Posted by Eben Brown on 5/5/2020 to Tech Reports
How to Find the Proper Front Sight Height
With Regard to our PeepRib® sight systems, customers often ask how high of a front sight they should order. First of all, the PeepRibs are dimensioned to work with the factory front sights that come on specific muzzleloaders. But if you want to mount on some other gun or chamber, getting the front sight height to work may be a challenge. Williams has a formula for calculating sight heights but it only works 50% of the time. On the surface it looks simple because you see mass production guns that all have the same sights and the sight heights are all the same. But actually trying to do open sights on a one of a kind custom rifle is different and can be quite challenging and expensive in range time if you are just guessing at sight heights and going by trial and error. I have done it a little easier by going out and shooting the rifle with a mock-up front sight and trimming the height until it works for that gun. Then, I can just measure the height and go out and find a finished metal front sight of the same height to install.
Our PeepRib sight system has always been offered for muzzle loaders simply to avoid getting into trying to get the right front sight for every other situation. We tested it to work with the standard front sights of the guns we make it for. Even then there sometimes comes up a situation where the standard doesn't work so we have some other front sights higher and lower that customers can go to and that usually solves any sight issue. But if you want to install PeepRib sights on a different gun, I think the best approach is a mock-up front sight and just shoot the gun and adjust the front sight height until it works.
Making a front sight mock-up. You might laugh, but this is a quick and effective method to figure out what height you need. I use a piece of card stock like the cardboard from a cereal box. Cut to a shape leaving plenty of height. Then mount it on the front of the barrel with a wrap of tape from each side so that it stands straight up in the front center of the barrel. Now set your rear sight for about 25% elevation... This leaves room to adjust down if needed for different loads. Now go out and shoot at 50 yards aiming with the rear sight and the Mock-up Front sight. If you are hitting too low, trim some material off the front sight (make it lower). If you are hitting to high, make your mock-up front sight higher to lower the point of impact.
Once you've got the Mock-up front sight trimmed to a height that hits point of aim, measure the height and go shopping for a finished front sight system that is the same height.
Good luck on your front sight project!