SIGHT SYSTEMS FOR THE 45-70 LEVER-GUN

Few topics elicit more fire among users of lever-action rifles than the question, "What kind of sight should I use on my lever-gun?" Traditionalists tend to howl at the very thought of a scope on a lever-gun, and view those advocating scopes as sorely lacking understanding of the lever-gun. Such partisans of the iron sight are quick to point out that in a close quarter skirmish, the scope can slow the deployment of the lever-gun, and maintain that shots rarely need to be taken at significant distances. To the extent that shooting is done at short-range, it is pretty hard to argue against the iron sight. However, modern ammo for the 45-70 extends the practical range to at least 200-yards, far beyond most shooters' ability to precisely place shots with iron sights.

We take the view that the sight system should reflect the shooting skills and temperament of the hunter. If the hunter can precisely place his shots into the target with iron sights at whatever distance he has determined to be the limit of his shooting at big game, and adheres to that limit, then iron sights may be preferred. However, if the shooter is not capable of precisely placing his shots into the target at ranges beyond short-range, then he can either choose to rather severely limit his shooting distance and resulting opportunities, or he can consider the scope. For many the scope provides the improved shot placement capability required to take big game at something approaching the effective range of the 45-70 with modern ammo.

The modern 45-70 lever-gun provides outstanding close quarters protection from the heaviest game, and this is the purview of the iron sight. But it also can stretch large caliber potential to ranges easily as great as 200-yards, where scope precision cannot be denied. We advise our customers to consider this carefully, along with their own capabilities, and not be overly influenced by the hyperbole normally associated with this topic. Simply stated, the characteristics of the shooter, the load, and the reason for deployment, should determine the choice of sight system.

- Randy Garrett