyond hitting what open sights are expected to hit. They run on batteries, which has to be taken into account. For all other considerations like reliability, control and visibility of the dot, ease of adjustments and precision you have to consider the specific dot sight you will be using.

Compact scopes

Reader RangeRunner talked about compact scopes last week. I want to add to what he said. Compact scopes are good for keeping weight and the overall size of your air rifle to a minimum. But they have very limited mounting options. They have short tubes that require rings that are not too wide, and they cannot slide back and forth in the rings for eye positioning. Most of them compensate for that limitation with a somewhat longer eye relief, but on some airguns they just won’t work, because of where the scope stop limits rearward movement of the rings.

Compact scopes are similar to dot sights in that they normally have low magnification. Targets are acquired quickly, but you don’t have the same precision that larger scopes can give.

RangeRunner complained about the thick reticles on compact scopes — particularly on the UTG Bug Buster line. He’s right about them being thick, but Bug Buster scopes are not intended for precision shooting. You should not use a Bug Buster scope when you try to shoot a one-inch group at 100 yards, because the thickness of the reticle will not allow you to aim precisely enough.

On the other hand, if you are hunting squirrels in the deep woods, there are few scopes that can match a Bug Buster for speed on target. That thick reticle that’s too heavy for precision is exactly what’s needed for shots that have to be taken within seconds. No scope with a hairline reticle will work in that situation unless you can convince the target to remain stationary long enough to locate the hairline reticles.

Compact scope summary

Use a compact scope when you want to limit the size and weight of the airgun. Make certain you can mount it where it can be seen. Remember that, besides positioning, a compact scope has limitations such as thick reticle lines and lower magnification. Don’t choose it as an all-around scope. Use it for the purpose for which it was intended.

High magnification

High magnification has its place, and like the compact scope, it isn’t universal. Field target shooters often use scopes that magnify 40-60 times. SWAT snipers usually stop at 10 power. Each has their reason for what they use.

A field target lane is well-defined and contains a specific number of targets. You can get away with high magnification in that situation, although I have waited for a long time for some shooters to “find” the target in a match. That’s why there is a time limit per target when the shooter sits down on a lane — to keep the duffers from wasting all day playing with their equipment! On the other hand, when you can see a blade of grass at a far distance, it is easy to focus on it and determine the range from what your parallax ring or knob indicates.

A SWAT sniper never knows where he will be deployed or under what conditions he will have to take his shot. Despite what you may believe, SWAT snipers do not have a benchrester’s mentality. They don’t shoot the smallest groups possible. They shoot to hit their target every time. There is a difference, and it shows up in the scopes they use.

I personally have a benchrester’s mentality most of the time. You see that in the reports I write. But when there is a squirrel gnawing on the soffits on my roof, I don’t need a 40-power scope to take it out. I need a scope that will give me a quick shot that I know will hit a one-inch kill zone at 20 yards. So my most accurate springers have scopes of lower magnification — scopes I can absolutely depend upon.

In my opinion, the best all-around scope is either a 3-12 or a 4-16 power scope whose point of impact doesn’t change that much when the power setting changes. A lot of my air rifles have 3-9 power scopes that I find very suitable.

Summary of high magnification

Select high magnification when precision is important and time is not much of a factor. Also make certain you can find your target. Being able to see a blade of grass sharply does you no good when you don’t know which blade it is!

Know the limitations of your equipment

This report was written in response to the discussions we had on the optics tests I asked about last week. I felt some readers are expecting their scopes to do everything, when they may not be able.

Bear this in mind — a Rolex watch is a fine piece of jewelry that also keeps time reasonably well. But a quartz watch — even a cheap one — keeps much better time. Explorers and outdoorsmen choose the Rolex because they know it will keep running when they are far from home. They don’t care if they are 30 seconds off on the exact time. But astronauts do care! That’s why they wear quartz watches with batteries, and the space agency provides backup support for their watches to the extent possible.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

41 thoughts on “Some frank talk about optics”

  1. Good read! I’ll be 63 November 1st, and my eyesight is not good. And, I recently got an eye checkup and a new prescription pair of glasses. I have astigmatism, and this make many red dot/green dot sights have, instead of a “dot”, more of an uneven blob. Makes it tough. Sometimes, if I squint, some of the blobby part goes away. Or, I can try to select one blob, and use that as my dot.

    Most traditional rifle scopes have an adjustment for focusing the cross hairs. Sometimes I still can’t get both cross hairs clear. Eventually, I may have to see if there is some eye surgery that will help. Other than bench rested target shooting, I just shoot rats and mice. And, I’ve learned, that with many scopes without an adjustable objective ring, I can still adjust that front lens to the distance I want to shoot at. Open sights are pretty much out. I just picked up an airgun that I didn’t need. I have plenty of more accurate airguns to shoot. I was at Walmart, when a new Crosman Model 760 jumped into my shopping cart. What could I do? I bought it, and have been shooting the heck out of it. I tried the open sights and my new eyeglasses. Nope. When I did this I saw TWO front sight posts. I ordered a new NCStar 4×30 compact scope, for this compact little carbine. I didn’t want to spend much on this inexpensive airgun. I find for most of the shooting I do, a 4 power scope is just about right. Not the best for benched shooting maybe, but good for night ratting at 7-11 yards. If I can adjust to get the cross hairs in focus, and use my little trick to get the front lense focused for the distance I want, then I’m in like Flint.
    had to cut back a bit on my shooting, because last Tuesday morning, when I ran out to chase off some dogs harrasing our chickens in the coop (and our rabbit in a cage next to the coop), I took a fall in the wet grass, went down in some weird position, and blew out my right knee. Heard and felt a nasty pop, and it’s swollen up huge. Wish I could start that day over again.

    • Birdmove,

      You did not explain your “trick”. I had a Daisy 880 that came with an ultra cheap scope. At distance, it was clear. At 21′ however, it was not. Someone mentioned that on some cheap scopes that you could “spin” the front lens. Look for 2 or 4 little notches in the lens ring, use something like an ice pick,… and spin away. If I remember correct, I had to spin the objective lens forward, or out. Worked like charm.

      My neighbor picked up a $100 break barrel that had the scope included. Same issue, but was unsure if the same fix would work. Was it gas filled? We just left it alone.

      For anyone else, only try this on the cheapest of the cheapest scopes. 10-20$. It does work! Why they would ever put a cheap scope set with a 50 yard parallax on a low powered bb/pellet gun is beyond me.

      Best of luck with knee. I can relate as I have done that to each knee,.. once. Mine are not the best anyways.

      • That’s exactly the technique. I’ve done it on Centerpoint and Winchester scopes so far. While not as convenient as scopes with an adjustable objective ring on the front, it works fine. On the scopes I’ve done this on, after you remove the front most threaded ring, I didn’t need a tool to turn the next ring in. I just turned in in or out with my fingers. If a scope has a removable front ring, the odds are, this method will work. After you’ve got the target in sharp focus, reinstall that front ring (think of it as a lock-ring), tighten it into place, and you are set FOR THAT DISTANCE.

        • Birdmove,

          Thanks for the confirmation on that. I would think that any scope that is gas filled would be a no-no to try this on. I am not even sure at what price level a gas filled scope starts at, even a cheap one.

          I do know that more people should try it if the scope is not clear for what distance that they are shooting at, (realistic distance). Many more adults and kids would have a much more pleasant shooting/scoping experience if they did give it a try.

          I mean really, if its set to see ok at 40-60 yards, and you want to see ok at 15-35,… then why not.

          Thanks again,…. Chris

  2. BB,

    A most excellent read! Your blurb today is a well thought out summation of the basics of selecting the proper type of sights for whatever type of shooting you wish to do.

    I also appreciate your expanding on my ramblings concerning compact scopes. I had forgotten to mention the issues of mounting a compact scope. When I mounted one of my UTG Compact SWAT scopes on my Diana 46E and my new Webley Tomahawk, I had to use one of these Hawke adapters to bring it back far enough to see through properly.


    It also does a great job of allowing me to adjust for droop. I have the shorter version of this also. For those who are curious, the both have the coveted RRR rating. 😉

    There is no one size fits all sight system as there is not one size fits all air rifle. As you pointed out, I also prefer the lower power scopes as I live and play in heavily wooded mountains. The compact scope is lighter and less bulky. If you walk around in these hills for just a little bit lugging an air rifle, you will quickly grasp my preference for them.

    Hopefully in the near future I will be getting a long range big bore. It will likely require a little more power and likely a finer reticle. That will call for a longer and larger scope on a heavier air rifle. No, I will not likely be walking around with it much, but that is not what it will be for.

    Thanks for passing on what you have learned over the years and giving us the opportunity to pass on and discuss what we have also.

    • RR,

      I have the shorter version. One of the 4 mount screws stripped out. Plus, if I recall correctly, the front ring (when mounted directly above the front hinge point) also hit the lower, fixed, mounted portion. It is a nice mount but I would be leery about it on a springer as the movable upper portion is just simply clamped between the lower fixed portions. It does have a stop pin, but that moves up and down with the upper portion, but is adjustable. If not used as a stop pin, and even if you do, that pin would be a nice way to adjust the droop. But, I could not access it without pulling the scope out the rings. I did like it the most for the lower profile.

      But,… you gave it the coveted “RRR” rating,…. so who am I to say. They obviously have worked nicely for you.

      I use the UTG DNT06 adapters on the TX and LGU. I would give those the coveted “CCC” rating. 🙂

      On reticles,… lighted ones specifically,…. they do “fatten up” considerably when at full brightness. I use the green, stepped down 2-3 levels. Also, at full brightness, I think that they are bright enough to cause the pupil to contract some,.. which is not a good thing when scoping. Just a heads up for anyone considering a scope with a lighted reticle feature. I love mine and would not trade them for anything.

      Finally,… I have tried all sorts and colors of bulls eyes. My 40-100 is into dark woods. Guess what worked the best? A black bull,… using the lighted reticle.

      • Chris,

        I hope that the issues you experienced with the Hawke adapter were an anomaly. Mine seem to be quite ruggedly made and I have not as of yet had any problems. Yes, it is not easy to adjust the “droop”, but none that are adjustable are real easy and most are not adjustable at all.

        I had the one I am using on the Webley on my Diana 46E and I did not have any issues with it. The Webley IS a harder shooting sproinger, so we will see. If I have issues I will just have to revise my rating of it. 😉

  3. Great stuff B.B.!!

    I am a 3-12 or 4-16 kind of guy which suits my hunting/pesting/plinking style of shooting where I tend to shoot fast. Doing more paper punching these days and have settled on 10 power for that work.

    I’m reviewing scopes suitable for target shooting right now and would appreciate people’s recommendations for a moderately priced scope.

    B.B. could I request that you do a couple of follow up blogs comparing scopes for specific uses.

    Think that the most important category would be for inexpensive scopes suitable for air rifles. Seen too many new air rifle shooters struggling to use the crap scope that came packaged with the rifle and getting totally frustrated.


    • Hank,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Rather than doing a scope comparison as you suggest, I think I might include recommendations whenever I evaluate scopes. I don’t like to make comparisons too often., They are very subjective and opinionated. That’s what starts fights on the internet. I would rather look at a product and see how it measures up to the claims.

      The Meopta MeoPro HD 80 spotting scope is an example of this. That scope is superior to every budget spotting scope ever made, but saying so doesn’t help the reader. Instead I want to tell you how well it stood up to my tests.


      • B.B.

        I understand about doing comparisons. Suggested that because a newbie is going to type “which scope is best for my *** rifle” into a search engine and they need all the help they can get 🙂

        Easy to be overwhelmed with the choices and advertising. Thought it would be an idea to have a list of acceptable quality scopes to give a guideline of what to look at.


        • Hank,

          Confused? I can relate. Lucky for me,… or not,…. cost limited my choice and enough good was said about UTG’s, that is what I went with. No regrets. The best for me? Who knows.

          Have you been able to find anything at all that has helped you to narrow down the field yet? I know you specified “target”. Anything out there that is falling more into that category?

          If you do not have any answers yet, then fine. But, please keep us posted as to the (selection process) as it evolves. That would be good learning experience for us all I think.

          Heading out to shoot now. I will check back later. Chris

      • B.B.

        You can always use your Meopta as a “reference standard” as almost no rifle scopes are going to out perform it. How close can the test scope come to seeing what the Meopta can see?
        Enjoyed the article, very useful material. I appreciate your practical approach.

        Happy testing!


    • Those terrible 4×15 cheapo scopes really ruin all the fun. I’d much rather they did not include a scope at all. Something like a Centerpoint 4×32, like what came on my Crosman 1077 years ago, is very much a useable scope. And, you can adjust the objective for any distance you want (see above).

      • Birdmove,

        Some rifle /scope packages are not bad. My friend recently purchased a Ruger kit that came with a 4×32 scope that looked fairly decent. Out of curiosity, I’m going to ask to try it out next time I visit.

        Flip-side, a guy at work brought in a scope to show me that was so bad that I wouldn’t mount it on a cap gun.

        • Another example is my Crosman 1077 I mentioned above. Came with a decent Centerpoint 4×32 scope. The Daisy 880S can be bought without a scope (which is what I bought). Or with one of those stinko 4×15 joke scopes. But, if you buy Winchester Model 77XS, which is a Daisy 880S with a thumbhole stock, it comes with a decent Winchester 4×32 scope for the extra money.
          I know many airgunners may want a variable and higher power than a 4x, but, for me, a 4x works pretty well. Most of my target shooting is at 11 yards. Ratting is from 7-11 yards. Once in a while I’ll set the pellet trap at 20 yards, then more power would be nice.

  4. BB
    A nice open evaluation on the different sighting devices.

    And this popped in my mind the other day when me and Chris was talking about parallax and magnification.

    On those old fixed magnification scopes with the long tubes and outside adjustable zeroing rings. RidgeRunner has posted pictures of them before when I asked about them. Can’t remember the names of them now.

    But what magnification were they? And could you detect parallax with the reticle on those scopes?

      • BB
        How were they as far as brightness and sharpness when you looked through them. I guess they probably didn’t have all them fancy lens coatings back then like they do today.

        Didn’t Ron Robinson if I’m remembering his name right use a similar scope on a pump gun in field target. And he used pumps instead of hold over or under.

        And didn’t they even use them old scopes in the old days as hand held spotting scopes. I got some cheapy 3-9 power scopes with no rings we use as little hand held spotting scopes. Keep one by the front window and another by the back. My daughter’s pick them up all the time looking at the animals.

        I know I went off track a little here but always wondered how well those old scopes were.

        • GF1,

          The old scopes are okay for what they are, but they don’t have the optics we do today. Their tubes are under one inch, which mades them dark and hazy.They compare to a modern scope the way a Model A compares to a Prius.

          Ron Robinson used a modern scope on his Blur Streak as fas as I know.


          • BB
            Ok it was some time back when you covered a field target event and did a report. He was useing that pumper. I didn’t remember exactly the kind of scope he was using.

            And ok I have never looked through one of the older scopes. That’s why I wondered about how it was to look through them.

            Maybe at some point in time you can do a report on the evolution of sighting devices and lead into the older scopes and throughout time to what we have today. Or maybe I should search first. You may already have done that.

              • BB
                You know what. I remember that report and I remember that 6 part report you did about the single mom teaching her kids to shoot.

                I was reading your blog back then and sometime before then actually. I wasn’t commenting yet till later on. I remember running across it when I finished up a hospital stay and got home and couldn’t do anything yet but sit and verily walk around.

                It was all over after that. Can’t remember all the different modern air guns I got through PA. I was looking at my bullseye bucks on total purchase points the other day. Yep I spent alot of money on airguns. But loved every minute of it. 🙂

        • I still have the first “gun” I ever owned, a J.C. Higgins .22 single shot bolt action rifle my parents purchased at Sears in 1961 while I was in high school. I also saved my paper route money and added a J.,C. Higgins 4X scope a few weeks later. I pulled it out of the closet a few years ago and realized it had rusted between the wood stock and the barrel. I bought one of those do-it-yourself bluing kits which was mediocre at best but at least I arrested the rust. I remounted the scope and took it to the range to re-zero the scope. What a difference to the modern scope on my other rifles, but it worked as designed at 25 yards and ended up shooting a decent grouping. “They don’t build them like they used to” is a good thing as the older models are light years behind most of today’s optics. Not all optics mind you, but most.

          Pearland, TX

          • Bob
            Sometimes, just sometimes the new stuff their making now days is better.

            But still I would be happy to own that .22 and older scope you have. Sounds like a fun little gun.

            And good old Sears Roebuck company. That’s where my old Winchester 190 came from in around 1971. But that gun never seen a scope until many years later when I was much much older. My eyes didn’t work like they use to when I was 10 years old when I got it. But I can say that I have revisited open sight shooting here lately. And remembered some of my point and aim tricks I use to use. I finally don’t even worry about the back sight anymore when im fast shooting. Target and front post are as clear as can be.

    • GF1,

      Concerning the Marauder, there are .30 “kits” available now that work well with the .25 M-rod. That is one of the reasons I am still considering one.

      With a little engineering Crosman should be able to “upscale” the M-rod to .357. Instead they keep playing around with plastic stuff like the Bulldog which is real inexpensive and easy to assemble, but just not perform well despite what their sponsored spokespeople say.

  5. I am not blessed with good eyesight and find a scope is almost a necessity to add to anything I shoot. Several used firearms I purchased came with 3X9 El Cheapo no-name scopes with less than good optics. So I ask the family expert (BB) and was pointed in the direction of the UTG 4X16 scopes. Not only am I pleased with the optics but the price is several times less expensive than big brand name 3X9 scopes. They have worked flawlessly on my .30-06 and 7.62X39 bolt action firearms. I also wanted to add a scope to my Hakim trainer as I have trouble using the peep sights. The problem was that it is really not built to accept a scope, and the grooves were too close to the rear of the receiver and the tube hit my eye. So I purchased an extension mount to move the scope further forward and mounted an UTG 3X9 scope. I can place pellets within a 1″ circle with this baby using a bench rest and have even used it inside the house resting the Hakim on the kitchen counter and shooting through the open door into the garage. While rather heavy, this half century old airgun is really a sweet shooter. A gift from Tom and Edie and will always be cherished.

    Pearland, TX

  6. Nobody ever talks about parallax error in red dot sights. I tried some inexpensive red dot sights and found them to be very problematic with parallax. Much worse than a mid level scope like a UTG.

    Also, in keeping with the comments above, the el cheapo Daisy and Crosman scopes for under $10 are laughed at, but very useful for short range shooting. I use one on my 1322 for protecting the bird feeder, targets from 5 to 15 yds. Once you get the sight range set as mentioned, they do a great job. Not on springers of course, but for pump or CO2 they’re great. I think because of the very narrow tube, they minimize the parallax error. If your eye is not centered, you know it because you can’t see out of the scope! They are also very light weight.

    • Fused,

      I have seen bad parallax in the really cheap dot sights, but I don’t use them because of that.

      The TF90 I got from Pyramyd AIR several years ago (for just $20) and two $100n Tasco Pro Point dot sights I own are relatively parallax free.


    • Fused
      I was waiting for someone to bring that up. I have a Tasco red dot on my Tx for some time now. And on other guns throughout time.

      My Tx is a dream to shoot with the red dot. I bet if someone seen me shoot the Tx with the red dot it would be a big surprise to them how well it hits. And here is the but part about it.

      But for me to hit that well repeatedly with it cheek placement is very critical. If I tilt the gun down more than usual or up more than usual I’ll be shooting over or under my target. Same if I tilt the gun left or right when I shoulder it.

      I can tell you right now if someone picked that Tx up and tryed to shoot they would never hit anything. If they keep the red dot centered in the round part of the lens they won’t hit. When I shoulder the gun properly for how it’s sighted (note: important words how it’s sighted for how I hold the gun) the red dot looks a little low and to the left of being centered in the lens.

      So as it goes even if you have parallax and you are aware of what your dot or reticle does when you hold the gun you can still shoot good if you repeat your hold.

      Like BB said. It’s all about knowing your equipment. Like anything. If you think you can just pick something up and it’s going to give you good results your probably going to be in for a big surprise. You need to learn about what something does when you use it.

      That’s why when I use a scope. I don’t want to see a reticle move. I better do some adjusting to eliminate it the best I can. I thought that was common practice with using a scope. To see if the reticle movement existed.

      Chris U maybe my explanation of the red dot will help with your scopes if you are having reticle movement. It is not good unless you know what to do to reduce or eliminate it. Or if your stuck with it. Yes you better hold that gun exactly the same everytime yoy shoot it.

      • Gunfun,
        Using a dot sight on a TX200 sounds like wearing flip flops with a business suit. More power to ya though! I also had that Tasco and it was bad, but not as bad as the BSA RD-30. I may at some point try one of the ones Tom listed above, they are after all very easy to get a sight picture with. If there were no parallax, I might really enjoy one.

        • Fused
          That’s all part of the surprise effect when they try to shoot the gun then see me shoot it and how it performs.

          You know like building 4 door 76 Nova with baby moon hub caps on steel wheels with a big block under the hood and nitrous and dot street slicks. It’s all about performance not looks. 🙂

  7. I too like Red Dots for close range shooting. I have a TASCO on a Ruger 10/22 that has both a photoelectric cell and a battery to power the dot. So,no battery needed when the sun is out. I have a 2X to 7X scope on my Diana 52. I find I mostly use the 4X setting for squirrels as the range is most often less than 15 yards.


    • Mike
      I had that Tasco red dot on my Winchester 190 semi-auto .22 rimfire rifle. A .177 and .22 Discovery. A couple 1377’s and 2240 rifle conversion’s. And some other springers thrown in.

      If you know that they have parallax and know that you have to repeat your hold for line of sight and spend some time sighting them on a gun they are very good sights. You just got to know what your doing to use one. I’m very happy with mine. Well and scopes too. 🙂

  8. B.B., I like the idea of a dot sight that needs no batteries when the sun is out. Only ones I have ever seen are very expensive. Big Iron talked about a Tasco dot sight that had a photoelectric cell, but I haven’t seen one yet.
    Also, I like the very low power scopes that are 1.5 to 2 power. Most of the time they are advertised for black powder or shotguns. My problem is that higher power scopes show my “wiggle”. I’ll shoot worse every time with them. I think I try to “correct” the wiggle and I over correct. That all said, I’ve always preferred open sights, but with my eyes getting older, I’ve been trying other things. I do have a question. Wouldn’t a good steel open “peep” sight (Like Williams) be more accurate than a “dot” sight? I don’t own a peep sight, but was thinking maybe with one I could keep using my “open” sight for a while longer.


  9. Well, this does raise many interesting questions about optics. It seems reasonable that dot sights are used for quick acquisition of close targets. But, as I understand it, dot sights are adapted from an invention in WWII where gunners on bombers used dot sights to defend against enemy fighters. With airplanes and .50 caliber machine guns, you are operating at extreme long range, more than any rifle, so why did that work? Possibly in the dense formations of strategic bombers, the gunners actually fired at relatively close range in their zones. And within that range the speed of the targets made quick acquisition more important than accuracy. Curious.

    If the Bug Buster has thick reticles what are we to say about the WW2 Russian scopes with their enormously thick black lines?

    With all the success of the red dot sights, I wonder if there is any consensus on what is the best reticle. I heard someone say recently that it is the simple old red dot. If so, that cuts the ground from the super expensive holographic sights.

    I believe that the battery problem has been largely eliminated, at least for the military which can afford batteries that last for years. Otherwise, maybe this explains why safari rifles do not use red dot sights that I have observed. No shooting situation depends more on quick acquisition. But I suppose having a battery die on you is so unacceptable that people stick with iron sights.

    ChrisUSA, I know what you mean about age working against you in the job market. However, it sounds like you’re in a better market than many others. Yes, being single has its advantages. “He travels swiftly who travels alone,” as the saying goes. That refers to being cheap. Also, it means that you don’t have the stress of being a provider for someone else which can be a real stressor. I remember dating a college girl who revealed that she had $20,000 in credit card debt and an ambition to collect expensive wines! I guess I dodged a bullet on that one.

    Received my gigantic bowie knife last night and it is laughably large. It is also extremely dull, so I have plenty of real estate to practice my knife sharpening on. It brings to mind one more knife vignette. In the comedy 48 Hours, starring Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy, Murphy confronts his nemesis who is a gigantic Native American criminal holding a large Bowie knife. Murphy has the drop on him with a compact revolver. But the fugitive begins laughing like a maniac, brandishing the knife, and rippling his bulging muscles on his bare torso. It is quite a sight, and the gun starts visibly shaking in Murphy’s hand. But then he fires. Don’t bring enough to a gunfight….


    • Matt61,

      Yup,… dodging bullets is a good thing. Good luck with your new mega blade. I hope that it takes an edge well. Is it a good steel that will take an edge? On that,…. I saw a new knife sharpener at Lowe’s. Smith’s brand. It adjust for the angles of different blades. Many do that I know, but it is the easy draw through type. The mystery seems to be figuring out what angle blade that one has. That does not seem like an easy thing to verify. The cheap carbide and ceramic draw trough’s work for most all of my knives.

  10. I bought one of the Mantis 4x12x40 AO scopes from Pyramid when they had the 20% off on select items. I wanted to try it because I wanted a lighter scope for my XS46U underlever and didn’t have the money for anything more expensive. The reticle lines are a bit thick but it has a clear images and seems to be decently bright. The AO markings are spot on for 10 and 15 yards. Hope to get out with some masking tape to mark for more distant ranges.


  11. I am going to peep sights on all my rifles. I had a TF-90 on my 1322 “Backpacker” but batteries wear out or fail, sometimes rifles get dropped, lenses fog up. And it will happen when you need them the most. So now I an having front sights being made for all my rifles by a local machinist. & I’ll be ordering the M 16 style rear peep sights for my larger barreled rifles [Benj. Trail NP, Hatsan 125 with a QE barrel] my Benj. 392 has a Williams 64 peep sight on it & is a tack driver at 40 yards.

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