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Best open sights/ peep sight for squirrel hunting?

January 13 2012 at 12:33 AM
Jay  (Login jayhuse)

Hey I would like advice about open sight/peep sight hunting vs scopes. I hunting am curious on using a peep sight / quiggly down under type of sighting system for hunting squirrels.

I am looking for a scope free solution in hunting squirrel at like 40 yards or less distance with some form of a peep sight. Now I am not sure if this is possible using open sights since the kill zone is so small?

If you have any suggestions on a good sighting system that is scope free that be great? Also what distance is too far for open sight shooting on squirrels ?

I have used a 10 meter peep sight system but that to me was really tough seeing the target past 15 yards.
Thanks again jay

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William Piatt
(Login saddlemountain)

Plenty doable if you have young eyes

January 13 2012, 2:36 AM 

I killed 52 grey squirrels in one day, 45 by head shots with open iron sights. Shots over 35 yds usually require a silhouetted target or not during low light hours. I suggest the Williams sights. They need to be designed for hunting. Target peeps usually have a small rear aperture and designed for good consistent lighting, and don't let in enough light for hunting situations.

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(Login MDriskill)

Aperture sights

January 13 2012, 6:29 AM 

First let me comment that you can add a great deal of versatility to your target sights, simply by buying an adjustable-aperture eyepiece for them (Gehmann, Centra, etc.). OEM eye disks have much too small a hole in them, for any use beyond a brightly-lit 10-meter target range (typical factory aperture is 1.0 to 1.2 mm; the adjustable ones typically run 0.8 to 3.0 mm). I use this setup for the vast majority of my shooting (which, it's important to add, consists of plinking and informal target work, not hunting).

BUT--all that being said, Mr. Piatt is exactly right!! Hunting and target type sights are built differently for a reason.

A hunting type sight is small in size, and uses an eye disk with a large aperture opening and a small outside diameter, which usually sits on top of the sight. This is all designed to help you acquire your target quickly, including in low-light situations, while maintaining a good view of the area around the target. The bulky body of a match diopter, with its large-outside-diameter eye disk in the middle of its mass, is not nearly as good for this type of use.

Williams sights are certainly the standard. While the Beeman Sport Peep is the best known (= Williams model FP-AG TK), be aware they make several different models in the FP and 5D lines for airguns with grooved receivers--high and low sight lines, with and without target knobs (I prefer "without" for hunting), and at several different price points. Their web page is excellent:


One last thing, take a look at your front sight as well. My personal preference would be for a pointed or bead type blade, not a wide rectangular one, for best precision. You may have a different take on this, but do take time to test and acquire the front that's most accurate for you.

This message has been edited by MDriskill on Jan 13, 2012 8:49 AM

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Tom @ Buzzard Bluff
(Login TheOldBuzzard)

Re: Aperture sights

January 13 2012, 10:21 AM 

Mike said:

"A hunting type sight is small in size, and uses an eye disk with a large aperture opening and a small outside diameter, which usually sits on top of the sight.---take a look at your front sight as well. My personal preference would be for a pointed or bead type blade, not a wide rectangular one, for best precision."

Have you been digging @ in my shop?wink.gif

I learned to shoot & hunt squirrels with my Dad's model 23A Savage .22 bolt action that he used to raise our family. It had a fine bead front and a fixed, non-adjustable homemade rear peep. Put the bead ON the area of the target you want to hit, squeeze the trigger and pick up your game when you were ready to move on because it wasn't going anywhere after the shot!

That Savage is an object lesson on 'patina'! After 80 some years and undergoing a 1956 housefire the metal is plumb 'plum'. The wood reveals just how rich Walnut becomes with many years of being carefully carried for hundreds--if not thousands---of miles and being lovingly given a new application of Linseed every year or two. The 'finish' of both metal and wood compose a symphony of loving use that no factory product could ever match and those who by chance acquire such precious gems and choose to 're-finish' them must surely be guilty of a mortal sin! A pox on their house!

I recently passed that rifle on to my eldest daughter who also learned to shoot with it. It is as accurate as ever with standard velocity ammo. By right she will pass it on to her son.

My own hunting airguns wear sighting systems that reproduce the view thru Dad's homemade peep. 'Killer'---the Crosman 1400 resurrected from a gunsmith's junk barrel' for $5 some 20 something years ago that is so effective on game---wears a hooded front sight with fine bead from some long-forgotten centerfire. The rear sight--rescued from a vendor at a gunshow--- is a refugee 'swing-away' from a similar Mossberg target model I owned as a teenager. 'Killer' ain't much punkins on paper but squirrels in 3 counties flee in terror when it hits the timber!

Many of my other 'hunters' wear similar sights and in idle moments I still marvel at the accuracy of Dad's 'homemade' bent sheetmetal peep on the Savage. Tom

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(Login MDriskill)

Real-world peeps

January 13 2012, 12:29 PM 

What a great post! I'd love to see the hard-working rifles in question.

Y'know in my younger days I kinda liked pointed front sight posts, but the older I get, the harder the tips are to see! But I can still find that little bead and plant it on the target...

The perfect hunting rear peep sight, would be one that leaves only the sighting "ghost ring," and otherwise is pretty much invisible. Your home-made peep is, I bet, just about perfect in that regard.

My favorite small peep sight is the Parker-Hale PH 16M, seen here on a Webley Mk 3. Note how the bulk of the sight is off to the side--not underneath as with Williams or similar sights--and only a slender arm reaches over to the aperture disk. As seen in the second shot, the arm will swing out of the way to allow use of a separate open sight, too.

Fantastic sight picture, and built like an anvil to boot, it's a real shame these old PH's weren't made for more types of airguns!

[linked image]

[linked image]

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Anthony R
(Login fivestar45)

All of my rifles

January 13 2012, 9:32 AM 

have Williams Peep sights. My eyes are'nt the youngest at 66+
and I'm mainly a plinker. But as the other posters have mentioned before me, with the correct aperture for field use, which for me is a 3/8" od brass lined with an id of .075"-.085" coupled to hi visibility front sight
things will be a lot easier to pick out in the woods.

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Michael E
(Login EELUK)

id of .075"-.085"?

January 13 2012, 9:41 AM 

The williams sights come with .093 and the only additional sights offered are .050, and .125 and up.

I find that during bright daylight conditions the .050 is good and in the evening the .093 works pretty well.

BUT, I'd prefer to have an id of .075"-.085" like you mention. How can those be obtained? By drilling out the .050 sights?

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(Login RedFeather)

You can also get hunting apertures for those peeps

January 13 2012, 11:03 AM 

These have a gold ring on the shooter's side. Nothing's as fast as a good peep.

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Héctor J Medina G
(Login HectorMedina)


January 13 2012, 1:19 PM 

a LOT depends on the gun you use. Not only on the sights.

I have always shot a little with open sights, I also like them.

At almost 56, my eyes may not be what they used to but, luckily, technology has come to my rescue.

I am fitting my William's FP rear sights with Differential (Zone) Plates. If you want to see what they are, look in here:


They work rather well and are very versatile if you couple them with the Merit Iris insert, instead of the fixed rear insert that Williams offers. For changeing light conditions, an iris will allow you to adapt, a fixed insert needs to be changed.

I have also found that very small fiber optic front sights enable you indeed with great potential accuracy, so I have tried the TruGlo:

[linked image]

And I have also adapted the Williams' Firesight, as well as the Lyman 17 (that have a ton of inserts available) to a lot of my airguns:

[linked image]

Some Dianas are equipped with decent front sights:

[linked image]

and in most breakbarrel Dianas, the Mendoza peep sight pictured above will give you proper sight line.

I have also hunted with red-dots and very small scopes (3X32's), and I have found that in the end, the limiting factor is the shooter, not the equipment.

See how far you can consistently hit a quarter sized KillZone with whatever you decide to equip yourself with and limit the shots to that distance.

In the end, it is what works for YOU.

And talking about the Old Buzzard´s .22" RF I have to say that I am fortunate enough to have seen and handled it and that it IS a thing of beauty! I am glad it has been passed onto the next generation.


Un Abrazo!


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Art Deuel
(Login ADeuel)

Hector...are you going to have the zone plate......

January 13 2012, 3:55 PM 

sight at Ray's next week? I've been wanting to see one of these. Sinclair doesn't have them listed for the Williams sight, I was thinking about an adapter.


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Héctor J Medina G
(Login HectorMedina)


January 13 2012, 7:20 PM 

There is a definite minimum distance that has to be kept within the plate and the eye. And then a maximum distance that has to be kept between plate and front sight.

It is also important to have 20/20 eyesight (corrected if need be) in the LOS's axis.

You'll see what I came up with.


Hope to see you there!

Un Abrazo!


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(Login riflemann777)

lets get real!!!

January 13 2012, 6:57 PM 

peep sights in the woods are a pain in the a$%!!! trying to get lined up on a squriel jumping thru the trees and perfectly camoed is tuff enuff with out hindering your vision with a peep!!!! i shot exclusivelly for a year with only open stock hw sights and became very proficient, but then id get a squriel lined up and coulnt see my frt. sight because of the low light, black trees and shadows and perffectly cammoed squriels... started shooting scopes ONLY BECAUSE I couldnt see my sights!!!!
finally found some hw 50 sights with the tru-glow coating! they work great out to 20-30 yds max. as squriels are around 5 in high around here...much better then peeps,or stock sights, but scope still better in low light canopyed forest setting as the squriels are tough to see even at 20 yds..

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(Login jimineecricket)

Back when I could see I use to shoot nothing but peep and open sites.

January 13 2012, 8:49 PM 

I love the peep sight I could do shot gun shells at 50yrds with my sheridan. I havd a PB with a peep and beer cans had no chance at 75 yrds! I would pop birds and squirrels and rabbits all the time with that old sheridan! Never even new what a scope was like till my 20's and even now with bad eyes I could hold a 1" group with my sumatra.22 with the iron sites! and do pop cans at 50 60 yrds! I really like the sumatra 500cc open sites! Miss that gun! cant wait to move to the country and get another one!! In about 6 yrs sad.gif

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