sights for AR

This is a discussion on sights for AR within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I have collected hand guns for about thirty years. Last year I decided to get into long guns a little. I bought a S&W mp ...

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Thread: sights for AR

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    Member Array revldm's Avatar
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    sights for AR

    I have collected hand guns for about thirty years. Last year I decided to get into long guns a little. I bought a S&W mp 15. I like the gun but at the moment I can't seem to hit the broad side of a barn with it at 100 yds. I do O.K. at about thirty yards. It has a Sight-Mark red dot sight on it that I had sighted in for me at a LGS. I thought about getting a scope with just a little magnification but I know nothing about scopes and do not even know where to start looking or what to look for. I believe the problem is either with the way it was sighted in or with my lack of shooting skills with a rifle, I don't think it is with the gun. any suggestions on what to get and how to sight it in would be appreciated. I shot the gun at 100 yds for the first time this weekend and only hit the target once in 90 rounds of trying. I do not want to spend three or four hunded bucks on a scope so please keep suggestions on a budget price. BTW the gun will be used mostly for targets and plinking.

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    The sight mark dot may not be up to the task of holding zero or you may not be sighted in for that distance and need to have a spotter. Maybe try at 50 yards ? . Have you tried using iron sights? A Bushnell trs dot or primary arms red dot might be a affordable way to get a red dot that is decent.
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    Honestly I would suggest that you get a decent set of iron sights and spend a few months learning how to use them effectively. Scopes, RDS and lasers are all great gadgets but absolutely nothing beats being able to pick up a rifle and know what you can hit with irons. I say this because iron sights are simple, effective and they don't "need" anything to work. If your AR has no irons sights at all, there are plenty of flip up BUIS choices that would work well.

    Once you spend some time with your rifle, you'll get an idea what you can do with it, but like anything else that requires some skill, you have to practice to gain proficiency. After you get comfortable with the iron sights, you can always add the RDS or a scope back on it. If you start looking for actual scopes, I'd suggest a 3-9x40. I have a Redfield Revolution that I feel is a very good quality scope for the price and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it (American made and a lifetime warranty). Nikon makes a good one as well, but it'll run a little bit more.
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    Sounds like you need to start with a good boresight, and your LGS didn't do that for you. You can do that yourself with a simple boresight tool. I've seen some laser versions that I'm sure work fine, but I've never used - my Leupold boresighter I've had for almost 20 years still works.

    Then, take it out and shoot from a rest at 7 yards. Use a big target with a small bullseye. I like sticky dots on a sheet of butcher paper for this. Put at least 3 through it, keeping your aimpoint the same, and see if they're consistent. If they are, adjust it so the bullets are centered and about 2.5" below the bullseye. Fire a few more through it and again, check for consistency. If it's not consistent at that range off a bag, your sight is not holding zero. Once you've got it close, then you can start putting the paper out further without wasting rounds and getting frustrated. Lots of different ideas on what the ideal combat zero is, but the two common ones are the 50m and 100m.

    And +1 on Rocky's recommendation for a spotter. Itty bitty 22-cal holes on paper are a bugger to see through a 0x or 4x scope. If you have a buddy watching, you'll get your zero complete a lot faster. Plus, if you're off paper, he'll be more likely to see the dust puffs.

    +1 also on TX Expat's remarks regarding iron sights. Start with those - they don't run out of batteries, don't have any glass to break, and are essential to learning good marksmanship. You can get some pretty good ones for reasonable prices if there aren't any already on your AR. If you want to go a little spendier, I recommend Troy battlesights.
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    RKM
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    Sight it at 25 yards until you get a tight group. Move to 50, you'll likely be hitting about an inch high. Adjust for that. Then move to 100. You'll be hitting around a 1/2" high. Adjust for that. It's possible it's not holding zero, but .223/5.56 does not recoil THAT much. If you're not hitting at 100 yards with a perfectly zeroed sight, than the most likely culprit, is you. Also, 0x sights are a bit harder to shoot, for obvious reasons. Higher powered sights will not make you shoot better, but they'll allow you to see the target better, and you'll be able to see how much you move the gun around, when you think you're holding it still. You'll have an easier time controlling that movement, now that you an see it, than you would with 0x. The dot size matters a good bit too. Many people like small dots, 1 or 2 MOA for longer range shooting. Instead of shooting with, for instance, a 6MOA dot (covering roughly 6" of a target at 100 yards), it's easier to be more precise with 1, 2 or 3 MOA. What size dot, is your red dot? It's not impossible to be accurate with a bigger dot, if you're aware of the mechanics behind it.

    I keep my sights for defensive rifle (not sure if you consider your AR defensive), at 50 yards. Hits 1/2" low at 25 and 1/2" high at 100, and 2" low at 200. It's a great compromise, in my opinion.

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    VIP Member Array 40Bob's Avatar
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    Sightmark is junk. If you want a good red dot spend some coin and get an Aimpoint.
    My rifle and pistol are tools, I am the weapon.

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    Zero your irons at 25 yards first. Put a lucid HD-7 , or a Bushnell TR-25, both are good budget optics, I prefer the Lucid of the two. Mount your red dot so it co -witnesses with your iron sights. Check out you tube for the correct sight in procedure for your iron sights.
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    Thanks for all the good advice. I have tried iron sights but with my eye sight I can't focus on the peep hole unless I take one hand and raise my glasses then I can't hold the gun steady to aim. That is why I went with the red dot sight. I also tried a bore sighter but the laser cannot be seen through the red dot sight. I move my head and look around the sight and there it is plain as day but if I look through the sight I can't see it. The laser on the bore sighter just dissapears. Since I can hit the target pretty good at thirty yards I suspect the problem has to do with the way it was sighted in at the lgs. They only have a 50 yard indoor range. They won't let you shoot rifles there but for ten bucks they will sight one in for you. Also as RKM pointed out the higher powered sight would help me to see the target better. At 100 yds it looks like a postage stamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 40Bob View Post
    Sightmark is junk. If you want a good red dot spend some coin and get an Aimpoint.
    I have a Sightmark ,shot thousands rounds through my AR . Holds zero perfectly , Aimpoint is a waste of COIN unless your going to use it in the water and throw it in the mud !!
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    Quote Originally Posted by revldm View Post
    Thanks for all the good advice. I have tried iron sights but with my eye sight I can't focus on the peep hole unless I take one hand and raise my glasses then I can't hold the gun steady to aim. That is why I went with the red dot sight. I also tried a bore sighter but the laser cannot be seen through the red dot sight. I move my head and look around the sight and there it is plain as day but if I look through the sight I can't see it. The laser on the bore sighter just dissapears. Since I can hit the target pretty good at thirty yards I suspect the problem has to do with the way it was sighted in at the lgs. They only have a 50 yard indoor range. They won't let you shoot rifles there but for ten bucks they will sight one in for you. Also as RKM pointed out the higher powered sight would help me to see the target better. At 100 yds it looks like a postage stamp.
    Hmmm. I'm having a little trouble picturing your trouble with the irons and glasses. I wear glasses most of the time and I don't have any problems like what you are describing... Sorry I can't offer any suggestions on how to fix that, but I'm trying to figure out what is happening because you have to see well to use a scope or RDS, so if it happens with one sight, isn't it going to happen with others too?

    A couple of other things to consider; first off, what size target are you shooting at @ 100 yards? If you are trying to hit a 3" precision type of target, then yeah, you probably will miss it with a cheap RDS. It probably has a 4 MOA dot and would totally cover the target at that distance. Secondly, how are you shooting the rifle, on a bench or rest, or off-hand? If you aren't on a bench, you probably have a lot you need to understand about off-hand rifle shooting. It's not exactly easy for someone who doesn't have a lot of rifle experience to just pick one up and start hitting targets at that distance if you're just standing there holding the rifle. Lastly, if possible, find someone who is proficient with rifles and ask them to shoot it and see how they do with it. If they are hitting the target accurately, then you can at least rule out equipment problems.

    I realize that it's frustrating to have a firearm and not see the results you were hoping for, but do try to understand that it may not be the tool; it may be the operator, and if so, shooting 10 rounds, or 100 rounds, won't bring you any improvement if you don't understand what you are doing wrong.

    If you do find that a scope is necessary, you should be able to take care of that on your budget. A decent one piece mount like the Burris P.E.P.R or Nikon M-223 can be picked up for under $80 and then you just have to buy the best glass you can afford with the rest of your budget.
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    I suggest you find a friend locally who shoots rifles and work from the ground up. The basic principles of marksmanship would take me 6 pages of typing.

    A magnified optic might help. I suggest something likeone of these:

    Nikon M-223 Rifle Scope 1-4x 20mm Point Blank Reticle Matte
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    VIP Member Array 40Bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buckman60 View Post
    I have a Sightmark ,shot thousands rounds through my AR . Holds zero perfectly , Aimpoint is a waste of COIN unless your going to use it in the water and throw it in the mud !!
    Or I guess your life depends on it.
    My rifle and pistol are tools, I am the weapon.

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    Distinguished Member Array Chaplain Scott's Avatar
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    Since you are new to rifles--(everybody is new at sometime): BUIS means Back-Up Iron Sights. Co-witness means to be able to look thru your RDS (Red Dot Sight) and simultaneously see your iron sights, all of them (hopefully) being perfectly aligned......
    Scott, US Army 1974-2004

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    Quote Originally Posted by 40Bob View Post
    Or I guess your life depends on it.
    How many Sightmarks do you have actual experience with?
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    VIP Member Array 40Bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TX expat View Post
    How many Sightmarks do you have actual experience with?
    Two. They both broke within a week.
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    My rifle and pistol are tools, I am the weapon.

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