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The importance of sight(s)


This report covers:

  • The beginning
  • Thanks to Otho and his wife
  • Upshot
  • Why tell you?
  • So, what?
  • Summary

Today is a strange report, but a necessary one. Today we are going to talk about sights and sight.

The beginning

In a very odd and strange way I’m qualified to discuss sights and sight, because I lost mine and then got it back — sight, that is. On April 30th of 2016 I was driving home after a several-day session filming the American Airgunner television show when the retina in my right eye detached completely, leaving me without sight in that eye. I was on the freeway just outside Texas when I lost all sight in that eye.

I was alone in my truck and had to drive about 150 miles on the freeway to a hospital in Ft. Worth where a doctor examined me and told me that the retina in my right eye had completely  detached. He operated on me the next day and restored the sight in that eye. I have perfect distance vision in that eye today.

As a result of this, I know what it is to be blind and, despite what I had thought previously, that everything would be black, I now know that isn’t the case. You simply cannot see. It’s impossible to describe to someone who hasn’t experienced it.

Thanks to Otho and his wife

Before I move on I will say that without my late friend Otho Henderson and his wife, Marcia, this ordeal would have been far more difficult to endure. As I drove toward home from the Texas border, they drove up from Waco, about 70 miles south of where they lived. They called all the hospitals in Ft. Worth and located the one that had an eye surgeon on call on a Saturday. That doctor left his grandson’s birthday party to come to the hospital to examine me and he scheduled a full surgical team for the next day, which was Sunday, May 1.


After the surgery and many days of looking down to allow the gas in my eyeball to press up against the retina that had been laser-welded back in place, I was able to shoot once more. Let’s go back and I’ll let you read what happened back in early May of 2016.

“There is no new blog today and probably tomorrow, and I am renting a special chair that will allow me to type on the computer while looking straight down. Obviously I can’t do any shooting tests this month, but once I can type again, I will get the blog up and running.”

Please don’t ask me any questions, as I can barely read the screen as it is. I hope that will get better as time passes.”

Tuesday after the surgery I said this.

“The doctor examined my eye yesterday and was pleased. He said there is a good chance for a complete recovery. But I now have a gas bubble in my eyeball to keep pressure against the repaired retina, and I have to only look down to keep the bubble in place. I cannot move around a lot, exercise or do normal things like drive.”

Instead of the 30 days I had been told to expect, the doctor pronounced me good to go after just 9 days. As a result I was able to resume shooting sooner than expected. On May 17 I wrote a report about shooting the Umarex Brodax revolver.

“This is the first test in which I have used my eye after it was repaired following the detached retina. Remember, folks, I was blind in this eye before the surgery. My binocular vision has not returned completely and things still appear strange to me, but I was able to see the front sight. The eye isn’t as clear as it was before the detachment, though. I estimate my vision is 20/50 in that eye, with moderate cloudiness from a cataract. Still — I can focus on the front sight blade, which is all that is necessary for accuracy.”

“I did find that I had to close my non-sighting eye though. It was showing me a competing vision of the front sight that was disturbing. By the end of the test, though, I found it possible to keep that other eye partially open. In time I think I will be able to keep both eyes open when sighting once again.”

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Why tell you?

I tell you this because of the point I’m trying to make in this report. And that is — it doesn’t matter whether you can see your target clearly, because that’s not where you should be looking when shooting with open sights. You should be focusing on the front sight in relation to the rear sight — and only then on the target. The target should always appear blurry. I know that sounds unreasonable, but if you want to shoot with open sights, that’s how it must be done!

I’ll tell you how wacky it gets. After the surgery I used a pair of reading glasses with a +2.5 diopter correction to see the front sight. If you have ever looked through reading glasses you know that anything farther away than perhaps 25 inches gets real blurry. And yet, even with that handicap, I was able to shoot with open sights.

So, what?

Why am I telling you all this? I’m telling you because when I mentioned wanting to find an accurate air rifle for pests I was inundated with suggestions of which optical sights I should use. Friends — I don’t need no stinking optical sights! BB shoots with the sights that come on the gun — if they do come. Because these days it’s hard to find air rifles with good open sights.

I have been blind in my sighting eye and I know what it’s like to not see the target clearly. I didn’t mention the cataract surgery I had later on, but that was a second learning curve. Now my distance vision is restored and all the cloudiness is gone, but I need glasses to see up close. That’s why I tell you that every time I shoot with open sights I use a pair of reading glasses with a +1.25 diopter correction. It’s to SEE THE FRONT SIGHT!


Some of you shoot with open sights and know what I mean. Others use optics all the time, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But don’t blame poor vision on your need for optics. In some cases I understand that optics are required, but in many instances, we just aren’t trying. It’s like an automatic transmission in a car. It makes everything so easy.

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.

87 thoughts on “The importance of sight(s)”

  1. B.B.

    Now you need to do a series on cataracts and the subsequent surgery. Most of your reader! are of that age. Do I get single focus and wear glasses a lot or do I get progressive lenses? Which is best for shooting, both with open sights and with a scope. The Optometrist will see you now….


    • I’m on that part of my life’s arc and have been putting off getting bifocals, trifocals, or progressive lenses for a while. I can’t seem to get comfortable in my head, how I will be able to read this blog’s tiny print on my phone, work at my computer, see my gun’s front sight, and drive a car with the same set of glasses. I think I may need several pairs for a while.

      • RG,

        I would recommend progressives. I have used bifocals and such and have used progressives for years now. It will not take long before your mind will learn to adjust your head/eyes to using them. The most difficult part is using a scope. You will either learn to use your far vision section and focus your scope and reticle to that or remove the glasses all together and focus the reticle to your vision.

        P.S. I started wearing glasses in my 40’s.

        • Thanks RR. I wore glasses in first grade to correct farsightedness. Then ditched the glasses until about 5th grade when my eyes became nearsighted. They got worse and worse until my right lens was a proverbial coke bottle bottom. When I take my glasses off, I can focus so close to my right eye that I can see the microprinting on currency and checks without a magnifier. With my current glasses on, I can focus far, but anything closer than six feet requires me to pull the glasses down my nose to “refocus” them. I tried the one contact lens for near vision and one contact far vision on vacation once, I didn’t wreck the rental car, but I wasn’t thrilled with the result, but perhaps that wasn’t long enough to reprogram my brain.

          Anyway, the thing that has caused me to procrastinate on new glasses is not wanting to choose one type of lens, progressive lenses, for example, and then not being happy with them and needing to go back and get something else. However, your response may just motivate me to take the plunge.

          • RG
            I have been wearing glasses since about the 45 year mark. At first it was just those reading glasses you buy from a rack at Walmart for $3. Started with the 1.5s and over about five years progressed to the 3.0s. It was about then that it was more than just reading, so I finally went to the eye doctor.

            First I got bifocals but they made it difficult to walk a beam (I was an Ironworker and still connecting about half the time) so I had to take them off and ended up dropping a couple pair.

            Then I decided to try the progressives. They were still a bit bad for walking iron,, but better than the bifocals, so I had to work with what I had. My eyes adjusted some and I learned to work around them but off the job, they worked really well for me.

            That’s been about about twenty five years and I’m still using progressives. I think you’ll agree with RR and me on this one.

      • Roamin,

        I second RR’s suggestion for progressives, used them for years. I had a computer/workshop pair (18 to 36 inches with wide focus at closer distances) and a regular pair (18 inches to infinity) and they were great.

        Since my cataract surgery last year my distance vision is fine but I use “dollar store” reading glasses ($20 for 5 pairs) for close work. I’ve bought them in 1 to 4 diopter strengths for different applications. For tying small fishing flies 3 diopter is perfect, for reading 1 diopter works best for me.

        As RR mentioned, you will have to figure out how you prefer to use a scope. I used to look over the top of my glasses ans set my focus accordingly.


          • Roamin, here is a vote against progressive lens. I am 76 and have worn glasses since I was two years of age. I have tried progressive lenses twice and both times it was a bad experience. I had to revert back to my lined bifocals. It may be because I have a strong prescription and my lens are quite thick. With the progressive lenses I had to keep turning my head side to side in order to read otherwise the words were out of focus. When driving I had to turn my head to see out of my mirrors. I could only focus on what was right in front of me and anything to either side was blurry. They said I had to get used to them…no way! At least with lined bifocals I know what gear I am in and my peripheral vision is all in focus. My wife has them and has no issues whatsoever but her prescription is not strong like mine. Good luck, they may work for you but they sure didn’t work for me. So they are not for everyone.

            • George, thanks for your comment. I will print this entire report out with all the comments and give it to my ophthalmologist before my next eye exam.

    • Yogi,

      That’s a good one. I cheaped out and got the single focus, but only because my doctor recommended it. She said the dual focus lenses don’t always work.

      A friend got the deals and they work fine for him. I am jealous!


      • When you said “Because these days it’s hard to find air rifles with good open sights.” you said a whole lot more than just those 13 words.

        I have been teaching my 9 year old grandson to shoot, and many of the junior sized modern offerings on the market today do not offer square black sights..

        Oh some may be square, but they then have glowing round dots in them…

        I had to retrieve an old Daisy 853 from the farthest corner of a closet, and teach him with peep sights.

        The trigger isn’t the greatest, but the sights are good.

        I hope everyone has a great weekend!


  2. BB,
    Praise the Lord for that surgeon who restored your sight!
    This report hit home for me; I’ve been shooting, while dealing with presbyopia, for 17 years now.
    Thanks to a cool eye doctor who allowed me to bring a duffle bag of open-sighted guns into his waiting room (he did close the door to the exam room before he had me take them out, though…smart move), I can now shoot open sights just fine by using a single contact in my right eye; this contact gives me back my “near vision;” and it has been carefully adjusted by the doc so that I can read, see the front sight on a pistol, and see the front sight on a rifle.
    (Thanks, doc…great job…much appreciated! =>).
    My left eye has no contact, and it gives me my “far vision.”
    As the doc said, for the first two weeks, it was a bit disconcerting; however, after a while, your brain learns a new way of integrating, and it automatically takes the right-eye input when you’re working close and the left-eye input when you are operating at a distance; the best test of this was looking at a paper copy of a presentation on the desk in front of me while having to look up periodically to see a slide the speaker had put up on a screen.
    Years later, up in Georgia with a new eye doctor, we went through the whole “guns in a bag thing” again, and she updated my prescription.
    A few weeks later, I was back in her waiting room to get my new contacts, and a patient was going off on her, saying that the whole one-contact thing was giving him headaches. I stepped in and told the guy, “Dude, I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about! I’m doing the whole one-contact near-vision far-vision thing…and I have been for a while now.”
    Him: “Really? How’s it working out for you?
    Me: “It was tough for the first two weeks; I did get headaches. But your brain will learn to integrate things. In a month, you’ll be totally fine; trust me…I’ve been dealing with this for years.”
    Him: “OK; thanks, man!”
    Then he apologized to the doctor, and left.
    She told me, “I tried to tell him what you said, but he wouldn’t listen to me.”
    Me: “I hear you; but there’s a big difference between a doctor who does not have your problem telling you about it and a guy who HAS THE EXACT SAME PROBLEM telling you about it…it’s his realization of our shared experience that drives the point home.”
    She was happy I happened by at that time, as the guy was quite irate.
    Personally, I think it was a God-wink moment…He made sure I was where I needed to be at the right time. 😉
    Yes, your report dredged up some memories.
    It also reminded me never to take our vision, or any of our other God-given attributes, for granted!
    I can shoot airguns, scoped or un-scoped; and I am thankful for that.
    Yet I also make sure to where shooting glasses (I’ve got about 5 pair of them!) to protect my eyes.
    I’m happy you are still seeing and shooting! And thank you for this important report. 🙂
    Blessings to you,

    • I’ll add an “Amen” to that.

      Dave, I am is a similar situation right now. Were you normally near-sighted or far-sighted before presbyopia settled in? I’m severely near-sighted in my right eye kleft eye too. But not as bad), as well as having astigmatism and floaters. One more challenge I have is that working at a computer all day really dries out my eyes, and so it is difficult to wear contacts at work. I hope I can get the same result as you with glasses.

      I have read your older comments on this blog on this same topic, and I think I’ll gather them up and send them to my ophthalmologist before my next appointment. Thank you.

      • Roamin Greco,
        Prior to my presbyopia, I could see both near and far with ease.
        My vision was 20/20, and I never thought much about it.
        But around age 45, I started having trouble seeing print or any close-up work.
        And I was having trouble shooting; I couldn’t focus on the front sight when shooting pistols.
        (THAT is what actually made me go to the eye doctor! =>)
        The doc did all kinds of tests, then used one of those machines you look through with 57 lenses. 🙂
        He told me I had presbyopia, and I said, “What’s that?!?” (I’d never even heard of it.)
        Doc said the lenses in my eyes were “losing their elasticity,” and it was affecting my near-vision.
        Fortunately, I had the “bag of guns” with me.
        When I told the doc about my shooting issues, and about the bag of guns to demonstrate, he locked the door;
        then he had me get out the guns and explain to him about shooting with iron sights.
        (Really cool, doc, huh?)
        He was quite intrigued; especially when I told him my idea of painting the front sights the green/yellow color.
        Doc said that was a good color for school signs because your eye can DETECT it very well.
        However, it cannot FOCUS on it well at all.
        Then he got excited, started picking up pistols (unloaded and checked) and focusing on “targets.”
        He had me hold pistols, and measured the average distance from my eye to the front sight.
        His thoroughness led to me getting a prescription that allows me to shoot with iron sights…yay!
        I am also able to use my right (contact lens) eye to shoot through a scope.
        My hope is that your eye doc is willing to carefully listen to what you have to say.
        At the end of the day, my guy was like, “We both learned something today!…cool.” 🙂
        Blessings to you,

  3. BB
    I think I figured out why I can’t use a peep sight. My trifocals simply can’t focus on something that close and the result is similar to a bit of lint inside the opening making it all blurry. Same with glasses off.
    I was 62 in 2009 and just finished the morning service check on the Boeing 767 after it landed. I sat down and took a rest closing my eyes, best I can remember, and when I opened them again, I had three big gray spots dead center blocking my vision in my right eye. I freaked out and moved my head to look around them. A natural reaction I guess, but they remained exactly in the same place. About a quarter of my vision was gone in that eye. I could not see through them.
    Was I going to lose my job? After an hour or so of shear panic mode it began to fade away.
    Best I can figure the 7 or 8 cups of coffee I had raised my BP enough to rupture some tiny blood vessels in my eye. Needless to say, I was overjoyed that God had answered my prayer.

    • Bob M,

      I for one am thankful your sight returned.

      As for the peep, forget the rear peep. Do not even attempt to focus on it. Focus on the front sight. Your mind will automatically center your eye in the rear peep. You just look through the rear peep, focus on the front sight and place it on your target.

      • RR, I just tried that, and it actually did make the front sight clear. However there remained a fuzzy spot, that is not actually there, suspended in the center of the hole and it actually blurs out the thin front sight on the M3 when I center it. Very odd, like some sort of optical illusion.
        I’m sure there is some technical term for it. Like Screwdupeyes.

        • If you have a blurry spot in the center of your vision, get your eyes checked. You may have macular degeneration. Look up at a clear part of the blue sky or a uniformly cloudy sky, or a brightly lit ceiling. If you see little shadows moving around, you may have floaters. If one of those floaters is centered in your eye it could also blur your center vision. You may not notice it in everyday life because the image from the other eye may fill in the blanks.

          It may feel weird, but try this experiment, close your shooting eye and shoulder the rifle to your off shoulder and look through the peep sight with your other eye. Still see the blur?

          I think of a peep sight as a knothole in a fence. When you look through that hole, you don’t focus on the fence, but on the scene on the other side. The peep sight should be a blurry ring in your peripheral vision.

    • Bob,

      I’m no ophthamologist, but I have read thousands of pages on retinal disorders over the past two + years. What you discribe sounds very much like temporary macular edema, specifically a transient (temporary) blockage in one of the blood vessels in the macula, which is a circular dip in the center of the retina where our central vision is “collected.” A tiny clot likely got wedged in its tiny blood vessel directly behind the macula. Very quickly fluid, mostly blood, of course, built up and created a “bump” in that circular dip. That dip caused those gray blotches. Then, after a while, the clot resolved itself by dissolving partly and moving on, the fluid drained away and the “bump” went away.

      If instead you had suffered tiny blood vessels rupturing, I imagine you would have had a more permanent issue.

      Did your vision resemble one or more of the images below?


  4. Almost forgot about it, I finally have a Zoraki HP 01-2 Ultra .177 Cal Black Multi-Pump Pneumatic Air Pistol (AKA Webley Ultra) in the mail.
    Noticed on their website, they are out of stock again but taking pre-orders again. Maxsell Corporation, FL.
    Must have a set number of orders required before they can place an order for them?

  5. BB,

    Thanks for that insight about sight, pardon the pun.

    I shoot open sights all the time when I shoot with the old gals here at RRHFWA. I would have to do some serious modifications to these airguns to mount scopes on them. Fortunately, they have sights that dreams are made of. Personally, I do not care for those squared up, blocky sights that are on modern guns (both air and pb) that BB likes or those close range, quick shot, glowy thingy sights. I much prefer the front perlkorn with a rear V sight.

    I also like peep sights. I never really thought of it at the time, but that is why I liked shooting the old military rifles and really hated parting with my Edge. When I put the peep sights on his HW30S, my grandson went from an OK shooter to an expert almost instantly. This is why they put them on military rifles. This is why they use them on ten-meter air rifles. They did not used to. My 1906 BSA is a ten-yard competition air rifle. It has real nice perlkorn sights. My Webley Mark 2 Service air rifle (early 30’s) has a flip up rear peep. Its “standard” sights are those squared, blocky things.

    The squared up, blocky sights came about because of the ease of manufacture. We have learned to use them because that is about all you can get these days. That and glowy, thingys. (shudder)

    • RR,

      My vote is also for open sights and peeps. 15 years into airgunning, I have yet to mount my first optic.

      I enjoy shooting the military style rifles. For me, iron sights are the only authentic option. They also have the virtue of building good habits in shouldering the rifle consistently.

      I added a peep to my “go-to” rat-dispatching air rifle… perhaps 5 years ago. I love it. Your descriptions for acquiring a sight picture are right on. I think more people should try peeps. Somehow, they just feel more satisfying.


      • SR,

        Thanks for your input here. What so many forget is that most sproingers are only truly accurate (groups smaller than one inch) to about twenty-five yards. Most of us can easily make out a squirrel’s head at that range.

        IMMHO, the main issue these days with sproingers are the lousy sights they put on them. Yes, decent “iron” sights are expensive. So are decent optics. In general, you get what you pay for.

        Most PCPs these days do not even bother with open sights. With those things, you will need to invest in some optics. I have some very nice scopes for my PCPs.

        From my point of view, how much of a scope do you need. For me, I live in an area that is very “hilly” and heavily wooded. A “long” shot for me is one hundred yards. For me to set up my shooting range, I had to pick my range location very carefully and still had to clear out some stuff. Large, powerful optics is not what I want. When I first shot my .357 HM1000X, I had mounted a Hawke 2-7X32 AO IR on top of it. With that setup I was able to put five shots in a one-inch group at one hundred yards.

  6. About glasses.
    If you need them for near and far, progressives are the only way to go.
    Get light weight plastic lenses with thin metal frame, no glass, too heavy. The first pair I had made me feel like I was walking a foot above the ground. That will clear up in no time and I never experienced it again after many pairs.
    Your brain will adapt to them and in no time at all you be moving your head slightly up or down without even thinking about it to get the best focus. But if they are done just right you will not even notice it. Speaking of which, when you get fitted for them, they mark the lenses to locate the center of your eye before they grind them. They ‘should ask you’, Do you read a lot or do a lot of close-up work? If so, they will devote more space to the reading section.

    The best setup for me is to have the grind keep all three focal points relatively close for almost no head movement. You can always raise or lower them on your nose for a prolonged period of focus on one or the other but for the most part everything is in focus for normal behavior by just moving your eyes a little. Not too far or too close.
    I believe they all have it down pat by now unless you ask for a special grind.

    Transitions into sunglasses are great also. Not so pretty good while driving. You are not in the sun. I got some clip-on shades with mine for that. They came with the glasses. they spread apart and clip on the sides. Avoid the heavy ones with spring pads on top if you can. they will constantly pull down on your glasses.

    Too much eye strain from computers and TV? Get clip-on Blue Blockers. Things will look a bit orange, but your eyes will enjoy them.
    That protective film they try to sell you starts to come off over the years. No big deal just looks bad.
    Above all, really try not to scratch them and always use the Lense Cleaner cloth.
    Oh yea, don’t put them in your back pocket and sit on them! Not that I ever, you know, would ever do something like that. Not me, oh no. 🙂

    • Thanks, Bob. That’s three votes. I’m sure there are folks that detest progressives, but with three endorsements from shooters, that’s enough for me to give them a try.

      • I was in a hospital for a minor surgery and while staying overnight I had trouble to read the book I had with me. When I told the night shift doctor that there was a problem with my vision because of the anesthetics he replied very seriously; you have a problem indeed, it’s called presbyopia… I was 40 years old with myopia since 10 and very different degrees for each eye! Fortunately I tried progressives, the best I could afford, and after a very small period I adapted to using them perfectly. I am 61 now and still prefer them against any other solutions.
        Tips (already mentioned or not):
        1.Best quality you can afford!
        2.Not very small even if they make you look better. You don’t have small screen TV sets when you can, do you?
        3.Light weight but I would suggest not the bare lenses models. After using them a lot they usually become loose with play between the different parts. You can find models with open lower part where the lens is kept tight with a very very thin synthetic string.
        4. Did I mention quality? If yes it usually doesn’t come cheap but it pays off.
        If you adapt to progressives you will have very little trouble using different types of sight proficiently.

        • Thank you, Bill. Perhaps we should all apply to be spokespersons for a progressive lens grinding company. I could use a side hustle to support my airgun addiction….

          • You are most welcome. It goes without saying that if you finally decide to go with progressives I will be here to provide any assistance according to my experience. Have a nice weekend.

  7. Tom,

    Coincidentally, I had my monthly injection of EYLEA into my right eyeball two days ago. (I will forever be blind in that eye because the macular edema caused tissue death in the retina.) But my ophthalmologist says the eye has almost stabilized, and for the time being I will not need to have it removed as long as I keep getting the monthly injections.

    Of course, for over two years now I have been concerned that I might develop macular edema in my left eye, which would render me blind. It is quite common for people who suffered macular edema in one eye to later develop it in the other. In fact, I am many times more likely to develop the problem in my left eye because I had it in my right.

    I am now “seeing” that the end of my air-gunning is coming quickly. As a result, I have been commenting much less often on the blog here, and I have shot an air gun only twice so far this year. Perhaps I could benefit from using a scope for the backyard plinking I do at 10 or so yards. As my “good” eye is aging quickly, I cannot see the target, the front sight, or very clearly, even the rear sight. Might that help to extend my ability to shoot a few months?


    • Michael,

      I’m not a doctor, so I can’t say anything with certainty, but if I were in your situation I would do whatever I could to shoot.


      • Tom,

        My condition is not rare. There has been about all that can be done for my right eye. No procedure or medicine can bring back any vision as long dead tissue, the macula portion of the retina, can’t be brought back to life. The best that can be done is to work to prevent problems with my left eye.

        Back to using a scope at almost point-blank distances, I do have a Bug Buster adjustable down to 3 yards parallax and 3X. I could pick my one favorite plinking air rifle :^) and put it on that.

        My usual suspects for plinking are my Air Venturi Bronco, Diana 27 / Winchester 427 (“The Gaylord”), Diana 24D, Diana 25D, BSA Mercury, or Weihrauch HW30s. Working against the 27 / 427 is that it’s in .22, which is more pricey ammo. The Bronco, the 24D and the 25D practically cock themselves. Hmmm. I guess I could test each for basic accuracy at 20 feet, which I can still handle, and the most accurate rifle gets the scope. (My FWB 300s would fit the bill, but at 10 or so pounds . . . .)


        • Michael, I’m truly sorry to hear about your vision

          This reminds me of Yogi’s recent comment about shooting with his eyes closed just to enjoy the shot cycle. Which gun, if there is one, do you simply enjoy shooting the most? For me, the HW30S with its finely adjustable trigger and super smooth, nearly silent cocking, would get the nod, or a rifle that I had refurbished or tuned myself for the nostalgia factor.

          I have a crazy idea for you. The background of this idea is this: I set up a shooting gallery once with different-sized copper cow bells. The idea was as my accuracy improved, my son and I would shoot at progressively smaller targets and the bells would provide the instant feedback. My idea is instead of plinking at popcans, you could hang a bell with something attached to the clapper that might move in the breeze to make the bell make noise. As your vision degrades, your other senses, especially your hearing will become more acute. Perhaps you could develop the muscle memory to zero in on the sound of the bell tinkling in the breeze and really ring it when you connect with a pellet. You just may become very proficient at offhand shooting this way. Crazy, but worth a shot to keep shooting? Perhaps pistols would be better as a natural extension of your arm?

          • Roamin’,

            Your suggestion isn’t crazy sounding at all to me! I am completely open to ideas about the power of the subconscious and the skills our brains develop as “work-arounds” of our deficits.

            Unfortunately, I have lost probably 3/4 of my hearing in one ear and half of it in the other. That is from playing guitar too loudly when I was younger as well as listening to Black Sabbath Vol. 4 at high volume during my ill-spent youth! ;^)


            • Michael, you are quite a conundrum. But I won’t give up on the idea. Perhaps we just need to find the right frequency. I am also a little hard of hearing (just ask Mrs. Greco, HA). I think it is from shooting too many powder-burners without hearing protection of any kind. However, when someone leaves the fridge door ajar, I can hear the subtle “ding” from across the house.

              Plus you never know what advancements will come in the future.

              I hope you never get to the place where I see your collection for sale.

    • Michael,

      I’m very sorry that you’re having to live with that fear. My wife had a pretty bad stroke in 2019 and that leaves her very subject to having another one someday. The first one was so disruptive to our lives that we almost can’t even consider how bad it would be after a second one, so I understand that “waiting for the next shoe to drop” dread you probably feel.

      Can I ask what are the specific problems with your “good” eye? Is the vision cloudy from cataracts or is it a focus issue. You read this blog, so if it is a focus issue, are you correcting the near vision with glasses? What is your distance vision like?

      I can tell you from my own experience that I have poor close vision and good distance vision because of corrective surgery (If they fix your near-sightedness, then you become far-sighted). If I look through my bifocals to see the front sight clearly, then the target is totally unrecognizable. I’ve found that using a 2.0 diopter drugstore reading glass gives me a good look at the front sight and I can still make out targets at 20 -25 yards with a handgun. In my case I removed the lens from my non-dominant eye. I close that eye when I shoot, so it doesn’t matter then, but after I shoot, it lets me see what I’m doing at the bench without taking the glasses off and on so much.

      If the issue with your eye IS one of focus, you might try shooting glasses that let you position a plate with a pinhole in it in front of your eye to act like the aperture adjustment on a camera. They come with plates with different sized holes in them. I think I may have even heard of ones that adjust exactly like a camera’s iris. At any rate, they are meant to increase the depth of field for your vision and that results in being able to see the rear and front sights clearly, along with the target. Just using one eye, as you would have to, would result in a dimmer image than someone that could keep their non-dominant eye open, but I’ve done it one eyed and it worked okay. You can try it at no expense by poking holes of differing sizes into black construction paper and taping the pieces to your glasses so that the hole is situated in front of your eye.

      On that note, a peep sight on a rifle would eliminate the need to focus on the rear sight, since you just gaze THROUGH it.

      Other than the reading glasses, the simplest thing to use would probably be the scope. A small inexpensive one at 4X to 9X makes all the difference in the world for me on rifles. Just make sure that it’s parallax adjustable. Winchester sells a fixed 4X with mounts for 40 bucks and, while I can’t guarantee how it will hold up on a powerful springer, they work great on CO2 and PCPs. A dot sight might work for you too, at close range.

      I hope you can find something that works for you. I’d hate to see you have to leave the hobby if it’s something you really enjoy.


      • Half,

        Thank you so very much for your extensive reply and your concern.

        “Can I ask what are the specific problems with your “good” eye? Is the vision cloudy from cataracts or is it a focus issue.”

        I have cataracts in both eyes, but of course the one in my right eye doesn’t matter. The one in my left eye is not bad enough for my doctor to recommend removal yet. I’m getting older, so focusing is a problem. I have a current prescription with progressive trifocals, but they just don’t make things clear enough.

        I have aperture sights on a number of my air rifles, and that helps, but it doesn’t help enough. I have tried those stickers with peepholes that go on your glasses for shooting, but they are a pain to use and don’t help enough.

        A number of things help slightly, but they don’t help me shoot as accurately as I would like. If I have been motivated to go out back and plink just twice so far this year, the experience must not be as fun and rewarding for me as it was when I could shoot better, before I developed vision problems.

        I’ll try using my bug buster. I have some hope that will help me. If not, I might have to put up an online auction with something like, “Air gun collection for sale, 150+ air guns for____dollars.” I’d sell them all at once or none at all, even if it came to only cents on the dollar. The last thing I’d have the will for is selling them one or two at a time.

        Thanks again for all of your concern. That means a lot to me.


        • Michael,

          Well, you made me very glad that I replied, because I didn’t know that there were stickers with the pin holes in them already. I’m too cheap to buy those,but it did give me the idea of putting pin holes in some of those little round stickers that some of us use for target centers that you can get from Staples. I tried black electrician’s tape in the past, but the holes slowly closed up.

          I bet your going to find that the scope is the answer to keepin’ ya in there.


        • Michael,
          I have a Leapers UTG 4X32 AO Mil Dot scope that is parallax adjustable down to 5 yards.
          It’s a pretty nice old scope; all it lacks is the turret covers.
          (The nice lady at Leapers sent me replacement caps TWICE;
          the second time, she said it was the last of the inventory they had…
          …hence, I just thanked her; I didn’t have the heart to tell her they didn’t fit.)
          Once I sight it in, I use a dab of Elmer’s glue to make sure I don’t “accidentally” change the settings. 🙂
          Anyway, I’ll gladly send it to you to try on one of your rifles.
          It’s just sitting on my desk; I’d rather see it get used on an air rifle.
          If you shoot me an email with your snail mail address, I’ll gladly send it out to you.
          Email: “thedavemyster” at “gmail.com”
          I just went outside and tried her at 5 yards…nice and clear. 😉
          Blessings to you,

          • Dave,

            That is a wonderful and incredibly generous offer!

            I will thank you very much for offering it to me, because I might be able to use it on one air rifle and my bug buster on another, but given that I do have a bug buster, I would feel guilty accepting it. There are no doubt more deserving and more needy air gunners whom it should go to.

            I am frankly moved by your selfless offer. There are an awful lot of wonderful, kind folks here.


            • “I might be able to use it on one air rifle and my bug buster on another…”
              Michael, yes, those were my thoughts exactly.
              And there’s no reason to feel bad; you would actually be doing me a favor…
              …my wife thinks it’s time to clean up my desk a bit! LOL 🙂
              (Seriously, except for the spot where my laptop sits, every square inch is covered! =>)
              It’s not as small as a bug buster; the camera distorts it, but it is 11-7/8″ long.
              It’s here any time you want it; I’ll put a piece of tape with your name on it…
              …to remind myself of why it’s here (like the next time I ask myself that). 😉

              • Dave,

                Again, thanks so very much. I’ll let you know either way.

                Now, MY desk is an absolute disaster area. When my wife asks where on my desk a certain something is, I have to say whether it is on the right, the left, front, or back. But I also must specify “near the surface,” “halfway down,” or “at the bottom”! You’ve heard of folks who play “three-level chess”? I play “three-level mess”!

                Thanks again,


                • “three level mess”
                  (I’ll have to remember that one; I like it! =>)
                  Michael, you are most welcome.
                  Except for the mess on my desk, I don’t collect anything.
                  Everything here at the farm get used, or goes away to someone else who can use it.
                  I had a 1968 International Cub tractor (restored by a friend) with a 42″ cutting deck.
                  Due to spine surgery, I needed something “softer on my back.
                  Hence, I now use a 50” Toro MyRide ZTR with a floating seat (comfy!).
                  The tractor is now with a woman in Florida who has a huge tractor, but also needed a smaller one to mow around the trees near her house…she’s 85 years old and still actively running a cattle ranch, God bless her! 🙂
                  Hence, the scope is now left of my laptop, on top of the mess, with your name on it. 😉
                  Blessings to you,

          • Dave,

            I thank you again for your generous offer, and I’ll accept, provided you allow me to reimburse you for the cost of shipping it to me. Please let me know: michaelo101 at yahoo dot com


  8. I think sight is one of the most important, and least protected, senses God gave us.
    Interesting that BB doesn’t like red-dots, etc. Seems like every review I read or watch on Y-T, the first thing they do is drop a scope on it that costs 2x to 4x what the gun cost.

  9. *** The target should always appear blurry. ***


    I guess that when target shooting, at a known distance, with no rush to shoot you can focus on your front sight and place it precisely relative to a blurry target.

    What do you recommend for pesting/hunting moving quarry at random distances?

    I focus on a small aim-point on my quarry and let my experience (subconscious) make the necessary compensations and break the shot.


  10. Right out of the box, my new Diana Airbug shot a 3/4 x 1-1/4″ group at 7 yards (21′). Since that, they’ve all gone to heck. The front blade is .1210″ and the rear slot is .0825. The front is therefore .0385″ (about 1/32) larger than the rear slot. That makes it hard to get that perfect “sight picture”. Yes, I know that the front will appear smaller based on all them angles (BB can do the math, I’ve got to get back to work)… but it is still larger than the rear slot at my arms length (32″). Also, I’m getting about .015 to .020″ of free play (windage) in the rear sight. Then, to add to that everything is black. The sights are black that dot on the wall over there is black. I think the stock sights need a bit of engineering, but now I need to know how to improve my.. sight picture? Reading glasses and a silver sharpie help, but…

    • The way to deal with a front blade that is bigger than the rear sight notch/opening is to either widen the rear sight opening or file down the sides of the front sight to make it narrower. The way to use black sights to shoot at a black bullseye is the “six o’clock hold.” You put your sights so the bottom edge of the bullseye is sitting on top of the top edge of your sights or just above with a consistent bit of light in between.

      If it were my gun and I would be shooting targets at a set distance (I can get 10 yards in the unfinished part of my basement), I would first get the front sight to appear as wide as a 10 meter air rifle target at that distance, then open up the rear sight to get just a bit of light on either side of the front sight. A pistol target is bigger, but the width of a rifle target seems like a good width. The rifle target is just under one and a quarter inches.

      From the six o’ clock hold, you adjust the sights so the pellets hit to the center of the bullseye even though you are aiming at the bottom edge of it. Here’s a quick sketch. Note the space between the sides of the front sight and the sides of the rear sight notch and the optional space between the bottom of the bull and the top of the front sight blade.

      If this is stuff you already knew, sorry. I just want to pass along the things I had to learn along the way.

    • Also, a new airgun often needs a break in period of 500 to 1000 pellets, and may also need a thorough cleaning to get the best accurracy. Stable sights help too.

      • Stable sights: I’ll have to figure out some way of eliminating that .015-.020 lash I mentioned. “a thorough cleaning”… how thorough is thorough? I have a 22 pistol I can take everything apart and not worry. I’ve never had an air pistol apart. Do I take everything apart till I get scared? Are there instructions somewhere? I’ve had engines and carburetors apart.. but I’m afraid to break the “This Will Void Your Warranty” sticker… :-]

  11. Wow! What a hits-too-close-to-home writeup; quite insightful and pardon that pun. FM was nearsighted from age 10 or so…aforesaid condition discovered by the very skilled pediatrician who took good care of the FM Family Kids. Little FM had been trying to hide his blurry vision from the Parental Powers because he did not want to join the 4-Eyes Club so early. But, he got ratted out…an optometrist confirmed the sad fact.

    Fortunately, good optometrists throughout the years helped keep things in excellent focus. From the ‘teens thru his 50s, FM was not a bad shot with fixed sights, 99% of the shooting done with firearms. Then started noticing vision thru the left eye always seemed a little more blurry and unfocused than with the right one; started calling the left eye the “Bad One.” However, prescription lenses always worked well enough to compensate and equalize vision between both “headlights.”

    Then in 12/17, retinal detachment, left eye. And now, FM’s cautionary tale, for your benefit. There was a little bit of vision in the upper right quadrant, but the rest of the vision field was blacked out. Then FM decided to keep quiet and not alarm the Mrs., hoping somehow “this will go away.” Went online to research the symptoms and came up with likely retinal detachment. Being the stubborn dumba** FM is, he thought “maybe if I let it rest overnight the sight will come back.” Yeah, right. Finally, next day ‘fessed up to Mrs. who very diplomatically suggested her Worser Half call his eye doctor – who hooked him up with another one on duty and who sure enough diagnosed a detached retina. In this case, surgery to reattach using a scleral buckle and the good old gas bubble. Later, after everything had healed, had cataract surgery in the same eye.

    While a lot of vision came back, there was some damage to the retina and optic nerve because there is some, albeit slight, distorsion of central vision and some loss of depth perception, which has made fixed-sight shooting definitely challenging for dumba** FM. But the fun is in the challenge of achieving half-inch groups at 25 yards and he is happy enough when that happens.

    And if any of you ever experience a retinal detachment, DON’T WAIT TO GET IT TREATED. FM is fortunate things turned out as well as they did with that incident. Take care of your eyes, the most valuable of our sense organs. IMO.

    • FM,

      I am very happy, extremely happy, you were able to save much of your vision. A detached retina is a difficult fix, even for the very best ophthalmic surgeons. And you are absolutely correct about getting any abrupt change in your vision checked immediately. I waited a couple weeks to get my first ELEA injection, and by then tissue death had already occurred. If I had gotten the injection right away, it might have made all the difference.


  12. B.B. and Readership,

    Great topic Tom and truly important for Plinkers to Shooting Sport Competitors as well as Professionals!

    I’m in the middle of getting eye work done over the past 8 months by the Ophthalmology Department at WRNMMC (Walter Reed) so far they did Cataracts surgery on my left eye and are debating what to do with my right eye; which is correctable to 20/20 or better but has a small mount of Cataract. For the left eye on their recommendation i had a newly released platform installed on my left eye by Johnson & Johnson Vision: TECNIS Eyhance™ https://www.jnjvisionpro.com/products/tecnis-eyhance
    I have a HITT Workout shortly so until later here is some more interesting reading on eyes, shooting, and eye doctors:


    • Good tip above on keeping your old glasses. An “obsolete” pair of glasses may be perfect for a certain type of shooting as the eyes change over time.


    • shootski,

      D’ya know how cataracts used to be treated as recently as the late 19th Century? The doctor, without medicating the patient topically or generally, would take a rather large gauge needle and stick it into the eye. Then he would catch an edge of the cataract, pull it a bit to the side so it wasn’t directly behind the crystalline lens of the pupil, and then he would push it to one far side or another of the retina (away from the macula, which is in the center) in the back of the orb.

      The procedure had to be even more excruciating than the one I go through once a month. If I were to have that one done, I would insist on being completely immoblized onto a procedure table by leather belts and have a bite guard placed into my mouth so that I could not break any teeth.

      As it is, my ophthomologist braces my eye open with one of those contraptions Malcom McDowell had in his eyes in “A Clockwork Orange.” It is EXACTLY like it. Next time I should ask him or his assistant to take a picture of me like that.


      • Michael,

        I had the Cataract surgery done on my left eye with only topical anesthetic. I will say that i am a S.E.R.E. School graduate back in the early old days regime which no doubt helps me. Walter Reed did have an Anesthesiologist in the OR on standby. He and i talked throughout the procedure and he was never needed to provide a dose of courage for the patient.
        I will say i hope you did some research into the amazing regenerative work being done in various experiments and for you i wish that you are able to get into a Trial or your eye(s) hang on long enough for it to become normal a treatment.
        I am however concerned in the tone of your writing today that could/might instil fear in folks in need for a sight saving surgery or procedure.
        It can be tolerated with the help of anesthesia and amnesia inducing meds if needed and not just being put totally under.

        Once again i pray and hope the progress on the regenerative research is quick enough to help your specific case!


        PS: is the Rumble Roller doing the trick for your myofascial release?

        • shootski,

          Sorry for the delay, but I had to look up myofascial!

          Yes, it has helped the uncomfortable sensations that begin at my sacrum and go down my legs. I have to remember to use it right before bed, as it effectively treats/prevents the symptoms. It hasn’t stopped the problem from happening as in a cure, but as long as it treats the symptoms, that’s good enough for me.


          • Michael,

            Thank you for the reply.
            With continued regular use it may in fact improve the condition of the tissue enough that you will be using the RumbleRoller for maintenance as opposed to treating the symptoms.
            When next you see your Orthopedist ask him if your issue might not be caused by a potential stenosis (spinal cord/nerve pinch in a lower vertebra) to avoid a more serious condition.


      • That technique was known as “couching” in ancient times. Unfortunately, before the invention of vision-correcting lenses, the patient was left able to see only light/dark/colors and basic shapes, but without the cloudiness. FM is thankful to exist in modern times, crazy as the times may be.

  13. I feel fortunate to be able to enjoy shooting with open sights and peep sights because I’m 84, have astigmatism and epiretinal membrane. At 25 yards scopes let me see POI on targets and improve my group sizes when light conditions are iffy. So just for the enjoyment I switch to and from optics on most of my guns except for those that are exceptionally dialed in with a scope. After reading this report and a recent one on scopes I am going to see how I do without my prescription glasses using a scope. I’ll readjust a scope’s reticle and parallax to my naked eye. The purpose is to find out if reticle wiggle is diminished or not.

    I didn’t mention dot sights. While I have several I use them less often because moving clouds disrupt the intensity needed and some demand I attach a glasses peep to sharpen the dot focus. Being a paper shooter quick acquisition of target is not important.

    Should be a good weekend report.


  14. BB,
    Sometimes I wonder why you do accuracy test with open sights when you know 90% of your readers will only use a scope. But, I think I know the answer, and I believe it is very important to the blog. To write a GOOD blog every day you need to write about what interests YOU. So, when I see you going down rabbit holes that sometimes don’t interest me I smile and know it may be recharging old BB’s batteries.

    David Enoch

  15. I have a Diana 52 that needs at least a new mainspring. I called Pyramyd AIR to arrange repair but they said they don’t work on Diana air guns. However, the web site notes that they do. Do you know what is going on here? They resealed a FWB 124 in the past with no problems.



    • Mike,

      Think about getting a Titan mainspring!
      I just put one in my HW 50 and my 5 shot crony results were, 847, 847, 847, 844, 847.
      Plus, they are supposed to age better, unlike our eyes.


  16. Tom, I woke up one morning last October, and there was a dark semicircular occlusion in the lower quadrant of my right (dominant) eye. As you were given such vital help, my neighbor up here is an ophthalmologist who has a vacation home on our ridge, and works in Columbia, SC, about 2.5 hours away. I texted Bill, and he immediately called me back and asked a few questions. He told me I needed to get this looked at ASAP, and said he would refer me to a place in Greenville, or I could come to Columbia. In about three hours, I was in his clinic, and heard Bill had arranged to have their retinal specialist stay at the clinic that afternoon (he had been scheduled to go to another clinic) to see me. My surgery, done that afternoon, was like yours. They drain the fluid out of the eyeball, pump in gas to keep the retina in place, and use a laser to stitch it back. Bill took me back to his home that evening, and I stayed there for two nights to be checked before I could go home. I believe this type of surgery avoids the days of laying flat on your stomach and not moving that some methods require. A few months later, as he had warned me, the incipient cataract in the lens of that eye got a lot worse, and I went back to have a lens replacement done. Today, my sight in that eye is nearly as good as in my younger days (20:15 uncorrected years ago, now 20:20). Bill tried to explain some of the procedures and options, and I was just happy to tell him that his recommendation was my choice. I thank God for his expertise and kindness. You can get lens replacements that “accommodate” which can alleviate the need for reading glasses, but I did not get those, although they do measure the shape of your eye and retinal position to get the optimal fixed lens selection. I still need readers, and I use glasses with progressive diopter up to 2.5. This all took months, but I can sight a gun as well as before.

    I recently bought some Foster Grant “design optics” “readers” from Costco that have progressive diopters, too. They are great for shooting, as tilting your head slightly adjusts the magnification to allow you to see very close, out to armlength or so, and then just through clear glass for distance. They are much better than the typical drugstore readers, with coated lenses. I wish I had seen this particular product a lot sooner, as they work almost as well as my prescription glasses. Looks like they are available on Amazon, Walmart, etc.

  17. For some reason every night I stay up till 3 or so in the morning I get this urge to pretend I’m dead for 7 or 8 hours and have to abandon the blog.
    I was beginning to get worried about all the possibilities that were mentioned in connection with my fuzzy Peep Sight situation. However, I recalled the eye doc telling me that I had cataracts but that it was not affecting my vision yet. Perhaps in this situation it does. Aside from the occasional Floaters, I really have no vision problems that glasses can’t correct. Does knocking on pressed wood work as well?

    Just remembered there was/is? a sighting system App that uses a phone mounted to the rifle. Need to look it up. May be the answer to some vision problems.

    FOUND IT. Inteliscope.

    May have been updated for night vision also. On YouTube and many locations.
    Not sure how a phone will hold up to a Magmun springer?

  18. If you want shooting glasses done correctly you need to talk to Neal Stepp at International Shooting Sports in Fort Worth, TX. He is a guru on the subject. If you live anywhere close to Ft. Worth go visit him. He will set you up.

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