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A Possible Future Range Experiment

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2022 4:18 pm
by butlersrangers
I am contemplating doing a 'Comparative Test' of different models of Krag "No-Drill" Receiver Sights.
"No-Drill" is an unofficial collector term, that has been applied to a certain variety of 'after-market' Krag sights.

These sights were designed to be easily installed on U.S. Krag rifles and carbines, by the owner.
Originally inexpensive, they used existing Krag receiver holes and surfaces, thus, not requiring skilled Gun-Smithing services for installation.
(Collectors have long appreciated that the 'No-Drill' sights saved many a U.S. Krag from being drilled & tapped)!

Simple 'peep' sights when coupled with replacement front-sights, offered advantages over original military sights, especially when adjusted for 50-to-100-yard Woods Hunting.

Redfield (originally 'Western'), Pacific, and Leroy Rice were the main producers of these sights. Production of the "Pacific" models started in the 1920's and ended around 1953.
Rice and Redfield sights were produced by 1930 and still available into the 1960's.
Many 'altered' Krag rifles & carbines will be found to still have these sights (or parts of them) installed.

This past January (2022), I finally added a Leroy Rice 'peep sight' to my collection.
The Rice Sight, frugally made from sheet-metal stampings in Elyria, Ohio, is often seen on Krag rifles that were altered for Hunting.
It was available via 'mail-order' advertisements, that appeared in the back pages of "The American Rifleman", for generations.

Looking kind of 'home-made', the Rice-sight seems to have been "the red-haired step-child" of Krag receiver-sights, but its simplicity and low price got it out there!
Nowadays, they are getting listed for $250 on eBay.
I don't know what they actually sell for. (?)

IMHO - For Hunting and 'Aging Eyes' the "No-Drill" Krag sights still offer viable choices.

If there is any interest, I can test these various sight models against each other and see how they 'stack up'.
I am puzzling how best to pull this off and come up with a 'trial' that will be a fair test of their relative merits.

Any ideas, feedback, and expressed interest are appreciated.

Re: A Possible Future Range Experiment

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2022 3:58 am
by craigster
I have a 70 series Redfield on mine, nice upgrade from the Rice that it came with.

Re: A Possible Future Range Experiment

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2022 4:08 pm
by butlersrangers
Back in January, I impulsively bought a 'sportered' Krag, to help out a Widow.
The Krag was in an altered model 1898 carbine stock. The serial number on the receiver was just 'North' of the 1898 carbine range.

I failed to notice that the 22" barrel, with an excellent bore, was not a Krag barrel.
The Stokes-Kirk style front-sight was a 'turn-off', but the bolt-sleeve had a nice example of the Leroy Rice 'peep' sight.

I've concluded that the only 1898 carbine part on this project Krag is the stock, (with an added pistol grip).

I gave this rig a recent Range Test, at 50 yards, and found the first shot went 13 inches high!
The 'sheet-metal' front-sight was way too short and gave a miserable sight picture.
This explained why the Rice 'peep-sight' on this Krag was set as low as it could go. A much taller front-sight is needed.
(I hope the previous owner never took this combination 'Hunting').

At the Range, I had to aim at a target, below the intended target, and use a bit of 'Kentucky-windage'.
(There was just no point, at this time, in messing with the windage screws).
The trigger-pull on this Krag needs a bit of work. It is sticky, heavy and creepy.

My shots grouped 11 to 12 inches above the point of aim. I am installing a taller 'banded front-sight' and cleaning up the trigger before the next test of this Krag.

FWIW - Some photos taken during the 'outing', which was not a fair test of the Rice sight, given such an incompatible front-sight.
The barrel photo shows machine marks, the remnant of a 'cross-groove' for the 1903 rear-sight collar, and the absence of an index-mark. It also lacks rear-sight screw holes.
(These are clues to the actual barrel origin).

Re: A Possible Future Range Experiment

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2022 6:30 pm
by FredC
I do not really like the idea of a sight mounted on something that moves around, but that Rice sight has an uncluttered look to it that is appealing.

Re: A Possible Future Range Experiment

Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 3:29 am
by craigster
A Rice rear sight is better than no rear sight.

Re: A Possible Future Range Experiment

Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 3:58 am
by butlersrangers
The Krag 'bolt-sleeve' (and Rice sight) moves rearward and forward with the bolt body, as the bolt is worked to load cartridges and eject 'fired brass'.
The 'sleeve' does not move during the actual firing sequence of the trigger & striker mechanism.

By contrast, there were some aperture sights made by Lyman and Belding & Mull, that were dovetailed into or clamped onto the striker-rod knob.
When these Krag sporting rifles were fired, the aperture jumped forward. The considerable weight of these sights also had to negatively impact 'lock time'.

The Rice sight is pretty immobile when firing a Krag with the bolt 'closed'. The design is intended to be 'locked into place' for fixed sighting at 50 to 100 yards.
This is great for Woods Hunting and not intended for Position Target Shooting at 200, 300, and 600 yards, with the need for repeatable changes in sight adjustment.

Re: A Possible Future Range Experiment

Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2022 12:37 am
by Ned Butts
Agreed, I have a Rice sight on my 45/70 Dane sporter and it works fine for brush and swamp shots

Re: A Possible Future Range Experiment

Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2022 2:33 am
by butlersrangers
Ned - Can we see some photos of your "Swamp Demon"? .... Pretty Please!!! :twisted:

Re: A Possible Future Range Experiment

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2022 5:26 am
by madsenshooter
I have a bolt with a Rice peep that I sometimes used back when I could still see a front sight! I shot quit a bit with it before I scoped that 92/96 sporter. I keep it around in case something goes wrong with the scope. I think I have a new Rice somewhere too. A possible future range experiment for me would be to see if the Pacific has enough adjustment for 600yd shooting!

Re: A Possible Future Range Experiment

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2022 4:46 pm
by butlersrangers
It would be interesting to know the limits in Range Adjustment for the Rice, Pacific, and Redfield 'no-driil' (Krag) receiver-sights.
Of course, rear-sight 'adjustment range' would be related to the height of the front-sight.

A Krag, altered with a 1903 Springfield banded front-sight, has a much taller front blade than a Krag with its original base & blade.

My outing with the Rice sight showed that the sheet-metal 'Stokes-Kirk' front sight, (which is shorter than an original Krag front-sight), was way too short for even the minimal height of the Rice 'peep' sight.

Of course, many of us do not have regular access to Shooting Ranges exceeding 100 or 200 yards and are content to keep sights adjusted for 50 to 100 yard wood's hunting range.
I believe the Rice sight was designed with 'fixed short range hunting' in mind.

By contrast, the inventors of the Pacific and Redfield receiver-sights likely intended their sight models for longer range Target Shooting, in addition to basic hunting use. Screw-in apertures certainly allowed more versatility of purpose.