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Accurate Powder
Rifle Magazine
November - December 2004
Volume 2, Number 6
Number 12
On the cover...
Cover Photo Ron Spomer
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For many years, one of the real weak links in bow hunting was crummy bow sights. Getting a bow shot at a big game animal is tougher than old shoe leather, and once you finally do make it happen, nothing on earth is worse than finding a broken sight pin, bent frame, loose screws or a sight that rattles like my old ’55 Chevy at the shot.

A decade ago, these types of gremlins were not uncommon. In recent years, however, sight design and manufacturing processes have been modernized, manufacturing tolerances tightened up and attention to detail tweaked to the point where the best sight makers now offer products that are dang near bomb-proof – exactly what a careless, clumsy schmuck like me needs.

Bow hunters know that mature bucks, bulls, boars and bears tend to move on the cusp of daylight, which makes seeing sight pins difficult in dim light. To help solve that di-lemma, bow-sight makers over the past two seasons have begun using “wound” fiber optic material to brighten your day. This allows a sight maker to use up to a couple of feet of fiber optic for each sight pin with the material wound around a portion of the sight and protected by a clear plastic housing that prevents breakage, yet allows ambient light to strike the fiber optic material. This, in turn, provides the shooter with maximum light transfer to the pin tip in the dim light of dawn and dusk.

Fiber optic pin tips are now being offered in different diameters too. This is an often overlooked yet very important development. Having a large-diameter pin tip of, say, .030 to .040 inch is great for close-range, 20-yard chip shots taken at deer from a tree stand. However, when using this large pin when aiming at ranges of 50 yards or more, the pin obscures so much of the target that precise shooting is difficult. That’s when smaller diameter pins of about .017 to .025 inch really shine. The most advanced sights today allow you to use both pin types at the same time. The new-for-2004 Trophy Ridge Top Pin is a prime example.

Also, sight makers have recognized the fact that more and more bow makers are building short axle-to-axle bows designed for release shooters begging for smaller, more compact hunting sights. In 2004, sight makers displayed more and more compact sights designed specifically for these bows.

The other key trend in sights is that manufacturers have finally
realized that shooters want sights that are easy to adjust vertically and horizontally with a minimum of different-sized Allen wrenches. Cutting-edge sight makers have responded with one – Trophy Ridge – offering a sight that can be adjusted without any wrenches at all. Many new bow sights also allow micro- adjustability so you can precisely set the sight pins without having to fumble with hard-to-handle adjustment screws.

The key, however, is to make sure that a micro-adjustable sight isn’t so fragile that the adjustments tend to rattle or shake loose from the vibration of repeated shooting. Also, many quality bow sights now permit you to move the entire pin block vertically and horizontally, a welcome feature that allows fine-tuning for left-right and up-down hits once the pins have been set for specific distances without having to move each pin.

For decades, archery manufacturers have focused on the tree-stand whitetail hunter. After all, they make up the vast majority of the nation’s bow hunters. Today, though, more and more have realized that there is a significant number of western bow hunters out there. These guys, who can – and do – take shots at 50+ yards, require more than the usual three or five pins found on most of today’s hunting sights. Today a few select manufacturers are offering bow sights that allow the use of more than five total sight pins. In the past, unless you wanted to use a single-pin movable sight – which many people do not care for, although those who use them love them – if you wanted to set the pins in 10-yard increments beginning at 20 yards, the farthest you could have pins for was 60 yards. With today’s hot bow-and-arrow setups, shooting accurately – at least on the practice range – at much farther distances is very realistic. Now with sights that allow the use of six to nine total pins, such long-distance shooting can be precisely done without sacrificing short-range accuracy.

Want to find out more? Then check out these five hot, new 2004 bow-sight models.

1) Trophy Ridge Mantis VDrive: Chris Rager is one of archery’s most innovative minds and one serious bow hunter, as this new sight demonstrates. The VDrive system is a movable sight system that uses 50 percent less parts than others of its type. When added to the Mantis pendulum sight, you now have a combination pendulum and movable one-pin sight. To convert from one to the other, you simply lock down or release the VDrive system – it’s that simple!

The sight head features a round sight window with over 2 feet of wrapped fiber optic to light up the single .029-inch pin. It has a built-in vibration dampening system, bubble level, RSR Peep Alignment Tool, gang sight head adjustments and can work for both right- and left-handed shooters. It has to be seen to be believed; it’s that cool! Trophy Ridge, LLC; or visit online

2) Trophy Taker Top Pin: Designed by Dan Evans, one serious western bow hunter, this sight features a round pin guard with fiber track and alignment ring that glows in the dark, the largest level bubble in the industry, slide or micro-
adjust windage and elevation capabilities and machined aluminum throughout with stainless hardware. The sight uses standard fiber optic pins mounted from the riser side, but the kicker is the top pin, which comes down from the top and features 50-plus inches of wrapped fiber that light it up like a lamp in dim light. The Extended Range model comes with an extended sight window and seven pins for long-range accuracy. Trophy Taker;

3) Toxonics Top Gun S-50: From one of the most respected names in hunting sights, the S-50 features an all-new 50mm machined aluminum pin guard with fluorescent green aiming ring for centering the peep with the sight, bubble level, sight bar extension and comes with either three or five .040-inch pins, although .019- or .029-inch pins can be specified. The top pin is Toxonics’s Tracer pin, which coats the top of the pin with a new technology that uses a phosphorous-based coating deposited on the aiming face of the steel pin and around the tip diameter that retains visibility in low light conditions for over 30 minutes. It’s awesome! Toxonics Manufacturing; on the web at

4) Cobra Sidewinder LX: Cobra introduced wrapped fiber optic pins to the industry, and its Sidewinder LX is an improvement over last year’s model. It features dual-angled tracks for zero pin gap spacing, micro-adjustable windage and elevation ability, all-metal construction for the ultimate in ruggedness, built-in bubble level, an Enhancer Cover and Cobra Glo-Sticks that enhance the fiber optic’s brightness even more. Cobra Manufacturing, Inc.;

5) Copper John Dead Nuts C.U.P.: Copper John’s Dead Nuts sight helped start the round pin guard revolution. This year the improved C.U.P. (Cover Up your Pins) version adds a moulded, fitted plastic flip cap to the front of the pin guard. This is designed to protect the fiber optic pins from any potential damage during storage and transport through the brush. Once you’re on stand or ready to shoot, the cap simply flips open and out of the way, offering a clear view of the sight picture. Copper John Corp.;

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