To me... they simply look and seem right on a lever gun... and I want to use irons as long as my eyes will allow... I like the challenge of shooting with irons for targets.. if I were a hunter, I'd use a scope for the best shot ( pun intended) at a clean kill...
I prefer peeps for the reasons stated above, with emphasis on traditional sighting tools given I only own levers. If I were to need a long distance, precision accuracy capability a scope would be prudent. I don't, so a scope is seldom used. I have a 336 with a scout scope setup but found during this past deer season the deer still like to stroll close by. Hence, the scope will stay in the cabinet except for some finite handload adjustments.
Not only good for old eyes, our military for a century or more has been equipping the basic infantry rifle with a peep sight. While not all military weapons decisions are void of error, this one seems to have stuck for quite some time. Hard to argue with that too.
Lastly, for this time of year peep sights are very important if you are going to have to fend off marauding hoards of peeps. Nothing puts you on the vitals of a peep more effectively than a "peep" sight. :flute:
Whenever I travel more than a couple hours for a hunt, that will last more than a day, I haul a rifle that will either convert to irons quickly, or wears irons as a primary sight. Peep sights are just a lot easier to use for me, probably because I've shot tens of thousands of arrows with pins and a peep.
For hunts across the country, or a long haul like ME, I always tote a peep sighted gun for rainy weather. When rain, heavy fog, or blowing snow are the conditions for the day. I can see farther, and shoot farther with a peep than I can with a scoped rifle. I have lost some easy shots, painful memories, when I could see notta through the scope. The one I remember best was a 75yd shot at a huge bull elk. Through the 3X-9X scope, I cuoldn't find him fast enough to take a shot as he walked away. I went home elkless that year. The next trip out I had a M7600/Whelen with a WGRS peep. On trips to ME, I have a peep on my .30-30, and a scope on my .35R. On most sloppy November trips, I carry the peep sighted rifle more than the scoped rifle.
From what I've read and personal experience supports, peep sights will cut your shots in half over iron sights, and a scope will cut your shots in half over peep sights. So if you're shooting 3 inch groups with iron sights, peeps should get you to about 1.5 inches and a scope could get you to .75 of an inch.
I have peeps on all the rifles I hunt with, excepting my 1894c. That rifle's ownership is in debate with my wife, and I think I'm losing that discussions rapidly. She likes a scope and I put a 1-4 Leupold on her. I prefer peep sights not only for cosmetic reasons, but they add no discernible weight to the rifle, so my Marlins handle and point quickly. I hunt periodically in some brush and peep sights are much less prone to snag or catch on branches than a scope. As long as a peep is installed and mounted correctly, they almost never lose zero. The only time I can think they would lose zero is if they took were dropped or took a hit. Even then, it might have to be directly on the sight.
I have a friend who missed on a deer because he had his scope turned up so high that when he lined up, it took him way too long to put the crosshairs on the animal for a good kill shot. Peep sights are the fastest sights to line up with. They're more intuitive than iron sights and since you're really just putting the front sight on the animal, very fast. Much faster than scopes, IMO. They're also impervious to fogging up or adverse weather conditions.
For what I'm trying to do with my rifles (put meat on the table), peeps do everything I could ever ask for. I'm grouping 3" at 100 yards standing with my 444. While that'll never amaze and wow people at the range, it has allowed me to fill the freezer on more than one occasion.
I've done a recent gun reconfiguration in preparation for my final decent into the coffin. I kept one bolt action scoped for primary hunting. My lever guns wear XS. I have hunted for many years all around the world and across several state lines per year. When it comes to scopes, sights, scope powers and such, I've found my personal practical applications to be much different from the theories of the masses.
Open sights are great for open range in daylight and close range (60 yards) brush
Low power fixed scopes are more capable on open ranges
Higher power capability is more useful in Brush and woods
I've found a 2-7 or 2.5-8 to be the most useful variables
For me its simple. Simple design = less that can go wrong. If I don't feel confident that I can make a clean shot with the peep sights I don't take the shot, forces me to become a better hunter by having to get closer to the game.
I love peep sights on my lever actions and shoot them reasonably well for an older guy. But, everything has its limitations. I have learned in my old age not to limit myself by being a slave to any particular setup. Got to use what works best for the situation at hand. Peeps really limit your hunting time in the dark hardwood bottoms. Scopes can be a problem in the rain and fog. The lever action cartridges I have are not much good past 200 yards even with scopes. So, I have a variety of options. Lever actions with scopes have peep sight backups. Peep sight only lever actions for mid day outtings. Faster bolt action rounds for pipelines.
I love them all and try to hunt with everything i have sometime during the season. Now that we are overrun with hogs I will get to use some of them, especially the peep sighted levers, a lot more during the year.
For me, peeps work better because my eyes don't focus well up close anymore. I can't make out the buckhorn sights or forward mounted rear sights very well, but I can see the front sights pretty good. With peeps or ghost rings all I need to focus on is the front sight. I have Brockman"s sights on my Marlin Guide Gun and they are fast on target, and the gun carries and handles well for me. For me, these sights work best for this rifle in the woods where I live.
I also have scopes on many rifles and like them just as well for certain cartridges and applications.
Your eyes can only focus on one thing. The target, the front sight or the rear sight. The only accurate place is the front sight. So it's easier to put the very top edge of the front sight in a circle than a funny shape. You put that on the fuzzy target and fire. A buck horn or a notch is less precise to find the aiming point than the middle of a circle.
I have both and generally like peep sights when I go out with my tractor or 4 wheeler to put up wood or other such chores. The guns can take more of a beating when doing this but I have been working on eliminating that issue. I also use the peep sighted guns when I take a walk as they do carry a little handier. The walks are as much scouting as for actual hunting. Most of the deer I have shot in the last few years have been with a scope. The military is utilizing Red Dots now and I have found either a Red Dot or a low powered scope is as quick if not quicker than a peep sight. Also in bucks only zones if you are not so concerened about a wall hanger but more the freezer sometimes a scope helps to make a difference.
That deer was a good example. I hunted pretty hard after I shot that one and did not see a better buck. The scope let me make out the antlers and he was tasty.
This was an antlered doe and was shot the year before and I saw it later in the season after seeing nothing. Again the scope permitted me to see the "antler" It was a legal deer under MN laws.
While both may have their place, if I had one rifle it would be scoped.
Excellent explanations by all the above posters. Mounting one of our peeps is simple, they are rugged, will never fog, and look "Just right" sitting on top of a Lever Gun. We have a lifetime warranty and will work with you to make sure everything is just right. (May require a taller front sight, might not, but the solution is simple)
No one has yet mentioned what I consider the best reason for using aperture (peep) sights instead of scope: balance.
A levergun balances wonderfully and feels lively in the hands when it is not encumbered by a pound or more of stuff hanging off the top of the rifle. This holds true for most rifles, but seems to be especially true for leverguns.
Sometimes a scope is the better choice; those reasons have been well covered by others. When it isn't, then aperture sights are the best choice.
Open sights are never a better choice than an aperture sight, IMO. For me, it's either an aperture sight or a scope (ideally both).
Edit: CP1969 was faster than I in mentioning handling and balance.
For me answer is simple------majority of my shooting is Cowboy action----whether main match or long range side matches-------tang sights are allowed----scopes are not!------fuzzy eyes needed help so removed buckhorn--use tang sight without any appature ?? in it sorta like a ghost ring for main match put eyepiece back in & adjust height for long range!