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Firearms, Long Range Target Shooting & Associated History

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Small Arms Trials

Reports on individual arms and wider trials of British military small arms.

  • Measuring Accuracy - The system used to define the accuracy of rifled arms during Victorian times was the "Figure of Merit".
  • Lancaster Oval Bore - The "Army (Rifles)" report of 1863 commented favourably on the large bore Lancaster.
  • The Soper Rifle - Sent for trial at Woolwich, the rifle and was rejected on the ground of "complication of breech arrangement." [1867].
  • Thomas Wilson his Patents, Arms and Ammunition - Researching the little known Victorian Engineer, Thomas Wilson and his rifle systems work conducted during the 1860’s and later.

Measuring Accuracy

The 19th saw firearms evolve from flintlock muzzle loaders, using patched round ball and black powder, through to bolt action breech loaders with smokeless powders. As firearms development proceeded, so arms and ammunition needed assessing in comparative trials by the military. In the 1860s the National Rifle Association held competitive trials to determine which rifle would be used in the final stage of the Queen’s Prize at their Annual Rifle Meetings on Wimbledon Common. The system used to define the accuracy of rifled arms at this time was the "Figure of Merit".

Read more: Measuring Accuracy