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Old March 8, 2013, 08:48 PM   #1
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Beginner using a scope


I am relatively new to the world of firearms, and I've just recently purchased my first rifle. It's a bolt action 22, a Savage Mark II GXP. It came with a scope, and when I purchased the rifle, I planned on first shooting with just the iron sights to learn the fundamentals and then mounting the scope sometime later.

In my noobness, however, I purchased the gun only to realize after that there are no sights. So, I've been using and learning with the scope.

I'd like to ask the community's thoughts on this. I am learning to shoot mainly with the hope of hunting in the future, so I imagine I will need to learn how to fire with a scope. But is that a bad way to start? Might I end up creating bad habits?

If I were to decide that I want to learn with iron sights, do I have any options besides exchanging the firearm (having sights installed)?

I appreciate any advice!
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Old March 8, 2013, 09:07 PM   #2
Dan Newberry
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for what it would cost to have a gunsmith install sights, you could buy another .22 LR at Walmart and have two guns then. The Mossberg "Plinkster" is a decent little rifle for not much more than 100 bucks... we've got about 4 of them in our immediate family, and everyone likes them.

As for learning to use your scope... the first thing to learn is that you need a "full moon" view. If you see a crescent shadow at top or bottom, or on either side, you're gonna miss... the shot will strike away from the crosshairs.

So practice with your "eye relief" until you get the full sight picture (no shadows)... and just practice at 25 yards on a paper target until you can shoot the smallest groups you're able to (they should be 1/2" to 3/4" max at 25 yards).

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Old March 8, 2013, 10:34 PM   #3
Join Date: March 8, 2013
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some good advice to the newbee . I would add that 90% of hunting rifles do not come with iron sites anymore but dont let that stop you from learning there use . when you move up dont by cheap glass by the best you can . I have had rifles sit for close to a year as i saved every penny i could to mount a good scope . Im a leupold man and i am trying my first Zeiss scope and have only had it for 2 weeks a rifle with a scope that fails is a very exppensive club have fun be safe and glad to hear you are getting into the sport join a rod and gun club and the NRA
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:44 AM   #4
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Right, thanks for the advice. Should I be hitting groups that small at 25 yards shooting offhand (standing unsupported)?

Also, I guess the core of my question really is whether it is important to learn the fundamentals with iron sights. As a beginner, do you think it's okay to start with a scope?
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Old March 11, 2013, 02:45 PM   #5
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Starting with a low powered scope properly installed for you is fine. If you shoot groups that size offhand, you will be the envy of everyone here.
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:22 PM   #6
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Having learned decades ago when iron sights were the norm, I would advise you to just focus on learning how to shoot with the scope and forget about iron sights.

Advantage of iron sights: cheap, reliable. Disadvantages: poor definition, non instinctive (you have to look at the sights rather than your target). Advantages of scopes: instinctive (you look at your target and the crosshairs are in focus), better clarity, better visibility. Disadvantage of scopes: fragile, rifle movement more visible than irons (the rifle really moves the same amount with a scope, you can just see it better). Winner IMO: scope.
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:47 PM   #7
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There are those of the thought that learning with opens is the way to go (recent thread somewhere here at TFL) but any perceived advantages are quickly washed way buy spending money to have a smith put opens on your gun. No, bad habits do not form from using a scope. Only disadvantage is really a lack of familiarity in the future should you ever HAVE TO use a scopeless gun. Thank the Lord that doesn't have to happen, scopes abound, they're all over, learn to use it (it's very very basic) and enjoy having a better sight.
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Old March 11, 2013, 06:53 PM   #8
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I see, good to know. Thanks so much for the input.

I imagine I'll buy another rifle in the future or work with a friend to get comfortable with sights, but for the time being, it's good to know I can hang with the rig I have.
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Old March 12, 2013, 05:42 PM   #9
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count me amoung those who believe in iron sights on thier rifles and learnning to use them first as part of basic marksmanship .then learn the scope. all my rifles have sights as well as scopes. not trying to start any thing just adding my 2bits. i grew up in rural v.t. my dad was a gun smith and after a spill down one of those slate ridges a scope can end up in youre back pack instead of on youre rifle. thats when youre glad you got sights. hey it happened once up in upper rutland county trashed the scope . then over in n.y. it knocked it so far off i had to take it off and send it in for repairs. so it happens twice so far in 40 yrs. any ways. well hth
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Old March 12, 2013, 06:01 PM   #10
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I feel a second (sighted-in) scope or red-dot in your pack, is better than iron sights on the rifle because any type of sight can be damaged by a fall.

If you have a picatinny or Weaver detachable mounts, you can swap scopes without losing zero, provided the spare is also sighted-in (and not just bore-sighted).
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Old March 12, 2013, 06:06 PM   #11
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I agree irons are a good skill for the skill quiver. Actually for hunting under 150 yards, a red dot or irons is ideal.

If your whole point is hunting, generally fast, efficient scope use is the best skill to practice.

Might I suggest a 2x(100 yds avg deer shot), 4x(200) or 6x(300) fixed power scope when you move to the hunting rifle? It will ease the process and generally be a better optic for shooting. Binoculars and spotters are better for finding and judging game.

Have fun with your 22!
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Old March 12, 2013, 09:08 PM   #12
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Hows your eyesight? Even though im 26 mine isnt the best and shooting open sights isnt all that fun at times. My feelings are, if your having fun and are safe, learning on a scoped rifle isnt bad. Just understand your limitations. Growing up I learned to shoot a Rem 511 with a scope and it shoots quarters all day long.

Have you shot a rifle with a scope compared to iron sights? If so what did YOU enjoy the most.
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