View Full Version : No Scope for me

April 23, 2005, 09:49 AM
When I first started target shooting and hunting about 10 years ago, I thought it necessary to have a scoped rifle. I scoped several of my rifles (30-06 Mossberg, M1 Garand, and Marlin 30-30 lever action). Since that time I have started to collect military surplus. Some of those military surplus are somewhat difficult to scope. One of my criteria for keeping a military surplus rifle is that it shoot 3" groups or better at 100 yards.
What I have noticed with my 51 year old eyes is that I can shoot just as good at 100 yards with a scope as I can do without one. I have not had any problems getting deer without a scope and in fact in some of the heavily wooded areas I hunt in, a scope is actually a detriment to sighting a deer quickly.
I target shoot about 200 rounds per month and enjoy using open sights much more than shooting with a scope.
I have since sold all my commercial rifles and unscoped my Garand.
Someday when my eyes go to hell, I may go back to scoping my rifles but until then, it scopeless for me.
Do any of you feel the same?

April 23, 2005, 10:07 AM
I never use it for any hunting applications, But when i go to the range with my military surpluse rifles i enjoy shooting with open sights just for the challenge

Rich Lucibella
April 23, 2005, 12:04 PM
I truly believe scopes are a right of passage for new shooters. Getting them to work with iron sights is like pulling teeth; they simply don't have the confidence that they can hit unless they see the molecular structure of the target.

This tends to change as people get into hunting, especially in brush, or on foot with snap shot opportunities or against game that hunts back. Suddenly they realize that good iron sights are faster than great optics; with no measurable loss of accuracy.

Avid Concealer
April 23, 2005, 12:22 PM
I HATE scopes! I think they are cheap and for chicks and kids ; ) Now maybe if you're taking a 500 yard shot at an object the size of a throw pillow then I can see the justification. It's just not any fun for me using a scope! So what, you put the crosshair on some crap and hit it, woopteedoo! Who cares?! That takes little skill, especially on a still target. I feel so much better going out with my friends m4 or any rifle at that matter and hitting an exploding target at 100 yards and watching it blow up with NO scope. I hate any sort of lenticular site. They are cheap and no fun. I'm with you 100% ksstargazer 100% and I'm glad you realized this.

Rich Lucibella
April 23, 2005, 02:05 PM
Actually, it can be lots harder to hit with a scope, especially dialed up to high power as so many do, when shooting from field positions (not the bench).

The apparent increased wobble at high power will often cause the shooter to take too much time, run out of breath and "snatch" the trigger.

Cooper was right: a scope helps you to SEE better, not SHOOT better.

April 23, 2005, 02:36 PM
my local range is only 100yards.. it's so funny how we get alot of "trigger pullers" with high powered scopes on full rests.. taking maybe 5 minutes a shot. nothing is as satisfying as taking my M1 Garand, or Mauser and outshooting them with old iron sights!

April 23, 2005, 02:48 PM
Interesting thread. I'm a big believer that most folks want *far* too much magnification on a scope. IMO, the proper way to carry a 2-7 power scope is to have it set at 2X. While you might have time to crank one up, you'll *never* have time to crank one down. And yes, sometimes good iron sights can be a better choice, though these days my 51 yr old eyes & open sights do *NOT* get along. 8^P

I recently found that a good aperture sight is another matter entirely, & with a little practice, the "ghost ring" as advocated by Jeff Cooper & others is a great choice.

On Ebay I bought a nice old(seller guesses late 1940's-early 1950's) Lyman 57 sight to fit my pre-64 M-70 FW. With disc removed, it makes a great ghost ring. Now, I think I need a new "flat-topped" front sight to go with it! :D I've seen the Marbles sourdough ads on the net, does anyone know of anything else similar in a front sight, that would fit the factory ramp on the old Featherweight?

Rich Lucibella
April 23, 2005, 03:24 PM
Not familiar with the Marbles, but I am super fond of the Ashley Ghost ring mated to the large, white line, front ramp sight:

April 23, 2005, 04:04 PM
ksstargazer, my mileage is higher than yours and consequently the eyesight is not as it once was. For this reason I've never gotten in to the milsurps, not wanting to booger up a rifle by drilling mount holes. I sold an FAL because of no reliable way to scope it. So keep on using the open sights while you can. And when you can't, scope up.

April 23, 2005, 04:06 PM
I shoot High Power with a AR, silhouette matches with old milsurp rifles, and tactical long range with scoped rifles.

I enjoy shooting iron sights more despite the eyes not being what they once were. It's not that it's more challenging for me, just more fun. But there is also a lot to be said for shooting a scoped rifle long range. Learning to read the mirage and wind, and learning to estimate range, with the scope has been a humbling experience, albeit a very rewarding one as my skill at it improves.

I think out to 200 yards I can hit a target as well with iron sights as I can with a scope. And in fact both my son (USMC) and my GF have told me that if they ever had someone holding a knife to their throat they would rather have me take a head shot on the perp if it's inside 100 yards, even with one of my many milsurp rifles, than risk it to an unknown shooter with a scope.

April 23, 2005, 05:03 PM
I am just the opposite. I have scopes on all my hunting rifles, and no optics on my black rifles, Garand, or M1As.

April 25, 2005, 01:02 PM
The majority of my rifles do not have scopes. I can shoot just a little bit better with a scope than I can with irons. I think it definitely takes a lot more work to shoot well with iron sights.

Most anyone can shoot a 1MoA group given a good scoped rifle and a bench, but if you can do it prone with iron sights, you've got my attention.

God bless good eyesight.

April 25, 2005, 02:19 PM
Whether to scope or not depends on the person and situation. If you have good eyes, and are just doing 100 yrd shots on bulls-eyes, there is no real need to scope. But in my case, my eyes are just barely 20-20, and I do not do much target shooting with a rifle. I hunt in canyons, where shots are easily 400 yards, and iron sights are just not an option for ethical hunting.

April 25, 2005, 02:46 PM
I happen to like iron sights, but it depends on the use. I like to pop balloons at 200-500 yards with my .223 and I like to have a scope for that. As for milsurp rifles... The open sights are a must. I shoot my SKS 400-600 yards at a gong . Nothing is more satisfying than tweeking the sights pulling the trigger and.... ponk :cool: Now I just have to save up for that Garand I want.

Drunk Fat Man
April 25, 2005, 04:25 PM
I shoot a number of military rifles (K98, M-1, M1903A3) and I don't like using scopes. The whole point of shooting these types of rifles is the fun factor. I only do range shooting so I can't comment on any aspect of hunting with or without a scope. The only rifle I do shot with a scope is my Krag .30-40 and that's only because it has no iron sights (bought from my uncle and he could them off).

Dave R
April 25, 2005, 04:45 PM
The only thing I don't like about shooting irons at longer ranges is--I have to have good contrast on the target in order to get a consistent sight picture.

IOW, I can shoot groups at 200 yards as tight with irons as I can with a scope--but I need an 8" black bull to do it. With a 4" bull or an orange-on-white sight-in target--forget it.

I have not hunted with iron sights, but I assume the principle would be the same. How do see the detail on a deer or elk at 200 yards well enough to place your shot in the boiler room? Triangulation from the head, shoulder and belly? Is that enough?

I'm thinking that there are some curcumstances where "seeing better" DOES help you "shoot better".

April 25, 2005, 10:15 PM
I used to feel like I had to have a scope to be accurate, but lately I've learned that I love shooting irons, especially well-designed irons like those on my M1 and M1A. I have a lot of respect for those guys shooting NRA Hi-power and Service Rifle with those irons at 600 yards. I've only practiced at 300, but will be competing soon, so may be shooting 600 for the first time in the actual match, but who cares? I'm going to have a blast doing it! My eyes aren't what they used to be, but through the 0.595" aperature, everything becomes sharp again. I can only imagine what it's like to shoot a nice Centra or Gehman sight.

April 26, 2005, 04:28 AM
About 50-50. Depends what for, where and when. I much prefer to have back-up iron sights on scoped pieces.

An unscoped rifle can be appreciably lighter and handier. I think many people over-scope their rifles; often turning the trim, light and handy into the weighty and unwieldy.

April 26, 2005, 07:22 AM
I only used open sights when I started shooting and hunting 49 years ago. Of course, the typical affordable scope back then wasn't worth buying anyway. Now I like scopes, good scopes. And I like shooting a good .22 off a rest at 50 yards with a good 36x scope - it makes it easier to hit the 1/10th of an inch dot. I even put a little Weaver 2x-7 on my '63 Mountie.

If you live long enough maybe you'll understand. :)


May 2, 2005, 04:42 PM
I am more likely to get shots at deer over 100 yard than under, so I am sticking with a scope for my deer hunting.

I also use the same rifles for antelope hunting, and those ranges are, for the most part, around 200-300 yards more than under 100 yards.

That being said, the first question I always ask myself when spotting a deer or antelope is, "Is he coming closer to me?" The second question is "Can I get closer to him?" I will gladly trade walking and crawling for a closer shot.