posted on January 21, 2010 08:21
Reviewed By Geoffrey Toye, HBM European Correspondent
Bad River Outdoors offers bow-type open sights for field or hunting crossbows, with mounts tailored to suit the crossbows made by the principal bowyers. When I was invited to test one I requested a mounting to suit my Excalibur. This is my favorite bow for shooting with the open sights with which it is already fitted, so I am use to how it performs without the now ubiquitous telescope sight.
The Tagged-Out aperture sight is a simple, robust peep, adjustable for windage and elevation and which mounts onto the rail normally used for the telescopic sight option on the Excalibur. Immediately I could see a practical advantage in this in that, were a telescopic sight to receive serious damage in the field, perhaps a far and foreign field, the aperture could be ready to replace it on the scope rail.
The rear-sight is well finished, perhaps too well for the incautious that could actually slice a finger on the dovetail so precisely was it machined. So fine was the tolerance, when I fitted it to the rail, it needed a drop of gun oil to allow it to slip on. Once in position, it was anchored with an interference grub screw. This set the screw well down in its own threaded hole, and I would have like to have seen the option of a slightly longer screw to take into account dovetails with a deep valley, as is the case on the Excalibur. That said, it worked fine and, you know, if it meant that much to me I could have picked up a longer screw at my local engineers’ supplies.
Adjustments are locking-screws and manual shift, assisted by a nominal white scale, simple and good in the field, but the quality of this sight I think might warrant a deluxe option with a micrometer adjuster and tournament eyepiece. This is a hunting sight, but I suspect the makers have either the makers have either underestimated the quality of their own product or correctly assessed that there is no significant market in the tournament crossbow.
In combination with the Excalibur foresight, and with both sights set to minimum elevation, I found a zero on the center mark at 30 years, on the upper mark at 15 yards. It opens up the possibility of long-range target shooting; with both sights on maximum elevation the arrow would have landed in the next county.
The sight-line is a shade on the high side for me, so padding on the cheek-piece might be in order for some archers with this combination, but it was very nice to shoot.
The Tagged-Out foresight, unsurprisingly, aligned a little more naturally with the peep. This is a remarkable sight. Its feet anchor on both sides to the Excalibur dovetails. Like the rear-sight, oil was necessary to slide it on and once there it was rock-solid. The sight comprises two main parts; the frame, sturdily constructed in alloy, anchored to the bow riser; and the element housing, apparently of die-cast alloy, with integral elements for varying ranges. The two parts are bolted together with five Allen Screws passing through mating lugs extending as castellations. That, apart from being very robust, very neatly traps a five-optic for natural light-gathering. This worked well to illuminate four dots in a vertical line in all but the very lowest ambient light when a light fitting mount at the base of the sight may be deployed. This illuminates the same four dots and the loop of fiber-optic, giving also an outline of the perimeter of the sight housing on the higher power settings.
Bad River has worked out a system of range-finding while hunting known species or in 3D shooting, combining multi-pin systems with their basic fore-sight. I would like to try what sounds to be an interesting system in answer to an old problem, but it appears it comes in several configurations which I did not have available, my remit being to comment on quality.
Shooting with the Bad River fore-sight and rear-sight in combination was good, returning every acceptable results for and archer of my age. I come from the old school that believes shooting skills are best honed with bare-bow in vertical archery and simple open sights in crossbow archery. This foundation instills a sense of trajectory, and good open sights in the right hands can be very accurate sights indeed. Such are the Tagged-Out range: well-engineered, robust and effective. I was delighted to see that this company had the courage to take the open sight seriously enough to build well and incorporate well-judged and ingenious innovation. For more information, visit http://www.badriveroutdoors.com