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The bore of the largest of his punt-guns is 1 fin., weight 120lbs., to carry 2 to 2ļlbs. of shot. The smallest which he makes weighs 60lbs., and carries from flb. to llb. of shot. If these guns stand proof and shoot as well as they are said to do, they certainly constitute a great improvement in punt guunery. Mr. Clayton, of Southampton, also makes a breechloading punt-gun.

CHAPTER V.

ON THE CHOICE OF GUNS AND THE MODES OF

TRYING THEM.

DESIDERATA IN THE SHOT-GUN-WEIGHT-LENGTH-PATTERN-PENETRA

TION-ABSENCE OF RECOIL - SAFETY -- QUICKNESS OF LOADING RESULT OF “FIELD" GUN TRIAL OF 1859-BREECH-LOADERS versus MUZZLE-LOADERS.

The desiderata in the shot-gun have been described at p. 175; and it now remains to compare the old muzzle-loader with more modern inventions, and to discuss the principles upon which the various patterns of guns can be severally selected for the special purposes to which they are applied.

WEIGHT.

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As the weight of a double-barrelled shot-gun should never exceed 7 {lbs., no invention, however clever, can be recommended which, with barrels of moderate gauge, is incapable of being made of that weight. Indeed, this limit may be assigned in all cases, and if, on putting a gun in the scales, it is found to weigh down 7 lbs., it should be rejected. The sportsman may be able to shoot with a heavier gun when not tired by carrying it; but let him walk for two or three hours with 8 or 9lbs. on his arm, and he will find that his shooting is greatly injured thereby, and that a gun of inferior performance at the target will do more execution in the field, and should therefore be preferred without doubt. So also there is a limit in point of diminution of weight on the score of safety, which I have specified at p. 243, as far as

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muzzle-loaders are concerned; but breech-loaders cannot be reduced so low by at least 8oz.

LENGTH OF BARRELS.

In length of barrel there is no difference between the various kinds of guns, excepting where there is a chamber that is opened to receive a cartridge, which is then pushed forward into the breech, as in Needham's and the Chateauvillier gun. These two are, therefore, of necessity somewhat longer than the old percussion or the crutch guns; but, as in Mr. Needham's gun the lock is also contained in this chamber, the whole length of it is not to be added, but only about one half, or two inches on the average—that is to say, one of his guns, with barrels 28in. long, will be in its whole length, (if adapted to the same person's shooting,) two inches longer than it would be of either of the other kinds.

PATTERN.

All guns should be so bored that they will deliver their shot in such a pattern that at forty yards a partridge or grouse has little chance of escape, if properly covered. It has been shown at p. 243, that to do this there ought to be in a thirty-inch circle from 150 to 160 pellets of No. 6 shot, and in this respect all the varieties are capable of being made nearly equally good.

PENETRATION.

By referring to the table at pp. 298–9, it appears that the ordinary percussion guns have a trifling advantage in strength of shooting.

ABSENCE OF RECOIL. In this respect I believe that there is very little advantage to be found in any particular kind of gun, though among individual specimens of the various kinds, the recoil differs considerably.

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SAFETY.

The safety from accidents depends partly upon the absence of danger from bursting, and partly from freedom from risk in loading. In the former department it is clear that no gun is so safe as the ordinary percussion gun, which has a breech screwed solidly into it. Next to this, I should say, comes the Lefaucheaux (and Mr. Lancaster's, which is similar in principle). Mr. Needham's is perhaps almost equally safe from this species of risk, but it has not been tried to the same extent. In reference to danger from explosion during loading, there can be no question that the muzzle-loader is beaten by the breech-loader; and that among the varieties of the latter, the Lefaucheaux gun is pre-eminent. In fact, with ordinary care, it is almost impossible to do mischief in loading. A serious accident occurred to Lord Nelson during the loading of one of Mr. Needham's guns. It happened that the cartridge had missed fire from having been pushed too forward, and his lordship, while the needle was protruding into the barrel, drove the cartridge with a ramrod back upon it, causing the cap to explode; and the result was a serious injury to his hand. If, however, the plug had been previously turned out, as it ought to have been, no such accident could have occurred.

RESULT OF

“ FIELD" GUN TRIAL OF 1859. In order to show the difference of performance in the several departments to which I have alluded, the results of the trial of various guns at Hornsey Wood House are appended in a tabular form on the next two pages. In the preface to this volume I have alluded to the circumstances which led to these trials of 1858 and 1859, so that it will be unnecessary to repeat them here.

TABLE OF THE PERFORMANCES OF THE

Targets made of double bag-cap paper, 90 lb. to the ream-all circular

against a smooth surface of deal boards. This centre composed of which were cut evenly at the edges, weighing 18 oz. and 9 oz. reoccur in brown paper. Powder, Lawrence's No. 2, which was selected ounce); charges weighed in every instance.

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. Lefaucheaux's.

+ Needham's.

1 Bastin's.

SHOT-GUNS IN “THE FIELD" GUN TRIAL, 1859.

30 inches in diameter, with a centre 12 inches square, and nailed, forty thicknesses for the 40 yards, and twenty at 60 yards, the squares spectively on the average, with a slight variation, which will always because it gave satisfaction last year; shot, No. 6 (290 pellets per

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325 322 312 301 239 300 233 274 219 212 26 225

69 43 51 57 47 69 51 67 61 49 62 46

393
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311
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291
269
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63-58 8 under 401 53-51 22 under 397 65-63 1 under 367 61-62 3 under 361 60.44 25 under 361 69-76 16 over 333 61-60 5 under 339 67.74 13 over 323 71-73 15 over 293 69-64 4 over 297 63-67 6 over 262 63.72 11 over 200

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§ Dreeches by Trulock and Harris, of Dublin.

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