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Here the ramrod is made to form a rest, as shown in the annexed engraving.
The rest is made by a swivel screwed on to the lower part of the upper band of the rifle (see fig. 93 a), the upper
swivel 6 being sufficiently large to give the ramrod full play, and being slightly ovalled, if necessary, to fit flush into the stock when not being used and the ramrod is returned. A small brass cup or socket, large enough to receive the head of the ramrod, is let into the stock above the band, the ramrod being then let fall through the swivel, and the head inserted into the cup, a most perfect rest is obtained.
It is by no means indispensable that the head of the ramrod should rest in the cup; it is nearly equally steady when butting against the slings or any other part of the stock-indeed, for a sportsman firing from the kneeling position, it is better to siope the ramrod forward, and let the head of it rest against the upper band. Captain Conolly merely inserts the cup into the stock, because, he says, a small incision must be made to receive the swivel 6 when not used. At the same time it steadies the ramrod more, and makes the rest more perfect when the cup is used.
CHOICE OF A RIFLE FOR SPORTING PURPOSES.
REQUISITES FOR A SPORTING RIFLE-COMPARISON OF THREE PRINCIPAL
THERE are three requisites for a sporting rifle—first, correctness of shooting at moderate ranges; secondly, a definite weight, which should not exceed nine or ten pounds; and' thirdly, facility in loading. To these may be added strength of shooting and weight of ball. These several qualities are not equally shared by the muzzle and breech-loaders, and it will therefore be well to compare them together in reference to each other.
There is little advantage to either in this respect.
Beaten by the breechloader. There is, however, a great difference in muzzle-loaders,some being very difficult to load, while others are just as easily managed.
FACILITY IX LOADING.
Load far more easily as well as quickly than the muzzle-loader, and also than the revolyer in a large number of rounds.
Six shots can be fired more quickly than with a breech. loader, but the latter will have the advan. tage if more than that number are to be fired,
FINAL CHOICE OF RIFLE. Of the various muzzle-loaders in use, I believe there is none better for sporting purposes than Purdey's two-grooved, with the winged ball. Here there is no unnecessary friction and no windage, and consequently a very low trajectory and a strong penetration. Mr. Boucher's I believe also to be a good plan, but I have never seen it tried, so that I cannot speak so confidently of its merits. Lancaster's oval bore no doubt performs well occasionally, but from the tendency to strip, a shot is never to be depended on. Of the Enfield I think it may be said that it is a very useful one for common purposes, but that it is not capable of the high degree of perfection to which the others may be carried--that is to say, if used with the Pritchett ball on the expansion principle. Among the breech-loaders, I think none comes up to Prince's, which is the only rifle that will stand a comparison with the best muzzle-loaders. Leetch's no doubt shoots very well, but the escape is always an objection. For a double breech-loading rifle I have seen nothing as yet superior to the Lefaucheaux, and I think if carefully constructed, very good shooting may be got out of it.
THE GAME PRESERVER'S GUIDE.
DUTIES OF THE GAMEKEEPER.
OXEROUS NATURE OF THE TASK HONESTY -KNOWLEDGE OF LAW
NECESSARY—NUMBERS REQUIRED—THE KEEPER'S GUN-SELECTION OF PRESERVE OR SHOOTING-CONTRACTS FOR TAKING MOORS OR MANORSCERTIFICATE.
ONEROUS NATURE OF THE TASK.
There are few offices which require more highly-developed bodily and mental qualities than that of the man appointed to the task which we are now considering. He must be of strong body, yet cautious in the use of his strength. Quick in intellect, so as to be able to counteract the plans of the poacher, he should be also steady in carrying out
With a fondness for out-of-door sports he should combine some considerable love of reading, so as to make himself master of what is going on in relation to his own special department in other parts of the world besides his own. He must be a boon companion without being a sot, the former quality being desirable, in order to conciliate the good opinions of his neighbours, while the latter is fatal to his success in many points of view. Of course it is scarcely to be expected that any individual shall possess all these qualities combined in the highest state of perfection, but the nearer he reaches to this, the more fitted he will be for his office; and the absence of any one will often lead to his defeat or disgrace.
When it is remembered that the gamekeeper has to rear his game, which requires great tact and care; to trap vermin, which is a still more difficult task; to preserve his charge from poachers under laws the operation of which is most jealously watched; to break dogs of all kinds; to shoot infallibly well when required, and occasionally to take care not to shoot better than his master or his master's friends; it will readily be understood by those who know anything of these subjects, that I have not over-estimated the extent of the good qualities which are required.
HONESTY. In the above list I have said nothing of the summum bonum-the apex of the pyramid. A keeper may be all that I have described: he may rear, and trap, and preserve to perfection, but then all this may be done for his own benefit, and not for that of his master. I have often known a good head of game early in the autumn dwindle down to a very moderate show when put to the test in September and October, clearly proving one of two things-either that the keeper had allowed the poachers to rob him, or that he had himself been guilty of fraud upon his master, by selling the game which he is paid to preserve. In most cases I believe that the fault lies in his neglect of duty, or that he has been outwitted, but sometimes there can be no doubt that the keeper has either directly or indirectly sold his game. The temptation when the master is non-resident on the property is very considerable, for unfortunately the keeper has still less difficulty in disposing of game than the poacher. No doubt he places himself in the power of his subordinates, but some risk must be run in all cases of fraud committed in other walks of life, and yet we know that they are of daily occurrence. Still it is highly creditable to the whole class of keepers that they are generally above suspicion in this particular, and what few instances have come to my knowledge have most of them been caused by some mismanagement or ineanness on the part of the master.