OPEN REAR SIGHTS
Open rear sights are generally preferred for running shots, snap-shots, and all work where it is imperative that a quick and clear view of the game be, not obtained, but retained. Where a bounding deer tops the brush but a time or two and is gone, any description of peep sight is useless, and where dangerous game is liable to charge they would be foolish. Hence while the finest match work cannot be secured with open sights, yet they are generally chosen as the most practical for game shooting, especially big game.
No less an authority than Theodore Van Dyke preferred a straight narrow bar without a notch for a rear sight. My own experience is that this will do very well for snap work but is not accurate enough for deliberate shooting. The ordinary Winchester sporting rear is about as good as any of those with all kinds of patents attached. I like the model known as the "flat top," the top but slightly crescent shaped. A deep crescent, like the deep notch, will reflect the light from one side or the other, and is difficult to get down into where the eye has no time to hunt for the rear sight notch.
If the bar is quite straight the shooter may not get the center in rapid aiming; his doing so would depend upon the fit of his rifle stock. The sporting rear sight has a ready means of elevation and alignment for different distances. It’s one serious defect is that it cannot be used to advantage where the rifle carries a peep sight on tang or receiver, but should then be replaced by the folding leaf rear sight.
Beware of the rear sight with a platinum line marking the center. This bright line looks good in theory but in practice, in some lights, it will blend with the ivory of the front bead so that you cannot readily tell how much of the bead is being taken—in a hurried shot the bead might not be seen at all, the eye being deceived by the platinum line. Let the rear bar be plain, solid, and as black as you can get it. Any diamond shaped or circular hole through the bar beneath the notch merely adds to the blur and lets in light where it can do no good. A hood over the rear sight is detrimental to quick work, takes the sight out of its class, and makes a makeshift target sight of it.
Askins, Charles. Rifles and Rifle Shooting. New York: Outing, 1912. Print.
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