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hi everyone, just got my new 45-70, so hard to find here in ohio now that we can deer hunt with them. I am thinking about using the open sights, I got 2 boxes of Federal fusion 300 soft points, and was curious about which range I should sight in at
 

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That depends on how good your eyes are and how far you intend to shoot.

In the military, we sighted in our weapons first at 25 yards to get the right settings for elevation and windage. Then we started practicing at longer shots.

Federal ammunition is a GREAT choice. Be sure to check the balistics of your ammo on their website. You can determine the effective range of ammo, and it allows you to see the trajectory of the bullet so you can adjust your aim accordingly.

Typically, I practice my shooting technique (which is a lack of techniquie these days) with open sights at 50 yards. I would feel comfortable shooting at longer distances with open sights, but obviously, I concentrate at practicing getting good groups.

Congrats on getting a 45-70! Its a devasating caliber!


Mike T.
 

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Bowman, some folks get along just fine with open sights and some don't. I'd do a little shooting with them, first, to see how they work for you before getting locked into a specific sight in distance. For me, with my old eyes, my shooting performance drops off with open sights much past 50 to 75 yards. For a 45-70 lever gun like that, using open sights, then, I'd probably sight in to be dead on at 100 and figure to be around an inch high at 50 and I'd limit my shots to 100 yards or less. The gun is certainly capable of doing nice work at longer ranges, of course, but I'd need a red dot or scope to use that potential. Your performance with open sights might be quite different, though.
 

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Put a Williams peep on it and sight in at 100 yards. The low line of sight vs line of bore with a peep sight is a nice compliment to the speed of the 300 JSP. I also recommend that you shoot it at other ranges as well just to determine bullet path.
A word of caution on the 300 bullet. It opens up a lot if you hit bone. Shoot behind the shoulder, not into it.
 
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I'm going to second the Williams (or any other brand, for that matter) peep sight.

The Receiver sight is an upgrade worth thinking about if you are going to stick with iron sights. A much-improved view of the target and longer sight radius are the main advantages.

I can routinely hit an 8" paper plate at 200 yards with my .30-30 using a Williams FP and a Marble's bead in the front.
 

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Ditto onthe aperture sights but I prefer the square top post style over the round top of a bead style front sight. Maybe due to my eyesight issues but the bead style is a bit fuzzy for me to use. The flat top of a Skinner post is more clear and allows me to find the center of the sight for better horizontal alignment.

Sent from my MB886 using Outdoor Forums mobile app
 

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Don't overlook Skinner Sights. I've got a set of these aperture sights on my Ruger #1 45-70 and they are fine sights. I have "older" eyes (I'm 63) and have no problem with them out to about 125 yards or so. My 45-70 is a hunting rifle and this is probably as far as I would use it for the larger game (deer, elk and hogs) that I hunt.
 

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The distance you sight your rifle should be determined by how far you intend to shoot, or what is the longest shot that you expect. The 45 70 has more of a rainbow trajectory than the faster bottleneck calibers. This means that if you wish to shoot more than 125 yards, you need to know the actual distance and also how much to hold over at that distance.

There is also the practical aspect of just how good your eyes are. Eyes need more and more help after age 50 or so. The aperture sights are more forgiving than the factory sights, and a bit more friendly to older eyes. Personally, I have increasing trouble with factory iron sights for distances beyond 50 yds. For me, the front bead covers nearly all the target at 100 yds. Because of this, I use a 1.75-5X scope for my older eyes.

If I were using irons, I would suggest you sight in for 2" high at 75 yards. This should give you a point blank aim point out to 125 yards. And it will be a bit easier to see the target, hold a bit finer bead, and assess group size at 75 yards than at 100. Try it yourself and see what you think. How much of the target you can see at 50, 75, 100, 125 yards? The aperature sight gives a larger peripheral sight picture, and is faster on target than the factory irons, and is more intuitive to use. Just put the front bead where you want it. No need to set it just right in the sight groove. Your eye will automatically center the front post in the rear aperture.

You should plan to shoot at 50, 75, 100, and 125 both to see where the bullets impact and determine the longest distance where you can reliably hit. If you can't consistantly hit a 10" paper plate at these distances, either hunt shorter, or mount a scope.
 
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I have always liked the Willams,use on with the target knobs and have a Gib Lock knob that locks the elevation adjustment, I took some glow in the dark white paint that I got at Hobby Lobby put a dab of supper glue on the bead,let it just about dry then put a dab of white over it,let it dry then put a dab of supper glue over white,works very good. I use the same system for my 1911 Springfield Rangemaster after drilling 3 holes in appropriate places,been on there for around 1000 rounds so far and with my 67 year old eyes makes it nice!:biggrin: Pete
 

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Bowman 40

Welcome to the forum.

I like Iron sights myself. For years I zeroed at 100 with the issue factory sights on a 95. I was using the Rem. 405gr SP & found with a 100yd zero if I raised the bead up into the top of the U in the rear sight, I was right on @ 200yds. Built in rangefinder @ 200 yds the bead will cover a lot of a deers chest. I would shoot them & experiment with holding up some front sight into the rear sight notch. You might be surprised at just how far you can reliably hit this way.
We've been doing this with six-guns for years.
Good luck, good shooting.
 

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I have XS peeps on my SBL that I hunted with last year. I really like the looks of the Skinner and the functionality of the Williams but have used neither. I wouldn't hesitate on any of these peep options. What is best? hmm, that is a Ford/Chevy/Dodge discussion IMO

The XS are dead nuts; that I can attest to. I have shot 100 yards (and hit my breakfast paper plate) with a standing rest on a tree limb. But at fifty I have hit a pop can 2 for 2 from seated position resting elbows on knees. I put a 2-7 scope on that one and harvested a mule deer buck last year.

I just purchased a JM 1895g with Fire Sights. I only shot it to function test it but a buddy and I hit a paper coffee cup at about 20 yards with each of the shots we took with Hornady FTX 325 grainers. I am getting older and the rear sight if it isn't super visible causes some problems for me (blurry). So the peeps are perfect since the ghost ring should be blurry (got that covered in spades hehe) with the sight post centered. At least the sight post is clear for me on all my carbines (so far). I am excited to get this girl out on the trail and see those neon sights in action. My buddy gave me a front sight hood from his dads old trapper model with the cut-out to gather more light. I need some help and options on pinning that or screwing it down so I don't lose it when I am rolling coal but I love the look of the hood. Here are a couple shots:
Gun Rifle Firearm Air gun Trigger
Gun Firearm Rifle Shotgun Trigger
Grass Lawn Grass family Plant Landscape
Trigger Airsoft gun
 

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I agree on the aperture sight idea and it does depend on the age of your eyes. Mine at 64 can't use bbl-mounted rear sights any longer. There's no real practical limit to how far away you can kill something with a .45-70 - it's just a matter of if you make a good shot on it. IF you can make the shot it will kill any North American animal at 500yds. I've killed a number of moose and caribou with my guns out to 250yds and it seemed hardly a challenge with a good tang sight. It will cleanly kill much further away than most of us are capable of making a good shot at. The original rear sights on modern Marlin lever guns are a waste of resource; there's a good reason that web sights sell just the folding blade for a few bucks. I've never had one survive longer than a week in the woods. The front sight hood is the same; they snag on the brush and they're gone. Ditto on the useless plastic front sights. A good replacement rear sight is the vintage 1886 Winchester style sight that doesn't fold. Sitting on the bbl with no elevator and using the factory front sight they seem to sight spot on at 100yds with moderate loads. That's what I've used on my working gun for 35yrs and I know right where to hold it for 200yd shots - just as Frank V says above. And they will shoot straight. A writer for G&A wrote an article in the late 70"s? sometime bench testing factory .45-70's with factory iron sights. The Marlin came in at #1 with 2-1/4" groups at 100yds with factory ammo. Many people can't top that with a scoped .30-06. Aperture sights are superior no matter what type you use. You wouldn't regret getting a Skinner; they are nice. I think my choice would be side mounted Lyman receiver sight as they give all the easy and repeatable adjustment you could ever want, interchangeable apertures and they're stable. My sawed off '86 has one with no aperture screwed in and I've never adjusted it in many years and I can still grab it and knock a porcupine off the burn cage offhand at 100yds with it. What a sweetheart of a gun. My 1887-vintage Winchester high wall will shoot into 3" at 200yds with the tang sight, and that with 400gr cast bullets. Using 300-325 gr cast bullets it will do much better than that. I put two of the lighter bullets into a caribou once at 250 paced off yds and they both hit center of the heart and within 1.5" of each other. The guns and ammo will do it; it's up the shooter to learn how to make it happen with good shooting skills.
 

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My personal preference for iron sights on a Marlin is the Skinner Express. They are unobtrusive and rock-solid. Once you sight them in, there's very little to go wrong. The downside is you may need to install a front sight with a different height, based on what you experience on the range. Skinner sells front blades which can be filed to the correct height, but Williams and Marbles make a variety of front sights in increments of or so 1/32" in height, which is only one turn of the Skinner peep.

If you want a receiver sight with vernier adjustments, I recommend the Lyman over Williams. The adjusting screws and blocks are steel, rather than aluminum, with 1/2 MOA click stops. Their advantage is that they have a long range of adjustments which can be zeroed and matched to a range (dope) card for longer ranges and elevations. The downside is that they are bulky and easily (compared to Skinner), mis-adjusted.

If you zero a .45-70 at 100 yards, you will be point blank from 25 yards to 150 yards (+2.5"/-5"). The drop increases dramatically beyond 150 yards - e.g., 22" at 200 yards. While it is true the military sights in at 25 yards, the 5.56x45 POI is set about 1cm below POA to correct for drop and sight height parallax at 300 yards.
 
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