Any tips for using iron sights with failing eyesight?

C.W. Richter

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New England Custom Guns (NECG) in NH, USA has a slew of available open sight options (including some of the ones pictured above.) Contact them and/or check out their website, as they may be able to assist (most of their numerous sight style/size/colors are interchangeable in the very same dovetail, screw, or ring mount bases. Mine is just beginning to fade, and they helped out tremendously on my .416 (which previously had no provisions for open sights.) We hope to See the results!
 

IvW

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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.

Use a proper ghost ring sight set up not a peep sight a ghost ring sight.....
 

C.W. Richter

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That's just one of the options NECG offers. they have a 1/2-moon version of it too.
 
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MMAL

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What brand and model of red dot do you have?


I have two. Burris Fastfire 3 moa and Trijicon RMR 1moa dot.

I am still working the different glasses angle. Contacts were not a help. Heading to Namibia on Sept 30th. I have the double with the burris working well. Swift A-frames and Hornady DGS hitting in the same spot, off sticks with my glasses I am in a 4 inch circle with all four shots. PS, I am not old at 50, my eyes have just starting going over the last year but badly. Good luck everyone.
 

Brent in Az

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Take a look at the ghost ring sights.
 
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dchamp

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If you can't see the sights with clarity, then the first thing I would do is pay a visit to an optometrist. You may only need some reading glasses.

I personally don't care for fiber optic.

One thing that happened with me, a .416 Rigby CZ550, and I need to get back to this problem, is the front sight is fixed but removable. So if you have an elevation problem, mine was shooting way low, you will want to think about just replacing the front sight. I don't remember the formula for this but email CZ and they will help you in determining the correct sight. If it's a windage problem then you should be able to adjust it by tapping the rear sight left or right accordingly.

I think NECG.com will have sights that will work with the CZ550.
 

Von Gruff

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The rear sight is more often the problem so replacing it with a wide shallow V express sight and an ivory moon sight up front will make for an extended iron sight use which in any scenario is only going to be used in a up close situation and probably well inside 50 yds so the moonsight and express sight keeps the rifle looking traditional and is one of the easiest iron sight set-up to use. Fiber optics are a bit fragile and modern looking for my taste. Of course as has been said, stock fit is more important with iron sights that are for quick or close work where a scope for longer range offers time (usually) to position the stock for optimum visual clarity.
 

Ray B

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I have found that using basic shotgun technique- making sure my head and eyes are in the same exact position on the stock, looking past the rear sight and just focusing on the front sight and target helps considerably for hitting the target now that I'm on the downhill side of 70.
 

One Day...

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New England Custom Guns (NECG) in NH, USA has a slew of available open sight options
+1

Step #1: a large (3/32") white bead front sight. NECG are smart enough to offer 4 different front sight heights for the CZ 550, which tells you right there and then that these are intended for actual shooting rather than decorative function...

Do not be deterred by the need to "fit" the front sight. Just sanding off some of the base thickness on a piece of sand paper stretched on a flat surface until the base fits into the dovetail will do the trick. Be sure to touch up the freshly sanded surface with instant blue to prevent corrosion. Took me all of 5 minutes to "fit" mine...

They even have 5/32" white bead inserts available is you email their customer service.

1598765685730.png


Step #2: rear aperture...

1598765585108.png


I have personally gone already through two diameter changes on my front sights. Theoretically a larger front sight reduces the precision of your shooting because the front sight covers a larger space on the target. That is true on paper... and vastly irrelevant on DG.

Based on my own experience, I shoot a heck of a lot better with a larger front sight that I actually see, rather than a finer bead that hovers in a fog...

I have not felt the need to use the rear aperture yet. I have tried the 5/32" inserts but do not need them yet, and the NECG 3/32" white bead front sight works great for me right now, although I am wearing 1.5x reading glasses to type this post.

Besides, as BeeMaa points out, we are discussing close quarter snap shooting here, where with a properly fitting stock the rifle front sight ought to be only barely more useful than the front bead on a shotgun.
 
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Certus

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Should eyes be a able to focus on both the rear and front sight simultaneously? I find I can only do one or the other, not both at the same time.
 

Hunter4752001

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Its a physical impossibility to simultaneously focus on 2 or more objects at different distances. (Try getting a camera to have both the foreground and farground in focus) What the eye shifts focus by using muscles to change the shape of the lens, ie changing the focal distance. Young eyes do this much faster than old eyes.

Optics change the paradigm by putting the aiming mark in the same focal plane as the target.
 

BeeMaa

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I have two. Burris Fastfire 3 moa and Trijicon RMR 1moa dot.

I am still working the different glasses angle. Contacts were not a help. Heading to Namibia on Sept 30th. I have the double with the burris working well. Swift A-frames and Hornady DGS hitting in the same spot, off sticks with my glasses I am in a 4 inch circle with all four shots. PS, I am not old at 50, my eyes have just starting going over the last year but badly. Good luck everyone.
I have experienced some of the starburst/corona effect on red dots.
Mostly on the less expensive models (ie Burris & Vortex).
This is the first I've heard of it on a Trijicon.
I've heard mixed results using either Rx or polarized lenses to try to correct it.

What I do know is that if you move to a Holographic sight, it goes away.
Currently the EO Tech makes a really nice one, the EXPS3.
Downside is that it is ugly as hell, moves your head off the stock and eats batteries.
For every plus...a minus.

I still feel the same, the best option is a well fitted stock for reflex/snap shooting.
Sights that naturally align with your eye, with your cheek on the stock.
It should be so natural that you are not even seeing the sights.
It's like looking down the barrel and point shooting.

BTW - I turned 50 this year as well, may we stay forever young at heart.
Best of luck on your upcoming hunt.
 

JLF

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Try this system, it gives excellent results. Fits over regular, non-prescription lenses.
It has the advantage of not being expensive and you do not have to modify your rifle.
 

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BeeMaa

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Try this system, it gives excellent results. Fits over regular, non-prescription lenses.
It has the advantage of not being expensive and you do not have to modify your rifle.
Have you tried this while hunting game or just at the range?
Obscuring the sight picture around the intended target will be a problem.
Like trying to shoot clays with a scope and one eye shut.

The OP is talking about using this as a backup plan when hunting DG.
Having a sticker on your glasses may not be the best idea in that situation.
 

WAB

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Have you tried this while hunting game or just at the range?
Obscuring the sight picture around the intended target will be a problem.
Like trying to shoot clays with a scope and one eye shut.

The OP is talking about using this as a backup plan when hunting DG.
Having a sticker on your glasses may not be the best idea in that situation.

LOL, or put a sticker on both lenses and wait for impact. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
 

JLF

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Have you tried this while hunting game or just at the range?
Obscuring the sight picture around the intended target will be a problem.
Like trying to shoot clays with a scope and one eye shut.

The OP is talking about using this as a backup plan when hunting DG.
Having a sticker on your glasses may not be the best idea in that situation.
I have tried it hunting otters with my air rifle and it gave good results ... when I go hunting wild boars I will comment on the results. No need to close an eye ...The system is used in the directing eye ... not both.
On the other hand, I advised the man who originated the post, to test the system, it is not expensive and does not have to reform the rifle ...
It is hunted with sight, sound and smell ... glasses are placed at the time of shooting.
 
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BeeMaa

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I have tried it hunting otters with my air rifle and it gave good results ... when I go hunting wild boars I will comment on the results. No need to close an eye ...The system is used in the directing eye ... not both.
On the other hand, I advised the man who originated the post, to test the system, it is not expensive and does not have to reform the rifle ...
It is hunted with sight, sound and smell ... glasses are placed at the time of shooting.
Alrighty then, imagine this...
Walking though thick brush after a Cape Buffalo.
A twig snaps and the Acacia explodes with a 1 ton animal coming your way.
Now I suppose is the time to put on the glasses to take aim.
Perfect.
I'm all in.
 

JLF

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The doctor advised me to ignore the salami
 

fourfive8

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We all get there sooner or later, unfortunately. I have had 20-10 vision all my life but recently, last 10 years or so, needing reading glasses more and more. Am starting to get too many floaters and maybe some small cataracts. Can still shoot pretty well with open sights but not as quickly as once possible. I have shot both irons and optics since really learning how to shoot at a high level in late 60s. So transitioning back and forth between irons and optics hasn't been too bad yet but getting incrementally tougher every year. I don't believe there is a 100% solution to aging eyes but the ghost ring idea along with a larger ivory or white bead front is about as good as it will be for irons as at least a back up on a DG rifle. Then for primary sights, just go with a low power, high quality, long eye relief scope that has a lot of extra exit pupil.
 
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JLF

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We all get there sooner or later, unfortunately. I have had 20-10 vision all my life but recently, last 10 years or so, needing reading glasses more and more. Am starting to get too many floaters and maybe some small cataracts. Can still shoot pretty well with open sights but not as quickly as once possible. I have shot both irons and optics since really learning how to shoot at a high level in late 60s. So transitioning back and forth between irons and optics hasn't been too bad yet but getting incrementally tougher every year. I don't believe there is a 100% solution to aging eyes but the ghost ring idea along with a larger ivory or white bead front is about as good as it will be for irons as at least a back up on a DG rifle. Then for primary sights, just go with a low power, high quality, long eye relief scope that has a lot of extra exit pupil.

I thought many times to undergo surgery to correct my astigmatism problem.
 

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