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plans, and is intended to prevent the case from being spread too wide to fit the chamber of the gun. In loading Lancaster's cartridge, care should be taken that there is not a shot or a piece of any hard substance beneath the centre of the capsule, as if there happened to be such a thing, in ramming down or turning over it might cause an explosion, and seriously injure the hand. This caution has been previously given, but for fear of accidents, it is repeated here.
The cleaning of all breech-loading shot guns is a very simple process, as they do not lead, nor do they become foul in a day's shooting to any extent. This exemption arises from the charge of powder being inserted at the breech, so that none adheres to the sides of the barrel as it does when poured down in the ordinary muzzle loader. In cleaning these guns, therefore, after the hardest day's shooting, all that is necessary is to open the breech, and then taking a rod, armed with tow, wipe them out till no black comes off on the tow, after which a very little oil protects the interior from rust. The locks and exterior should be treated the same as the ordinary gun. When the barrels will not admit a cleaning rod at the breech end, as in Needham's, Bastin's, and the Chateauvillier guns, they may readily be cleaned from the muzzle. In all these guns water is seldom or never required to be used.
In cleaning Mr. Needham's lock extra care is required in taking it to pieces for the purpose of oiling, for without some caution the needle may easily be projected into the eye of the cleaner, or that of some bystander. To avoid all risk of accident, the arm of the scear should be lifted by a turnscrew, so as to drive the needle out as in firing, and then the plug (fig. 41 a) being unscrewed, the needle, striker, and mainspring are left loose in their proper places, and may be taken out and oiled. To replace them, put them back as before, taking care that the notch in the striker (fig. 43 c) is turned so as to catch the scear; then pushing the needle against a piece of soft wood till the scear catches the notch, the lock is cocked and may be bolted, and the plug screwed on. This is the easiest way to a novice, but it incurs the risk of bending or breaking the needle, all fear of which may be avoided by putting the parts loosely in their places, and then screwing on the plug (fig. 44) till it is home.
CARTRIDGE HOLDERS. A very useful auxiliary to breech loading guns has recently been registered by Mr. Bussey, of Dunn's-passage, 485, New Oxford-street. It is in the form of an oblong case, made of patent leather, and holds from 20 to 30 cartridges, according to its size. A light leather belt is attached for the purpose of suspending it over the shoulder (fig. 62 a), and the car
tridges are easily withdrawn from an opening at one corner; the act of the removal of one bringing down another and leaving it in its turn in the same place.
The holder itself (fig. 62 b c) consists of a series of springs, each holding one cartridge, fixed on an endless band. This band revolves within a compact leather case, which is all closed up except a small aperture in the bottom end, at which each cartridge, when pulled out, is succeeded by another, the remainder being kept perfectly safe and dry without the trouble of any cover or fastening whatever. A belt, somewhat upon the same principle, is likewise made by the inventor, and is then buckled round the waist; but in it there is no endless strap, and the whole belt must be drawn round as the cartridges are extracted.
It is usual, however, among sportsmen, to carry their cartridges loose in their pockets, as they are not at all likely to receive such a blow as to ignite the cap, nor have I ever heard of such an accident occurring. Nevertheless, the above holder acts so well, and is so little likely to get out of order, that I cannot but think it will prove of great advantage to those who use the Lefaucheaux, Bastin, or Lancaster breechloader; but I am not sure whether the paper of Needham's cartridge cases is strong enough to resist the pressure of the spring without injury.
COL. HAWKER'S PUNT-GUXS-BREECH-LOADING
PUXT-GUYS. The shoulder duck gun is only a long singlebarrelled
gun of large bore, and, as far as I am aware, is always made in the form of a muzzle-loader, and usually with a pistol grip, as shown in fig. 63. According to Colonel Hawker, when intended to be used in the punt with a breech-rope or spring swivel, the length of barrel should be from 7 to 9 feet, bore from 14 to 14 inch, weight from 70 to 80lbs. The smaller the bore the longer the range, but the charge of shot is necessarily diminished. With the above weight the old flint lock must be used on account of the great recoil when the powder is fired so rapidly as is done by the detonator lock, and for which the weight of metal is not sufficient. If, therefore, any kind of percussion cap is employed, the weight inust be increased from 30lbs. to 40lbs. For an ordinary shoulder duck gun, which is fully described at p. 87, in an extract from Colonel Hawker's book, the bore is usually about No. 6; length of barrels, 3, 6, to 4 feet; and weight, 12 to 20lbs. Double-barrelled guns of a peculiar principle are recommended by Colonel Hawker in his book, to which I must refer my readers for all particulars.
T'he loading of the ordinary shoulder duck gun is performed exactly as in all the muzzle
FIG. 63. SHOULDER DUCK GUX.
loading guns of smaller size; but punt-guns require a spoon to carry the powder and shot horizontally along the barrel. For punt-guns the following are the sizes of shot recommended by Colonel Hawker:For shoulder punt-guns
I No. 1 for fair shots.
A for long shots.
No. 3 for starlight.
No. 1 for fair shots.
S.S.G., or L.G.
A., or A.A.
BREECH-LOADING PUNT-GUN. Mr. Needham has sold several punt-guns on the same principle as his ordinary shot-gun, all the parts being made stronger and of larger size. These, I am told, answer remarkably well; and as the loading is very quick, and can be effected without raising the hand above the deck of the punt, the advantages are so manifest as to require no further allusion. Mr. Needham uses breech-ropes, which allow of the gun being kept lower on the punt than a spring swivel. Fig. 64 shows a sketch of the central part of one of these
guns, in which d represents the breech plug and lock, a the eye for the breech-ropes, and c the trigger, which is of course pulled by means of a small cord. The principle is so similar in all respects to that of his game-bird guns, that I must reser my readers to p. 267, where they are fully described.