Dangerous Game Sights

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posted on April 6, 2010
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Danger is a proximate condition. An enraged Mike Tyson in the ring with you is dangerous, but Mike Tyson in another state is as harmless as a kitten. He can’t reach you. By the same token, a wounded Cape buffalo at 10 yards is dangerous, but that same buffalo at 200 yards is merely a potential threat, not an immediate danger. Something that can’t hit you, can’t hurt you.

Consequently, when discussing dangerous game sights for rifles, distance is an important factor. A sight that’s quick to pick up, aligns itself naturally and let’s you shoot with a precise sight picture is what you'll need.

Hands down, the best dangerous game sight is a peep sight. If I were to design the ultimate DGS, it would be a fixed ghost ring rear sight (a large aperture is referred to as a ghost ring) and a fiber optic red front sight.

A close second is a classic English express sight with a V-notch rear and a gold bead front. While you still must align a sight picture with an express sight, if your rifle fits you, the gold bead falls into the V-notch naturally as you shoulder the rifle.

For an optical sight, the best one I’ve ever used is a Trijicon AccuPoint in a low-power variable (1-4x). The reticle is a large German post topped with a glowing red triangle that’s illuminated either by a fiber optic on top of the scope or via tritium in low light. I’ve used the AccuPoint on Cape buffalo and dwarf forest buffalo—it was superb.

The only drawback to an optical DGS is that the eye relief can be a problem, although it’s ample enough for a .458 Win. Mag., which I was using on both buffalo. This is why I’m very hesitant to recommend any other optic for a DGS, with one exception.

Leupold’s 1.5-5x variable has generous eye relief and will not give you a red crescent in your forehead. However, the duplex recticle is not optimum for close-range shooting, although it certainly is the most precise for longer shots.

However, long shots should be avoided with dangerous game. That’s why I use iron sights on everything except the cats. After all, the essence of hunting dangerous game is, as the name implies, danger. Out there at binocular distances, none of Africa’s game is dangerous. Stalk close and use your sights the way they were intended.

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