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Indoor Range Lighting - differences for Iron sights / Scopes / Red Dots

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Indoor Range Lighting - differences for Iron sights / Scopes / Red Dots  Empty Indoor Range Lighting - differences for Iron sights / Scopes / Red Dots

Post by Gustavo1957 2/20/2024, 6:03 am

Hello,

 We've had some discussions on the different ranges  our Bullseye team shoots at about lighting brightness and how it affects scores. 

1. Down Range on Targets: 

There are different types of lights used:  incandescent spot lights directed on each individual targets , fluorescent tubes across target area from about 10' away from targets, and then the new LED lights in various forms with different color variations.

2. Lights behind the shooter:

We've had shooters ask that rear lights be turned off or down. At our home range rear wall and light is about 6' away from standing shooting position. I would say light is higher than head height of shooter. I use a Red Dot and I've had this be a problem causing annoying glare into my Red Dot even though I have an extra long shade on the rear of  tube. When you get assigned a station number for a match on the line you can't pick your location and have to deal with conditions. I wear a ball cap to protect from hot brass and lights from overhead. I wear Rx glasses but don't use side shields. 

3. Lights at each shooting station:

 We have individually controlled LED lights with a dimmer at each station. I turn my completely off when shooting. I turn it back on to load my next magazines and give bright light for Range Officer to check my Empty Chamber Indicator.

I have found no local ranges that have lights bright enough for using iron sights at my age 66. I can still use iron sights outdoors. 

Would appreciate comments on what sights you use and what lighting works best for you.

Gustavo1957

Posts : 288
Join date : 2019-09-26

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Post by bruce martindale 2/20/2024, 6:33 am

I’ll reserve full comment until later but I’m noticing that a dark range allows my eyes to dilate reducing their ability to focus. Add very bright targets and I can’t see the dot well; it’s a streaky star with poor target contrast. My main range has ceiling fluorescent lights only with a white background for targets . A walled off trap also reduces lead contamination because it’s under vacuum from outdoor fans.

There’s a big difference in scores between these two ranges

bruce martindale

Posts : 1605
Join date : 2011-07-29
Location : Upstate NY

https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t20747-feeling-center-a-10-bullsey

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Post by chiz1180 2/20/2024, 9:12 am

In general it is my preference that the lighting be the same at the target and the shooting position. I prefer soft bright light, think partially cloudy day. In contrast to hard bright light, think bright bluebird sky in the middle of a snow covered field. 

Shooting indoors is like shooting in a cave. The only places I have found good light at indoor ranges are airgun ranges (probably other ISSF focused ranges too). I think many ranges like to have "dim" lights because it covers up the dirty down range area.
chiz1180
chiz1180

Posts : 1208
Join date : 2019-05-29
Location : Ohio

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Indoor Range Lighting - differences for Iron sights / Scopes / Red Dots  Empty Great lighting example

Post by Gustavo1957 2/25/2024, 5:16 pm

Indoor Range Lighting - differences for Iron sights / Scopes / Red Dots  Broome11

I shot a 900 .22 at this Broome County Sportsmen Association range today and found the best lighting I've experienced on either commercial or local ranges.

Even with  my cheap spotting scope  I was able to clearly see the target. 

It was much appreciated.

Gustavo1957

Posts : 288
Join date : 2019-09-26

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Post by xmastershooter 2/26/2024, 8:11 am

Gustavo 1957, would you please describe the lighting at the firing point. Was this lighting from the your camera flash or was it from overhead lighting.  If it was lighting above, is the placement in front of the shooting box, directly above or behind.

xmastershooter

Posts : 236
Join date : 2011-06-10

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Post by Gustavo1957 2/26/2024, 12:05 pm

It wasn't from a flash. Just my iPhone. This was like natural lighting. Only time Ive been there. There was a large area behind shooting stations - like about 16' back with I believe fluorescent lights up in the ceiling.  Then a series of lights up in the ceiling as going down range. Not sure what kind of lights were exactly on the targets. With auto retrieval system you don't have to walk down range.

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Post by tomd999 2/26/2024, 6:20 pm

Hiya,

It's been a lot of years since I've shot irons for indoor gallery leagues exclusively but let me list a few things that helped me when I did in four different traveling leagues with maybe 20-25 different ranges visited over the course of a season.

1) Get a notebook, separate it into sections for each range you shoot at, in those sections note generalities about the range, lighting, stall type and condition, special rules, line callers etc. Then for each stall you shoot in, note the height and width of the bench, sound level in the port when you shoot, any lighting issues, any sight changes you need to make to re-zero the pistol for that port, any issue with the port, target system or backstop etc. I would refer to my notebook before I would go to the line, it would settle my mind because I knew what to expect at each range and at each port. 

2) Accept that your eyes won't work as well indoor as they do outside. Indoor lighting cannot replicate natural sun light, if it did, you would be shooting inside tanning booths getting burned. When you go indoors your eyes dilate and you loose depth of focus, this is why both dots and targets are blurry as Bruce notes above. I noticed this when I first started indoor gallery in the early 80's so I incorporated a glance up to the lights close to the port just before each slow fire shot and as "ready on the firing line" is called, that forces my iris's to constrict, restoring my depth of field for about 8-10 seconds. As I shoot 22lr timed and rapid as sustained fire in about 8 seconds, I can complete the string with both the target and dot in good focus.

3) If you're shooting irons, your zero will move around depending on what range and port you are on, this is part of the iron experience. Here's what I did to make things more consistent:

a) Make sure you have sufficient light between your front and rear sights in your sight picture and that the light is tall enough to determine level across the top. When I shot High Standards and S&W 41's/52's with irons, I had to open up the rear notches for indoor and on the S&W's, I had to deepen the rear notch as well to get longer white "bars" on the side of the front to determine I had elevation correct. When adjusting for additional "white", a little wider is better than too narrow, especially indoors.

b) Get a carbide sight black torch and use it to make your sights as black as they can be. This will really make the "white" standout in your sight picture and since the sights will be darker than the bull, you'll tend to "bleed into the black" less when you hold. Make sure you can use an open flame on the range, you may have to blacken the sights before you get to the range. If you have to use spray sight-black, that's a lot better than nothing but carbide smoke is the best black.

c) If your pistol has a "ramped" front sight, have a gunsmith change or modify it to an "undercut", ramps work somewhat outdoors but indoors that are a handicap to a good sight picture. 

4) "Over 40" eyes and people with replacement lenses. For both of these, you'll be best served by working with your eye doctor to determine your needs to see both the irons and a red dot. Diopters may help with irons but they aren't as good as a corrective lens. If your Dr has worked with shooters before, follow their instructions, if they haven't, here is what you can tell them to help them determine your needs. If you have a medical condition, such as cataracts, you may want to get that sorted out before you get corrective lens' as your prescription will likely change when you get the surgery. 

a) For iron sights you'll need a "reader" type lens to pull your focus back to the front sight. When you pick a power, try to pick the lowest power you can and still see the front sight crisply. If you shoot air pistol, with the long barrels, you'll need to drop the power even further as your front sight will be farther away and likely out of focus. My Dr measured the distance from my eye to 5" in front of my hand in my shooting stance and advised a 1.1 to 1.2 power for outdoor and 1.3 to 1.4 for indoor or low light days.

b) For red dots, tell your Dr that you need to focus downrange. This may be a little more complex as it has more variables in the lens configuration. Tell your Dr that you need things at about 40 yards away to be in crisp focus, I've found that's a happy medium for outdoor shooting where the dot will be in focus at both 25 and 50 and the targets are reasonably crisp and at 25 yards/50 feet if you shoot indoor only. The red dots are focused at infinity which is why when your 25 years old, they are crisp and round, as you age your lens gets harder and even though your muscles relax, your lens is unable to flex to allow distance focus. Most Dr's will say that they will focus your lens for infinity, (my Dr says her "infinity" distance is 75-100 yards) this works for outdoor yardages, it may not work well indoor.

OK, I've rambled on long enough, (Bruce is used to this)

And it should be noted none of this is actual medical advice.

Tom

tomd999

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