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1885 Low Wall coming
March 16, 2021
1:02 pm
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Bert H. said

Winchester apparently did not agree with Mr. Lyman either, as they routinely installed tang sights on Single Shot rifles with a standard barrel mounted sight.  I own three such rifles that letter with a tang sight and have a factory installed open sight.  

Proves nothing, since the rear sight was standard, & leaving it off would have required special instructions to that effect from the customer, even when a tang sight was special ordered.  Any deveation from standard assembly procedure slowed production, so without special instructions, why would it be done?  On top of that, would the customer have been refunded the value of the sight if it was omitted?  My understanding is that he would not, leaving no reason for the customer to ask for its removal.  As you know, omitting the slot for the rear sight was an extra cost option, so the customer who requested it would be paying extra for “nothing.”

Lyman made the study of rifle sights & the best way to use them his life’s work, in fact, his personal obsession, & wrote voluminously about the subject in the shooting periodicals of his time.  Whose opinion, then, would you value most highly, Lyman’s, or anonymous factory assemblers?

March 16, 2021
1:24 pm
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I have probably not looked at single shots as long as some of you, only since the 1980s.  About 1984 I found Grant’s “Single Shot Rifles” and was hooked.  What I’ve noticed is most non-target rifles retained their barrel sight, if a tang was installed.  When I went to gun shows and did my reading, lever actions, Low Walls, .22 pumps, small frame Stevens single shots, and others had both rear sights.  My assumption was that the barrel sight was what most buyers knew about.  Later, or even when buying, they decided to add that “new fangled” tang sight for more accuracy.  I’d guess about 20% had no barrel sight. 

None of my fathers, grandfathers or uncles hunting rifles on both sides of the family had just a tang sight.  The few that had tang sights were considered remarkable, and all kept the barrel sight on.  The tang sight was said to be “for long range.”

The actual guns bought for TARGET use sometimes, but not always had it’s rear sight dovetail filled with a wedge.  I’d guess above 50% were like this, of heavy barrel High Walls, Ballards, Maynards, and high end Stevens 44 1/2 models.  

I think Clarence is talking about what the sight manufactures (Lyman) and top schuetzen rifle shooters (Pope, etc) recommended.  Remove the obscuring barrel sight.  

What I’m talking about is what millions of regular American hunters and casual shooters did.  Kept both sights for different ranges.  

March 16, 2021
1:31 pm
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Bert H. said

Winchester apparently did not agree with Mr. Lyman either, as they routinely installed tang sights on Single Shot rifles with a standard barrel mounted sight.  I own three such rifles that letter with a tang sight and have a factory installed open sight.  

I agree, more that I’ve seen kept the barrel sight on when a tang sight was installed, whether by factory or after purchase.  If you search Low Walls especially, more have the barrel sight  than having it’s slot filled.  Was this “not factory?”  Who cares.  It’s for usefulness, many didn’t trust using a peep for snap shooting (hunting) and kept it just for long range.  

March 16, 2021
3:11 pm
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AZshot said

 It’s for usefulness, many didn’t trust using a peep for snap shooting (hunting) and kept it just for long range.    

Here’s something the “Dean of Riflemen,” Townsend Whelen, had to say about snap shooting (which, by the way, he excelled at doing):

“The open rear sight is supposed to be best for quick snap shooting & rapid fire.  Actually, this is the form of shooting in which they show up worst.  In the excitement, he does not draw the front sight down enough to align it properly in the notch of the rear sight….Also, the alignment of the two sights & the target is greatly affected by the light on the two sights, & particularly by the direction in which light shines on the sights…”  This statement appears on p. 290 of “The Best of T.W.,” but he said the same in many of his other books. 

Whelen wrote the Army’s official manual for training recruits in rifle shooting, coached Army rifle teams, was a top competitor himself.

But what about the most demanding form of snap shooting–close range combat, as in jungle warfare?  What kind of sight do you find on modern military rifles, beginning with the M1?  Did John Garand get it wrong?

March 16, 2021
3:59 pm
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My 2 cents worth.  I have found each application has it’s use.  I have learned to use the standard rear sight for close targets and quick shots.  Especially shooting 22 pumps.  For me, it took awhile to use the the tang sight in conjunction with the barrel sight.  I found it keeps me from canting the rifle and I learned that it helped in judging longer shot hold over.  If I am only shooting targets, the barrel sight becomes useless and blocks a clear view of the bullseye.  I also found that hunting with the peep only, like the #38 Lyman on my ’86, I had a better sight picture with the larger aperture allowing in more light and rear sight folded flat.  To each his own, everyone has his own niche.  RDB

March 16, 2021
7:50 pm
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AZshot said
I’d be willing to wager I can outshoot you, using the same sights and same rifle!

Back to MY rifle and what I will do to it.  I am hoping I can just lift the rear of the buckhorn and slide out the elevator, and not have to tap out the entire sight to correct this.  If I do have to temporarily remove it, I’ll be putting it back in.  I have a Pre-A Win 52 that someone removed it’s ladder rear sight at some point – I hate it when original parts get lost off a gun when someone decided it can be “made better”.  I won’t do that with vintage guns.   

And if you did, would that prove that the optical principals of Lyman, Whelen, Crossman, & every other shooting authority who has examined the issue were wrong?  It would prove that your eyesight was superior to mine, & breath control, muscle co-ordination, etc.  It’s an argument unworthy of you.

I do agree about the risk of removing original parts, which is that they may accidentally become “lost.”  In fact I recently had to buy both front & rear sights for a 52 I bought without them, total cost $350. 

Changing the elevator to its correct position can be done in a fraction of a second without removing the sight.

March 17, 2021
1:35 am
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AZshot said
 What IS your hypothesis that makes you keep saying I must remove the barrel sight of my collectible Low wall if I install a tang? 

That’s something I never said–that you “must” do anything; so please don’t put words in my mouth.  Did I say the best authorities, inc. the man who invented the sight, believed it was advisable for best results?  Yes, because I (mistakenly) assumed you’d be be interested in hearing the views of the inventor himself; sorry, my error. 

I’ve hunted extensively at dusk or in low-light conditions with aperture sights & never been unable to see my target while there was light enough to see my ivory or brass front sight.  If you can’t, it probably means the aperture is too small, as it usually is on target sights, if that’s what you had on the Sharps.  Being able to shoot under low-light conditions was one of the advantages Lyman claimed for his sight, not that you’re interested in “ancient history.” 

March 17, 2021
2:24 am
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Strictly my preference but I prefer a tang sight that can be used with a barrel mounted sight. My 1885 was shipped with both and they work well together. No idea what they were thinking with that front sight, tho. Presbyopia keeps me from shooting well with a barrel mounted sight but I do it now and then. My favorite “shooters” have tang or receiver sights. I simply don’t see the front sight well unless I use an aperture. Size of the aperture has a big influence on speed and accuracy. The small apertures of target sights used at longer distances under ideal lighting conditions with generous time constraints have little in common with the large “ghost ring” apertures used for quick, close range shots under varied lighting conditions other than being round and mounted closer to the eye. 

I’m torn on hunting use but it’s become a moot point as I’m a guest on a S TX lease and using my vintage rifles and cast bullets has caused a bit of friction. 

 

Mike

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