I can’t see my sights

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Homesteader

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I ran some lead through my .45 long rifle recently, and wasn’t thrilled with my performance. The truth is I just can’t see the sights well anymore. The blade is a blur (on a 44” barrel) that I more or less guess is in the notch of my flat rear sight. At 50 yards I averaged a 3” to 4” group. I was never Hawkeye, but I sure used to do better than that.

So within the bounds of reasonable historical correctness, what should I be looking at to improve my ability to see my sights? My first thought was a buckhorn or peep sight. I’m not sure how that would help with the blurry front sight though.

I appreciate any advice, remembering that I do like to stay traditional. Thanks much.
 

tenngun

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Boone pasted a white piece of paper on his.
Ghost sights can bee fit in the rear,
If’n you need a peep ya need a peep, I might be heading that direction myself.
 

Homesteader

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Yep, it’s definitely age. My 6th decade has been teaching me that getting old sure ain’t for sissies. My vision is actually quite good except for the natural age-related inability to focus up close. That is one reason I had a custom fowling firelock built for me, and why I haven’t used this rifle in a good while. Both the blade and rear sight are very low to the barrel. Great when I was younger, but it’s getting tough now.

Are peep sights or buck horns or what have you historically correct to the 18th century?
 

Grenadier1758

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Peep sights are historically correct. Buck horns are more likely in the 19th Century.

While the use of a diopter on your 18th century glasses isn't historically correct, being able to still participate has to be a consideration in my acceptance of people in a historical setting.

You can get cheap readers that will put the front sight in focus, the rear sight and the target will have some blur, but they do help. I have bought 0.5 and 0.75 correction glasses from vendors on ebay or Amazon. These are cheap and will scratch easily from cap fragments, but they do sharpen the focus on the sights. These really help with the smoothbore.

In this picture you can see the glasses that I modified from a pair of 0.75 correction readers to fit the lens in my 18th century glasses. It helped me to keep that old bayonet lug held on the target.

1590276525699.png

And as has been stated elsewhere, see your optometrist.
 
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Dale Lilly

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Hi. I am 88 years old and had the same problem. Two years ago I had cataract surgery and can now easily see both sights. Have your eyes checked; it can't hurt and may give you a real opportunity to shoot a few more years. Don't say you are too young for cataracts. Just go to a good optometrist. Also, Dixie features a buckhorn cast from one found on an original Hawken. I have several mountain style rifles and most have buckhorns of one sort or another. My Austin & Halleck Mountain rifle has very pronounced buckhorns and I love it. Polecat's .02 cents worth.
 

Stophel

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It's certainly common for good old presbyopia to make focusing on a rear sight difficult, but I would think if you can't focus on the FRONT sight, four feet away, you should see an eye doctor for corrective lenses (or perhaps to address some other condition).

Many people try making the sights bigger, but I don't know if it really helps that much.... and bigger sights mean more possibility of error in accuracy.

The easiest thing to try is changing the color of the front sight. Brass dulls, and can be hard to distinguish from the target/background. Paint it fluorescent orange. You still may not be able to focus on it well, but at least you should be able to see the color and tell that it's there, rather than guessing where the sight is.
 

brewer12345

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As a lifelong sufferer from poor vision, please go get an eye exam. You may be able to easily correct your vision tremendously.

I was having a really hard time seeing the sights and mentioned it to the eye doc. He indicated that my contact scrip had been set up with my left eye for distance and right for close up. No bueno for a very right handed shooter. Now I have the reverse. I can see very well to shoot open sights to 75 or 100 yards and when I am shooting handguns I can use my dominant left eye.
 

Larry (Omaha)

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I appreciate any advice, remembering that I do like to stay traditional. Thanks much.
FishDFly already mentioned the eye doc.
Not only see an eye doc, but be specific about wanting to see your sights better. My doc said he could make me a special set for shooting.
When I had cataract surgery in 2014, the surgeon put in corrective lenses too. Don't know your age, but if you are close to cataract surgery that is another option.
Flintlocklar 🇺🇸
 

Bugman

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As I'm ending my 6th decade I have a similar problem. I have found progressive lenses to be the answer. They have a variable range which allows you to bring the sights into better focus. The other problem is the desire to be "correct" to the exclusion to a major enjoyment of this hobby. We don't have a lot of time left - if glasses are the answer tell the naysayers to ignore them so you can enjoy what time you have left to enjoy your hobby in all respects. Stitch-counters are in each hobby, so let them coalesce to their own group while you and other old cockers enjoy yourselves. They have a lot to learn and you have to prove nothing to anybody.
 

87TT

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I just have trouble with focusing on the rear sight. I use reading glasses a lot but not for shooting because then the front sight is blurry. My solution was to when I ordered my current kit, I had the dovetail for the rear sight moved out farther by three inches.
 

Stophel

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As I'm ending my 6th decade I have a similar problem. I have found progressive lenses to be the answer. They have a variable range which allows you to bring the sights into better focus. The other problem is the desire to be "correct" to the exclusion to a major enjoyment of this hobby. We don't have a lot of time left - if glasses are the answer tell the naysayers to ignore them so you can enjoy what time you have left to enjoy your hobby in all respects. Stitch-counters are in each hobby, so let them coalesce to their own group while you and other old cockers enjoy yourselves. They have a lot to learn and you have to prove nothing to anybody.
Why did you feel the need to interject this little unsolicited hit? NOBODY said he shouldn't wear glasses or do this or that with his sights. That c--p is gettin' pretty old.
 
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Britsmoothy

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My eyes are failing too. It's a pain. I'm struggling with scopes even!

I have to use glasses but they are far from perfect eye sight.
 

FishDFly

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"I just have trouble with focusing on the rear sight"

I am primarily a dedicated pistol shooter and read a lot about pistol shooting.

One of the teachings of pistol shooting is to focus on the front sight. The rear sight can be "fuzzy", this is okay. The eye can not focus on three things at the same time: the rear sight, the front sight and the target.

As before, I would go see a eye doctor, try to find one who caters to shooters. Get the last appointment of the day so you can take your rifle in with you.

My pistol scores went down and my eyes were constantly watering. Doctor said I had major cataracts and that my lower eye lids had fallen.

Result was cataract and eye lid surgery on both eyes. Trip to the Doctor was well worth the trip, my scores went up and I can see great now.
 

Art Caputo

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At 69, I have been having difficulty maintaining a sharp front sight picture, much more so with handguns. Progressives have helped quite a bit, but it was necessary to have the optometrist( fortunately a shooter) fine tune the lens to maintain a natural head position when shooting. The standard lens gradient tends to require an awkward chin-up position to maintain focus on the front sight. He basically raised the near position of the progressive gradient on the lens to match my particular physical make-up....big difference. As others have mentioned, CVS style readers in the 1X range have also worked exceptionally well for me, particularly for handgun shooting at the typically shorter ranges.
 

wobranch

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I am just about to turn 85 and for years have used this trick to sharpen up rifle sights. I put a small piece of black electrical tape on a scrap of clear plastic, punch a small hole about 1/16" with a special punch, then peel off the tape and stick it on your glasses. Looking through the tiny aperture sharpens up vision on both front and rear sights as well as the target.
 
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