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A peep sight is simply a hole in a bar of iron through which to aim. The larger the hole the quicker and clearer the sight; the smaller the orifice the greater the accuracy. The size of the peep hole might be regulated by individual eyes, also by the uses to be made of the sight. Hunters prefer a large peep and target shots a small one. Generally speaking, large apertures go with coarse beads and the reverse.

While the sighting principle is the same, rear peep sights are of different shapes and models, affixed in various positions. Peep sights have been tried upon the barrel in the position of the ordinary rear or middle sight, but they are then too far from the eye; even with large aperture the field is too small. The Marble, Lyman, and Vernier tang sights are screwed to the tang, and the upright arm is hinged so that it may be folded down out of the way. I have no space to describe these sights fully, but any catalog will do that.

The Vernier is the most accurate because of its disc-cup which cuts off the side light, but it cuts off all the field except that seen through the aperture and is not fit for a hunting rifle. The Lyman and the Marble Combination peep sights are compact and have been especially designed for hunting rifles. Both the Marble and the Lyman have two apertures, the plate of the smaller fitting inside the larger. Ordinarily the smaller aperture would be used for deliberate work and the other for quick, that is in theory. As a matter of fact the shooter in actual hunting must make up his mind to use one aperture or the other, rarely having time to make a change in the presence of game.

From my own personal experience I do not like the two aperture combination; the narrow one is too small for running shots and the larger too coarse for accuracy—one medium sized aperture would be better than the two. The claim is made by the manufacturers of these sights that the eye always instinctively takes the center of an aperture, but I have not found this true. On the other hand, the man who has been accustomed to open sights will from habit get down into the bottom of the aperture just as he has been accustomed to with the notch of the bar sight. The result is invariably a lower line of elevation for the large peep. Only where the aperture is small will the eye take the center uniformly and then there is no instinct about it. for the only clear light comes through the middle.

Many profess to be able to do better snap work with a large aperture than with any description of bar sight, but I have always found a peep slow because the first thing to be done is to fit the eye to the aperture, and meantime perhaps the game disappears. Of course tin cans might be sighted upon in the air, also rabbits or deer running in the open, but not game that must be taken instantaneously. If anyone believes that I am wrong, let him try an aperture on his shotgun for quail shooting. It might be well to note that no professional snap and trick shot uses peep sights.

The sportsman whose eyes are becoming "long-sighted" will probably learn that he can no longer do his holding skill justice with a bar sight, but must use a peep. In that case the bar should be removed, or folded down if a leaf, and the small aperture plate knocked out—narrow peeps are trying to old eyes.

Tang peep sights find their greatest utility upon lightly charged rifles, without the intermediate bar. To bring the bar into service the peep has to be folded down; there it spoils the grip to such an extent that I would rather have the gun without it. Moreover, the sight is too close to the eye and always liable to injure it where the piece has a heavy recoil. For use on a high-power arm the "receiver" sight should replace the tang peep. As its name implies this sight is fastened to the receiver of the rifle where it is quite out of the way of the hand, and, since it is in no way inferior to the other, should be given the preference for a hunting rifle.

The best all round combination of sights that I know of for game shooting is an ivory or gold front bead, a middle folding leaf bar with a U shaped notch, and a receiver peep. The receiver sight should be so fitted that when run down to the lowest point it will be under the line of vision across the bar. Have the bar aligned for short range and the peep for two hundred yards. Keep the leaf folded flat except when a snapshot is probable and then turn the peep out of the way.

Where the rear peep is to be used in match shooting, other appliances furthering fine aiming are demanded; as, globe front with pinhead or aperture, wind gauge, spirit level, micrometer elevating screw, and eye-cup with adjustable apertures for difference in light. However, peep sights have about seen their day for sharp-shooting, military or civilian.

Askins, Charles. Rifles and Rifle Shooting. New York: Outing, 1912. Print.

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