Aperture or Not

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Aperture or Not

Post by pfeathers on 10/18/2014, 11:04 am

I turned 60 this year and with that I decided I am going to get serious about my bullseye shooting and quit goofing around and just wasting ammo.  I decided on a more linear approach, a plan, systematic in nature, all in the hopes of getting the bullets to hit the x in the center.  Being a software developer and involved in technology on a daily basis, I am dead set in finding a low tech solution to bullseye, none of that fancy dancy stuff for me, I just want plain old iron sights.  I am near sighted but with old eyes so I need cheaters for reading, but my sight picture without glasses ain't bad.  However, I did discover with the aid of a home made aperture, that sight picture can be greatly enhanced.  Now my brain says, better sight picture, better scores, so I kind of stuck with this aperture idea.  In fact I went as far as to buy one of the  Gehmann Irises from Champion Choice.  Nice gizzmo, adjustable iris, clips nicely on my safety glasses.  I do my dry firing in the evening trying to eliminate the front sight hop, and once a week I go to the range. 

I am starting with my S&W41 with a clark barrel.  I think I have good equipment.  I did some ammo testing with what 22 ammo I could get my hands on.  Blazer ammo was all over the place.  Eley target would not cycle the gun.  Federal Target seemed to work fine.  I would like to try some CCI but just can find it.  Ammo is really hard to find where I live.  Anyway, I am doing bench testing before any offhand.  My thinking is that if I can shoot a 100 from the bench with this pistol, then I can reproduce it off hand, eventually.  If not, I might as well stay home and shoot my Izzy which by the way I can shoot a 100 all day long at 10 meters from the bench. 

I have been to the range 3 or 4 times, attempting to reach 100, perfecting my bench rest technique.  I use to shoot small bore 22 when I was in ROTC, how hard can this be.  But it seems difficult.  Best is 99 a couple times, with a spread evenly dispersed; a few x's a few 10's and one 9 just outside the line.  I keep trying. 

I have my last 10 round set of ammo.  I shoot two shots and then I decide to shoot without my aperture.  First two shots were as before in the 10 but the last 8, without the aperture, were at 6 o'clock, 4 inches low but they were clustered in almost a straight horizontal line an inch wide.  I have not seen a group like this.  Now this what I am after, I am pretty excited.  Up 3 clicks and try again, but I only have blazer ammo left.  Course the blazer ammo looks like a shotgun, so I go home. 

So, I conclude it is something about the aperture.  Without it, no glasses, I have pretty sharp front sight, slight burred rear, so I have to split the width of the front sight in the rear notch; left to right is easy, but horizontal you kind of have to split the blur.  With the aperture I get a real clear sight but my groups are not defined. 

I am not concerned about the 4 inches low, I can explain that, but the grouping without the aperture, what's up with that?  Any ideas on this subject?


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Re: Aperture or Not

Post by Virgil Kane on 10/18/2014, 2:07 pm

I have noticed the same phenomenon when I use an aperture but don't know why. I get good groups with the aperture and good groups without the aperture, just not to the same point of impact. I don't know if that was your point or not but maybe somehow the aperture bends light going through it and if the sights are not perfectly centered in the aperture the bullet impact is off to whatever the brighter side of the hole in the aperture the regardless of the perfect sight picture? Something like shooting irons outside on a bright sunny day and as the day goes on the impact moves because of the position of the sun on the front sight.  I gave up on the aperture and got a set of glasses just for shooting iron sights. Now I see the both front and rear sights clear and just keep the aperture in my shooting box for old time sake or if someone wants to try it out at the practice range.


Virgil Kane

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Re: Aperture or Not

Post by joem5636 on 10/18/2014, 4:48 pm

1. Use center of mass sight picture.
2. Don't sweat the rear sight picture too much. Line up the sights off target, concentrate on the front sight and take the shot.
3. Ammo - most anything except Remington works pretty well. I like CCI SV best, but.... even hollow point has worked surprisingly well!


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Re: Aperture or Not

Post by Jack H on 10/18/2014, 5:49 pm

I would stop bench shooting except for rough zeroing and basic ammo-gun testing.
Jack H

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Re: Aperture or Not

Post by Rob Kovach on 10/18/2014, 6:54 pm

I must disagree with Joem's post.  It's very hard to get good focus on the black front sight, and the gap in the rear sight notch if you are using a center hold.  A line-of-white or sub 6 hold is much better.

I agree with Jack that you should stop bench resting.  You just don't see the sights the same way as when you are shooting in your bullseye stance.

I have been shooting irons only and now that indoor season has started, I'm finding that my zero changes slightly at different clubs--I would assume due to different lighting.

You say you want to stop wasting ammo.  Put a wall anchor in your chamber for a snap cap and dryfire.  You will be shooting 100s without the rest before you know it.
Rob Kovach

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Re: Aperture or Not

Post by Toz35m on 10/19/2014, 11:48 am


I would agree with Rob and Jack.  Stand up and shoot. 

About the eyes.  Read the articles here: http://www.starreloaders.com/edhall/nwongarts.html  I use shooting glasses and for irons use +1.25 correction to see the front sight better.  I use readers to see stuff close up and have realized I need some help to see the sights better.  It also helps to force my focus to just the sights.  With the +1.25 I can not focus on the target.

About center of mass or sub six.  Center of mass is hard for some people to shoot.  I think it works better if the front post is the same width as the target.  This way you can see the gaps on the side of the front sight.

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Re: Aperture or Not

Post by Kermit Workman on 10/19/2014, 4:49 pm

The aperture will have parallax unless you are using the center of the hole. For shooting at 50 yards you will need front to rear sight focus as sharp as possible for windage and elevation to have high scores.
 One problem I found in using an aperture was during substained fire. I could not pick the sights to begin my trigger pressure. I had to find the sights, then align them with the target, and then begin trigger pressure. The aperture made me use a lot of time and rush the trigger pull. Not good.

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Post by bobthenailer on 10/20/2014, 7:52 am

I am now 66 years old and have been shooting BE matches since i was 27 years old , I started using a Merit optical eyepiece in my mid 30,s to improve my scores ,  20 odd years ago  I bought my first red dot sight a Aimpoint  and quickly shot my first 290+ score , since then I  slowley have put red dot sights on most of my handguns as well as a few rifles and they are a GOD send for aging eyes i can shoot as good as or even better than i did in my younger years .


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Re: Aperture or Not

Post by BE Mike on 10/20/2014, 8:25 am

Correcting eyesight and physical endurance are IMHO, two of the biggest challenges to seniors who shoot bullseye pistol. I use an aperture for air pistol. It puts the front sight and target into focus, so I am always trying to look at the target and not the front sight. I would think that trying to use it for sustained fire would be more of a handicap than benefit. For bullseye, I use dots.

My advice is to get a good eye exam and invest in some prescription shooting glasses, even if you decide to go with a red dot scope. Physical endurance for seniors requires much more effort to gain and maintain. Develop a physical training regimen that will provide endurance and muscle tone. You will probably have to work it out for yourself, as most physical fitness trainers aren't interested in oldsters and even if you find one that has knowledge about geriatric fitness, he'll have no clue as to what you need for this sport.
BE Mike

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Re: Aperture or Not

Post by dronning on 10/20/2014, 9:12 am

Turning 60 - geriatric - ouch!  Laughing (61 next month).

- Dave

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Re: Aperture or Not

Post by Yiogo on 10/22/2014, 2:56 pm

I like my M 41 too. I use an Ultradot though.

As for the ammo, I believe it comes with a 7.5# spring which handles high velocity ammo pretty well. I does like Ely Target with this spring.

I bought a 6# spring for the sub sonic rounds and it seems to do well with those types including CCI.


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Re: Aperture or Not

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