Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Williams Foolproof sight -- it really is!

I have these classic micrometer peep sights on two rifles, at present, and they are good gear! This type of sight has been around approximately forever. The company makes numerous versions to fit a great many firearms. On some guns you will need a taller front sight when you install a peep sight but this is by no means true of all.

It used to be old graybeards would look at my peep sighted rifle, nod approvingly and say to me, "See ya got a Foolproof. Good, good..." Now I am the graybeard saying that to younger folks. There is a great deal to approve of. The windage and elevation settings are finely adjustable. They ride on screw shafts and the setting have countable clicks and a visible index. Adjustments are supposed to be in minutes of angle and fractions, but of course that will vary with the length of the barrel, as a matter of simple geometry. Since I have this sight on a rifle that is longer than normal, and on another one shorter than normal, nothing works out to even units. The adjustments are, though, consistent. Once you have the sight adjusted, you lock the settings into place with set screws and they aren't going anywhere.

Various peep aperture inserts will fit the Williams, including those made for Redfield and Lyman sights. You can also shoot the sight with no insert, which gives you a large hole to sight through with a narrow rim around it, a "ghost ring." I get better accuracy with an insert but shooting without one lets you get a sight picture in low light conditions.

The Foolproof is one of those old products that, like Hoppe's No. 9, caught on a long time ago and never went out of style.

Here is an FP on my Swedish Mauser, model 1896, 6.5 x 55. Using the FP on this rifle let me improve its practical accuracy, which was already considerable, without needing the bolt handle bent to clear a scope. Moreover, I can still load it using stripper clips, which I would not be able to do if I put a scope atop the receiver. The FP-98 sight, intended for the Mauser 98, fits the Mauser 96. Drilling and tapping are required. This one was put on for me by Shootin' Den in Colorado Springs. Notice the very nice job of inletting the sight into the stock.

When you add a receiver sight to one of these old fashioned, long-barreled Mausers, you get a tremendous sight radius, which allows for very good shooting indeed. The barrel on this elegant old rifle is 29" long, then there is the length of the receiver in addition to that. The distance between the front sight and the rear sight is about 33 inches!

Here is another FP, this one on my Winchester Trapper .30-30. The Williams peep gives me a vastly better sight picture than the factory standard cowboy-style backsight. This one fits the factory drilled and tapped holes and installs in a jiffy.

Using this sight instead of a scope keeps the gun compact, and that is what I want from this little carbine--the clout of an intermediate rifle cartridge in a weapon that's no more trouble to carry than a .22.

There are various situations in which a good iron sight is just the ticket. Some people tend to overlook that. We live in an age of rails and optics. Well and good; I like optics just fine. But sometimes the old answer is still the right one.

Sales link:  FP Series Receiver Sight (Thanks for supporting The Gunner's Blog!)


  1. I just installed a foolproof on a new (old) gun I've nervr fired, I'm worried that the redfield olimpic front sight sits too high. and that the fp wont let me carry the sight carrage high enough.

  2. I guess I will find out when i get a chance to go to the range.

    1. You can get an approximate answer by removing the bolt, peering down the bore from the rear, then looking through the sights. That will tell you if the boresight line is somewhere near the sight line.

      The Olympic style sights sit up rather high so I see what you mean. You'll have to try it to find out.

      There are so many variations in guns and sights that not much more can be said. Fortunately, the big variety of iron sights available means that there is a front sight somewhere that is sure to work. Williams makes front sights in various heights.