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adopted in the early part of the season, is No. 6; but let it always be remembered that, cæteris paribus, small bores take smaller shot than larger ones. Later in the season, No. 5 may be introduced into use. Some shoot with No. 4, and others, again, consider No. 7 or 8 not too small; but every sportsman has his own fancy, and much depends upon the distance at which he generally shoots. Some men prefer dropping their game as soon as they are on the wing, and for them a scattering gun and small shot will answer the purpose better than a close-shooting gun with larger shot. Others, on the contrary, wait to cock their guns in the most deliberate way, and always allow their birds to get forty yards off before they fire; by these a larger shot must be used, or their game would almost always escape. Many men use mixed shot; but I believe this plan is essentially bad, producing an irregularity in the delivery which constantly leads to disappointment. Sometimes, also, it is oiled, but this also appears to be perfectly useless—though it is most probably harmless, unless the oil is very sticky, when it causes the shot to ball. Small shot, from causing greater friction, requires more powder than large, and therefore, if the usual charge with No. 6 occasion as much recoil as can be borne, the weight of any smaller shot used must be reduced.
In ramming down shot care should be taken not to crush it out of its spherical shape, which is easily done if too much force is used, either in loading at the muzzle or in filling cartridges.
Wadding and patches are mechanical means of retaining the powder and shot or ball in their places. They vary according to the kind of gun or rifle used, and each, therefore, will be better described in their respective places.
Cartridges are cases of paper or pasteboard, and are of two kinds, one intended to be driven out of the barrel with the shot, which it keeps together for some distance, the other being employed to assist the loading, and being generally retained behind. These, also, will be described with the guns for which they are intended.
Powder flasks and shot pouches are of service for any kind of shot-gun, and they always form a part of the accessories
included in the gun case.
In the annexed engravings the usual form of them is given (see fig. 9 a), which represents the best kind of powder flask covered with leather, and (b) the most convenient form of shot pouch. The old shot belt is now seldom used, and if carried over the shoulder it has no advantage over the pouch; but for real hard work, as in wild pheasant or cock-shooting, a belt buckled loosely round the waist, just above the hips, is far the most convenient form. Fig. 9 (c) shows the best form of cap holder, which may be suspended from a button-hole, and is then always ready for use.
THE VARIETIES OF SHOT-GUNS AND THE
ACCESSORIES USED WITH THEM.
THE PARTS COMMON TO ALL SHOT-GUNS.
GENERAL REMARKS THE BARREL-THE BREECH-PROVING-THE LOCK
THE STOCK - THE TRIGGER AND GUARD - PERCUSSIONING CASEHARDENING-BROWNING-THE CLEANING-ROD AND RAMROD.
It has already been mentioned that all shot-guns consist of a barrel or barrels, in the form of a cylindrical tube more or less converted into a cone at one or both ends, one of which is closed with a breech. In addition to this there is a lock for firing the charge; a stock for holding it conveniently to take aim, and a trigger for discharging the lock. These parts are put together and finished by special workmen, and the barrels are generally “ browned” to prevent the action of damp upon the polished metal, and also to show the kind of iron of which the barrels are made.
THE CLEANING-ROD AND RAMROD. For muzzle-loading guns a ramrod is almost always appended, though sometimes where, as in covert shooting, a second gun is carried, the person in charge also has a loading rod, and then the guns are made without the usual appendage. Breech-loaders, of course, do not require it, but for them also a cleaning-rod is required, which has adapted to it proper heads for fixing tow to wipe out the barrels, or for removing lead by means of a scratch brush. The ramrod will be described with the ordinary percussion gun.
The Barrels of all shot-guns are made of iron, either in its most malleable form, or in the shape of steel, or of a mixture of the two. For a long time the iron obtained from old horse-shoe nails was considered the best for the purpose,
but as a great proportion of these are now produced of very inferior iron, they are not so much to be relied on as formerly. Germany, Russia, and Sweden still make their nails of the best iron, and if they can be obtained with certainty, there is nothing better. Mr. Adams, of Wednesbury, now produces a quality of iron which has almost entirely superseded the use of “stub” nail-iron, and in the trade it is that known as “ Wednesbury stub-iron.” He also manufactures two kinds of steel known as "silver steel” and “common twist steel,” which are employed either alone or mixed with stubiron. These two kinds differ in the mode of their manufacture, the former being twisted and the latter rolled, but both being made from the clippings of steel springs, saws, &c. Mr. Greener is celebrated for his laminated steel, which he inakes as follows:-"I generally have the metal required cut into short pieces of six inches long. A certain number are bundled together and welded, and then drawn down again in the rolling mill. This can be repeated any number of times, elongating the fibres and multiplying their number to an indefinite extent, as may be required.”—Gunnery in 1858,
This quality of metal no doubt produces excellent barrels; but, as Mr. Greener remarks, it requires great care in the working “ Damascus iron” and “ wire twist” are both made from a number of alternate bars of iron and steel forged together into one rod—which, for Damascus, is exactly threeeighths of an inch square.
This is then twisted while at a high temperature, and shortened thereby one-half. The next process is to weld three of them together, in such a way that the twist of the middle one shall run the reverse way to those on the outside, thus: which gives an exact idea of a pickled piece of Damascus iron in the rough. The common twist is not so much twisted as the Damascus; and, according to the high authority of Mr. Greener, is therefore stronger than it; but this opinion is in opposition to the general verdict of those who have used the two kinds, and which is
BAR OF DAMASCUS Iron. (FULL SIZE.)
certainly in favour of Damascus iron. All figured barrels are produced on this principle, modified according to the kind of pattern required; but there are some made by unprincipled persons, which on the surface present it, without extending any deeper, and being therefore in no wise more safe in consequence. This is effected by plating or veneering on a thin layer of this twisted iron, the substance of the barrel being of a very inferior quality. This fraud it is almost impossible for the amateur to discover, and he is therefore entirely in the hands of his gunmaker, unless he is able to brown a small portion of the interior at the muzzle, when the nature of the two kinds is at once visible.
The proportion of steel which is adopted in the making of gun barrels varies greatly among the different makers, some going so far as to use three-fourths of steel to one of iron, while others reject the steel altogether. But the oldfashioned soft barrels are now seldom used, and the great majority are made with from one-third to one-half of steel in them. When the soft iron in this is condensed by cold hammering, the result is a material which, while it is sufficiently tough to resist the force of the explosion, is also elastic enough to react upon the charge, and drive it out with all the force which can be desired.
The following are the CHIEF VARIETIES of iron which are used in this country for first-class guns—namely, 1st, “ Damascus Iron;" 2nd, “Wire Twist,” or “Stub Twist ;" 3rd, “ Laminated Steel;” 4th, “Stub Damascus.” Inferior guns are manufactured of, lst, “ Charcoal Iron;" 2nd, "Threepenny Skelp;" 3rd, “Twopenny" or "Wednesbury