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Shooting 1,000 Yards with Iron Sights

Iron sights at 1,00 yards? It’s possible, with some practice.

When I tell people I am a member of the US Rifle Team and shoot long range, they wonder what that means. I explain that we shoot at bulls-eye targets at distances of 800 – 1,000 yards.

Usually their eyes will widen at the idea of 1,000 yards. But then I tell them I shoot that distance with iron sights and there is a look of disbelief.

It can be done. And believe it or not it can be a quick learn. I am not going to get into the wind reading or cartridge loads in this article. For now I am just going to explain the sights. Our bulls-eye and target frames are going to be quite large and our front and rear sights are made for this game.

RELATED: Shooting Pro Anette Wachter Shares Her Colt Sporting Rifle Review

Our target frame for 1,000 yards is approximately a 6 x 6 foot square frame. The black portion of the bulls-eye is about 4 feet in diameter. That is quite a large sight picture. The X ring, no matter the distance, is going to be one MOA (Minute of Angle). At 1,000 yards, that’s 10 inches. If you have no wind to contend with you should be able to hit the X ring all day long. Okay, perhaps with a bit of practice you can.

You are able to get a sense of scale from the photo of me standing next to a 600 yard target in the pits. When you step back to the thousand yard line your bulls-eye target looks like a little black dot. Your goal is to center your front sight ring on that little black dot.


The front sight attaches to a leveled mount at the end of the barrel. I have a 30” barrel on my rifle and some have 32”. This gives you a nice long sight radius.

The mounted sight base has a series of numbered notches. Knowing what my original zero is, I place the sight on the appropriate setting for the specific distance. Each notch is worth about 5 minutes of elevation. That is generally the difference between each yard line for instance from 800 to 900 yards. The fine difference can be made up on the rear sight.

front sight

You will notice inside the front sight there is a circle or a ring. You can also see a level at the top of the sight. This ring needs to be centered on the black dot (target bulls-eye) down range and the level should be at the center. Because the bulls-eye black is a different size at each distance you are able to adjust an aperture on the front sight as well.

The rear sight that I and all members of the US team uses is made by Warner. This makes it easier on our coaches knowing everyone has the same adjustments. There is an elevation knob and a windage knob. Both adjust in ¼ MOA clicks. One revolution is 3 minutes. You can have 1/8th MOA or 1 MOA if you wish.


Again, you have an aperture adjustment in this case to lighten or darken the picture of your front sight. You do have the option of colored lens and slight magnification. Your next step is to sling up and get in to position. Breathe out, target number, sight picture and trigger control in that order. Easy.

If you enjoyed this article, check out Anette’s suggestions for gifts to buy the shooting enthusiast.

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Shooting 1,000 Yards with Iron Sights