Sunday, December 4, 2011

Skinner Peep Sight Review for the Henry Big Boy and Golden Boy

Skinner Peep Sight Options for the Henry Big Boy/Golden Boy

After you fall in love with a Henry rifle and drop the cash down on your gun dealers counter, the next thing you will will start pondering is your love or disdain for the semi-buckhorn sights. Personally I found the stock Henry semi-buckhorn sights of impeccable quality however a little confusing when pointing and precision shooting in a hurry. Peep sights  were though to have been invented around the time of black powder and since have long been a staple on everything from black powder to fast shooting AR rifles.  Peep sights started really catching on in the 1860s back in  Henry days and today still provide the target and hunting community a faster and more precise option for a rear sight.

Skinner makes some of the best durable period fitting dovetail and screw mounted Peep Sights available anywhere.  Unlike a variety of other options the fully adjustable Skinner sights look like they actually belong on the Henry and in Skinner’s brass version they look stunning.  I tested two Skinner Peep sight versions on my Henry rifles, their standard peep sight in brass on my Henry Golden Boy and their higher end bolt on Black and Gold Henry Octagon Sight on my Henry Big Boy.
Skinner’s standard Peep Sights features ⅜” dovetail mounting which means they will fit on anything that has a ⅜” rear sight mounting dovetail slot such as Ruger 10/22, 77/357... but that’s another article, and of course Henry’s ⅜” rear slot.  The standard Peep sight is available in blue steel, stainless, and my favorite brass.  It comes with a .096” aperture sight, however I would recommend picking up a .155” aperture for a more expansive field of view or as I did on my Golden Boy use the peep base without a screw in aperture.  On both models, the height is adjusted by loosening the peep lock screw and screwing the peep up/down ½ turns based on the sighting needs.  The aperture can be reinstalled on either side of the base peep as it it turned for adjustment. 

On the standard Dovetail Peep Sight the windage is adjusted vie loosening the dovetail lock screw and drafting the sight left or right.  I personally like setup as it provides a very durable “not going anywhere” sighting option that stays put once sighted in. If you pick up a standard Skinner Peep sight, don’t forget to order two screws to fill the scope mount holes that are exposed when the stock sight is removed. 

Now that the Henry’s Big Boy and Golden Boy both feature scope mount screw holes hiding under the factory sight, you could also choose to mount up one of Skinner’s bolt on Black and Gold Henry Octagon Peep Sight however this taller sight will require a upgrade to a higher .5”+ tall front sight and a dovetail blank to fill the now void rear ⅜” dovetail slot. I used a Skinner Dovetail blank and an .5” tall Skinner Brass front sight. Skinner has the dovetail blanks in blue or silver steel finish and the taller front sights in both brass and blue steel. The Black and Gold Rear Octagon Peep Sight features full windage and elevation via the screw up/down peep and windage via a secondary dovetail slide integrated into the base.

The Skinner sights are of fitting and equal quality to the Henry rifles and look the part.  The quality of the Henry stock sights are so high, the last thing you want to do is downgrade to a less aesthetic sight.  The Skinner Peep sights are definitely a great upgrade.  I took the time to polish the brass Skinner sights with 000 steel wool so they matched the Henry brass finish perfectly.  I now own Skinner sights on three firearms and I think their fit and finish is some of the best in the industry.

All you need to draft out your old dovetail sights is a mallet and brass punch or in my case an empty 22LR case over a steel punch.  Draft out the old sights from right to left and draft in the new sights the same way and secure with a drop of permanent lock tight.  For the Goldenboy the stock front sight was left as in and only the new rear Skinner peep sight was swapped for the rear sight.  

On the Big Boy, the Black & Gold Henry Octagon Sight took the place of my old sights and a Skinner blank filled the stock rear sight dovetail.  The front sight was tipped with a Brass Skinner .5” front dovetail sight.  For most Henry Big Boy rifles, the .5” front sight should put you on target, however the right thing to do woudl be to install the rear sight, sighting in, and then order the right height front sight.  The other option would be to just order a very tall .650” Skinner front sight such as the and file it down to the height you need and hit it with some re-bluing compound.

Once you find an aperture size that fits your needs you will find that you will get on target faster and shoot more accurately both off hand and off the bench even in low light conditions.  Both guns shoot differently, faster, and more accurately than I was capable of with the stock sights.  This was also an opinion of other family and friends who shot both guns before and after.  Center the tip of the front sight on the target in the rear peep aperture and pull the trigger, it could not be simpler.  Zeroing is all personal preference however I have found a 1” high 25 yard zero on all my guns except my ARs is a pretty convenient rule and allows me to always know where my shots will land within 75 yards.

I now am the owner of Skinner sights of several guns including these two Henry rifles and my Ruger 77/357 and in fact it seems they have become my preferred iron sight for everything outside of ARs which are already peep sight equipped.   
In a time when rear sights can cost almost as much as the gun, Skinner Peep sights are an outstanding value.  The standard ⅜” dovetail Skinner peep sights are only $48-$51 depending on whether you choose blue, stainless or brass.  The Black and Gold Henry Octagon Sight is available in all blue steel for $75 or with the upgraded “Black & Gold” version with brass for $95.  The dovetail blank was $7 and my taller brass front sight for the Big Boy was only $16.  If you are looking for an upgrade option for your Henry Rifles, I simply cannot recommend the Skinner sights enough, they look the part, but give you an unfair modern sighting advantage in the field.

Skinner Peep Sights


Mo said...

Looks good on that Henry. Good shooting rifles!

Anonymous said...

Here's my thoughts on the Skinner sights:

Unknown said...

I love my Golden Boy but not the sight. It covers the target. Sounds like the Skinner sight is the answer.

Unknown said...

Glad to see this review. I love my Golden Boy but not the sight, hard to get on target. It sounds like the Skinner sight will solve the problem.

Russell said...

Drift out right to left or left to right?Skinner says left to right.

Russell said...

Drift out right to left or left to right? Skinner says left to right.

Unknown said...

I really like the look of these sights, and want one for my .44mag Big Boy, but-wow, Skinner's website is confusing!

Unknown said...

i have a golden boy .22lr. i would like to do my order all at once. i go to ranges with fellow disabled vets and would like to hear personal experience with both dovetail mount and barrel screw mount and which front sight change ,if any seems bedt. i've researched every site i could find and find different or no opinions.

Unknown said...

i recently installed skinner dovetailed barrel mount peep. while stock buckhorns are accurate, these sights dramatically easier to quickly target and made my golden boy ten fold more fun hunt or cowboy shoot!