Can I open this rear sight up and how much is normal?

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I have this rifle I believe it to be a TOTW Isaac Haines 32 inch barrel Give or take; in 50 caliber. The rear sight like many classic muzzleloaders has a very narrow sight line forgive me for not knowing the correct nomenclature. Please see picture attached. I have not used this rifle too often and not spent any time trying to figure out what is the best load. I have shot it enough both off hand for which I can’t hit the broadside of a barn; while in a rest it repeatedly shoots 6 to 8 inches low and a smidge to the left. I have a difficult time with it off hand which I attribute to my back hurting and the rear sight being too narrow. I generally shoot at 60 yards and would be happy to have a lollipop zero at this yardage no big deal right. So I think I know I have to take the front sight down to bring the point of impact up? My problem is I seem to have a problem aligning the rear sight with the front once I have the front on target. I would like to open up the rear sight so that when the sights are aligned I have a light gap left and right. Right now there is none just solid when all lined up. So the rear sight to narrow. I can always replace the sight id like to be able to see more light at the left and right of the front sight when sights are aligned. So before I mess things up I figured I’d ask the experts. Is there any rule for what that diameter should be? It definitely less than 1/16 and I think because the sights are closer together than my 40 or 42 inch barreled rifles I’m not getting the sight picture I need to align the rear with the front? Is 3/32 to big or does it not matter to a point? Thanks in advance!
 

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never be afraid to fix something that will allow you better use of the arm. most sights are sold in a minimal configuration anyway.
some builders dont even polish them. if you are shooting low take a file to the top of the front sight. thats part of the fun of fitting a rifle to your eye.
i just yesterday took down a front sight on a rifle i built six months ago and had been shooting ever since. i just never took the time to file it.
shrunk my groups by 50%
 
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Open the rear sight up a little at a time until you can see through it. You don't need a narrow notch to shoot well. Also, make sure you have a good load before you start filing down the sight, front or rear. In the beginning it doesn't matter so much where it lands on the paper since you should be looking for the best group at the velocity level you want.
 

Mtman725

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I just finished a CVA, I did both the front and rear, the hard part for me was keeping the bottom part of the notch square and level.The rear used a set aim point, and shoulder it tell I got the sight picture I wanted. I got ready to do this by buy a good set on watch maker file's they worked great. As everyone is saying go slow. The front was a posses, I've set this one up for hunting, 2" high @ 50yds 54, 80grs of FFG,CCI Mag cap, 18th PRB. File shoot one, file and so on, again watch so you keep the blade level, and square. It shoots better groups with 65 grains but hunting its 80 and up.
 
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I just finished a CVA, I did both the front and rear, the hard part for me was keeping the bottom part of the notch square and level.The rear used a set aim point, and shoulder it tell I got the sight picture I wanted. I got ready to do this by buy a good set on watch maker file's they worked great. As everyone is saying go slow. The front was a posses, I've set this one up for hunting, 2" high @ 50yds 54, 80grs of FFG,CCI Mag cap, 18th PRB. File shoot one, file and so on, again watch so you keep the blade level, and square. It shoots better groups with 65 grains but hunting its 80 and up.
I have to really get on the ball and dial the rifle in; looks like we’re getting a fair amount of much needed rain so I’m going to hold off until next week to get to the range again. I just have to get some rust back on the rear sight and polish the front sight. I took about a 1/16 off the top of the blade. I’ll be bringing the file with me. Has to be better than it was as it was way low. Now that I opened the window I know this rifle is going to work well. Last night after I opened the slot I had a sense of relief each time I shouldered the rifle. I don’t know why I was so apprehensive with it. Like ADK Bigfoot said you have to let light in. Such a simple thing I feel very good now. Thanks for the input.
 
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never be afraid to fix something that will allow you better use of the arm. most sights are sold in a minimal configuration anyway.
some builders dont even polish them. if you are shooting low take a file to the top of the front sight. thats part of the fun of fitting a rifle to your eye.
i just yesterday took down a front sight on a rifle i built six months ago and had been shooting ever since. i just never took the time to file it.
shrunk my groups by 50%
I was stuck on the thinking that being the rifle is a kit gun that the sights used were correct if you will. I was very wrong.
 
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one of the things that is so wonderful about muzzleloaders is they are there to modify to our needs and liking. i have bent smooth bore stocks (shotguns) into cast for people that made them impossible to stand up in a corner! but they were deadly shoulder mounted for the individual.
it is a hard barrier to overcome, taking a file, saw, or rasp/scraper to a beautifully finished gun and making it truly fit oneself. but someone else did just that before we got our hands on the gun. we be just improving it!
 
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Many shooters find the rear sight width to be best if the slot is opened to show amount of light on either side of the front blade which is equal to half the front sight width, or full front sight width on each side.

Light on each side equal to front blade seems to be preferred more by pistol shooters for quicker sight picture acquisition.

I like the 50% on each side better for accuracy with a rifle.

Either way, your brain picks up the geometric relationship better than too small a gap.
 

Pietro

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Since your rifle's POI is to the left of the POA; I would suggest widening the rear sight notch on the RH side only, using baby steps ( I shoot at a firing range to shoot/file/shoot/file as needed to achieve zero)

I use a very thin file that has a safe (smooth) edge
 

dave951

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I'd widen it a smidge and don't worry about which side. Try to center and drift the sight once you have it where you like it.
 

hanshi

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I've taken a file to the rear sights notch on virtually every rifle I've owned. I need a fair amount of light on either side of the front and a few times filed the notch really wide. Some sights I filed a sorta "V" notch and others a square or "U" shaped notch. Basically I simply modify the rear sight until it works for me.
 
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If u r a little bit left as is and you plan to widen the notch, takes more off the right side of the notch which will move your POI to the right.
Hopefully you came out of the storm okay! Thanks for comment but you are too late. No big deal I centered it up. Have not been shooting much as my back has acted up so I been laying low. Despite my weakened state I managed to get off 5 shots this past weekend off hand. My Evil Roy Desperado took four of the five. I was a little shaky went over the top. The remaining 4 all were in the paper ring I stuck on it. Opening that sight up made a world of difference I also lowered the front sight. The true test will come when I get it on the rest. Appreciate everyone’s helpful comments!
Joe
 

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