Sights for Dangerous Game rifles?

Discussion in 'Hunting Equipment, Gear & Optics' started by Mr. 16 gauge, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. Mr. 16 gauge

    Mr. 16 gauge AH Fanatic

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    For the P.H.'s and those who have hunted dangerous game:

    Do you prefer optics, or open sights on your dangerous game rifles? If you prefer optics, what do you like as far as make, model, and magnification (and mounts, while were at it).
    As always, I'm just as interested in the "why" as well as the "what".
    Thanks............
     

  2. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I'll start. My answer is "it depends." I'm also going to answer from a client's point of view.

    For my buff I used a variable power scope (2x10) on a .375. Reason was easy - I wanted the best of both worlds. I wanted to be able to quickly acquire a target at very short range (and practiced this in my living room), as well as to be able to take a 300 yard shot on PG should the need arise. It worked quite well for me. The scope was alwys set at 2x and I would adjust up as need be. I also used detachable rings in case I needed to go open sight for whatever reason.

    Now for my Lott I plan on a different set up, but this will be for a very specific purpose. I'm going to replace the rear sight with an aperture sight and leave it like that for tuskless, I don't want to shoot my elephant with a scope (personal preference - nothing wrong with it!). That being said, I'm considering a 1x4 scope as a "back up" and for use with buffalo if need be. My eyes aren't what they were and I can see shooting a buff at a distance I wouldn't be comfortable with using open sights.

    Just my two cents.
     

  3. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    It will be interesting to see what some PHs think. Personally I like iron sights for short shots at potentially moving targets. I grew up shooting open sights and despite this, having shot almost exclusively scoped rifles for many years now, I find myself good but not nearly as quick with the iron as I once was. I shoot tons of shotgun but it is just not the same. Those who have never or have little iron sight experience would likely be far better served with a low power scope, a charging buff is a poor choice of target to learn to shoot iron sights on.
     

  4. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Couldn't agree more.... This is actually why Ilike the aperture sights. It seems to be more instinctive, like a shotgun, than "true" iron sights.
     

  5. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I think this goes back to understanding "roles". A PH's gun has the role of being a close in "stopper" for emergency situations. A client's gun should be accurate and effective at expected hunting ranges.

    I like a scope. I "may" use my 505 Gibbs with open sights just because of the recoil and potential for "scope eye". However I see this gun as more of a novelty that I would like to use, but also realize it may not be the best tool for the job in general. My 416 Rem Mag is accurate, manageable, and effective... And I suspect many PH's would prefer to see a client show up with that. I had a trijicon 1-4 x 24 with that dual illuminated triangle reticle on the 416. Set on 1 or 1.5 power, it is really more like a red dot type sight... I see this as a very universal sighting system. Turn it up to 4x for farther shots or it will work very well both eyes open on 1x. I do not see how iron sights can be more effective than that.... Granted the nostalgia factor goes to the irons.

    I plan to put the trijicon on the 505 and just got notice the back-ordered rings just shipped. I want to try it and then will decide if I go to a new scope for the 416 or replace the trijicon. That triangle is fast and great for 1x both eyes open, but I prefer crosshairs for accuracy so will not buy another triangle. One is enough.

    On my 375 I had the same thought as Royal... Went 2-12 with ultimate flexibility. For a client I think a 375 or 416 with a "not too high" powered scope is the ultimate in an all around African combo.... I don't care if it is scoped with a fixed 3 0r 4, 1-4, 1.5-5, 1-6, 2-10, or 2-12x. And if you want QD mounts and pull the scope off for special circumstances, go for it.
     
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  6. TokkieM

    TokkieM AH Fanatic

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    There is no easy answer, what works for one client does not work for another. If you can shoot out to 80 meters with a open sight that is fine. Scopes do make hitting those far out targets easier and a scope with a minimum of 1,5x would be a good choice. That being said the new dot and holo sights are becoming a fast favourite of mine. Accurate enough out to 150 meters and easy enough to shoot up close and with both eyes open. Also adds little weight to the rifle and are in general much lower on the rifle.
     

  7. Limpopo Big Game Safaris

    Limpopo Big Game Safaris SPONSOR Since 2019 AH Fanatic

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    What works for me is what I have on my 416 Rigby
    Schmidt und bender 1.24 - 6 x 32 long eye relief
    Weaver quick detachable mounts
    I hardly ever take the scope of
     

  8. Witold Krzyżanowski

    Witold Krzyżanowski AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I think the same as Hunt Hard Safaris.
    Witold
     
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  9. spike.t

    spike.t AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Ambassador

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    similar to bossie but slightly smaller, i had a kahles 1.1-4x24 on my Rigby .416 with claw mounts. still prefer the irons for close/fast/running shooting. as hunthardsaf said its really what you are going to be happy with , and whats correct for somebody else might not suite you. go check a few different scopes and dot type sights out and see what you like. as said the scope will make a lot of shot situations easier.
     

  10. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hello Mr. 16 gauge,

    I apologize ahead of time for the length of this rant.

    Good questions, thanks for posting them.
    One of the main topics I never stop jabbering about and asking questions about is the topic of hunting rifles and everything related to same.
    The following stuff applies only to people who have relatively adequate eyesight, not to people with particularly bad vision.
    Poor eyesight pretty much requires a scope for precise shooting.

    The only DG I have shot is the buffalo shown in my avatar here but, it is important to note that I thoroughly discussed with my PH my intention, to use an open sighted rifle for buffalo.
    He assured me that since we had hunted together on numerous PG in the past, he was fine with that plan.
    I used a .450 No2 NE double, with wide "V" rear blade and over-sized German silver front bead.
    All went very well, except not from the buffalo's point of view.

    Be that as it may, the PHs I've had the pleasure of discussing rifles with over the years, have been pretty much unanimous on this topic of rifle sights.

    PH's Back-up Rifles for DG:
    They all seemed to have either the .458 Lott or .458 SA 3" Express, bolt actions, either Brno 602 or CZ 550 models, modified to their preferences.

    These modifications always included a single/fixed (can't fold it down) steel blade rear sight, filed into a very wide and shallow "V", with a thin white or silver color vertical stripe, leading up to the bottom center of the "V".
    The front sight was always a large white bead, such as porcelain or warthog ivory (doesn't turn yellow with age).
    When I say wide and shallow, the ones I have seen in Africa were filed to barely a "V" at all.

    At first glance, they look so shallow that they almost appear to be flat across the top.
    Also, I have fired a couple of these "express sighted" .458s as well, at paper targets.
    Compared to a scope or even to a peep sight, they are not as precise for longer shots.
    But, out to a bit beyond 100 yds, the "express sight" is accurate enough for what they were intended.

    PH's preference for client's DG sights/rifles:
    Again, the several PH's I have asked about it, have been pretty much unanimous on this as well.
    They like to see a client show up with a not too glitzy bolt action or even a single shot rifle is fine but, definitely a low powered scope in sturdy rings is the best sighting choice for most DG hunting.
    By low powered scope, I mean either a fixed power (non-variable) of somewhere around 3x or 4x, or likewise a low powered variable, such as 1 to 4x, or 2 to 7x and similar ones.

    Detachable rings are not needed, unless you either insist on using one of these giant front lens scopes or, in the event you break your scope.
    If you muff your first shot and the PH is OK with you going on the follow-up, a clownishly large scope can get in the way of your mission and of course, a broken scope is useless.
    So, with detachable rings, you can pop the scope off and proceed into the thick stuff after your unhappy beast.

    I have not discussed leopard much with PHs because I am hyper active and could never sit still long enough in a leopard blind so, it is pointless for me personally.
    However, I will guess that a large front lens might be good to gather light at dawn or dusk on baited leopard - just a guess though.

    Evidently, elephant hunting is an either/or sighting choice.
    In other words, a scope is not needed but a low powered one is perfectly acceptable, if you prefer scopes.

    Last but not least, they tell me that for DG, a scope is otherwise usually preferable, not because of long shots (PH's like to put clients in close to DG for that all-important first shot).
    But, DG scopes are for being able to sort out any errant stick between you and your animal, that are not visible to the unassisted eye.

    Detachable rings and mounts:
    Again, these evidently are not essential but, personally I like them for all of my bolt actions, DG calibers and non DG calibers both.
    Claw mounts are in a league of their own and nothing even comes close to them (nothing comes close to their super high price either).
    www.champlinarms.com is the best place to have them installed in my opinion.
    As far as affordable detachable rings go, have a look at:
    www.alaskaarmsllc.com
    They are the lever type and very well made.
    Also, I like the older style Talley brand lever rings and bases (not the newer ones that fit Weaver pattern rails).

    Get yourself a sturdy bolt action, with express sights or auxiliary peep sight and install a quality, low powered scope on it, low down close to the bore and zero both sighting arrangements well from sand bags.
    Then forget about the sand bags.
    Now, primarily standing and shooting from sticks but also from various other field positions, simply practice, practice, practice ... then practice some more.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     
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  11. Pondoro

    Pondoro AH Fanatic

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    I would love to hunt all DG with my old double, but due to eyesight I would opt for a scoped .375/.404/.416 bolt rifle for buffalo to get a better aim if quarry is partly visible in the bush...I have a 2,5 Leupold on my .375H&H for this....for a PG hunt I change optics to a 2,5-12 Schmidt&Bender..

    For elephant I would use an open sighted heavy double....for hippo as well.

    Cats don't interest me, would not pay for it...that said I see the thrill of hunting lion on foot..:)
     
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  12. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hello Pondoro,

    Great minds think alike.
    The first caribou I took was with a Ruger single shot .375 H&H, topped with a Leupold 2.5x and I was very happy with that combination.

    Never should have sold it but, I am only a simple working man and cannot afford to own every rifle that I see.
    I must sell one to buy one.
    Such is my lot in life.
    (Either that or, I must give up hunting in Africa every 3 to 5 years - NEVER !)

    Also, on my 2nd safari, I used the same scope (kept it when I sold the single shot Ruger) on a Merkel double rifle (Model 141, Side by Side).
    It worked so well that I could simply have just brought the single shot !

    I'm getting old and my eyes will not last forever but, so far they still work well enough for iron sights at close range and even for longer shots, as long as there is good daylight.

    As I get along in years though, I have noticed that the Leupold 2.5x is too short for my eyes now.
    In other words, the lenses are too close together and so, the targets are slightly blurry.
    I no longer have the 2.5x model Leupold.

    I wish Leupold would either put the 2.5x lenses into their old 3x tube (longer tube) or perhaps just make the 3x scope again.
    Commonly available 40 years ago, the 3x was Leupold's best big game scope, in my twisted opinion.
    Mighty difficult to find one today, presumably because the hunters who have them will never sell them ?

    It turns out that my whiskey glass has run dry so, I must go to refill it, before I pass out from thirst.

    Kind regards,
    Velo Dog.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
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  13. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Hey Velo,

    I have a 3x Leupold I am not using. It's flat black (Ceracote) and minor ring marks from when I mounted it. I used it less than 100 rounds and never hunted it. I will bring it to ANC sometime if you have a use for it? image.jpg image.jpg
     

  14. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I definitely have a use for that scope.
    What do you want for it?
     
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  15. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Velo,

    I will send you a pm so we don't completely hijack the thread.

    Cheers
     

  16. Pondoro

    Pondoro AH Fanatic

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    Well we dont want that to happen, beeing thirsty is an awful condition...:eek:
     
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