Why bead front sights on factory long range (300+yd) (40&45cal) rifles?

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum:

Steel Guitar

32 Cal
Joined
Jun 16, 2021
Messages
30
Reaction score
24
Hello,
Why are there bead front sights on factory long range (300+yd) (40&45cal) rifles? How could this possibly be good for long range shooting? I'm scratching my bald head over this one. I know that most owners put on nice globe aperature types with a spirit level.
 

hawkeye2

58 Cal.
Joined
Apr 12, 2004
Messages
4,396
Reaction score
1,511
Location
Winchester, VA
Most folks involved in long range shooting have personal preferences regarding sights and would be installing ones of their choice rather than what the factory would dictate so the guns come with basics.
 

Steel Guitar

32 Cal
Joined
Jun 16, 2021
Messages
30
Reaction score
24
Thanks, was this rear peep and bead front sight setup ever used for long range shooting by either military or nonmilitary? By long range I mean 200+yards?
 

R.J.Bruce

40 Cal
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
259
Reaction score
316
I will offer an observation that in the past, only people who had good eyesight shot long range rifles. During wartime, the most accurate rifles went to the best shooters, who almost always had the best eyesight.

Nowadays, it's a totally different proposition. People with less than 20/20 vision, to include some people with horrendously bad eyesight (myself), want to shoot these types of rifles.

In a battle situation, a bead front sight is going to be far faster to acquire, than a globe front sight would be.

A globe front sight mated to a vernier tang rear sight is going to be far more accurate at really long distances. But, is not very practical in the poor lighting conditions found in early morning, late evening, or against any kind of dark backdrop.
 

R.J.Bruce

40 Cal
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
259
Reaction score
316
There are plenty of recorded kills in WWII at distances exceeding 200 yards, with the M1 Garand/30-06 cartridge. Using a blade front sight & peep rear sight.

Same thing in WWI & WWII with the Springfield bolt-action 30-06 rifle, blade front sight & peep rear sight.

It's more about a shooters eyesight, the peep rear sight, and training, especially with a sling, than the front sight.
 

R.J.Bruce

40 Cal
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
259
Reaction score
316
I would also postulate that as the population has grown, so has the proportion of people in the population with bad eyesight. Before the 20th Century & modern medicine, people with lousy eyesight simply didn't live as long as others with good eyesight did. They were far more vulnerable to loosing their lives early due to misfortune, accident, or malintent.
 

GREENSWLDE

40 Cal
MLF Supporter
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
432
Reaction score
282
Location
Middle England
Nothing wrong with a lollypop. Proved that in1997 at Bisley (HEATON 1000 Silver).. OLD DOG..
 

Pietro

45 Cal.
Joined
Sep 15, 2020
Messages
664
Reaction score
698
Why are there bead front sights on factory long range (300+yd) (40&45cal) rifles ?

A carry over from the earlier days of percussion rifles, when shooters liked to separate the men from the boys, with the challenge of holding a fine bead on their distant targets.

Some circumstances preclude any sights except barrel-mounted iron sights.
 

Steel Guitar

32 Cal
Joined
Jun 16, 2021
Messages
30
Reaction score
24
Thanks yall for all of the very good information. I recently got into long range percussions, I just can't afford them 1 in 21" 5oog shooters.
 

Muddly

40 Cal
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
160
Reaction score
157
In his book " The Muzzleloading Caplock Rifle" Ned Roberts mentions bead sights quite often, and on target rifles for shooting WAY out there. I used to think a blade was the only way to go. But nearly all my rifles have bead sights, and apertures, of various sizes. I find no difference in my ability to put my shot " just so". And on a hunting rifle, a bead is a very fine eye catcher.
A nice bead is a very fine sight. No coincidence that the old saying for taking aim is " drawing a bead"
 

necchi

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Feb 23, 2009
Messages
13,282
Reaction score
414
Location
Central Minn
Hello,
Why are there bead front sights on factory long range (300+yd) (40&45cal) rifles? How could this possibly be good for long range shooting? I'm scratching my bald head over this one. I know that most owners put on nice globe aperature types with a spirit level.
There isn't. There are only "bead sight's" for wanna be long range shooters,
YOU, wanna be a "long range shooter"?
Then set your sights.
It's simple,,
YOU choose.
You bought the rifle. What the previous owner had setup was for him. YOU choose, how to use YOUR rifle.

p.s. good luck shooting 300+ yards with a factory rifle.
 
Last edited:

Woodnbow

50 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
1,423
Reaction score
1,162
Thanks yall for all of the very good information. I recently got into long range percussions, I just can't afford them 1 in 21" 5oog shooters.
So make one from a Renegade or Hawken! My .40 caliber Renegade/Hawken hybrid was a relined 15/16” Hawken barrel done by Bobby Hoyt. I probably have $400.00 total invested in the gun before mounting a Lyman Globe front and Lyman rear peep. It shoots very well at three hundred yards and most likely much further.
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
176
Reaction score
223
I have found that a bead front sight paired with an aperture rear, the bead naturally centers in the aperture. It feels very natural to me.
With a squared off front and rear you are correcting for elevation and checking that the same gap on both sides of the front sight for windage.
Both work well, its what your used to I guess.

I do not have any apertures on my traditional colonial rifles, plenty of them on stuff from the late 1800's
 

Woodnbow

50 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
1,423
Reaction score
1,162
I have found that a bead front sight paired with an aperture rear, the bead naturally centers in the aperture. It feels very natural to me.
With a squared off front and rear you are correcting for elevation and checking that the same gap on both sides of the front sight for windage.
Both work well, its what your used to I guess.

I do not have any apertures on my traditional colonial rifles, plenty of them on stuff from the late 1800's
I began shooting with a peep rear, bead front combo on my Remington 33. My first big game rifle trienta y trienta carries the same. I then transitioned to an M14 and later M16 with post and bead. I can see no difference in the accuracy potential between the two types of front sights. If you apply yourself they are equally capable although people can and often do have personal preferences. The globe front is an entirely different animal If conditions allow for its use.
 

mushka

36 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Mar 20, 2018
Messages
1,004
Reaction score
966
Location
Yuma Az
My experience in shooting national match and long range with iron sights showed me that a rear peep sight and a little wider than issue front sight with a level flat top gave best results for me. I don't particularly care for a bead sight for target but for a hunting gun it is adequate.
 

smoothshooter

50 Cal.
Joined
Nov 5, 2005
Messages
1,859
Reaction score
428
I would also postulate that as the population has grown, so has the proportion of people in the population with bad eyesight. Before the 20th Century & modern medicine, people with lousy eyesight simply didn't live as long as others with good eyesight did. They were far more vulnerable to loosing their lives early due to misfortune, accident, or malintent.
They would also, on average, not be good marriage prospects because in the case of men especially, their job prospects would be limited, and thus, their income would be lower.
In the past, generally no marriage meant no kids.
 

R.J.Bruce

40 Cal
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
259
Reaction score
316
Daryl Sapergia, who posts on ALR with the screen name DARYL, and lives up in British Columbia, Canada, makes his brass bead sights very specifically to both gather light in dim conditions, and to enhance being seen at all times of the day. He does this because of his own ageing eyesight.

His beads are fairy small in diameter, and the blade of the bead narrows/tapers towards the muzzle, and downwards towards the barrel, with the bead being the only thing the eye can see.
 
Top