Better Lucky Than Good

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Great Shots, Green Sights And Some Savage Beauty

By Payton Miller

Making a seemingly impossible shot in the field—with no witnesses to sing your praises afterward—is a double-whammy of triumph and tragedy. Once your white-hot inner glow cools off, chilly reality sets in. After all, who’s going to believe you back in camp? Would you believe you?

The only thing remotely comparable in cosmic significance might be catching a straight flush in 5-card stud and having everyone else fold before getting the chance to flip over your hole card when it really matters.

When it comes to those “lifetime” shots, I’ll admit to doing more witnessing than actual trigger pulling. But if you’re lucky enough to have an audience when your moment of glory arrives, be aware there’s a certain etiquette involved. And it gets perilously close to “humblebrag” territory.

The technique was best demonstrated to me many years ago by the late, great gunwriter Gary Sitton. He’d just made a fantastic 225-yard running shot—using a borrowed Husqvarna .243—on a nice whitetail buck running flat out in a dry South Texas creekbed with only his top half exposed. One offhand whack, one big dusty cartwheel and it was a done deal.

The outfitter and I—after we finished whooping and hollering—were struck by Gary’s apparent nonchalance as he ambled casually down the hill toward the creekbed, even stopping to rummage around in a coat pocket for his smokes. But as he ’fessed up to me later back in Del Rio, “It shocked the hell out of me too. But the real hard part came right after,” he said. “I mean, being able to act as if you make those kinda shots all the time.”

More often than not, however, these things won’t happen when a trophy buck’s on the line. Or, more likely, a trophy anything. Case in point: Several years ago (OK, several decades) a buddy of mine bet me I couldn’t hit a ground squirrel at nearly 120 yards with an old (as in pre-transfer bar) 6-1/2-inch Ruger Single Six Convertible. With Winchester Super-X .22 Mag ammo I knew it would stay well inside a quarter at 25 yards, but this on-paper potential was scant comfort at ridiculous yardage and a tiny target, particularly with iron sights.

But I took the bet, went prone and lined up the shot—with only the top half of the critter showing above his burrow. Since the front blade totally covered him up, I kind of squeezed just enough of it out of the fixed square notch to where I hoped things might work out with a 6 o’clock hold.

My partner told me I could have six tries (assuming the rodent would be obliging enough to remain upright that long). Amazingly enough, I did it on the first pop and picked up the money. Being pretty pumped at the time, I admit to an unseemly bit of “end-zone showboating.” But I’m not dumb enough to think I could do it again, even with 25-year-old eyes and a bucketful of ammo.

Once-in-a-lifetime shots are funny that way.

A 50-foot group effort (below) proves Nils Grevillius finally
mastered the Meprolight FT Bullseye Micro Optic using a .40 S&W GLOCK.

It’s all right here—sight, adjustment tool, green circle/dot reticle (below).

Greening a Glock

When it comes to sight systems for a handgun, having a pair of them—provided they don’t increase clutter or interfere with one another—might be a pretty good idea. We recently “greened” a GLOCK 23 by adding on a pair of low-light items which don’t interfere with one another or increase the clutter on the chunky, compact little .40 S&W.

We used a set of Crimson Trace Green LaserGrips (LG-639G, $309) and Mako’s Meprolight FT Bullseye Micro Optic, which also prominently features the color green.

Obviously, in no-light situations the LaserGrips are going to have a speed advantage. But having two options like these is a decided advantage. You’re covered no matter what.

Of these two options, the FT Bullseye is arguably the least familiar. We’ve been using CrimsonTrace LaserGrips—red as well as green—for some time now and are big fans of their lowlight capabilities and bulletproof simplicity, but this Meprolight FT Bullseye really looked interesting.

This one-piece setup, selling for $199, slides into the rear sight dovetail, eliminating the need for the front sight—as heretical as that sounds! Just center it and tighten the set screws. The no-battery-required system consists of fiber-optic/tritium tubes which present you with a green circle and dot.

It’s designed to put you on target faster than conventional iron sights and can currently be had to fit GLOCK’s and Springfield XD and XD(M)’s. Since there’s no conventional sight plane between front and rear sights, alignment’s not an issue—the green dot/circle is going to be there. And no worries, of course, about the front sight being too high, too low, too left or too right.

But this item, cool as it is, is a tool and it takes some getting used to for anyone used to conventional iron—or even reflex—sights. Three of us, Nils Grevillius, Thomas Mackie and myself each took a turn with the greened-out GLOCK at 50 feet using 155-grain Colt Defender ammo (the gun didn’t seem to like 180’s much).

Although our first attempts were disappointing, once we began to get the hang of keeping the green dot centered in the circle, things improved dramatically for all of us.

For me personally, I began doing much better once I stopped trying for an “iron-sighty” 6-o’clock hold on the bull. Just cover the darn thing up, press the trigger and be done with it. It’s faster anyway.

For longer distances, just hold higher. In fact, we tried popping clay bird fragments on a 60-yard berm this way with fairly modest results. I don’t think it’s a long-yardage sight, but then I’m not all that sure a shorty GLOCK is a long-yardage pistol. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s you can hit with pretty much anything if you work at it long enough.

Shooting Facilities provided by: Angeles Shooting Ranges, 12651 Little Tujunga Rd., Lakeview Terrace, CA 91342, (818) 899-2255,

This well-used Ruger Single-Six Convertible once proved a remarkable performer with
.22 Magnum ammo. So remarkable, in fact, the owner has hung onto it for more than 54 years.

Besides the Meprolight sight, the GLOCK 23 also sports a Crimson Trace
Green LaserGrip. An excellent belated St. Patrick’s Day combo!

Superlatively Savage

Traditional tubular magazine leverguns may look kind of quaint and old-timey, but even after well over a century the Savage Model 99—with its sleek, hammerless good looks and rotary magazine—looks thoroughly modern. This exquisite specimen was presented to the co-founder of Dodge Brothers Motor Company, Horace Elgin Dodge. Originally estimated to go for $60,000 it ultimately went for $195,000 at Rock Island’s Premier Year-End Auction last December. For information on future RIA auctions, go to, (800) 238-8022. Photo courtesy RIA

Crimson Trace
9780 SW Freeman Dr.
Wilsonville, OR 97070
(800) 442-2406

600 Highlands Pkwy.
Smyrna, GA 30082
(770) 432-1202

The Mako Group (Meprolight)
107 Allen Blvd.
Farmingdale, NY 11735
(631) 843-0490 ext. 10

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