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agent, and at the same time to prevent windage by filling up the space between the ball and the barrel. They are made of a circular form for spherical and short conical balls, and are placed over the mouth of the barrel with the greased side downwards, the ball being pushed down upon them. The common circular patches are not suitable to any bullet having much cylinder to it, as, if the patch is thick enough to give a good fit at the base of the bullet, the gathers formed by the edges round the shoulder render it very hard, if not impossible, to ram it down; and if allowance for this is made in the thickness of the material, or in windage, the base does not then fit close. For this reason circular patches are only applicable to round or conoidal projectiles. They may, however, be used by altering their form from that of a circle to that of a cross, the centre part of which is exactly the size of the base of the bullet. The readiest mode of getting at this shape is to cut the patches circular first; then lay on them a steel or tin pattern of the cross required, and cut out the angles with a sharp-pointed knife, or a stamp may be made to cut them out at one blow. However used, patches are troublesome, and render the loading slow, being difficult to separate and dirty to handle. Hence many good shots (among whom may be included Mr. Purdey and that high authority Mr. Boucher) dispense with patches altogether, and merely dip the base of the bullet in a composition of beeswax and tallow, as described at page 323, in an extract from one of Mr. Boucher's letters.

A correspondent of the Field (“F. J. J.,” of Derby) has suggested a simple contrivance for keeping patches on the ball ready for use, whereby the act of loading in the field is considerably accelerated.

“ The inconvenience is. known to all rifle shooters of handling the patches and balls separately in the field, picking the former with difficulty out of the box, and adjusting them with the ball at the mouth of the rifle. To obviate this, I have had made a number of tin cylinders, the length of the ball or bullet (I use the Enfield), and just admitting the patch and bullet.' One end of the cylinder is slightly trumpet-mouthed to ease the fitting in of the patch and bullet. Its appearance is as ini


He says:


fig. 92 a. Preparing for the field Pig 92

at home, I load as many of the cylinders as may be desired, by placing the patches on the trumpet-mouth (using cruciforin patches), and then

pushing them down with the bullet PATCH

into the cylinders. The bullets are

pushed down till the flat end comes PATCH CYLINDER (SLIGHTLY within one-eighth of an inch of the

REDUCED). other end of the cylinder, leaving, therefore, one-eighth of an inch of the dome-shaped end of the bullet protruding above the trumpet-mouth; this prevents the patch from being chafed out of place in the pocket, bag, or cartouche pouch. The appearance of the loaded cylinders is shown in section fig. 92 d. Loading is done thus:Placing the cylinder on the mouth of the rifle, press down the dome end of the bullet, just entering the flat end into the barrel, and pluck off the cylinder, and return it empty into the pocket. A slight tap of the hand forces down the bullet and patch into the barrel, and the ramrod is then applied. I find this plan to answer perfectly.

“F. J. J. (Derby)."

CARTRIDGES. Cartridges for rifle balls are made in various ways, as noticed under the head of each particular kind of rifle. Most sportsmen, in using the muzzle-loader, prefer to load from a powder-flask; but even then it is well to carry the bullet prepared either with a patch in a tin tube, as described by “F. J.J.," or enclosed in paper according to the following directions, which are those of a “Welshman," whose great experience has already been alluded to:

"It is not probable that, for ordinary practice, volunteers will go to the trouble of making up regular cartridges, but will generally prefer to load from a flask, and carry the bullets separate in a pouch. A good mode of preparing the bullet to be used in this way is to roll it in paper in the following manner:

"The paper is first cut into trapezium-shaped pieces, the depth of each piece exceeding the length of the cylinder on

the bullet by about half an inch, or rather less. The length of the long side should be just sufficient to fold twice round the bullet at its base, with half an inch to spare, and the angle which the inclined side makes with the long side about forty-five degrees. Supposing such a piece of paper to be lying before the person making up the bullet, with its square end towards him and its long side to his right, the bullet would be laid on the end nearest to him, with its point to the left and its shoulder exactly over the left edge, and rolled from him in the paper till the latter formed a closefitting tube round its cylindrical part, and projecting about half an inch beyond its base. This hollow part is then . choked' with a piece of strong string or catgut, till a neck is formed sitting close against the base of the bullet, when it is secured by two half-hitches and a thumb-hitch of thread or fine twine, and any edges of paper that are left trimmed off with a pair of scissors, so as not to project beyond the sides of the bullet. It is then dipped in grease, and ready for use. The bullet, thus prepared, is precisely as though it had been removed from a Government cartridge by cutting away the part above the shoulder of the projectile.

“ Unless it is likely to be carried far in a pouch, the trouble of tying the neck may be avoided by merely twisting it after choking,' and pressing the end into the hollow base of the bullet with a round-headed former, It is rather difficult to obtain a paper of uniform texture—thin, and yet sufficiently tough to bear the choking' without tearing

“ The bullet thus prepared would, like the naked bullet, be used with a powder-flask. One of a pattern made by Messrs. Dixon, of Sheffield, in which the charger is detached from the body of the flask, is the best, because it gives the charge of powder more regularly than the ordinary pattern, and the safest, because, if the charge of powder should ignite in passing down the barrel, as in loading rifles does occasionally (but very rarely) happen, the explosion cannot ignite the remainder of the powder contained in the flask, and thus cause a serious accident.



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front. The half-cocking of the hammer causes the chanıbers to revolve to such an extent as to place the next chamber in the right place, and there it remains till the hammer is let down and brought up again to halfcock. Some of the plans are carried out so that there must be a cocking with the thumb in every case; others, again, are made to revolve, cocked, and discharged by the action of the finger on the trigger; while a third set may be used in either way at discretion. It is manifest that where great rapidity is required, as in the defence of one man against several, a larger number of shots may be fired in a given time by the second mode than where the thumb has to be used to raise the hammer, but from the stress upon the finger the aim is not so good; and if a revolver is used for sporting purposes it should not, therefore, be made on this plan.

The objections to the revolver as a sporting rifle are, that the recoil and escape are both extremely annoying to the shooter, while the accuracy of aim is not at all to be compared with a muzzle-loader, or with the best kinds of breech-loaders. The cause of this inferiority is to be looked for partly in the great escape which takes place, and which weakens the force of the explosion before the ball reaches the muzzle, and partly in the imperfect adaptation to the barrel of each chamber in succession. The revolving Pistol performs much better in proportion to its length than the Rifle, because


in it the force of the explosion lasts long enough (in spite of the escape) to carry the ball to the muzzle. A great objection to the revolver for sporting purposes is also to be found in the necessity for a small bore, a large one being forbidden from a fear of the breech giving way. Fig. 90, shows the chambers and action of Mr. Dean's lock, as used in his revolver, but the rifling of Colt's is far superior to any which I have seen, and their performance at the target is I believe proportionately good.

Fig go


Of the various principles upon which revolving rifles and pistols are made, I believe there is none equal to the DeanHarding, lately brought out by Mr. Dean, of King Williamstreet, City.

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