For the long range rifleman shooting black powder in muzzle loading rifles, one of the critical factors for accuracy is consistent weight of powder charges. William Metford wrote about this in his notes on the management of the muzzle loading match rifle. Correspondence on this matter will also be found in contemporary newspapers; Horatio Ross referred to it in ‘Hints for Long Range Riflemen’. So how did the enthusiastic rifleman get his carefully weighed charges to the range?
Accessories associated with rifles and rifle shooting. Military, sporting and target rifles.
- Muzzle Loader Range Box - Match rifle box to hold ammunition, glass tubes for weighed powder charges.
- Silver’s Anti-Recoil Heel-Plate - In 1874 H.A. Silver was granted a firearms related patent for an India-rubber cushion applied to the butt end of a stock.
- Wimbledon Shooting Case - J. Vale-Lane's 'Wimbledon Range Case' was made for riflemen in the late 19th century.
- Wilson and Steward's Sight Elevator - A gauge bearing the mark "Wilson and Steward's" and a London address for J.H. Steward.
- Parker-Hale Rifle Sights - Dr Goodwin Orthoptic Sight sold with/for Parker-Hale muzzle loading Volunteer rifle.
In 1874 H.A. Silver was granted a firearms related patent for an India-rubber cushion applied to the butt end of a stock. Notification which appeared in ‘The Engineer’ (18 March 1875) states: "This consists in the adaptation of a suitable elastic material or spring to the butt end of the stock, by means of which the shock of the recoil when the weapon is fired off is much diminished and effects greatly neutralised."
In the mid to late 19th Century target rifle shooting was a popular sport, and via the Volunteer movement Great Britain had thousands of trained riflemen. Naturally, businessmen sought to sell their wares to these riflemen enticing them with a variety of goods to assist the aspiring marksman. With ammunition, field glasses, vernier sight adjusters, tools and other associated accoutrements the rifleman acquired, a means of carrying it all was needed. One suitable case appeared in 1886, the 'Wimbledon Shooting Case'
Established in London in 1852, Steward's were opticians and scientific instrument makers. Steward's had a long standing relationship with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and this article features one of their gauges.
The cased set comprises a Goodwin style rearsight with eyepiece and mount, a foresight with spare elements and mount, and a nipple key. The sights would have been used on the popular Volunteer and Whitworth rifles manufactured by Parker-Hale. They were manufactured by the late Rex Holbrook, a prominent member of the Muzzle Loaders Association of Great Britain (MLAGB) for many years.