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Thread: scoped rifle, want to use iron sights as backup

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    Default scoped rifle, want to use iron sights as backup

    When I went out in the fall for a moose hunt, it was cold, foggy, and rainy all day every single day. It never let up. I had a good time, but it was pushing the limits of miserable. The thick, wet fog that lingers in the early morning sticks right to the front of the scope, making it hard to see. When it was time for me to have the gun and scope out, I was constantly wiping down the lens so I could see. Even in the morning when the scope was wrapped up it would still have a layer of fog / almost ice (due to constant rain and everything being saturated with water) making it impossible to see out of unless I wiped it down.

    Most of the locals up here use iron sights, and now I see why. I'd like to keep the scope for obvious reasons, but is there a good way I can use both the scope and iron sights?

    I've heard of two solutions-
    1) clear mounts
    2) raise scope up

    From what I've read neither of these solutions seem great. Any thoughts?

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I shoot a Winchester Model 70 in .375 H&H mag, and it has iron sights. It also has quick-disconnect mounts for my scope, and I carry the scope in a neoprene sleeve in the side pocket of my pack. Been doing that for a few years now, and it works great for me!

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    When you raise the scope up with see through mounts, you lose a good cheek weld. High quality Q/D mounts are indeed the way to go, as Mike has said. There used to be swing-away mounts made by outfits such as Pachmeyer, but they were not known for keeping accuracy.

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    I wasn't as far up river as you but that early morning fog could be a pain. What I did was just use a lens cover and I left my rifle outside the tent or cabin at night.

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    What is your set up? I once saw a 3x red dot for an AR with a built in iron sight component. Not sure if it would be accurate. My winter moose hunt gun is going to be an AR 10 with a QD scope and flip up iron sights as a back up (had to mail in my luepold off the 338).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longtrek86 View Post
    When I went out in the fall for a moose hunt, it was cold, foggy, and rainy all day every single day. It never let up. I had a good time, but it was pushing the limits of miserable. The thick, wet fog that lingers in the early morning sticks right to the front of the scope, making it hard to see. When it was time for me to have the gun and scope out, I was constantly wiping down the lens so I could see. Even in the morning when the scope was wrapped up it would still have a layer of fog / almost ice (due to constant rain and everything being saturated with water) making it impossible to see out of unless I wiped it down.

    Most of the locals up here use iron sights, and now I see why. I'd like to keep the scope for obvious reasons, but is there a good way I can use both the scope and iron sights?

    I've heard of two solutions-
    1) clear mounts
    2) raise scope up

    From what I've read neither of these solutions seem great. Any thoughts?
    I've yet to find a stock that works great for a scope and great for iron sights. That's not to say that you can't make do with it, but it's going to be a compromise. That also means that raising a scope even higher is going to be more of a compromise. That's not to mention that using iron sights isn't all that easy or effective for shooters accustomed to scope sighted rifles. It's not that iron sights can't work, because they can work fine. It's just that going back and forth between scope and iron sights probably means less proficiency, likely enough to matter in fairly common hunting scenarios

    Having spent time hunting in less than ideal weather I'd suggest there are better ways to skin this cat. I've been using B&C scope caps for many years. They fit the scope snugly and are submersible for short periods of time without leaking. Of course when you pop the caps they allow the lenses to get wet with rain/fog/snow, but they'll be dry until you do and having shot critters in very poor conditions, sometimes many consecutive days of it, they've served me perfectly well. I've also used various optics that have some type of rain/water coating. Bushnell markets scopes with "Rainguard" and it works very well. I've a Zeiss binocular with LouTec and it has proven itself time and again. Pairing a good scope cover with such optics makes lot of sense to me.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Maybe a good peep sight would be the compromise you are looking for.

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    Talley makes top shelf QD rings, and a QD peep sight which drops right onto the rear base. It's compact enough to store in a small compartment under your grip cap.

    Similarly, NECG makes a nice peep sight for Ruger-style bases.
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    There are all kinds of Scope lense covers, and some that flip up. I never cared for those.

    Check the Link. I wouldn't be without one of these. Just a flip and it's OFF. I have one on each of my hunting rifles. If the weather is good, just put in your pocket

    You won't need Iron Sights with one of these, and you will shoot better with a scope. I think its a good idea to have Weaver Style rings and bases, though, as you can go both ways.

    You might notice that some of the FEW factory rifles that come with iron sights, that the sights appear higher than necessary, BUT that's good. You can see'em without hugging the stock any more than with a scope. Also, they need to be high enough to see over your scope bases.

    So if you have sights installed, the higher ones might be the best choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    I've yet to find a stock that works great for a scope and great for iron sights. That's not to say that you can't make do with it, but it's going to be a compromise.
    I concur 100%. Think about it. The scope is anywhere from an inch to two inches above line of sight for the open sights. Something has to give in the shooting department when you move back and forth between high and low sights.

    Add to that my experiences (bad!) 30, 40 and 50 years ago with scopes that changed POI any time they were removed and restored to the rifle. Things are evidently lots better today in the scope mounting department, but I still don't trust any rifle to return to zero.

    My solution is more expensive, but ultimately best for my tastes and needs. My backup to a scoped gun always has open sights. It's always a good idea to carry a "backup" gun on trips that run for days. Then I switch back and forth between the rifles as the range and terrain change. Really nice when the weather closes in. But also when the game move into tight cover.

    My first choice is my Savage 99 in 358Win with it's receiver sight. Could be any gun, so long as the caliber is appropriate for the game and it's stocked right for quick use of open sights. Over all my years of hunting, I've probably shot as much game with my backup as with my "main" rifle. The extra rifle really has been a good investment for me.

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    My go to hunting rifle is a 1952 M70 Win with a Pacmeyer tip off scope mount. My buddies all say I'm crazy for using such antique set up especially a tip off cause everybody knows they won't hold zero when you remove and reinstall them. However, this one does hold zero and I haven't had to rezero the scope since I put it on about 15 years ago. And the real kicker is the scope is a 4x Tasco. It groups about 4" to 5" at 300yds which is getting close to my maximum range. The stock is a plain classic type without a high comb and the scope sits rather low so it's easy to use either irons or the scope. It serves me very well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    ...about 15 years ago....
    There ya go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    My go to hunting rifle is a 1952 M70 Win with a Pacmeyer tip off scope mount. My buddies all say I'm crazy for using such antique set up especially a tip off cause everybody knows they won't hold zero when you remove and reinstall them. However, this one does hold zero and I haven't had to rezero the scope since I put it on about 15 years ago. And the real kicker is the scope is a 4x Tasco. It groups about 4" to 5" at 300yds which is getting close to my maximum range. The stock is a plain classic type without a high comb and the scope sits rather low so it's easy to use either irons or the scope. It serves me very well.
    Your 300 H & H ????

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    I still have one rifle with iron sights and I've got a scope on it. (Rem. 700 BDL, 7mm Mag.) and the irons line up just fine when the scope is off. I put a fiber optic/fire sight on the front.

    At the time I purchased the rifle, it seemed more important to have Backup Irons, than it does now.

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    I've had great success with warne qd rings on my 338. I have a savage 116 that I chopped to 20 and had opens put on. The scope caps are better than nothing for sure, I always make sure I at least have the top one, as the gun is almost always upright anyway.

    That said, I've enjoyed the heck out of my Lyman and Williams peep sights on my 30 30 and Savage 99 this year, took four deer this year and all with open sights (all were close shots but at the range the 99 will do 1.25 at 100 yards, and the Model 94 will do 3 inches). I did have snow fall on my receiver and block the rear aperture after I took one shot, but a quick puff of air and it was clear and ready for the follow up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    There are all kinds of Scope lense covers, and some that flip up. I never cared for those.

    Check the Link. I wouldn't be without one of these. Just a flip and it's OFF.
    Those look like they would be pretty nice, but as big as it is I don't know if I would trust it to be totally out of the way when it comes time for the "quick off." But maybe you've had good luck with them and that's not the case? I know a lot of guys seem to like the rubber band type ones like that as well.....just a flip and they spring off.

    But I have to say, I've had nothing but good luck with my flip up caps on my 8mag. Same thing.....just a flip with my thumb on the objective at the same time I press the button on the eyepiece and they're open and out of the way.... I don't even have to look at the gun...can do it all by feel. They don't leak and have never been a problem since day one. But, I've tried 3 different times with them on my 270 which is a compact scope and none of them seem to fit just right....they've always flipped open by themselves and then get ripped off while hiking.

    But to the op, as far as fog on the outside of the lens, they do make a liquid that you can wipe on and take care of that. Sorry but I can't remember the name of the stuff, but I would think most of the better sporting goods stores carry some type of it....
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    I started using a neoprene scope cover... Scope Coat or some such, a few years ago. I like it a lot, it keeps rain, snow and all kinds of crap off the lenses until it's time to shoot. It even kept the lenses clean rolling around in the floor of a raft that was full of blood and water (yeah, that was a good day). Not submersible, but it handles everything just shy of it.
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    I use Talley QDs on my Sako 375 and use a neoprene scope cover. I will say that zoomed in you can see the front sight slightly in the scope. If you go with the scope coat make sure to attach it to the rifle in some way as I have left one at the place I first shot and could not find it once the shooting stopped. Being able to remove the scope for cleaning is nice and I have never had any issues with the zero shifting.



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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Those look like they would be pretty nice, but as big as it is I don't know if I would trust it to be totally out of the way when it comes time for the "quick off." But maybe you've had good luck with them and that's not the case? I know a lot of guys seem to like the rubber band type ones like that as well.....just a flip and they spring off.

    But I have to say, I've had nothing but good luck with my flip up caps on my 8mag. Same thing.....just a flip with my thumb on the objective at the same time I press the button on the eyepiece and they're open and out of the way.... I don't even have to look at the gun...can do it all by feel. They don't leak and have never been a problem since day one. But, I've tried 3 different times with them on my 270 which is a compact scope and none of them seem to fit just right....they've always flipped open by themselves and then get ripped off while hiking.

    But to the op, as far as fog on the outside of the lens, they do make a liquid that you can wipe on and take care of that. Sorry but I can't remember the name of the stuff, but I would think most of the better sporting goods stores carry some type of it....
    I'm not knock in the lens caps, but when they are open, they look like they could get caught in something.

    To get the Scope Shield out of the way, so can shoot, you just pull the tab that's sewn to the rear, and let it go. It jumps forward and out of the way. It is fastened to rifle, and just hangs down.

    Buy the size that fits your scope length. They have a list, or you could measure the scopes length.

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    I have had talley, warne, and leupold QD rings. They have all worked well. I generally go for a scope/peep setup on my rifles


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