Author Topic: Buckhorn Sights?  (Read 1723 times)

Offline Smokey Plainsman

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Buckhorn Sights?
« on: June 15, 2019, 09:10:58 AM »
Friends, I am set to receive my Tennessee Valley Muzzleloading flintlock rifle next week, my first ever custom made gun.

In the photos they sent me, my gun has a full buckhorn rear sight, which seemed curious and too “modern” to me. Here’s the picture they sent:



When exactly we’re full buckhorn rear sights invented, and were they ever even used on traditional flintlock American long rifles?

Thanks for the help. If they’re not authentic, I’m going to have to replace it with something else. Thanks all.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 09:16:54 AM by Smokey Plainsman »

Offline arcticap

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2019, 10:20:22 AM »
It appears that there's documentation that at least one example of a full buckhorn rear sight was used on one of the Hawken family made guns.
And that doesn't mean that they invented it or were the first and only makers to use it.
Especially if the barrel is rifled, then the sight is designed for accurate shooting at multiple distances including long range.
The source of the documentation for the sight is mentioned here on ALR.

1. --->>>  http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=864.msg8614#msg8614

2. --->>>  http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=15919.msg149714#msg149714

3.--->>>  http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=14977.msg144333#msg144333

4. [SEE PHOTO]--->>>  http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=6465.msg61026#msg61026
« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 10:33:50 AM by arcticap »

Offline Nemovir

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2019, 08:09:21 PM »
.....then the sight is designed for accurate shooting at multiple distances including long range....

So, how were they use for the multiple distances?

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2019, 08:22:06 PM »
Nemovir, the buckhorn sight pictured is almost a full circle, and our human eyes tend to find the center of a circle when looked through.  It is fairly easy, then, to offset the front sight left or right for windage, and top to bottom for elevation.  But that has to be a conscious effort, otherwise your eye will simply put the top of the front sight smack dab in the middle of the circle.
Peep sights, with their complete circle, are very accurate - the peep (rear) and open post (front) system is widely used to train target shooters.  Most of our military, including me, were trained on that system.  They do offer a large advantage over open rear, where the edges of the buckhorn do not rise above what would be the center of a circle.  Prohibited in many of our muzzle loader target shoots, BTW.
Hope this helps a bit to understand why the "horns" of the buckhorn are so important.  Smokey Plainsman has a very accurate rear sight, now he just needs to train himself in using it.
Craig Wilcox
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Offline arcticap

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2019, 11:10:37 PM »
.....then the sight is designed for accurate shooting at multiple distances including long range....

So, how were they use for the multiple distances?

How to use a full buckhorn was described in one of the reference threads that I posted, but pictures are worth a thousand words.  :D
A person would need to become very familiar with how their rifle shoots at various distances to learn where to hold the aimpoint.
The horns are for ranging in a similar way to using Kentucky windage.








https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2015/11/buckhorn-sights-and-kentucky-windage/
« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 11:25:31 PM by arcticap »

Offline Smokey Plainsman

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2019, 08:07:47 AM »
But we’re they used on a 20s or 30s southern mountain flinting rifle?

Offline Roger B

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2019, 09:57:45 PM »
I really can't add much to this except to say that I really like Track's "giant buckhorn" for plains rifles. They seem to help my poor old eyes. No what sight you get, you may have to open up the sighting notch a bit. I usually use a hacksaw blade & go slow. Cut & sight/repeat. Use a file or sandpaper to clean up your slot edges or you'll get a "fuzzy" sight picture. These days I need to open the notch with a knife file to get a good front sight picture. If your club or shooting friends allow it, Track & others have a traditional looking flat rear with a peep in it which is neat. I may try to make a plains style sight with a peep in it soon. That would require a low front sight, but they used much lower sights back in the day.
Roger B.
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Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2019, 05:06:23 AM »

But we’re they used on a 20s or 30s southern mountain flinting rifle?

I have never seen one on a SMR. *correction made I left out never!*
Dennis
« Last Edit: June 17, 2019, 02:31:53 PM by Dennis Glazener »
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Offline Smokey Plainsman

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2019, 09:55:26 AM »
Great. I have no idea why TVM uses these too-modern buckhorn sights on their rifles. Now I get to spend the extra time and money for an authentic rear sight and if the elevation is too wrong, a new front sight.

Don’t you just love it??  >:(

Offline Elnathan

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2019, 03:59:19 PM »
Great. I have no idea why TVM uses these too-modern buckhorn sights on their rifles. Now I get to spend the extra time and money for an authentic rear sight and if the elevation is too wrong, a new front sight.

Don’t you just love it??  >:(

Too late to ask them to swap it out, I take it? You could just cut the ears off to make a semi-buckhorn style...

TVM is a semi-custom outfit, and have a reputation for making guns that are solid shooters but only *kinda* authentic. This kind of thing is why.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying...cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. -Robert A. Heinlein

Offline arcticap

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2019, 08:29:52 PM »
It wasn't very difficult to find a photo of a long gun from about 1640 that had a semi-buckhorn type of rear sight.
But that still doesn't answer the question of when the full buckhorn sight was invented, and whether it's possible that a Tennessee Poor Boy rifle could have originally been made with one.

Then the OP's question is expanded to being about the particular time period of 1820's - 1830's.

While it's known this type of sight was on Hawkens, we don't know the exact time period.
I understand that some folks want to rely on precedent and surviving examples as proof of this or that.

One problem with using precedent is that it doesn;t allow for any real or imagined improvisation by any original period maker or original period owner.
And almost the whole wide world would need to be considered in order to exclusively rule out the sight as being impossible to have been correct for that type of gun in that time period.

I will freely admit that I could be wrong, that there's no way that the full buck horn sight could ever have been put on that type of rifle during that time frame.
There are only 3 or 4  possible answers, yes, no, maybe or I don't know.

It looks like TVM only made that sight standard on that  model of Tennessee rifle which they clearly advertise as such before ordering.
Perhaps they intentionally use the wrong sight knowing full well that since the rifle is a reproduction, they're allowed to use some artistic license to install whatever sight that  they want.
Or perhaps they feel that the sight was in use close enough to that period to justify its inclusion on that particular rifle.

Whatever their reason, they advertised that rifle as having that sight and may even give customers the option to change it before final purchase.
Quite frankly, I don't know when that sight was invented, by who or when it could have been used or installed on any long rifle for the first time.

I like everyone elses answers and now I am uncomfortable with my own.
But I don't want to simply blame TVM for not providing a period  correct sight just because of their reputation either.
Maybe they know something or maybe they don't care.

But that still leaves us all without all of the facts, possibilities and probabilties.
However I do know that the customer is always right.  ;D


« Last Edit: June 18, 2019, 09:02:27 PM by arcticap »

Offline smokinbuck

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2019, 08:58:03 PM »
If  you are definitely unhappy with the full buckhorn, I think the best suggestion you got was to cut the horns down on each side and create a low flat topped sight. That utilizes the sight you have, both front and rear, as opposed to buying another sight.
Mark
Mark

Offline Daryl

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2019, 07:29:01 PM »
If  you are definitely unhappy with the full buckhorn, I think the best suggestion you got was to cut the horns down on each side and create a low flat topped sight. That utilizes the sight you have, both front and rear, as opposed to buying another sight.
Mark

my 'thoughts' exactly.
Daryl

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Online flehto

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2019, 08:12:23 PM »
If buckhorn sights were that good, why didn't they survive  even a few yrs? Buckhorns are an unnecessary complication that didn't help the shooter and because they were a fad, soon disappeared.....Fred

Offline Daryl

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2019, 10:47:22 PM »
Interesting comment, Fred.  My September 1936 M70 was "issued" with 3/4 buckhorn rear sight. My first group with that rifle at 100 meters off the bags was 1.789" and the second group was 1.632". they seem to work well, even today & even with my 69year old eyeballs.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Online flehto

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2019, 12:44:19 AM »
Can't argue w/ personal preferences, but I was thinking about the sights on hunting guns. ....Fred

Offline Nemovir

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2019, 03:07:04 PM »
Are Buckhorn sights cheaper than period correct sights?

Offline Pete G.

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2019, 07:33:12 PM »
Are Buckhorn sights cheaper than period correct sights?

No, they cost the same as 90+% of all sight castings available.

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2019, 11:03:17 PM »
Friends, I am set to receive my Tennessee Valley Muzzleloading flintlock rifle next week, my first ever custom made gun.

In the photos they sent me, my gun has a full buckhorn rear sight, which seemed curious and too “modern” to me. Here’s the picture they sent:



When exactly we’re full buckhorn rear sights invented, and were they ever even used on traditional flintlock American long rifles?

Thanks for the help. If they’re not authentic, I’m going to have to replace it with something else. Thanks all.
Seems to be the least of your worries, no big deal. Did you request a specific rear sight? I don't believe TVM has ever made any claim to historical correctness. I'd be more concerned about the thick web between the ramrod groove and the barrel channel. At least you can knock the buckhorn out and put in the sight of your choosing. Not much you can do about the fat web. I think you expect too much for what you paid.
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2019, 12:08:37 AM »
There ya go, Mike, saying what we were all thinking.  Personally, I don't understand why anyone would balk at changing sights on any
 rifle if they do not suit your eyes or purpose.  I did that with a rifle I paid $8,000.00 for. That's the beauti of a dovetailed sight - make it
whatever you want - even elevating.  You and most other people I know, do not actually want original-styled sights. That would be a very
 low to the barrel rear sight with a simple V and a barely corn front sight, also low on the barrel. Most people find them to low, too difficult
 to see in the notch and not good enough (fine enough) for trail walk competition.(if looking at it from that standpoint) The lower the sights,
the more prone to developing heat waves that screw with the sight picture.
Here's an original-type front sight. I couldn't find a rear sight.


« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 12:24:29 AM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline Daryl

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2019, 12:17:56 AM »
Can't argue w/ personal preferences, but I was thinking about the sights on hunting guns. ....Fred

I don't understand. The 1930's gun I referred to was a hunting rifle only.
Daryl

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Offline Daryl

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2019, 01:02:06 AM »
Smokey Plainsman check out the sights on this rifle. They appear to be authentic.

http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=54703.0
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline Waksupi

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Re: Buckhorn Sights?
« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2019, 09:28:42 PM »
Most of my deer hunting is close in work. I've reshaped the buckhorn sights into a round opening, used a taller thick front sight, and used it as an aperture sight. Fast on target. Great for older eyes.