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Saturday, March 22, 2008

"Jeff's Outfitters" Ladder Sight on the Savage 99E

Reproduction Carbine Rear Ladder Sight. Originally used by Winchester (73,86, 92 & 94), Marlin and other manufacturers. Requires 3/8” dove tail.
Jeff's Outfitters

I mentioned earlier that my ‘99’s rear dovetail was cut crooked and I didn't think I'd be able to use this sight on it. Well, I dug that sight back out and noticed that there was a LOT of meat on the dovetail. A light came on...I was going to have to fit it anyhow, so why not 'fit it crooked the other direction' to make up for the funky dovetail? So I gambled sixty bucks and it worked. I'm sure somebody with a calibrated eye can find a half-degree or two of discrepancy, but it's significantly better than before.

The first order of business of course was to get it to shoot and changing the back sight resulted in some experimentation with various front sights- which further resulted in nearly a box of nice WW .308 factory loads being sent to POI's ‘other than the selected one'.
When the rain finally broke I was able to get in enough shooting, to get the windage ironed out. Just at dusk I shot the neck off a laundry jug, and hit another one about an inch lower, at 210 paces. About a half-dozen similar containers have now been exploded at this distance, from various improvised rests. I believe that satisfies my requirements for 'hunting zero'.

As it worked out, the big V 'hunting notch' got cut down to a little v. It works nice with a fine 'ivory' bead, using the same basic sight picture as my 1911- level across the top. It is fast and natural for an old pistolero.

Now for a few more photos…

The old 99E in all its budget glory; thin brown Decelerator pad, Michael's swivels, Three-Dollar gunshow sling and Jeff's Excellent Ladder Sight:

The Winchester Ladder sight from Jeff’s Outfitters was nicely machined, finished and bore a dark, even blue that was even better than the ad photo. Of course, getting it from ‘there’ to ‘here’ required some hammer & file work; the sight's dovetail had to be re-cut at the proper angle to compensate for the crooked dovetail, in the Savage's barrel. It is nothing that a little cold blue won’t fix.

Some of that ’file work’ included bringing the top of the hunting notch down about 0.020, so it would regulate at 200 yards. Please note that the dovetail lock screw, shown in the photo below, was also perfect when I received it. These screws have a very fine slot in them. While I had a screwdriver on hand that fit it, the bit was brittle and when it broke it buggered that screw- so that screw got some corrective file work, too. I managed to get a little oil on one side of the notch in this pic, which looks odd. Otherwise, the sight's finish survived the installation just fine. I figure I’m about one light file stroke from a perfect 200 yard zero with the hunting notch, and once that's confirmed I'll apply touch-up blue to the sight..

The fine, ‘long range’ notch works perfectly with a 1/16 ivory bead, over a 15 ¾” sight radius. The elevation mast is clearly marked in precise increments, and the long-range notch is held in place by a strong leaf spring built into the notch itself. Please excuse the filings that I forgot to blow off the sight;)

And finally, this pic illustrates why the 99/.308 suited me better than a traditional ‘woods gun’. It’s about 250 yards to the evergreen tree-line just above the barrel, at the right of the frame. I killed a decent 8-point out of there last year, at about 212 yards. The trees just below the skyline are nearly 400 in the center of the frame, and an easy 550 off to the right. The deer, coyotes and an occasional bobcat seem to think this is an amusement park. Of course we would get ‘closer’ to shoot at any of them, but 200+ yards is a normal shot here and 350 isn’t out of the question.

Happy Sabbath to you all & I hope your Easter Sunday is great!


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