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Firearms, Long Range Target Shooting & Associated History

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In the mid 1860's a fortunate event occurred, the vast majority of the activities of the Ordnance Department of the British Empire was captured on paper. That is to say that an immense amount of information in the form of written descriptions, original drawings, official printed reports, circulars, proformas & tables etc were bound together in the shape of 5 handsome leather covered volumes.

  • Notes On Small Arms 1866. G.C. Holden, Assistant Superintendent of Stores.
  • Notes On Laboratory Course Section A. 1865. G.C. Holden, Assistant Superintendent of Stores.
  • Notes On Laboratory Course Section B.C.D. 1865. G.C. Holden, Assistant Superintendent of Stores.
  • Notes On Royal Carriage Department. 1866. G.C. Holden, Assistant Superintendent of Stores.
  • Notes On Ordnance. G.C. Holden, Assistant Superintendent of Stores.

This mine of information is largely unknown though some of it is to be found in the unpublished papers of the Ordnance Select Committee. Each volume is in handwritten copperplate, which, though legible to someone familiar with it, is a challenge to the ordinary reader. It appears that only one set of these volumes was produced. The detail in the volumes is quite incredible. In the "Small Arms" volume the complete fabrication of a "Snider" is but one fascinating section. In the "Laboratory" volumes there are descriptions of what was painted in which colour, the formulas for the paints & with the cartridge paper details it even includes samples of all actual original cartridge papers pasted to the page. The "Carriage" volume even goes into detail of leather harness's & which part of what hide each strap is cut from! Also the timbers used, when to log, how to cure, when to cut & which carriage parts they are used for. It is hard to even pick the most interesting sections as all are quite fascinating, unique & very thorough.

The following samples from 'War Department Notes' appear courtesy of Adrian Roads.