Undue importance may be given to long-range fire, just as it can, and sometimes is, for example, to the value of the bayonet as a weapon; but it will be generally agreed by those who know anything of the matter that at the proper time and place long-range rifle-fire has, its very great uses, but, if not good of its kind, it will be useless and expensive. It is known that in 1680 each troop of our Life Guards was supplied with eight rifled carbines; and that in 1800 the 60th Rifles were armed with the "Baker" rifle. Long-range rifle-fire, in its present sense, is of much more recent date.
Long Range Rifle Fire
A collection of articles on historical topics providing hitherto difficult to find contemporary texts and newly written pieces for the student of long range shooting.
- Long-Range Rifle Fire - An overview of the development of the rifle in British military service from 1680 to 1885, and the impact on long-range shooting .
- Long Range Shooting: An Historical Perspective - A new historical perspective from the earliest times down to the late 19th Century.
- A Short History of Long Range Shooting in the USA - Long range shooting from the early European settlers through to modern times.
- .45-70 at Two Miles - The Sandy Hook Tests of 1879. U.S. long range rifle fire with the Springfield and Martini-Henry rifle.
- The Record Long Range Score - Contemporary insight into long range rifle shooting in the US during the 1880s, and a rich resource for detail on practices of the time.
An interest in shooting at long ranges is a subject which lies close to the heart of this writer. Impelled by the ancestral voices of two of his forebears who made gunpowder under the well known name of Curtis’s and Harvey and a third who bombarded Sevastopol with 13 inch mortars, he joined the Artillery and spent six years with 25 pounder guns which left him with a taste for long distance lobbing. Civilian life and a necessary reduction in the practical ranges attainable by the order of 90% left him with little choice but Bisley’s Stickledown Range and a limit of 1,200 yards.
This is no treatise on ballistics, the author is neither a scientist nor an engineer and most emphatically not a mathematician. It is really an historical perspective from the earliest times down to the late 19th Century.
The history of long range shooting in the United States is fast approaching 400 years. Since European explorers and colonists first brought gunpowder to these shores the definition of long range has grown along with the nation. While the United States may have reached the extent of its physical boundaries the imagination, ingenuity, and success of those living there who seek to hit a target at further and further distances has not.
THE SHOOTER at the heavy bench rest squinted as he aligned his .45-70 Allin-Springfield Model 1873 Army rifle on the distant target. The rifle fore-stock and barrel was cradled in a rest; the butt was supported by his shoulder. The rear sight was flipped up to its full height, so with no stock support for his head, the rifle tester from Springfield Armory worked carefully to align high rear and low muzzle sight on the speck that was the target - a surveyed 2,500 yards distant.
This fascinating article by Maj. C. W. Hinman first appeared in Arms And The Man, 4 March 1915. It offers insight into long range rifle shooting in the US during the 1880s, and is a rich resource for contemporary detail on practices of the time.
David Minshall has added some biographic notes on Hinman, and leaves the reader with a stimulating puzzle!