Rear sight on a smoothbore

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waksupi

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A problem with rear sights, is most need to be too close to the eye on a smoothbore. They may work well for young eyes, but most of us oldtimers have sights moved down the barrel so we can focus on them.
For me, the whole breech is my rear sight. It is repetition of shooting that imprints it in the mind. When I determined to learn how to shoot smooth bores well, I put away my rifles for around two years, and shot only smoothbores.
Could the OP have a recoil problem? If you are flinching away from the gun, accuracy will remain elusive.
 
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My 54/28ga Pennsylvania smooth rifle (left in the photo) I built from a kit, needed a rear sight. So I grabbed a 3 corner file and dovetailed one in. It made it much more versatile, especially with prb. Except for competition rules, I would not apologize for a rear sight.
NMLRA has a sighted smooth bore category. Many clubs do insist on 54 minimum cal, front site only. Too bad, mine is a 50 cal smoothbore with a rear action Josh Golcher lock, tells me they put rear sights on smoothbore’s in the 1800’s.
 

flntlokr

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I hope I dont ruffle any feathers by asking this but are any smoothbores specifically flintlocks produced with a rear sight ? I recently got a Pedersoli Brown Bess that was in somewhat poor condition in a lot of muzzleloaders that I bought from a deceased neighbors wife. I cant seem to hit the broadside of a barn. I started with paper cartridges then patched round balls and I just cant hit that damn plate lol(@50yards). I think its because I cant get that bayonet lug in the same spot twice and to be honest the Bess just doesnt hold right for me it is a nice smoker though. My question is are there any smoothbores made today like a fowler or fusil that have a rear sight ? I would like to use one for deer hunting .62 caliber is enough for me I think as .75 eats into my lead supplies.
They usually call them 'smooth rifles' these days. WRONG! a rifle is a firearm with a screw thread that spins the ball for better stability. I read an article years ago (MIssouri Archaeologist??) that stated tha someting like 50% of the trade fusils found in digs had some sort of rear sight attached. So rear sights on smoothbores of any sort are historically correct, but in a lot of rendezvous, you will end up shooting against rifle shooters because of their 'house' or association rules which define what qualifies as a 'smoothbore' or 'trade gun'. In my region, no rear sights allowed. (although a slightly protruding and carefully aligned tang screw is ok. (so far))
 

hanshi

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A problem with rear sights, is most need to be too close to the eye on a smoothbore. They may work well for young eyes, but most of us oldtimers have sights moved down the barrel so we can focus on them.



I'm one of the old-timers with bad eyesight. So for my smoothbore I had the rear mounted as far forward as possible on the octagon area of the barrel. I only focus on the front sight keeping the target and rear sight blurry. Three or even two things cannot be focused with the eye, only one. That was how I was taught in the military but I've always shot that way from "kidhood". After killing a deer with it I widened the rear notch to about double what it was. It made it so much easier to see daylight on both sides of the front sight when they're lined up.
 
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They usually call them 'smooth rifles' these days. WRONG! a rifle is a firearm with a screw thread that spins the ball for better stability. I read an article years ago (MIssouri Archaeologist??) that stated tha someting like 50% of the trade fusils found in digs had some sort of rear sight attached. So rear sights on smoothbores of any sort are historically correct, but in a lot of rendezvous, you will end up shooting against rifle shooters because of their 'house' or association rules which define what qualifies as a 'smoothbore' or 'trade gun'. In my region, no rear sights allowed. (although a slightly protruding and carefully aligned tang screw is ok. (so far))
Silly as it sounds smooth rifle was a term used back to the eighteenth century. Along with rifle mounted fusil.
I don’t know what was most common, but sticks around even if incorrect
But it does make a division between a fusil/ Fowling Gunn and a gun on a rifle platform.
 
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I'm one of the old-timers with bad eyesight. So for my smoothbore I had the rear mounted as far forward as possible on the octagon area of the barrel. I only focus on the front sight keeping the target and rear sight blurry. Three or even two things cannot be focused with the eye, only one. That was how I was taught in the military but I've always shot that way from "kidhood". After killing a deer with it I widened the rear notch to about double what it was. It made it so much easier to see daylight on both sides of the front sight when they're lined up.
Mine is set up the same way and definitely helps me aim
 

Zutt-man

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Bobby Hoyt will take your .58 calibre out to .62 calibre…I don’t know his prices; I’ve personally never used him; but people here that I respect…swear by him, and the quality work that he does…
Would you be able to safely add a jug choke after boring out a .58 to .62?
 
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I looked at a file on English fowlers that Dave Person was doing a write up on, showed a grove filed in the tang area and some carried that on to the barrel a small amount. Check it out, it might be what you can use.
 

maillemaker

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Many people shoot smoothbore muskets in competition in the North-South Skirmish Association. They do not allow the addition or modification of sights - they must conform to the original kinds of sights on that arm. There were a few guns of the period of the ACW that had rear sights. One such were some 12,000 flintlocks obtained from federal arsenals that were converted by the firm of Hewes and Phillips from flintlock to percussion. As part of this work, rear sights were added in preparation for rifling. But the guns were needed so urgently they were sent out without rifling, making them the only US-manufactured example of smoothbore military muskets with rear sights. They are highly sought after by N-SSA competitors.

The last US arsenal-produced flintlock was the M1840. It is nearly identical to the M1842. I decided back in 2016 to undertake to take a reproduction Armisport M1842 and "retrovert" it to look like an M1840 that had been converted to percussion per the H&P system. It was quite a saga.

Here is a video I made on my project. It's 51 minutes long, but covers the long and short of it.

 
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Many people shoot smoothbore muskets in competition in the North-South Skirmish Association. They do not allow the addition or modification of sights - they must conform to the original kinds of sights on that arm. There were a few guns of the period of the ACW that had rear sights. One such were some 12,000 flintlocks obtained from federal arsenals that were converted by the firm of Hewes and Phillips from flintlock to percussion. As part of this work, rear sights were added in preparation for rifling. But the guns were needed so urgently they were sent out without rifling, making them the only US-manufactured example of smoothbore military muskets with rear sights. They are highly sought after by N-SSA competitors.

The last US arsenal-produced flintlock was the M1840. It is nearly identical to the M1842. I decided back in 2016 to undertake to take a reproduction Armisport M1842 and "retrovert" it to look like an M1840 that had been converted to percussion per the H&P system. It was quite a saga.

Here is a video I made on my project. It's 51 minutes long, but covers the long and short of it.


So if it is a proven fact that there s were sights on all types of smoothbores, why does the NSSA forbid them?
 

maillemaker

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So if it is a proven fact that there s were sights on all types of smoothbores, why does the NSSA forbid them?
There weren't sights on all types of smoothbores. You can only have sights on smoothbores that were issued with them. For example, the M1842 was not issued with a rear sight. So you cannot just add a rear sight to an M1842 and use it in competition.
 
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There weren't sights on all types of smoothbores. You can only have sights on smoothbores that were issued with them. For example, the M1842 was not issued with a rear sight. So you cannot just add a rear sight to an M1842 and use it in competition.
We may not be talking about the same thing. Through out the posts there have been many example of smooth bores with original sights. Are you referring strictly to Military issue arms? Does the NSSA require a Military issue arm? I am not familiar with their rules etc, thanks
 

maillemaker

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Generally speaking N-SSA rules are that it must have been an issued firearm in quantities of 100 or more during the Civil War. There have been exceptions approved by the N-SSA long ago. For example, Remington 1863 "Zouave" rifles were probably never issued but they are approved. The Colt Signature Series 2-band "special" musket is a fantasy gun but was approved. As far as smoothbore guns go, the intent was as-issued sights for the particular gun represented.
 
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Lot of good responses. I haven't read them all so might be duplicating. Yes, some smoothies came with, or had added, rear sights. There is nothing 'un-pc' about them. However, when shooting matches often rear sights are prohibited to make a level playing field for everyone.
 
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Built a smooth rifle back in the 90's with a Colerain turkey choke barrel. It will easily kill a turkey at 40 yards so a rear sight went on from day one. At 25 yards the pattern is 15 inches so you have little room for error. I am going to build 2 more soon as I have time both will have rear sights.
 

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