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Old November 27, 2010, 12:15 AM   #1
Join Date: November 21, 2010
Location: Boise, Idaho
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Please don't give me crap for this stupid question

I've only been shooting a few months now (learning with a .22)...It has become my favorite and foremost activity.
I'm looking toward the purchase of THE rifle (the one I will use most or exclusively, and, hopefully keep for my lifetime) in about 8 or 9 months....been looking at Brownings, Winchester 70's, Ruger Hawkeyes, some Marlins (and several others).

I have noticed that most of these rifles come without sights - the intention being (I assume) to mount a scope on them.

For me, a scope is not something I would be interested in for a long time...preferring iron sights (using them until I feel fully proficient with them, or until I consider hunting game).

So, what do you do when you purchase a rifle without sights and want iron sights...bring it to a gunsmith and have them installed? If so, what kind of cost could I expect for this (as my budget is going to be very tight). Also..What are some of the best resources for buying sights?

I signed on here for all the extensive knowledge I see, so if you guys/girls wouldn't mind giving me a little direction on this, it would be most appreciated.
Also please feel free to offer any of your favorite rifle recommendations (looking at calibers .223, 22-250, and 243 --- and a couple .308s)

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Old November 27, 2010, 12:32 AM   #2
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If you want iron sights, have them installed by a smith.
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Old November 27, 2010, 01:18 AM   #3
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Go wild

My advise is go wild, install a red dot on it, it's going to be cheaper and without augmentation, you'll have a similar experience than with iron sights.

Just don't give me c*** for my suggestion.
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Old November 27, 2010, 01:24 AM   #4
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install a red dot on it
+1 on that. Either that or buy a rifle with iron sights.
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Old November 27, 2010, 01:31 AM   #5
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I agree with the folks suggesting that if you want a rifle with iron sights, you're probably better off purchasing a rifle that is already equipped with sights. Having them put on later will not be cost effective.
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Old November 27, 2010, 03:02 AM   #6
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If your hell bent on it its a simple matter for a smith to cut one dovetail and drill a couple holes for a receiver sight. 2 dovetail one at the front and rear for crude old buckhorn sights would be less then a c note for sure and the sights themselves maybe 20-40 bucks.

For a receiver sight the cost of the sight would be more, sight itself would be around 100 bucks.

The fellas are right in that you can get iron sighted rifles cheaply (old enfields, nagants and other mill surps), I recommend a sporterized mill surp in 6.5 swede, it would fit your wants perfectly judging by your caliber needs. Good enough for yotes, deer and moose. Check out the mannlichers rifles or old Krags in this cartridge.

Dont be afraid to ask a smith questions about what he charges, its their business to. Although the older ones may get a little misty eyed by some kid asking for iron sights installed on a bolt gun, its been a while since THAT was popular.

And loose the damn attitude, no ones going to give you crap for being ignorant on a subject.
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Old November 27, 2010, 06:55 AM   #7
Jim Watson
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Do you want open sights or peep?

The simple approach would be to hang around the stores, shows, and www looking at rifles made 30-50 years ago when most came with open sights and were factory drilled and tapped for both receiver sight and scope. Simple, but not easy, you would have to be patient to find a good clean example at a reasonable price.

Williams Gunsight charges $40 to drill and tap for a front ramp and $40 for a receiver rear. Their Foolproof peep sight is $75-$85, plus $22 for the ramp and $12 for a bead. About $200 by the time you pay shipping. Maybe some local outfit would do it cheaper. But not a lot cheaper.

Some CZ rifles come with open sights. I don't know what else, but catalogs are free.
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Old November 27, 2010, 07:21 AM   #8
Bud Helms
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A realistic answer to your question is that you may not actually be ready for THE rifle.

There are many good quality military surplus rifles with excellent iron sights, or that have improved after market sights which are very affordable.

On the other hand, since you have made the logical and sensible choice of a .22 to start with, and since you are convinced you want to stay with iron sights for now, why not progress up to a Marlin or Winchester lever action rifle and use the open sights that come installed on them? I think most of the chamberings you mention are available in lever actions.

It may be just me, but there is nothing quite so out of place on a rifle as iron sights sitting under a scope. I don't even like the look of it.
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Old November 27, 2010, 12:27 PM   #9
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... Aw but the pure joy of seeing a shooter below the age of 40 "standing on his hind legs" and shooting with any kind of irons sure does instill a tremendous sense of nostalgia!
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Old November 27, 2010, 02:45 PM   #10
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I share your frustration, I'm looking to install some sights, too -- my wife went to a ladies day at the gun club, was introduced to diopter sights and loved them.

Something our crap-avoiding members failed to mention, it may not be a simple matter of just putting iron sights on a rifle intended for a scope. The scope ready guns typically have stock combs at a height designed to accommodate scope viewing. You may, after installing iron sights, want to lower the comb for a proper fit. When selecting your gun, be sure the stock material and finish are amenable to alterations. You don't want to face messing up a new stock after you've installed the sights.

It seems your question wasn't as simple as you'd initially thought -- there are no stupid questions.

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Old November 27, 2010, 04:49 PM   #11
Join Date: November 21, 2010
Location: Boise, Idaho
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WOW - I sure came to the right place....thank you all for all that advice, I have a lot to digest and think about.

This site has taught me more in a couple of days, than a score of people I've talked to (and even a couple books I've read).

I will no longer regard my questions as stupid; although that means you may get a lot more of them.

Much appreciated!
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Old November 27, 2010, 04:57 PM   #12
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I cant speak for everyone but I personally look forward to the questions. And I too agree with the above posts of buying with iron sights already equipped. Seems more cost effective and a good excuse to buy another rifle in the future.
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Old November 27, 2010, 07:44 PM   #13
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I am not sure what you want to use the rifle for when you get it, but I have found that Marlin makes a lever gun for most needs, and they come with iron sights and are tapped and drilled for scope rings if you want to scope it in the future. You can get them short or long, large caliber or small, many sight options are available (I use Skinner peep sights on mine), Wild West Guns makes a great drop in trigger for them. The best thing is you can get them readily on the used market for a decent price.
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Old November 27, 2010, 10:05 PM   #14
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Perhaps you might look into a military surplus rifle such as the M1 Garand, chambered in 30-06 Springfield, they are available through the CMP
A very reasonably price for a fine high quality rifle with excellent iron sights that will serve you well for years and grow in value too.

Trigger control + Breath control + Sight alignment = Gun Control.
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Old November 27, 2010, 10:38 PM   #15
Join Date: November 21, 2010
Location: Boise, Idaho
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Thanks for the additional posts. Every single one has very good points, suggestions, and advice (and some very tempting rifle choices) worth careful consideration...I'm glad I have a lot of time to consider all of this. Thanks for the education folks.
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Old November 28, 2010, 01:58 AM   #16
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I'm a Remington 700 fan myself, but there are a lot of good rifles.

Scopes aren't just for people who's eyes aren't what they used to be. They enable a shooter to take advantage of both his and the rifle's ability and become a precision shooter. Sometimes precise shot placement is necessary on big game, and practicing on small varmint type critters takes a scope.

Iron sights work. A scope can make you a better shooter.
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Old November 28, 2010, 07:06 AM   #17
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Alternative to Scoped Rifles

Yossarian: Excellent question. I shoot in competition with an AR at 100, 300, & 600yds with aperture sights. True I use a heavy bullet (77gr). I have used a variety of aperture sights. I am capable of 1" roups at 100yds. I think what's more important than the sights are the Trigger, Barrel and ammunition. This all pales in comparison to understand the physics of a projectile. There are many good aperture/open sights for bolt action guns.
The other question you might ask yourself is this for hunting or target shooting? The two have different configurations, barrels, actions, round counts, etc. Oh, and the previous poster that suggested Williams Sights, excellent sights! They offer open and aperture.
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Old November 28, 2010, 07:15 AM   #18
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Lever action 30-30 might be a fun first gun.
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Old November 28, 2010, 01:56 PM   #19
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Lever action 30-30 might be a fun first gun.
It's a fun anytime gun. But a scope on one is a sacrilege.
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Old November 28, 2010, 05:31 PM   #20
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Get yourself a discontinued Marlin 39 Mountie 22LR

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Old November 28, 2010, 06:04 PM   #21
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+1 on lever action for a fun rifle

I recommend the lever gun in 357 magnum

Gold bead front sight and a lyman or marbles tang sight, and a couple bricks of American Eagle 357 and you got some good fun.
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Old December 1, 2010, 09:43 PM   #22
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Another option is just about any bolt action mil-surp. It would only take a little bit of doing to find a sporterized Mauser or Mosin Nagant. The 8x57 isn't a harsh cartridge at all when loaded by a U.S. company, and the ammo may need to be ordered- but it's plentiful.

The reason I suggested one that has been sporterized is that oftentimes it will have had a replacement stock put on it. A full dress battle (Mauser) rifle will have quite a bit of weight to it.
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Old December 4, 2010, 10:12 PM   #23
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i think out of all the rounds you mentioned the .308 would be the best it is extremely versitile and you can get anything from premium hunting rounds to cheap military surplus rounds for bulk shooting. also if you do start hunting game this round will do about anything. cant say enough good things about it. great ballisics also.
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Old December 5, 2010, 03:10 PM   #24
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A very affordable choice as far as platform AND ammunition for a first time full power bolt action rifle with decent open sight is a surplus Mosin Nagant. Loads of fun with very inexpensive ammunition still available in quantity. A Finn M39 Mosin will set you back a few more dollars, but has an improved trigger, sights, and greatly improved accuracy. That being said, I have seen groups fired by rack grade refurbed 91/30's that were surprisingly tight.
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Old December 6, 2010, 10:31 PM   #25
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A lot of older Remington 700 models have iron sights, and you may be able to find one that all you have to do is get them installed, or you may find one with them on them. My dad's 700 has the sights still on it. Heck, I just checked, and my 7mm has them too. If you look around, that would be the one to look for, or get a lever action - most levers come with open sights.
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