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Are tang peeps the best iron sight for hunting and shooting?
January 30, 2017
11:11 pm
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I have a beautiful, leather-bound copy of John Taylor’s African Rifles and Cartridges. Taylor was a professional hunter in Africa during the early to mid 1900’s and took an amazing amount of game of all types. He has a chapter in his book, ‘Sights, Sighting and Trajectories’ in which he discusses the merits of different kinds of sights. I have become a big fan of tang sights and have them on all my old Winchesters for shooting and hunting. I was surprised when I read Taylor’s opinion of tang sights. He wrote …

Men out here (and in many other places) have a notion that these are only suitable for target work. But the peep-sight is by far the best and quickest of all iron backlights for use in open country. Use the largest possible aperture and have the sight mounted as close to the eye as you safely can.

A few paragraphs later he writes …

Those who haven’t used the peep-sight may think that I make too much song and dance about it, and that it’s really not worth the trouble of having it mounted on doubles, particularly if it can’t be carried ready for instant use. Let me assure you it is well worth it.

January 30, 2017
11:43 pm
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Though I can’t shoot with anything else, I don’t shoot elephant rifles, so I’m surprised by his recommendation, especially because I think of this as close range shooting.  He does say they should be mounted as close to the eye as they safely can. When Wm. Lyman began marketing his first tang sight in the late 1870s, there were letters published in Forest & Stream which questioned the safety of them because of their proximity to the eye; this concern was soon proved groundless, of course.

January 31, 2017
3:14 am
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Yes, he says quite a bit more about tang sights in this chapter, and he allows that if a person is shooting prone, a tang sight can be tricky, but in all his years of actual hunting in the field, he only shot prone twice, and then goes on to recount those two events.

January 31, 2017
4:02 pm
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Some one had recommended African Rifles and Cartridges to me once and I guess I forgot about it.  Thanks for mentioning it.  I think I’ll have to read that one. 

We all grew up using some type of rear aperture sight in our family, either tang or receiver.  It was not about long range either, as there are virtually no opportunities for that in most of the areas we hunted.  Any disc or insert was always removed, just like Taylor recommends in the quote you posted about using the largest possible aperture.  Definitely no buckhorn type of rear sight left on the barrel.  Rear sights that were somewhat flat or could be folded down were OK.   I fool around with leaving the regular buckhorn sights on the barrel for target shooting, but I don’t think they have been very helpful in low light in combination with an aperture sight, at least from my experience trying it in the woods.  Front sight hoods got removed also.  I can see where the sun can give trouble with shooting away from the light, but I believe you want the light on the front bead in the woods or in low light conditions.  The bead was usually the smallest gold bead, and that is what I also try to use today whenever possible.  

Before my time there were a lot of snowshoe hare around, and they made good practice at small, running targets in brushy conditions.  I still do hunt them that way (actually what was for dinner last night.)  A deer can be a giant target in comparison.  The rear aperture sight allows you to just put the front bead on whatever you want to hit without thinking about a rear sight.  It’s very simple and fast.  

From this rifle season – everything has an aperture sight:

DSCN2380.jpgImage Enlarger

You guys mentioned the eyeball thing.  There is a story that comes up in Elmer Keith and Jack O’Connor books about a lady getting a tang sight in the eye shooting up hill with a rifle so equipped.   There are actually a surprising number of Model 1895s with Marble tang sights however, either the standard or special base type.  You can also see them in old b&w images.  I would guess those are one example of a tang sight that could get pretty close to the eye.  

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Brad Dunbar

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January 31, 2017
5:23 pm
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Folks,

  One point that I have become all too familiar with is OLD EYES!  Generally, my ability to see well enough to use the older, barrel mounted vee type sights is long gone.  An aperture, just about any aperture, sharpens the vision sufficiently to still be able to use iron sights for at least my silhouette shooting.  This is not automatic as there is at least one member of our gun club, slightly older than I am, who shoots old military firearms with their original barrel mounted vee sights and does well with them.  I can get by on a bright day (which makes the pupil smaller) but not cloudy days, when the front sight is a blur as well as the rear sight (which usually used to be slightly blurred).  Thus I shoot the M-1 Garand reasonably well as it has an aperture rear sight.  I also shoot my 1886 in .33 WCF with an aperture on the receiver (it was already drilled and tapped, not my doing!), a rolling block, etc.  I would feel very comfortable using any aperture equipped rifle in the field or on the battle field as well!  To me, they are more ‘natural’ than a vee sight, but for sure they sharpen the image of the front sight when it is on whatever the target may be.

Tim

February 1, 2017
3:50 am
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Brad Dunbar said Any disc or insert was always removed, just like Taylor recommends in the quote you posted about using the largest possible aperture.b&w images.  I would guess those are one example of a tang sight that could get pretty close to the eye.    

This is what Wm. Lyman ALWAYS advised, in the early days of his advertising and promoting his first No. 1 tang sight.  However, many shooters just wouldn’t listen to him, asked for a sight that would accept a disk, and after about 20 yrs, he acquiesced by giving them the No. 2 model with a disk.

February 1, 2017
5:24 pm
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Phil Sharpe on open iron sights and peep iron sights associated with hunting and snap shooting, circa 1938:
 
“This author believes that these open sights are the most impractical of sights in use today.
 
While the open sight on the barrel is by no means as excellent as a modern peep variety it does have a few good points. In the hands of the experienced shooter or the trick shooter, who makes his shots on running game, the open sight performs nicely.  Shooting of this nature is frequently a case of ‘pointing’ the rifle rather than actual aiming, particularly where it frequently means but very short range. (At this point he discusses various distances of closer than 25 feet to about 95 yards.)
 
The chief objection of the inexperienced man to the peep sight is that he finds it difficult to locate the center of the aperture.  He has been told to use a very large aperture and usually eliminates the disc or eyecup attached to the sight and designed for target purposes.  He claims that he cannot see his rear sight and that it takes a long time to get the front sight in the center of the bead.  Make this simple demonstration as you read at this point.
 
Form the thumb and first finger of one hand into a circle.  Look at an object across the room, preferably something quite small.  Then look at the ring you have formed with the finger and thumb, hold it up in front of your face, and try to get your small target in the exact center of that ring.  See how slow the process is.
 
Now lower the hand down and try again, this time look at the object and not the hand.  Hold that ring up in front of your eye with the gaze concentrated on the distant object.  You will discover very quickly that you are looking through the ring not at it.  Shorten the focus of your gaze to concentrate on the hands and you will find that you have your ‘target’ in the exact center of the ring of the peep.
 
In other words, the eye does this for you automatically.  The principle is optical.  The eye will seek the center of the peephole without effort on the part of the individual.  Herein lies the secret of using peep sights.”
 
James
 
 
 
 
 
February 1, 2017
5:42 pm
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James, a good quote on the proper acquisition of the sight picture using a tang sight..

February 2, 2017
3:29 am
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win38-55 said
James, a good quote on the proper acquisition of the sight picture using a tang sight..  

Glad you liked it.  I have enjoyed reading the information posted here.

BTW, that’s a good looking Model 53!

James

February 3, 2017
12:37 am
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James’s description of target acquisition using the peep sight is spot on.  I shot each of a Model 73, 86, 92 & 94 with a Lyman tang peep sight for the first time ever last year.  I previously used iron sights on each of them.  It took me about 20-30 minutes to adjust the very first time I shot with a Lyman peep sight.  It’s not unlike shooting an M1 Garand, M1 carbine or a black rifle with Magpul sights – they all use an aperture on the rear sight.  It’s just the Lyman has that staff that is noticeably taller.  After I got used to that, centering the target in the aperture is almost automatic.  My 2 cents worth.

Greg 

February 10, 2017
12:25 am
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Old eyes here too.  I’m thankful for tang sights. They allow me to continue to accurately shoot my Winchesters.  Last year’s trotting buck was easily followed through the tang sight.  While waiting for him to slightly turn, there was no thought/effort in aiming.  He turned; hammer fell.

February 10, 2017
12:44 am
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I havent quite got into the tang sights yet, have tried them but not so much luck with regards to good accuracy.  I prefer the receiver mounted sights like the Lyman 21 that are a little farther away from the eye–those work a whole lot better for me.  The only thing I dont like about a tang sight is its not comfortable to pack at the wrist when its up, or down.  With failing eyesight too Ive fixed the situation on my carbine by using a thin but heavy pencil line from the base of the “V” to the bottom of the carbine sight.  Helps me figure out where center is when lining up the front sight–the one I can see.  My father-in-law uses a Lyman tang sight with a Marble (Vickers) No. 46C carbine front sight, says its easy to get a crack shot off by just lining both circles up together and centering on the target.   

DSC_0245-Copy-3.JPG1892takedown @sbcglobal.net ......NRA Endowment Life Member.....WACA Member

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February 10, 2017
9:58 am
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Is that pencil line white or just a pencil-colored pencil line?

Your father-in-law, does he prefer the two circles over tang and front bead?  From what you said, it appears he does.  Just asking if he has used the other method too.  I have yet to look through two circle sights.  If eyes automatically align the two circles, I may soon be headed in that direction.

February 10, 2017
7:21 pm
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Its graphite (lead) pencil.  In the sunlight its got a little shine to it that helps out, kind of like the express sights with the platinum line.  Ive even taken a piece of white bone and worked it down thin and glued it onto the face of my carbine sight, put a dark line down the middle at the base of the vee, helped reduce any glare from the sight face or off the edges of the sight notch.

My father-in-law uses the tang sight with a Lyman combination front sight (rifles) and on the carbine a Lyman tang with the Marble 46C.  Says its easier for him to line up the circles on both and put what you want to hit in the middle.

Here is a pic of the carbine sight. DSC04589.JPGImage Enlarger

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February 10, 2017
9:08 pm
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Thank you.  Your creative methods opened my mind toward possibilities.

February 21, 2017
2:00 am
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If I’m going hunting or doing much shooting with an old Winchester it will need peeps, equally happy with tang or receiver mounts. Another trick I learned recently is to not wear bifocals when trying to shoot any type of irons, I had a set of shooting glasses made without the “reading” Rx and most days I can even use buckhorns reasonably well. Works when shooting a shotgun or handgun as well. Bifocals work fairly well with peeps but the front sight is much sharper without the reading correction.

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February 21, 2017
3:41 am
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TXGunNut said
…Bifocals work fairly well with peeps but the front sight is much sharper without the reading correction.  

Well, really depends on focal distance of the lenses; I use a single-vision pair with a correction for about 3 ft, which makes the front sight sharp, but the target’s blurred, unavoidably.  But that’s the best compromise, because a sharp target and blurred front sight is highly detrimental.  Of course I’m talking about peeps.

February 23, 2017
5:06 am
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clarence said

Well, really depends on focal distance of the lenses; I use a single-vision pair with a correction for about 3 ft, which makes the front sight sharp, but the target’s blurred, unavoidably.  But that’s the best compromise, because a sharp target and blurred front sight is highly detrimental.  Of course I’m talking about peeps.  

True, in this case it worked out quite well for me. I was hunting and shooting with my eye doc long before he was my eye doc. I helped him understand iron sights many years ago and I was also his training officer when he joined the police reserve. I may have helped him a bit as a shooter but he has an untapped natural talent that I can’t convince him to pursue. Oh, well. At least my efforts were rewarded, when I told him I needed shooting glasses he knew exactly what to do.

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