View Full Version : Bead Sight Tips N Tricks....

Dave McC
January 2, 2001, 09:10 AM
And a few unrelated tips, too....

First, there's about as much universal agreement on what a bead sight should look like as there is about what's the best shotgun.

And, what may work best in a duck blind during typical duck hunting weather may not be the best choice for a HD scenario, or even a bright morning in the turkey woods in the spring...

The base line bead is a little brass gizmo that screws into the bbl, rib, or is mounted on a low base. Sizes may vary, but in general little beads are mounted.Shotguns are used on many things that a large bead may blot out.Conventional wisdom says that large beads are faster, and they may be. I haven't timed responses either way, but I do not regard a bigger bead as essential, it's a minor advantage at best.

Above the base line, there's ivory beads,plastic imitations of same,fiber optics, glow in the dark radioactive stuff, combinations of same, and the middle of bbl bead.

This last item is placed 10-16" behind the front bead and is usually used in a figure 8 sight picture. IOW, the front bead is placed on top of the middle bead. Big advantage, prevents canting and tends to keep the eye in its proper place for consistency.Like a single bead, it works best when the stock fits the shooter.Unlike a single bead, it can be used to make sure one is lined up properly,it can compensate for a stock a little off best fit, but the cost is being a little slower and taking one's attention from the target.

Note: For flying stuff I tend to just see the bead in my peripheral vision,kinda like the way I shoot my longbow w/o sights. I'm not recommending this as THE BEST WAY,just noting it works for me. Adding beads and hi viz sights would just distract me.

Some folks do better with a very visible bead. If your shotgun has the base line brass bead and you'd like to see how an aftermarket, brighter bead would work for you, grab a $2 bottle of Testor's enamel and paint up the sight.I use either yellow or white. If you don't like it, a little acetone will take it right off.Remember to re-oil the area afterwards, acetone takes rustproofing off also.

BTW, this also works well for HD sights, since many crises occur in low light.

As for the fiber optics, great in low light, no big advantage in ordinary light. Tritium sights, more of the same.No big disadvantage either(other than cost),so if they float your boat...

I see a hand up in the back of the room."How about the Space gun rib setup?"...

For those that came in late, the Lutjek(Sp?) trap gun a while back was offered with an option of an adjustable rib, with an upper surface that was kinda U shaped, but squared corners. It had a small bead at the muzzle, located lower than the tops of the shallow rib, giving a sight pic similiar to that of a SXS with a swamped rib. Trap shooters were unenthused, but it might have had more to do with custom and fashion than utility.One excellent but eccentric trap shooter I knew slightly liked it with the bead removed, he claimed he could sight down the rib groove and hit well.

Be that as it may, I doubt it's being offered, anywhere, by anybody now.

So, what do any of us want from that bead? Easy pickup, durability, and of a size that helps put the shot charge where it needs to go. A bigger bead lowers POI, a smaller one raises it, tho the range of movement is not all that great. This is an area where no immense revelations await, but there's some advantage to tweaking the bead question and seeing what works for all of us.

And, a couple unrelated things....

First, many of us are shooting with less than perfectly fitted stocks, including me. However, with a repeater, getting a better(tho not perfect) fit is simple, requiring little besides some range time, some kitchen table time and a little Reynolds Wrap.

First, know where you're hitting. For the purposes of this discussion, let's posit your 870 is shooting a little lower than you want on ringnecks and trap shots.

Measure the drop at comb and heel, then...

Loosen up the stock until you can access the back of the receiver. Fold the wrap until you've several layers and scissor it to fit the bottom of the receiver without showing after the stock is tightened down. Tighten it down, and measure the drop again. Repeat until the stock has the drop that's right for you, and pattern to confirm that.

If the shotgun is hitting low, placing the foil low with correct that,and so on. You can add a little cast on/off by placing the foil right or left.


This is of more interest to slug shooters and WIHTF types, but all of us can benefit slightly by adding a trigger stop to limit overtravel. Here's the cheapest one I know of,and use.

Use acetone or straight grain alcohol to degrease the inside rear of the trigger guard.Crazy glue a pencil eraser in there that's too long to allow the trigger to move to the rear enough to fire the weapon.Using a very sharp blade, slowly slice off a little at a time until the weapon will fire, then take off one more very thin slice.