(warning, this is a long, long read!)
I basically just need to type/talk this out to clear it out in order in my mind… But I do also like sharring my projects as I go, so I hope someone enjoys the read, even if it is a bit long winded and rambling as I make some conclusions.
So, hunting this year was a bit different than last year, more ridding and less hiking.
But what little hiking I did do, was a pain in the butt… Not literally, and the hiking itself was fine. The problem was with what i had to carry; My rifle. Not the rifle itself. It just felt wrong, and was hard to carry; Gone was the great ballance, light weight, and ability to go through the brush with no fear…
The reason? I put a scope on the rifle again.
The rifle with the scope on it;
Last year becasue the scope had messed up, I ran just the open iron sights. And it was great! I mean yes scopes are durrable, but it really is a pain going through woods and brush with one, trying not to scrape and catchit on things… and even with lens covers, I’ve scraped them off in thick brush..
But not only that, even if I stop worrying about dammaging it, it sits right above the best place to grab the gun to carry it, right around the reciever. It adds weight. It screws with the ballance and feel.
I like having the scope on it for shooting, its nice, honestly for the size of animal I’m going after(read as BIG kill zone), and the ranges the terrain offers shots at(150 to 200 yards Max 76 to 100 average), I don’t really Need a scope… Heck, I shoot a tighter group at 100 yards with the open sights than I do with the scope anyway! (no idea why… Except maybe I’m more steady holding the rifle without the scope on it, and maybe my form/cheek weld etc is better with the iron sights)
And then back to this years trip, the ridding… Nowhere where i rode, could I find a secure place to put a rifle where it was easy access, without the danger of bumping or soaking the scope. Truck cabs, and atv racks are not the most un abrasive places.. Neither are boats I’ve found.
And there is another point… soaking the scope, and boat rides. A wet lens is imposible to look through, so is fogged. The time to take to find something dry to wipe it with can slow down getting your gun tot he point of losing an animal. You can scope dope the lenses agains water and fog, and use covers too, but I wonder about how water tight a scope is, about getting water IN one… And also, I have had scopes fog INSIDE on me bofore too… Which renders it useless till you can warm it up/dry it out.
There are several other little issues that I’ve come against, but any further here and it just seems like I’m looking for justifications to ditch it, looking for problems,,,
All of this basically boils down to my fear of the lack of durrability of a scope… its aluminim and glass… finely tuned glass in specific precission mountings… No matter how durrable you say it is, I’m still gonna be leary of busting it, or drowning it, or even just scratching the mens so I can’t see into it.
Couple that with the weight and handling changes that they provide to the rifle, and I’ve decded to heck with it for 90% of my hunting.
All that to say… the scope is comming off again.
Actually, it is off now.
I’m going to get my prefered sight style, an aperature sight to go on in its place. Thats quite easy to do, just pick a style, and go; the Rem 700 being an old design, and verry popular, there are several option. A big bonus too, being this is a older rifle, it is old enough that it was factory drilled and tapped along the left side for a side mount style sight, like the Williams 5D, or FP, and the Lyman sights.
There are also a few top mount peep(aperture) sights out there that are made to go on the rear scope mount holes, or that can be easilly re-drilled to be made to fit this guns hole spacing.
But. (yeah, you had to know that was coming… nothing is ever simple. At least not around here.. ;) )
I want to keep the capability to easilly put the scope back on, quickly, in the field at the truck or in hunting camp if needed. 90% of my hunting is moose, in bottom land and along rivers… forrest or tundra, its a lot of brush and short ranges, shere a peep or open sight are quite addequate. BUT There are also the days where you know you will end up above the tree line(especially if I go caribou hunting), or out in the fields, or headed to a specific river bank that affords a great 400 yard field of view… Days where taking a couple minutes before heading out from camp to put the scope on for longer range safety would be fantastic.
The scope mount I have, a leupold twist lock front and windage rear, actually comes off and on rather easilly, yet locks up Tight.
The key to this will be to go shoot the rifle with the scope on, take it off, shoot, and put it back, shoot, and see if zero is the same in the scope..
IF that works, then all I have to do is find a way to mount my prefered style of open sight with the scope mounts in place.
Which rules out any sights that sit on the rear scope mount holes, AND the side mount ones too, since they wrap around the reciever and sit over that spot.
As to the scope mount, to take the scope off, you have to remove one of the rear windage adjustment/lock screws on the mount… which could be an issue. But, if I red locktite the other side screw in place, the scope/ring can be taken off, and put back on against it without it moving, and simply using the other screw as a hold down. Essentially fixing the windage adjustment in place permanently.(I didn;t use it to sight the scope anyway, its centered.)
So far, with out spending any money, I have a few somewhat easy options for that… and one kinda hard option.
Here is one thought I had, to simply drill and tap the scope base for a peep post… the post itself with a lock ring is the elevation adjustment, but this has no windage adjustment outside of drifting the front sight… I’d prefer to have a windage on the rear sight, so this while simple and easy, is out.
Last year, I had bought a Skinner sight, to try on my Win94AE(.45Colt) Some of you might remember my posts about that mounting, I drilled and tapped the top of the bolt on that rifle to hold it. In the year since I did that, I have yet to get it sighted in, or even shot once… No loss right now to take it back off. ;)
When I had bought that sight, I made sure that I got something that was also set up so I could add another mount hole to it, to match the hole spacing on the 700. (which is 0.600”) The mount holes on it are spaced between .500 and .600. Too close unfortunetally to .600 to use the rear hole and a new one next to the front one, the new hole would overlap the existing front hole. But as you can see, there is plenty of metal along the slope for adding a secong forward hole.
So, easy solution, drill and tap the rear scope mount to match the Skinner sights holes.
Or, make a new hole in the skinner to match the rifles scope mount holes.
Actually mounting it low on the barrel, back where I would need to have the holes in it, it would have a clearance issue with the bolt. Could easilly be cut to clear, and I *Think* without taking too much metal off(ie,weakening the sight base in any way).
In a way really wish the Skinner was wider based, I could cut lock notches into it like the rear scope ring has, and simply mount it with the scope base windage screws.
How the skinner sits on the scope base, with different placements;
BUT.(yes, again! :p ) any of those options put that sight super high above the reciever, and a long ways above my front sight, making the distance/elevation setting at an extreme right off the batt.
Plus the higher the thing sticks up, the harder it is to use from a comfortable shooting position/cheek to stock mount etc.
AND, the higher it is, the more stuff it can snag on, get hit or caught against, and possibly get dammages. Lower is mor streamlined and protected.
So far, the idea I like the best, is using the scope base windage screws as the main mounting, maybe drilling a couple holes in that base for locator pins to make sure the sight I use stays parralell to the barrel, or doesn’t cant to one side. I mean, if those screw are solid enough to hold the scope in place, i can;t see why they cant be used for another sight.
The scope off, here you can sort of see the twist lock front mount, and the simple post rear that the windage screws clamp in place.
Detais of that post, what I will in theory be coppying on the base of a peep sight;
The clean rear base, the key item in all of this;
The trick, is getting a sight to go there that has the features I want, but doesn’t stick up horrendoulsy far. And so far the only option I can see, is to build one from scratch. Thats the “hard” solution I mentioned above.
MY stock reat open sight is set at MPBR(maximum point blank range) for my hunting load. which is about 1.5” high at 100 yards, which gives max drop of another 1.5” out around 250(something like that, can’t remember for sure now, but you get the idea) so that I can shoot point of aim safely and be well within the kill zone from 50 to 250 yards… no elevation compensation/hold over required.
So the height of that sight is what I will need, to be able to use the current front sight. Roughly. A touch higher couldn’t hurt too much.
As you can see, I can’t get too much higher than the scope bases, without having to get a taller front sight, and adjust the open sight up too;
There is another thought; the front sight. ANd why i want to keep it the height it is.
First off, I will be changing the front sight to a fiber optic unit for low light and dark target shooting. But I want to keep the same height if I can, so that it still fits under the protective sight hood. (although, Williams fire sights offer a hood for their front sights/ramps if I need it).
But also, I want to if at all possible KEEP the stock open v notch sight onthe gun, and functional… So if I do change the front sight for the peep sight, I have to make sure it will still sight properly to the open sight.
Why keep the stock open sight? It gives me a backup. Crap happens. Usually at the worst times. Something happens to either the peep, or the scope, and they could be quickly and easilly taken off and the open sight used(yes, its field of view/height clears the bare scope bases.)
See, I’m not considering the peep as a backup to the scope, but as a prefered main sight, that will have the option of being changed out for a scope when its needed. ( a good comparison here is winter and summer tires. For the winter here, a lot of us run studded all terain tires, leaving some street treads for the summer. Well, when you change tire type for the seasons, you still carry a spare tire… the backup is always there regaurdless of the style of the main item in use.(And for those that know my truck, yes, your right, I don’t carry a spare tire, but the concept is still sound!!))
But, back to the concept at hand now; A low profile peep sight to mount to the windage screw rear scope base.
What really got me to thinking on this, and making a design, was realizing that the peep post and windage block from the Skinner sits so low, and compact on the scope base;
But unfortunetally, again, it is too narrow to just mount there as is. Turn it the other way and it fits great, except for the offset for it original lock down screw;
But you see how low and compact that is on there? It just looks good. Its almost low enough to work with the current front sight height, and honestly I think its about right, if I go a little higher with the front sight, and notch up the open sight, it can work out close enough.
That got me to thinking, that If I simply make a block that general size, but cut a normal 3/8” dovetail across it for a windage adjustment, mount a peep post in the top of a piece to slide in that dovetail, a screw up/down elevation adjustment, some simple lock screws, and notches cut in the sides for the scope base windage screw to lock into, and Bingo!
So, I fired up the modeler, and threw together a rough draft. I eyeballed the angles etc, none of this is exact/right. I can re-do it later with Perfect dimensions if I need to blueprint it before making it.
(I used brass and aluminum color in the render for clarity/contrast of parts. Actualy unit will be all one material, as such yet to be determined.)
The big key here in building this sight will be measurements. If Iknow my sight radius, and how much the point of impact moves at 100 or 200 yards for every increment, say .002” at the rear sight(and actually, it would be what ever 1/2 turn of the threaded adjuster nets in movement), along with my intended MPBR setting that will be standard, I can know exactly how high or short I can make the mount.
And know exactly how much adjustment I will need on the apperature post, counted per thread of adjustment, to give a safe buffer for re-sighting to different loads/ammos for hunting. If I know where it will be at most of the time, ahead of time, then I won’t need to build in a lot of adjustment above or below that point, thus removing unnessicary base/post height. And keeping the sight low and compact in the process.
So, thats the end of my little story for now, and where I am at now…
Unless I come up with something easier, or simpler, I’ll be trying to find some shop time this week, and start machining.
And yes, a warmer/dryer day to go shoot the rifle with the scope, remove it, then put it back to shoot and check zero… But honestly, I’m not too worried about that. I’m 99% sure it will work out as I need it to, and hold zero when reattached. And, if not, I won’t have lost much, just time and effort, and had some fun making a rear sight that I can still use. Will just have tog o back to the drawing board for being able to quick change the scope too. :)
Thoughts? Coomments? :)