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Iron sights for 500 A bear defense

Boo Radley

Copper BB
Hi guys,

Just picked up an older (shiny nickel finish, non-tapped receiver) 500 A Mariner. Gun is for bear defense in coastal Alaska, and as such will be loaded with 3" Brenneke Black Magic slugs.

With the stock bead, these slugs are 6" high at 10-15 yards. I'm thinking I'll need an adjustable ghost ring to be zeroed at this range.

Some considerations:
1. Prefer that the front sight not need any soldering because I don't want to have the barrel re -finished.
2. Prefer tritium front site, non tritium rear, but not a deal breaker.
3. Must be durable... Gun will live a tough life (strapped to atvs, banged around in boats in a salt water environment, etc).

I'm thinking the XS banded ghost ring may be ideal. Any other recommendations?

I have an '89 590 Mariner. Didn't bother to change out the factory bead, and don't have an issue with shooting high with Brenneke's. Don't know how experienced you are with shotties, but you may not be holding the right sight picture with the bead to get that high at such close range. I'd stick with the bead given what you said about rough treatment, and make sure of your sight picture before popping for a more delicate sight set up.

You shouldn't see hardly any of the receiver top, and the bead should just slightly float above that. If you see a lot of the receiver it will shoot very high. I'd post a pic, but can't find a good one at the moment.

Edit: Here it is:

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I just go with a bead on most of my gun except those equipped with a scope for turkey/deer. The only other one is sitting under a set of Williams Fire Sights which I use for HD/Turkey.

I've got pretty good form from years of shooting clays so I'm not to worried about a rear sight. I think it would actually slow me down in fast paced bear defense situation.

If the sight works for you and you are comfortable with it, the XS sights are pretty good.
Ghost rings are great for accuracy when you have time to line them up properly, but nothing beats a bead for speed.

My 590A1 is set up with GRS for range use, but the 590 used as the primary home defense shotgun is wearing a Meprolight tritium front bead. It is a bit taller than the factory bead which would help bring your point of impact down a bit...