How to Install a Peep Sight

How to Install a Peep Sight

Instructions for DIY Peep Sight Installation

As a bowhunter for most of my life I have taken up gun hunting in the past few years. As a bowhunter I had to get the deer in close and hunted areas that allowed for that. So when I decided to hunt with a gun I wanted something that would be good for thick brush and close shots. The challenge of close up hunting has always appealed to me and while I may install a scope one day for now I liked the idea of a peep sight on my gun of choice. The Henry 44 Magnum Big Boy Lever Action Rifle.

My peep sight of choice is the Skinner Peep sight for my Henry Big Boy Lever Gun. The lever action rifle has always been my favorite. I hunted from age 13 to 25 with a lever action 30-30 rifle from whitetails in Lynchburg Tennessee to Blacktail deer in Alaska the lever gun was by my side. Those were the years before going archery exclusively and I used a scope in those days. Today I love the challenge of open sights and close quarter deer hunting. My days in the Army taught me to trust the peep sight. In the Army we made 300 meter shots with peep sights at the range. The confidence was instilled in me in the Army. The Skinner Peep sights are rugged, solid and look great on the Henry. This is what made the Skinner Peep sight the choice for my rifle.

Lever Gun Hunter T-Shirt
Lever Gun Hunter T-Shirt

The Skinner Peep installation is cut and dry. If you are not confident in your skills and/or tools by all means take your rifle to the gunsmith to install your Skinner Peep. If you have any mechanical ability at all and a quality screwdriver tip that fits the factory fasteners then the Skinner Peep is an easy do it yourself installation. Here are the steps to install the Skinner Peep sight.

  1. Remove factory rear sight
  2. Install a plug where the factory sights were
  3. Remove factory screws in the top of receiver
  4. Clean holes in receiver and in the sight base
  5. Use included set screws to mount the Skinner Peep
  6. Sight in with factory front sight

Removing Factory Rear Rifle Sight

The first thing in this peep sight install is to remove the rear factory sight from your rifle. Most rifles use a wedge style dovetail installation. This dovetail wedge is tapped into the machined slot in the barrel and is a close tolerance fit so that it does not move. Tap the rear factory sight out of the barrel using a drift and a hammer. A brass punch or drift will reduce the chances of damaging the finish on your rifle. However, a steel punch can be used to tap this dovetail sight base from the barrel. Be careful with the punch to not scratch the finish.

When you have the rear sight removed there will be the slot where it was installed. Some rifle owners would prefer a finished look as opposed to this empty dovetail slot. There is a decorative plug for your empty slot. You can tap this plug into the empty slot to give your rifle a more finished look.

NOTE: This Skinner peep sight installation is on A Henry 44 Magnum Big Boy rifle. This peep sight install will work for other rifles, but keep this in mind as I give instructions on this do it yourself Skinner Peep sight install.

Remove Factory Screws from Receiver

The Henry rifle has two screws on the top of the receiver. These screws need to be removed to install the Skinner Peep sight. Clean the holes in the receiver and the Skinner Peep sight to remove any residual oils. With the oil removed there is no need for thread locker on the screws. I used denatured alcohol on a Q-Tip to clean the screw holes.

run gun sling
Run Gun Sling

Install Peep Sight On Receiver

Skinner has a dovetail peep sight. This peep sight is tapped into the dovetail slot in the barrel. Where the factory sight was located. I am installing the Skinner Peep sight that is mounted to the receiver. This peep sight is mounted using the existing holes in the receiver. It brings the peep sight further back than the factory location and is a personal preference. The dovetail Skinner Peep is half the cost of the screw mounted receiver sight.

Sight In Peep Sight

The peep sight is ready to sight in at the range. The factory front sight, in most cases, will work fine. On some occasions the factory front sight was not tall enough to get the desired sight picture. I adjusted my sight picture (adjusting just my visual sight picture) to get the rifle sighted in. If you prefer a certain sight picture you may need to purchase a new front sight. This would give you the chance to file the front sight to get the sight picture that is preferred by you.

Apertures For Skinner Peep Sight

The Skinner Peep sight offers different size apertures that are easy to remove and install. The apertures can be purchased at www.Skinnersights.comThese apertures can help you obtain the sight picture that you desire. Some shooters also like to install a different size apertures depending on the situation. These apertures can be carried with you. You remember that dovetail plug in the barrel mentioned earlier? There’s a plug that is drilled and tapped to accept the aperture so you can easily have a second aperture handy on the rifle.

Here is a video explaining the Skinner Peep Sight installation

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About Ken McBroom 218 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.

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