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Firearms, Long Range Target Shooting & Associated History

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Projectiles, history of the cartridge from paper tube to solid-drawn case. Contemporary information on loading.

for Target Shooting

Manufacture of The Copper Percussion Cap

The manufacture of percussion-caps. The first process in this light and delicate work is the stamping of sheet-copper into pieces of the required form to make the caps. For this purpose the copper is placed beneath the punch of the machine, and immediately it is put into action, small crosses of metal are seen to fall from it into a box in a continual stream, whilst the sheet itself is transposed by the punching process into a kind of trellis work.

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Report of Experiments

In the Annual Report of the National Rifle Association for 1875, General Alexander Shaler (President 1875-1877) reported on experiments with powder charges for long range shooting. The experiments commenced during the summer 1875 and were concluded that December. The aim was to determine the proper charge of powder to use in long range shooting in the Remington Creedmoor Rifle. Swaged bullets weighing 550 grains were used, and interestingly made of a hard alloy composed of fifteen parts lead and one of tin.

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The Science of Long Range Shooting

It’s 1879, and since the 1874 International Match at Creedmoor there have been a lot of changes. Edwin Perry shares, in his Third Edition of Modern Observations on Rifle Shooting (1880), some of the major changes / advancements at Creedmoor in just a short 5 years. When it comes to bullet alloys, much of what has been passed around on the internet as fact about the advent of harder alloy bullets is, frankly, nothing but conjecture. And what has been passed off as fact is in effect WRONG. Very hard alloy bullets, were in vogue by 1879 for long range competition and were sold by Sharps and Remington. Factory ammo was no longer used by any of the big name shooters. Most had, after careful study, found that their own reloads had much better performance on the long range targets. Make no mistake about it, rapid advances in long range shooting were going on, and much of it we knew little about, until now.

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The Perils of Hand Loading and How to Wrap Bullets

D. & J. Fraser of Edinburgh introduced their falling block match rifle in 1881. The rifle was tried by several Scottish riflemen in the selection shoots for the Scottish Eight to compete for the Elcho Shield. The rifle gained popularity and six of the Scottish Eight eventually competed using the Fraser rifle that year. Management of the breech loading match rifle was still new to some at the time, the muzzle loader long being favoured despite the success of the American Teams using breech loaders in long range international competition since 1874. The perils of hand loading were still being discovered.

Read more: The Perils of Hand Loading and How to Wrap Bullets