Pat’s Product Review: Skinner Rifle Sights

Many, many years ago, when I started wearing reading glasses, I found that I wasn’t seeing the sights on some of my handguns and rifles as clearly as I would have liked. With age, comes reading glasses for many of us – just a fact of life! Now, while I could see the sights on my rifles – without reading glasses – the sights were a bit fuzzy! With my reading glasses on, the sights were sharp, but the target was blurred. Grrrr!
I did find though, that rifles with peep sights were much easier to get a good sight picture without resorting to reading glasses. I talked to my then optometrist at the about this – and he was also a member of our shooting club, and an avid shooter himself. He told me that there was just “something” about looking through a (rear) peep sight that caused us to get a better sight picture with open sights. I got to thinking about that, and started doing a little unscientific experimenting myself, with military rifles that had peep sights. Well, I’ll be, sure enough the rifles with peep sights gave me a better sight picture than other open-type sights, especially the old buckhorn style of open sights.
Skinner Sights are hand crafted in Andy Larsson’s small shop in St. Ignatius, Montana, machined from sold steel, stainless steel or brass bar stock. All the parts are hand-fitted to close tolerances. Andy says he works hard to design sights which are not only extremely functional and rugged, but to also complement the firearms they go on. He makes a limited number of high-quality sights, at a reasonable cost to the customer. The sights are inexpensive, but they are not cheaply made, and his customer service is second to none, too. If something goes wrong with your Skinner Sight, at any time, and need to be repaired, return them to Andy and he will make it right – at no charge.
Now, I like shooting a lever-action rifles, like Marlin, Winchester, Rossi and many other brands of lever-action long guns. While not my first choice in a SHTF situation, they would serve to fend-off some bad guys, as well as filling the stew pot, too. But all these guns have Buckhorn-style open rear sight – they are okay, but I can’t do my best shooting with these types of sights. Sure, you can scope most of these lever-action rifles, but it detracts from the overall appearance of these guns, in my humble opinion.
I was first told about Skinner Sights by Tim Sundles, who operates Buffalo Bore Ammunition some months ago. Andy Larsson and I had a bit of a time connecting for a while – mostly due to something going wrong with my e-mails to some folks. For some strange reason, a lot of e-mails didn’t get delivered since last December. Matter of fact, I’m still getting returned e-mails after more than three months – just didn’t get delivered for some reason. Computers and the Internet – they are wonderful inventions, when they work as planned. In any event, Andy Larsson and I finally connected, and he sent me several of his sights for test and evaluation.
I received the Skinner Sights “Tactical” rear sight for a Marlin Model 336 – and Andy also sent along a fiber optic front sight to go with the rear sight. I also laid claim to Skinner Sights, rear sight for the Marlin Model 39 – and Andy also sent me a brass front sight to accompany the new rear sight. Now, the Marlin Model 336 rear “Tactical” sight is a peep sight affair, but it has “wings” on either sight of it – to help protect the peep sight from knock around damage. The sight is fully adjustable for windage and elevation, too. The no-snag profile and protective shape of the sight assures quick-handling and performance in the most demanding situations.
Many military battle rifles and many dangerous game guns, have been fitted with peep sights for the last 70 years. There is a good reason for this. They are the fastest and most accurate iron sights you can put on a rifle. Not all peep sights are equal, either. The Skinner Sights will not shoot loose and afford a great sight picture, too. Skinner sights are easy to install, they fit the current screw holes on the guns they were designed for – and screws are included with all sights.
A very close examination of the “Tactical” rear peep sight for the Marlin Model 336 shows the attention to detail, and how well-made the sights are that Andy Larsson is making. We’re talking super-tough sights. No fears of these failing you, period! The front red fiber optic sight that came with the rear sight, gives you an outstanding sight picture – very fast to pick-up, too. What’s not to like here?
The Marlin Model 39 sights I received were every bit the equal in high-quality construction as the Marlin Model 336 sights were, with the exception that this rear sight didn’t come with protective “wings” – it’s just a simple peep sight – well, “simple” isn’t being fair – they are very strong and well-made, to be sure. I elected for the blue steel rear sight instead of the brass one – just thought it would give my eyes a better sight picture. Most of the time, Larsson says that this rear sight will work with the factory front sight height. However, if you have problems, consult the Skinner Sights web site, it’s a wealth of information that you can use. The removable .096″ sight aperture allows marksman to use a fine aperture or a much larger ghost ring. Other size apertures are available from Skinner Sights.
Skinner Sights are designed to give you the same sight picture as the M-16/AR-15 line of military and civilian rifles – as well as many other military rifles. No wonder these sights seem like an old friend to my eyes! When you look through (not “at”) a peep sight,  you automatically focus on the front sight – which is what you are supposed to do. It simply makes one a better shooter, and isn’t that what we all want to be? Better shots?
What the consumer is getting in a Skinner Sight, is an American-made product, produced in a small shop, by a fellow who really cares about the shooter, and is mighty proud of the products he is turning out. He’s also offering an outstanding product, at decent prices. The Marlin Model 336 blued rear peep sight sample I received sells for $75 and the front fiber optic sight is $20 – those are bargains in my book. The Marlin 39 blued rear peep sight sample sells for $59 and the brass front sight is only $16. Again, a bargain if you ask me, for the quality you are getting.
Andy Larsson has a lot of different sights for various rifles, and is developing newer and more exciting models. He’s not sitting on his rump – he’s busy experimenting with new sights. He’s proud of his company, and proud of the quality of sights he’s producing. Tim Sundles at Buffalo Bore Ammunition told me I’d really like the Skinner Sights – and I do. I plan on reviewing more models for different long guns in the future, and I’ll keep SurvivalBlog readers updated.
If you want a superior sight for your lever-action (and other) rifles, then take a close look at Skinner Sights – they have a web site just loaded with all the information you could possibly want – one of the better web sites to offer the consumer information they want and need if you ask me. Remember, Skinner Sights are American-made.  – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio