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The following report of their performances is also extracted from the Field of July 9th, 1859, having been drawn up by myself. I have omitted such parts as have no permanent interest.
Recoil.-It may be remembered that last year we attempted to measure the recoil of the guns by a machine designed by ourselves, but the spring (Salter's improved balance) only registering 60lb., it was not strong enough for the purpose, and we were obliged to abandon this test. On the present occasion, however, we were enabled to apply it to all but four of the shot-guns, and with complete success, its simplicity and accuracy being much approved of by (we believe) all those who witnessed its operation. By examining the table given below, it will be scen that the average recoil of the guns of a 12 and 13-bore was 66.1 lb., and of 14, 15, and 16-bore, 64ļlb., the highest recoil in Class 1 being 761b., and the lowest 591b. In Class 2 the highest was also 761b., and the lowest 441b. These results are of great interest, and establish the fact which we always contended for, that the recoil is not in exact proportion to the shooting force of each gun, for taking the gun which heads the first class, the two barrels penetrated through 28 and 33 sheets respectively at 40 yards, yet the recoil was less than that of the next, by Mr Prince, which pierced 28 and 22 sheets, and still less than the third in that class, which penetrated 25 and 28. The same holds good throughout the series, and we think it may be alleged that, granting the truth of the test, the proportion of recoil to shooting power varies considerably, and that the greatest kicker is not necessarily the strongest shooting gun. Another interesting point here established is, that the Joe Manton grin sent by Colonel Whyte is by no means remarkable for its amount of recoil, the average of its two barrels being 31b, under that of the average of all the guns tested in its class; and lastly, the breech-loaders are shown to be quite equal in recoil to the average of the muzzleloaders. THE PATTERNS made by the several guns
were, on the whole, extremely good, and in some cases extraordinarily so. By comparing the two classes, it appears that the average number of shots put into the 30-inch circle at 40
yards varies very little in the two classes, the first being respectively 106 and 97 for the two barrels, and the second class showing 104 and 92. Mr. Pape's and Mr. Prince's left barrels (in the first of each of their guns) put in the extraordinary number of 158 and 148 shots, or about 50 and 40 per cent. above the average. In the second class, Mr. Ollard's gun (made by Culling, of Downham Market) put in with the left barrel 147 shot, which is a tremendous pattern for a 14-gauge. His right barrel, however, showed only 85, so that the average of the two was only nine above that of Mr. Smith's gun, which gained more than this difference at 60 yards in pattern and penetration combined. Mr. Culling, the maker, who shot this gun himself, used only 2 drachms of powder, which will account for the good pattern at 40 yards and the comparative failure in other respects, but more especially for the very slight recoil which this in common with all his guns exhibited. At 60 yards the shooting has been extremely good this year, the pattern being excellent, and the average as compared with last year being decidedly better.
PENETRATION we hold to be the quality in the shot-guns only second to pattern, and we have been at great pains and expense to ascertain the precise power of each. To effect this, each barrel was shot twice at brown-paper targets twelve inches square, those at 40 yards being composed of 40 thicknesses, and those used at 60 yards of half that number. We employed nearly the same test last year, but the surface was more than twice as great, measuring in fact 28 inches by 11. It may be remembered that ten guns then pierced the 40 sheets; but though the paper was somewhat stouter, the shot being No. 5 instead of No. 6, as used this year, the task was not so difficult. On that occasion, as so many shots pierced the whole of the layers, we departed from the usual custom, and registered the number of shots, as we have done on this occasion, at 60 yards, but as this year at 40 yards only one gun performed the task, we counted the number of sheets, exactly as is done by Mr. Purdey and most of the best makers. The successful gun in this respect was a breech-loader of a 16-bore (though from its weight shot in Class 1) made by Elliott, of Birmingham; so that it appears that there is no insuperable difficulty in obtaining driving power in this class of guns. Mr. Needham's breech-loader also nearly approached to it, having driven through 39 sheets with one barrel. Taking, however, the four shots (two at 40 yards and two at 60), Mr. Pape's muzzle-loader (No. 15) made the highest score, being in all 78 through the four targets, while Mr. Elliott scored 71, and Mr. Needham 69 in the same way. The increase in the driving power of the breech-loaders is, however, very considerable as compared with last year; and there now appears to be little or no difference between the two classes of guns in this important quality.
Having thus gone through the several results, it is now necessary to allude to the comparative merits of the various guns tried on this occasion. The great contest has been as between muzzle-loaders and breech-loaders, and it will be seen that in each class the old-fashioned gun has carried the day, though very closely pressed by its rival. Indeed, so near is the performance of the two, that we cannot think for a moment that for general purposes there can be a doubt of the superiority of the breech-loader, when quickness of loading, safety, and cleanliness are taken into consideration. The present trial has, however, disposed of the claims of the breech-loader to freedom from recoil, credit for which it is shown not to deserve in the slightest degree. That, with equal charges of powder, it does not kick so much as the muzzle-loader, is tolerably clear; but with the additional quarter of a drachm which it requires, it recoils quite as. much. The highly creditable performance of Colonel Whyte's Joe Manton is also another feature worthy of being recorded, for though the gun is placed fourth in its class, it is considerably above the average in all points but penetration at 60 yards. We have submitted the barrels to several gunmakers familiar with “Joe Mantons,” and they all are of opinion that those sent by Colonel Whyte are his make, while as to their state of preservation there can be no mistake that it is most extraordinary. At present they indicate a recoil below the average, but the new breeches put in by Messrs. Trulock and Harris, of Dublin, may possibly account for this. (See Colonel Whyte's letter in the field of June 11th.)
It is easy,
The position in the table of each gun indicates the nature of its performances in the three qualities of pattern, penetration, and recoil.
further explanation, to see at a glance how each gun stands. It is necessary, however, to explain that where the amount of recoil is above the average, the number of pounds which is shown in the proper column is deducted from the total of shots, while on the contrary, where its recoil is below the average, a corresponding addition is made.
BREECH-LOADERS V. MUZZLE-LOADERS.
Having examined into the relative merits of the two kinds of guns,
may be well to sum up their advantages and disadvantages in a tabular form.
SAFETY FROM RISK IN LOADING. By far the most dangerous ; Perfect safety during loading, accidents occurring from a variety especially in the Lefaucheaux gun. of causes, such as a piece of tow remaining behind to smoulder after the first discharge; or one barrel going off while loading the other, from the jar in ramming down.
ABSENCE FROM FOLLIXG OR LEADING. This gun is peculiarly liable to All the breech-loaders are free become foul after twenty to thirty from fonling and leading, and can discharges, or, indeed, before that be readily cleaned. time, and also to lead.