View Full Version : What's so good about a bead sight?

September 30, 2001, 06:24 PM
I know very little about shotguns--I fired one last weekend for the first time and am thinking of getting a 18" or 20" or so shotgun for "everything"-- defence, perhaps shooting at some flying clay ducks.

The bead sight I used was pretty simple and easy. However, I don't see any advantage over rifle, ghost ring, or any other type of long-arm sight. Am I missing something?

- P

September 30, 2001, 07:26 PM
I think you said it best. It's simple and easy. Such simplicity is important on quicker shots like pass shooting at birds or clays. Your eye essentially functions as the rear sight, so there is only one other point to think about lining up. With rifle-sights, peeps, fiber optics, etc. you have to line up an additional point on the gun with your eye.

For deer or turkey hunting, where you have time to squeeze the trigger, there's not a thing wrong with a front and rear sight. But for birds or clays, there's just less time to think about all three points (eye, rear sight, front sight) as you're slapping the trigger.

For defense and clays shooting, a bead will do you just fine.

September 30, 2001, 08:12 PM
For wingshooting a sight is not necessary if you practice proper gun mount and have a gun that fits.

Most experienced shooters do not even look at the bead when shooting, they concentrate on the target.

A shotgun is not a rifle, unless you are shooting slugs or at turkeys. Most shotgunning is at moving targets where a sight is a hindrance. Concentrating on a sight will cause you to stop moving the gun and miss. This is a common problem with new shooters, particularly those who are experienced with rifles.

I have seen shooters loose the bead on their guns and continue shooting, with no problems. One shooter I know broke the bead on his gun and did not have it replaced for several months, and he is a master class shooter in Sporting Clays.

In bullseye pistol shooting we are admonished to concentrate on the front sight and let the target blur. Wingshooting is quite different, you should concentrate on the target and let the gun blur.

My $.02 as usual

Geoff Ross

September 30, 2001, 11:29 PM
I will not comment on wingshooting, as I am not an accomplished wingshooter (average, at best) and Geoff pretty much stated what I've always heard/believed anyway.

I will say this- if you don't have a 'proper' sight, and are using just the bead, things like stock fit, consistency of mount and cheek weld become very important. Since you're basically forcing your dominant eye to act as rear sight, its very important that it ends up in the same place relevent to the gun, every time.

This is not really a bad thing (it will force consistency on your part, which is good for you), but you do need to be aware of it.


Dave McC
October 1, 2001, 06:32 AM
The guys pretty much nailed it. As a loose rule, the better a wingshooter is,and the better his/her shotgun fits, the less important the type of sight.

I've had the front bead disappear on my TB during a round of trap, and hit my average at the time, 23-24/25.

October 1, 2001, 06:36 AM
I lost my bead sight when I took a pipecutter to my barrel. :(

Al Thompson
October 1, 2001, 06:53 AM
I have beads, Reminton's rifle sights, had a Scattergun Tech ghost ring sight.........

Key is determining what your going to do with the SG. IMHO, for HD under 25 yards, a bead/buckshot combo works fine. If slugs are on the list, rifle sights are mo better....


October 1, 2001, 07:33 AM
I was told years ago that the primary purpose of the bead sight was to keep the shotgun from slipping and falling over when you prop it against a tree.

Most folks can precisely point at an object with their finger and it doesn't have a sight on it.


October 1, 2001, 08:46 AM
We don't need sights??? Well, the Mongolian-Americans believed that once too. "The sound kills, not the bullet." How did that work for them?

Depends on what you are shooting and at what ranges. Some excellent shooting can be done (even with slugs) with just a bead, much to my dismay. Practice, practice, practice.

I like the ghost ring as it is easier to place the charge, especially slugs, where it needs to be. Try different guns and buy several of the one you choose.