Ask Phil: Blurry Beads and Aging Eyes

(Sometimes shotgun-related “Ask Petzal” questions are forwarded to me due to shotgun-related content. This is one)

Dear Mr. Petzal,
I am approaching 60 years old, and have noticed that the bead on my Benelli is getting pretty blurry when I am wearing my glasses for seeing things further away and aiming at turkeys or pattern boards. The good news is I am still hitting the turkeys and the patterns are always within a few inches of center. But I am wondering if there is some front bead or other aiming device I should think about getting. OR, should I just focus on the target and not be concerned about a blurry bead on the end of my barrel. Another option would be to not wear my glasses and have a blurry turkey and crystal clear bead, but I doubt if that is a good solution.

Thanks so much for your help with this matter and for your great column.
Corky Schnadt

If it’s any consolation (it isn’t to me) you are not alone. We hunters are an aging demographic, and many of us share the problem of eyes that don’t focus like they used to, although it has been many, many years since I could see both a bead and a turkey sharply at the same time.

If I were you, I’d wear the turkey-seeing glasses, focus on the blurry front sight, and shoot the bird. You might need a new prescription, too, or maybe even a bifocal, but probably not a new bead.

Or, you might want to mount a scope on your shotgun. A scope puts the turkey and the sight on the same plane. I started putting optics on my guns after a spate of misses years ago. My missing problems are, for the time being, over. At the risk of jinxing myself, I haven’t missed a bird since some time in 2006.

I have used both red dots and scopes. Except for the extra weight, I might prefer scopes to red dots. The best turkey scopes have a round reticle you can put over the turkey’s head. They are extremely fast and easy to use. My favorite, the Nikon TurkeyPro, is naturally, no longer made. Lately I have used Weaver’s 30mm Kaspa turkey scope, which has a vertical, oval reticle that fits neatly over a turkey’s head and neck. Most circle reticles are designed to cover a certain amount of the turkey at a certain range when set on a certain power, to you can use them as a ranging aid. I completely ignore that feature and just put the circle on the turkey’s head and shoot when the bird looks in range to me. Circle reticle or no, any scope of about 1.5x-2x is about perfect for turkey hunting and might be just what your aging eyes need.