Using Brownells parts, we show you how to extend the range of your muzzleloader with open sights.
The process for upgrading a muzzleloader's open sights:
- Parts & Components
- Attaching The Front Ramp
- Placing The Sight Insert
- Attaching The Globe Sight
- Attaching The Rear Sight
Whether it’s because of preference or state restrictions on optics, many hunters rely on iron sights for muzzleloaders when heading afield. While most muzzleloader manufacturers offer the choice of fiber optic sights, they often don’t optimize longer-range shots. Instead, the fiber optic bead, which is usually pretty large, covers the target and makes long-range accuracy a difficult proposition.
There is an alternative way to extend your accuracy with an open-sighted muzzleloader, however, and it’s both quick and easy. With only a few parts ordered from Brownells, the right sight setup is right around $100 and a few minutes of installation away from becoming part of your future. The only tools required are a screwdriver and a tube of Loctite, and the whole process takes just minutes (minus the time spent sighting in your smoke pole). For the purpose of this article, I upgraded the sights on a CVA Accura V2, which comes pre-drilled and tapped for either iron sights or optics.
Brownells Parts & Components
First, you’ll need a Lyman globe sight, which will attach to the front of the barrel, and a Marble Arms dovetail front ramp to mount it on. The front ramp attaches with a single screw, and the Lyman globe sight (with dovetail base) slides into place. While the Lyman globe sight comes with several inserts, I find them to be too large for my preference. To get smaller cut crosshair lines, I went with Lee Shaver’s globe sight inserts (10 total options for you to choose from). Finally, you’ll need a rear sight; I went with the Williams Gun Sight, which also attaches with a single or double screw setup (whichever your muzzleloader is drilled and tapped to fit). The Williams sight runs $35, the Lyman globe sight $40, Lee Shaver inserts $22, and the Marble Arms front ramp $12. If my high school math serves me right, that’s $109, before tax. Not bad, especially when you consider how much time and money you’ve likely invested in preference points and statewide draws to get that coveted muzzleloader tag.
Attaching The Front Ramp
First, you’ll want to start by attaching the Marble Arms front ramp to the barrel of the muzzleloader. Here’s where I’d recommend Loctite or a similar thread locker to prevent screws coming loose.
Placing The Sight Insert
You can now turn to the Lyman globe sight. Unscrew the front of the sight, and then remove the insert that it came with. Take a pair of wire cutters or tin snips and remove the Lee Shaver insert you’d like to use on your muzzleloader. For this review, I used the classic cross-shaped crosshair — it’s simple and effective, and the fine lines won’t cover your target even at considerable ranges. Once the insert is in place, simply screw the cap back on the globe sight.
Attaching The Globe Sight
Once your insert is secured in the globe sight, you’ll want to attach the sight to the front ramp via the dovetail base. Here’s where things got interesting for me. When I went to slide the globe sight into the base, it was too loose to lock securely in place. What to do? Call the Brownells Gun Tech hotline, that’s what. After a minute or so on hold, I spoke with a friendly gentleman who informed me that Lyman had stopped making front ramps years ago, which means that some of the bases (produced by Marble Arms) don’t have an exact fit. But there’s an easy enough solution that I employed — a piece of duct tape and super glue. With tape in place the fit becomes incredibly tight, and the glue holds everything in place. This probably fits the definition of redneck engineering, but it hasn’t failed me yet (at least in this instance).
Attaching The Rear Sight
Once you’ve got your front globe sight mounted on the front ramp, it’s time to focus your attention on the rear sight from Williams. First, remove the side screw that allows the aperture to move up and down the base of the sight. Simply slide the aperture until it comes off. This reveals a setscrew, which you can now secure to the barrel of the muzzleloader. If your barrel doesn’t have adequate screw holes, a gunsmith can hook you up in no time. Loctite, secure the base, and then reattach the top portion of the sight. This slides up and down to make elevation adjustments at the range.
That’s it. Now that you’ve got your sights in place, it’s time to head to the range and see what the ol’ smoke pole can do. I think you’ll find, as I did, that it’s well worth the $100 and 15 minutes spent installing sights. I’ve successfully extended my range with iron sights well past the 100-yard range, something I was apprehensive to do with fiber optics. That means when the preference points add up and I’ve got a trophy bull or buck in my sights, I won’t have to question my ability — or that of the CVA Accura V2, which is a tack driver in its own right.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.