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"Red Dot Scopes" and Henry rifles - can someone explain ?

5976 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  cflchurch
I'm sure his will saem like a stupid question but I'll ask it anyway. A while back I put on a thread to get an explanation of rifle scopes - got a lot of good information. One fellow who responded said that I might even consider a "Red Dot" scope. I've been a diabetic 45 years and have had considerable laser surgery in both eyes. I'm right eye dominant but don't have much central vision in that eye so I shoot rifle left-handed.

I've seen pictures of the "Red Dot" scopes and know that a lot of pistol shooters use them as well as some rimfire rifle shooters. I'm going to be plinking with my Henry at anywhere from 25 to 50 yards usually - targets, tin cans, etc.

Just how does a "Red Dot" work? Is there a bright dot in the center of the scope that you see when you look through it and you place that on the target, tin can, etc.? Is there any magnification to the scope which brings the object up closer as you look through the scope or is it primarily a dot that you place on target that would be the same size as seen by the naked eye? Also, what about light conditions - say bright light as opposed to overcast/cloudy days - can the "dot" be adjusted as far as intensity so it is brighter on bright days? How accurate can you be with a "Red Dot" at 25 - 50 yards as far as shooting a "group" on paper?

I'm 60 and this is all "new technology" to me. I've seen some (I think Tasco?) that are around $50 or under - if this technology would work for my eyesight problems is a scope priced in this range adequate? I'd appreciate it if someone who has one on their rifle could advise as to how it works and for 25 - 50 yard plinking if it has any advantages over a conventional rifle scope?

Many thanks! :)
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You basically explained it. A red dot in the center of the lense.

Its a bright red or green dot in the center of the scope. Most scopes are 1x meaning, no magnification. There are some 4x red dot scopes and I believe I may have seen a 6x at one time as well. They are all fixed magnification I believe.

Yes, the dot can be adjusted for intensity. Usually there is a knob to adjust it and some even allow red or green dots.

The reason they are used in many competition shooting especially for steel plates is because you want to find your target quickly and then pull the trigger as fast as you can. You do not need precision, you need general location.

Again, it is for quick aquisition, not precision shooting.

My personal opinion, you can probably go with Simmons 3-9x 40mm scope as a better option then a red dot. IMHO, given your eyes as you have descrbed, you are probably better served by the magnification and you can steady the rifle in various ways. The red dot will help you find the target quicker, but where you hit especially at longer yardage is very iffy especially if you are using bulk 22 ammo.

That said, I use red dot on my pistols, but I am only shooting between 15 feet and 50ft.

Hope that helps
 

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Red Dot

I used a red dot on my H001 for silhouette shooting out to 100 yds... The other guys complained that it wasn't in the spirit of "Iron sights"... I think that was because it worked so well!! :rolleyes: I now use a tang sight... The only issue with a red dot is being able to see it... One of my fellow shooters is a touch color blind and can't pick up the red dot... Another issue is the very cheap sights, while bright and easy to see, the dot is so big it doesn't provide accurate targeting... I used a BSA that had a three minute dot. (Three inches at 100 yds) Good enough to slam a ram!!:bthumb: It would be great to check one before you buy at your LGS and make sure your vision can pick it up...
 

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The red (or green) dot doesn't necessarily stay in the center of the sight's field of view - it can/will move off-center with adjustments and varying head placement.

But the beauty of a red dot sight is that it all doesn't matter - no matter WHERE the dot appears to be in the sight picture, simply place it "on target" for a hit.
IOW, no parallax penalty.

Also - Since they have unlimited eye relief, the red dot can be placed anywhere on top of the rifle it can be mounted & seen.

The only two downsides, if they can be said to be minus' - is that most red dots require a Weaver-type base to mount on; and they suck in bright sunlight (especially on snow).

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The red (or green) dot doesn't necessarily stay in the center of the sight's field of view - it can/will move off-center with adjustments and varying head placement.

But the beauty of a red dot sight is that it all doesn't matter - no matter WHERE the dot appears to be in the sight picture, simply place it "on target" for a hit.
IOW, no parallax penalty.

Also - Since they have unlimited eye relief, the red dot can be placed anywhere on top of the rifle it can be mounted & seen.

The only two downsides, if they can be said to be minus' - is that most red dots require a Weaver-type base to mount on; and they suck in bright sunlight (especially on snow).

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If you shoot with both eyes open, then there is a fix for the bright light issue. Put on the front lense cap. It seems odd, but (on a rifle especially) your brain will transpose the dot you see with your right eye onto the target you see with your left eye. No glare hits the scope so you can see it perfectly, but you still have a dot on target.

Now, my red dot is an el cheapo BSA, and if I set the rifle down and look at the dot, moving my head also moves the dot around on the target. So much so that any variation of head placement can put me off over 3 inches at 15 yds. Please tell me this isn't normal, and that I just need a new red dot?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks fellas - that gives me a much better understanding of what they are. I'm guessing that for the type of shooting I'm going to be doing a conventional scope might be the better choice for me to go with. I can see the great advantage the red dots would have if you are shooting gongs.

I didn't give a thought to "color blindness" as well. I do have a touch of that with certain colors - I don't know if it is hereditary or age or possibly a side effect of the laser treatments years ago. Fortunately, my eyes are "stable" and they don't expect them to get any worse than what they are - I was one of the lucky ones in that regards to the diabetes as I at least have vision that I can get along with. As my wife tells me though, my color blindness is worse than I think and that's why she buys me white socks!

I'll see if I can check out the red dots at the store or when I see someone at the range who is using one. As I said, I'll probably go with the conventional scope for now as it will work better for the plinking I'm doing - but - if I find that I'm doing some of the other types of shooting - who knows - maybe a rifle with a conventional scope and a rifle with a red dot may be the way to go? At least that would be a good excuse for getting another Henry! :)

Thanks again fellas for the information and getting an "old geezer" up to date with the new technology - greatly appreciated! :bthumb:
 

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Just a little thought for you to consider. No one specifically mentioned that the red dot sight projects the dot out at infinity. The upside of this fact is that if you see best at a distance or can use corrective lenses for distance that the dot will be equally clear as the target since they are both a "long ways away" None of this trying to figure out if you should focus on this or that to make the shot work.

Personally if most of your shooting is at 25 to 30 yards and you don't want to get a tang sight then a small pistol style red dot seems like the most innocuous looking option for you to consider. Especially if you're like a lot of us and really hate to mess up the classy lines of any lever rifle with a big lumpy tube or other oddball addition. Yeah, yeah, I know. If I can't see the target I can't hit it. So I fully recognize that sometimes we need to admit that it's time and stick those evil things on our pure lever rifles. But it doesn't mean I need to LIKE it.... :D

If you opt to try a red dot then the good news is that you don't need to spend a crazy amount of money. The higher price ones are fussed over more to ensure that recoil doesn't blenderize the insides. But with the light recoil of a .22 you don't need the fancy stuff like that. Almost anything you find tolerable for style is going to work fine. But do try to get models which are metal and have proper click style "firearms" like adjustments instead of the Airsoft or BB gun style of plastic red dots.
 

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red dot thoughts....

The concept of the red dot is that a small red dot is "projected" on to the slightly reflective lens you look at. This can either be traditional scope tube style round lens, or "reflex" style with a smallish 1"x1" square lens area. Because of the slight mirror finish you see the "red dot" reflection and then you see through the mirror like a 1 way mirror so it is superimposed on the target beyond (mirror side goes toward target)

In any case there is no "red dot" projected onto the target.. it is all inside the sight. Only you see it.

There are a bunch of different reticles from simple dots to crosshairs to circle in circle.... and choice of Red or Green, sometimes both...

Lasers on the other hand can be actively beamed at the target and are frequently seen on cop movies. Not much of a challenge except sighting it in, holding steady.. after that where the dot falls, the bullet hits.

The problem with most red dots types is the large dot size, sometime 3 MOA or even 10 MOA, the 1 MOA are rare, (and usually expensive) so you end up with a big red dot bigger than your target at distance....

One item to note: pick one where you adjust the intensity of the dot with a knob, there are some automatic ones out there that use electronics to "set the level" and if it is really dark, they may not illuminate at all, needing some ambient light to "match" (we see this at the indoor range and have had to supply lights on dimmers above the shooting stations)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the additional info RimfireBob - greatly appreciate it.

I'm familiar with the laser sights . . and personally don't have much use for them . . to me they are a novelty. I've shot pistols for 50 years - mostly BP and the last five years, CF. My vision is fine for the shooting pistols at the shorter ranges. Yea, the laser sights will pinpoint on target but in all of my SD training, the key is practice and knowing how and where to aim. In a SD situation, I don't want to add valuable micro seconds to my response to hit the target . . I want to be able to do it quickly and precisely and that comes with practice.

My main problem is with iron sights on rifles and shooting at further distances. Someone had suggested the RD scope and I really wasn't up on the technology of them. For what I'm doing with the rifle and the distances I want to shoot, I'm going to e looking at conventional scopes I think. While most of my plinking back on the farm is anywhere from 25 to 50 yards, I'd also like to be able to shoot longer distances as well.

I shot muzzleloaders for years - both rifle and smoothbore - roundball and Civil War rifled muskets (and full size 12 pound cannons as well). I used to love to shoot long distances - 200 to 500 yards and sometimes further and utilize "Kentucky windage". Getting back in to shooting 22s is fun and I'm enjoying it . . have primarily been shooting 22 pistols (SA revolvers) but now have added the Henry and I just need to "make that target appear closer". :)

I thank you all for you information as it's been very helpful! :bthumb:
 

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I have a tasco red/green dot on my mares leg and it works amazingly well. the base that come with it was reversible (weaver one side-3/8 on the other) Its rather large , 42mm but walmart sells a 30 mm for 32.99. red only though. goodluck. Brian
 
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