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“Of all our national pastimes, this is one which should be pursued for the sake only of the honourable distinction to be obtained, in excelling in an art, where both mental and physical gifts are developed.”

Anonymous author on match rifle shooting (1866)

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Field Exercices 1859The year 1859 was a remarkable one in the annals of Rifle Shooting. It marked the sudden flowering of the Volunteer Movement and the foundation of the National Rifle Association. A new and enlarged 2nd Edition of the Infantry Manual entitled "Field Exercices and Evolutions of Infantry 1859" was prepared with many of the lessons of the Crimea absorbed. The 1847 Manual of 156 pages has now become 414 pages and buried within it can be found the Manual and Platoon Exercises divided into two sections catering separately for the Long and Short Enfield Rifles.

Following is information on British musketry instruction regulations. In some instances the only information to hand is a title (these are shown backed by grey shading).
Please Contact Research Press if you are able to provide pictures and further details.

The 1st February 1859 saw the beginning of the new series of smaller format (7-1/4 x 4-1/2 inches) Musketry Instructions now more grandly entitled "Regulations For Conducting The Musketry Instruction Of The Army."

The standard Musketry Instruction of 1859 was followed over the next decade by a series of amended re-issues or completely new editions. The amended ones carry the same title page with variations in the names of printers or distributors. The printing contract details, where shown, are the best indication which issue is involved. Failing that, an examination of the text reveals material variations which are often prefaced with the General Order authorising them. The original 1859 Instruction does not carry the contract details but its re-issue, also dated 1859, shows it to have been Contract No. 178 for 2,000 copies dated April 1862.

Thomas Heptinstall's Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield, on the Development of British Military Rifles from 1866 to 1895 addresses the development of small arms of the period. The evolution of musketry regulations clearly ran parallel with the small arms changes. The thesis can be downloaded from University of Huddersfield: From Snider-Enfield, to Martini-Henry, to the Magazine Lee-Metford: An Historical and Technical Overview of the Development of British Military Rifles from 1866 to 1895.

Musketry training in the British Army (1884-1914) was the subject of Nicholas Harlow's Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield. It examines the musketry training of the British Army from an educational perspective during the thirty year period prior to World War One. The main sources used were the Musketry Regulations, any interim amendments to these, and the Annual Reports of the School of Musketry’s Commandant. The thesis can be downloaded from University of Huddersfield: Musketry Training in the British Army, 1884-1914.

 

Musketry Instruction 1859 Musketry Instruction 1859

Regulations For Conducting The Musketry Instruction of the Army, 1 February 1859.
132 pages and 7 Plates. Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode.

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Musketry Instruction 1859 Musketry Instruction 1859

Regulations For Conducting The Musketry Instruction of the Army, 1 February 1859.
June 1860 edition. Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode in an edition of 3000.

  courtesy of Rifleman UK


A completely new edition of "Regulations For Conducting The Musketry Instruction Of The Army", dated 1st December 1864, increased the number of pages to 162. Contract No. 764, it is dated December 1864 and the print order was for 5,000. This edition is unique among the series dealing with the Enfield series of .577 rifles in that it is the only one to give a detailed series of drawings of the all the limbs of the lock with the names of each part of the individual limb. The rifle illustrated is the long Pattern 1853 rather than the Short Pattern 1856 shown in the Volunteer series.

 Musketry Instruction 1864  Musketry Instruction 1864

Regulations For Conducting The Musketry Instruction Of The Army, 1 December 1864.
December 1864 Edition. Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode in an edition of 5,000.

  courtesy of Britishmuzzleloaders


The arrival of the Snider in 1866 led to the next edition, that of 1st February 1867

Musketry Instruction 1867 Musketry Instruction 1867

Regulations For Conducting The Musketry Instruction of the Army, 1 February 1867.
February 1867 Edition, 152 pages. Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode.
There appear to be two editions, a first run of 5,000, and a second run of 15,000, the latter incorporating an errata page.

  Research Press library

 

Musketry Instruction 1867 Musketry Instruction 1867

Regulations For Conducting The Musketry Instruction of the Army, 1 February 1867. Corrected up to 31 March 1868 (likely corrected from the errata published in the second print run from February 1867).
February 1869 edition. Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode in an edition of 1,000.

  courtesy of Rifleman UK


Popular at the time are the Official Pocket Editions of some of these manuals. Bound in red leather and secured by a hinged brass clasp they are embossed with the full Royal Arms and the title. These are very attractive little items measuring 4.7 x 3.4 inches and quite thick for their size..

Musketry Instruction 1870 Musketry Instruction 1870

Rifle Exercises and Musketry Instruction, September 1870.
May 1871 Edition, 278 pages. Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode in an edition of 15,000.

  Research Press library

 

Musketry Regulations 1874 Musketry Regulations 1874

Rifle Exercises and Musketry Instruction, July 1874.
October 1874 Edition. Possibly two print runs, on edition of 25,000 and another of 10,000.

  courtesy of Britishmuzzleloaders

 

Musketry Instruction 1879 Musketry Instruction 1879

Rifle And Carbine Exercises and Musketry Instruction, July 1879.
January 1882 Edition, 353 pages. Printed by Harrison and Sons in an edition of 5,000.

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