Any tips for using iron sights with failing eyesight?

njc110381

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I'm after some advice please guys if you wouldn't mind sharing your experiences?

When I started shooting I was a pretty handy shot with iron sights. I moved over to using a scope for a few years and when I recently (last couple of years) tried to shoot with the irons on my new .416, I couldn't hit a barn if I was stood in it! I just can't seem to get a clear focus on the sight. The rifle is a CZ550 Aramid. I've got a scope on it now but would really like to get the irons to a point where I could use them in an emergency or in thick brush.

Would a fibre optic front sight help? Maybe a bigger white bead? Or change the whole set to something different? I still want to be able to fit the scope too.

I'd be very grateful to hear of your experiences. There must be plenty of us on here who are in the same boat.
 

Hunter4752001

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Unfortunately you're dealing with one of the facts of life, or at least of ageing. In order to use iron sights your eyes need to do two things. Firstly they need to be able to focus sharply on the front sight. Secondly they must be able to rapidly shift between the front sight and the target and back again. For most of us, as we age, the ability of our eyes to do this diminishes significantly. That's just the way it is.
Iron sights on a 416 are primarily for snap shooting at close distance. Minute of buffalo is OK. You could try using a fibre optic front sight and it may help you but no guarantees.
However its likely that either a scope or a red dot will be your only real option.
 

USMA84DAB

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I concur with red or green fiber optic bead/tube in front. For the rear, a ghost ring near your eye has been the best solution for me. Also agree the red dot is a good solution for close work. The Leupold firedot reticles are great as well.
 

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The type of sights are only part of the equation.
When shooting with irons, rifle stock fit becomes critical.
Having a rifle that comes up naturally and aligns your eye with the sights is key.
Much like a shotgun comes up when a bird flies.
It needs to be instinctive and natural.

Does the type of sights make a difference, certainly it does.
But if your rifle doesn't come up naturally...finding them will always be an issue.

I have a "V" notch rear and brass bead front on my 416RM & 375H&H.
It's lights out at 75 yard and closer for me.
 

Luvthunt

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BM, makes a good point for fast reflex shooting but when a shooter has time they are able to adjust to stock fit and find the sights. Slow and easy. In a fast mount situation the stock fit is more critical. In a “stopping situation” you may not see the sights but point and shoot May be your method.
 

BeeMaa

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BM, makes a good point for fast reflex shooting but when a shooter has time they are able to adjust to stock fit and find the sights. Slow and easy. In a fast mount situation the stock fit is more critical. In a “stopping situation” you may not see the sights but point and shoot May be your method.
@Luvthunt ...I hope you didn't just call me a BM...:oops:
Just kidding, no worries.
 

MMAL

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I had/have the same issue. Just a word of caution. Red dots are not always an good option. Beside failing eyesight I also had an astigmatism making the red dot look like a star burst. Make sure you check this before investing in that option. I settled on the red dot for my double rifle and have to wear glasses to minimize the starburst.

It sucks getting old.
 

BeeMaa

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I had/have the same issue. Just a word of caution. Red dots are not always an good option. Beside failing eyesight I also had an astigmatism making the red dot look like a star burst. Make sure you check this before investing in that option. I settled on the red dot for my double rifle and have to wear glasses to minimize the starburst.

It sucks getting old.
What brand and model of red dot do you have?
 

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I'm after some advice please guys if you wouldn't mind sharing your experiences?

When I started shooting I was a pretty handy shot with iron sights. I moved over to using a scope for a few years and when I recently (last couple of years) tried to shoot with the irons on my new .416, I couldn't hit a barn if I was stood in it! I just can't seem to get a clear focus on the sight. The rifle is a CZ550 Aramid. I've got a scope on it now but would really like to get the irons to a point where I could use them in an emergency or in thick brush.

Would a fibre optic front sight help? Maybe a bigger white bead? Or change the whole set to something different? I still want to be able to fit the scope too.

I'd be very grateful to hear of your experiences. There must be plenty of us on here who are in the same boat.
Hey, just a thought, maybe check out what this member has for sale here on the forum. Just listed for sale about an hour ago.....

Meopta Meosight 3 for sale €250
Member's name: Gareth.
Good Luck!
 

JimP

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When I started to have problems focusing on three things at the same time with my muzzle loader I replaced the rear sight with a peep sight. It already had a so called fiber optic green front sight.

With the peep sight I could focus on the front sight and the target at the same time while looking through the peep.
 

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I had/have the same issue. Just a word of caution. Red dots are not always an good option. Beside failing eyesight I also had an astigmatism making the red dot look like a star burst. Make sure you check this before investing in that option. I settled on the red dot for my double rifle and have to wear glasses to minimize the starburst.

It sucks getting old.
I have the exact same issue as the OP. Over the years I have had the optometrist fashion a pair of dual-prescription shooting glasses with normal distance correction on my left eye and an extended focus on my right, shooting eye. Think of the right lens as a super far out reading glasses lens. This worked for many years until recently when the right lens prescription had to be made so strong, in order to see the front sights clearly, that a 200 yd SR service rifle target turned into one giant blur.

Here are the steps I have taken and some notes:
  • Overall, I am slowly converting every rifle & handgun to an optic of some sort; a scope or red dot, as budget allows.
  • I put a MISO sight on my AR15-A2 competition upper and with lenses with regular distance/astigmatism correction I am able to shoot as well as I ever did open sights. The MISO REALLY works but these aren't really open sights; they are however match legal.
    • You can also get MISO sights for an M1A national match and if you outfit a Garand with hooded match rear sights you can put the MISO on there too. However, doing so will disqualify your rifle from John C Garand matches, if that matters to you.
  • With those dual prescription glasses I mentioned above:
    • I can still shoot a handgun (as well as I ever could LOL) with open sights out to 50 yards.
    • I can see the front sights and muddle through with my Garand, 1917 Eddystone, 03A3 Springfield but it's just for fun, I don't expect to score well.
  • As was mentioned, if you have astigmatism using a red dot will result in you seeing a distorted dot. In my case the dot looks more like an Olympic symbol. But the same goes for a scope - I see a distorted crosshair.
    • All you need to do is use normal distance/astigmatism correcting lenses and all this goes completely away.
      • I've also found that yellow tinted lenses helps - but that was true when I was younger.
      • I use Decot Hywyd glasses and have a clear, yellow and gray set of lenses.
    • Regarding Red dot optics: get the best money can buy. I've seen/tried a bunch of cheaper brands and I consider them mostly junk. For Red Dots I use Aimpoints and Trijicons exclusively. If you don't get the best brands, you'll likely get a crappy dot or something that isn't durable.
  • I believe I could still use the open sights on my Blaser R8 barrels, the only hunting rifle barrels I have with open sights, out to 100 yards on large game. But I'd have to use my dual prescription glasses (without them I simply can not see the front sights) and it would have to be a true emergency.
Wow this turned into a longer post than I intended.
I'll probably thinkof something else LOL.
Steve
 

Rick Cox

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I'm after some advice please guys if you wouldn't mind sharing your experiences?

When I started shooting I was a pretty handy shot with iron sights. I moved over to using a scope for a few years and when I recently (last couple of years) tried to shoot with the irons on my new .416, I couldn't hit a barn if I was stood in it! I just can't seem to get a clear focus on the sight. The rifle is a CZ550 Aramid. I've got a scope on it now but would really like to get the irons to a point where I could use them in an emergency or in thick brush.

Would a fibre optic front sight help? Maybe a bigger white bead? Or change the whole set to something different? I still want to be able to fit the scope too.

I'd be very grateful to hear of your experiences. There must be plenty of us on here who are in the same boat.
Have you tried using contact lenses? I used to have eyes like an eagle, now they are more like a shrew. But contacts give me as close as I can get to 'natural' vision. Waaaay better than graduated bifocal glasses, especially when negotiating rough terrain.
 

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I think your best bet is a receiver sight mounted as far to the rear as possible. I use a number of them, but for your application the Talley may be the way to go as their QD mounts are first rate. The receiver sight takes one focus requirement away from your eyes. Personally I would try a large ivory bead as opposed to the fiber alternatives. However I’m a bit of a traditionalist. The comments on stock fit are spot on.
 

chashardy

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I agree with BigSteve57. At 71, I just couldn't accurately focus on the front sight of my double rifle and had similar problems with my pistols. Trijicon's RMR red dot sight made a huge difference. I can shoot tight groups with the double rifle and liked the Trijicon RMR so much I put one on my 9mm pistol.
 

JLF

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The front sight of my rifle is a copy of this:

This the front sight is manufactured by XS SIGHT. The diameter of the white point is 0.14 inch.
Even my air rifle that had the fiber optic front sight took it off and made a similar one to the one made by XS Sight ...
 

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Nyati

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Red fiberoptic front sight and the rear sight moved a bit forward made a real difference for me.

I think this is a good idea, as moving forward the rear sight, you reduce the sighting distance, and will be able to focus better the front sight.

In Europe we call this a "battue" sight, used for shooting hogs at short distance in driven hunts.
 

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Getting old ain't for sissies but, it beats the alternative.
A rifle used for anything other than varmints just doesn't look proper without irons. I can even remember being able to actually use them. A member of this forum stated that the bead Sako uses on their Brown Bear is far too big. Of all the rifles I own my Sako Brown Bear is the only one that I can half ass see.
Personally I would be better served with a bayonet lug than irons but your situation may be different.
Good luck!
 

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