Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Red dots and bolt actions

The way I set up a lightweight bolt action sporter rifle is to mount a red dot sight, micro size, on the receiver ring. The sight is not in the way of loading the magazine, cycling the bolt, or clearing a jam. The sight picture is instantaneous when you raise the rifle. The rifle is light and well balanced in the hands, making it quicker to the first well-aimed shot than typical semi-automatics.

I do not regard backup iron sights as essential. A spare optical sight is at least as good to have instead, if it is in some sort of return-to-zero mounting and you have brought with you whatever tools are needed to install it. You should, of course, have spare batteries always on hand for electronic sights. It is best not to trust in the claim that you have years and years of battery life. It may be true, but a defective battery can make nonsense of claims like that.

For some riflemen, the backup is a conventional telescopic sight, for they reason that the scope can do some things the dot sight cannot, and vice versa. I cannot fault that reasoning, but prefer a spare dot sight, myself. A scope would, though, go along with me if my business seemed likely to involve distance shooting, beyond what can be accomplished with a dot sight and a bit of squinting.

The dot sighted bolt action is fully suitable for ranch and utility use, woods hunting and anything else where distances are moderate and high volume firepower is not needed. The best case to be made for such a rifle is one that points to the convenience the type offers. Operation, maintenance and cleaning of a bolt action rifle are simple matters. The dot is the fastest sight yet invented and the simplest to use. The gun is easy to hit with, which builds your confidence in it as you use it. In all, it is an agreeable companion afield, unlike some rifles that burden the shooter with their over-complexity, excess bulk and sighing systems that are fussier to use.

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