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on Woolwich Common, I proceeded to the Arsenal, and found Colonel Chalmer, Colonel Dundas, and a third gentleman, comfortably seated before the fire in a room near the Practice Ground. Colonel Chalmer received me courteously, and pointed out a fine Liege rifle in a rack, which I proposed to employ instead of my own old gun, but the grooving was different, and on this account it could not be used. They then shewed me their own two-grooved rifle, invented, as I am informed, by Mr. Moore, the gunmaker, in the Edgeware Road.
• Which you had never seen before, observed Mr. Walter with a quiet smile.
H.- I expressed the same admiration of it that I have always entertained, and at that moment resolved to design for it something better than the present belted ball. Proceeding towards the open ground near the river we saw the target at a distance.
• What is it like?'
H.-Fancy an oblong table large enough to dine about twelve people, sustained lengthwise, with three black bull's-eyes, each as large as a dinner-plate, set in a level line.
H.--A small building with a porch fronted the target. ' This, said Colonel Chalmer, we consider to be two hundred and seventy-five yards, and this frame is our arrangement to rest the gun; we will set you up. here and you can fire.'
• Why,' interrupted Mr. Jonathan Buck, ‘ the sights of the best rifles are set for one hundred, one hundred and fifty, two hundred, two hundred and fifty, and three hundred yards. If you had had one of Purday's best rifles you could neither depend on your two hundred and fifty nor three hundred yard sight at that place. Did you offer to shoot ?'
H.-No. "They had said, 'We will try your gun against ours,' and I had carried them the gun that they might do so.
• You could not refuse to fire,' observed De Beaufort; 'whatever they directed it was your duty to do. Improvements in gunnery may be interesting problems to you, but to military men they make the difference between victory and defeat between life and death.'
H.-I tried first my usual charge of powder for one hundred yards, a dram and a half, and the winged shot touched the ground, perhaps forty yards before it reached the target. Then I tried two drams, and the shot flew further. Next I tried two drams and a half-and once three drams
· The deuce you did !' exclaimed Mr. Buck, 'why how could the gun help bursting? Just hand it here. Ah! I see how it is. This great touch hole acts as a safety-valve, and lets off any excessive force. Besides, you can look down this touch-hole
into the gun, and see if the inside of the barrel is clean, which is at all times a great comfort to an inquiring mind. Like all the old military rifles it has only one fixed sight for all distances, and you cannot boast of having eyes like a hawk.'
H.-I told Colonel Chalmer that I could not see very well, as he observed me tying to the stock a double concave glass fixed in a piece of leather cut from the sole of an old boot
Very queer. But was this ingenious contrivance firm?' H.-Not very; but a sudden fall of snow came to my rescue, and the whole party took shelter under the porch. Pleasant!' said one of the gentlemen, as the wind howled and the snow fell. As Colonel Dundas expressed a wish to look at my old gun, I warned him that it was loaded on handing it to him. He examined the barrel, and said, “You do not do yourself justice with this gun, it has been rusted in the inside.'
At this Mr. Buck winked, and plunged his knife and fork into a meat pie.
H.-As soon as the violence of the storm was over, Colonel Chalmer said, “Now we will bring out our gun and you shall see it fire. I have known Colonel Dundas hit my visiting-card two or three times running, at this distance'-showing a small neat visiting-card.
Well. The army rifle hit the centre bull's-eye, of course ?' H.-So far from it that even the target was not hit. Nobody spoke. The gun was loaded again, and then the ball rung upon the target.
Mr. Buck.-' The gun was cold at the first shot, and perhaps damp air had left a little moisture inside the barrel.'
H.-However, the storm cleared off, and Colonel Chalmer said, As
you are not master of this range, we will set you up at one hundred and seventy-five yards, and directed the three soldiers who were in attendance to carry the stand, for resting the muzzles of the guns, forward some distance.
Mr. Buck.–- Why, then again, if you had taken one of Mr. Egg's best rifles, your sights for one hundred and fifty and two hundred yards would have been wrong for one hundred and seventy-five.'
H.-True. I knew that, but I levelled the old gun at a point a little over the left-hand bull's-eye of the three,
- fired, -and hit the target between that bull's-eye and the top of the target. Colonel Chalmer and the silent gentleman went to look at the mark. I followed, and there it was, plain enough, and hard enough, too, judging of the force from the mark on the target. Colonel Dundas followed us, and Colonel Chalmer requested me to return to the station and go on firing, much to my annoy. ance, for he knew that I could not see very well unless through
my glass, and I now supposed that the officers delayed to make the trial they had proposed, at one hundred and fifty, two hundred, and three hundred yards, from an idea that the gun would burst. In a few moments Colonel Dundas also returned from the target to the station, and as he approached I perceived that his features bore a stern and severe expression.
Mr. Buck.—You had taken an improper liberty with his target. I hope you felt abashed and penitent.'
Excuse me,' added De Beaufort, I think the Colonel was vexed because you
had not hit the centre bull's-eye. What did he say?' H.-As soon as he came near enough to be heard amidst the roar of the wind, he began with an allusion to a passage in my paper, • You think there may be a loss of force when there is no windage ?’
'A very good question to lead to an argument, especially in a gale of wind; and you answered—'
H.-That I did think so, and then went on firing again, levelling at the centre bull's-eye. The gun was heavily loaded, and when I did not hear the bullet strike the target, I remarked to Colonel Dundas that the shot had gone over the top of the target. That is more than you know, or I either,' replied the Colonel, and next he fired and hit the target. I fired next, loaded as before. We could see Colonel Chalmer, who was standing with the silent gentleman near the target, wave his arm to intimate that my shot had gone over.
If he had not been confident that the winged shot kept the same axis of rotation, he would not have been prudent to stand there. I now perceived that there were only two courses to be pursued; either to keep to one charge, and to alter the elevation till the shot hit; or to level the sights at the centre bull's-eye, and to increase or lessen the charge of powder until the bullet struck that point. Having only one fixed sight, I chose the latter course. The charge obviously lay between one dram and a half and two drams and a half. If any body had told me where the shots struck, I should soon have found the charge, but as nobody did me this favour, and as the wind prevented me from hearing what the shot struck against, I fired in vain. On a rifle-ground it is usual to employ a man to stand near the target, and point out the position of every shot. Though annoyed and provoked, I was almost inclined to laugh at the whole proceeding, and at one moment Colonel Chalmer found a shot of mine that had hit the target. He came to show it, and explain that it wanted force, as if he could not see the green stain of grass upon it. However, Colonel Dundas continued to fire the army rifle, and I blazed away with Tinderbox; at length, Colonel Chalmer and the silent gentleman returned to the station, and said, . Now, Mr. H. we will fire your gun, and if you will go and stand at the battery near the target, you can judge of the force of your shot compared with ours.' I suggested to Colonel Chalmer that if the fragments of lead were picked up after striking the target, the force might be inferred from them. They enquired the charge of my gun, and I advised two drams as the result of my trials. On my way to the battery, I meditated on the exalted honour to which the old gun had now attained, an honour which many a Joe Manton had never reached. I devoutly hoped, too, that Tinderbox would do me the favour to keep its eccentricities in the background, and do nothing unworthy of its present elevated position, and yet experience convinced me that this hope was vain. The winged shots had been cast from two moulds, and some were a little larger than others, which I did not know till I tried them; and if the officers and soldiers should persist in ramming one of these tight bullets down the gun in its present sooty condition, I really could not tell what might happen.
Colonel Dundas has the reputation of being one of the best marksmen in the army, and in his youth the military rifles were very
like what Tinderbox was in its better days. If you could not do justice to your gun, perhaps he could by keeping to one charge of powder.'
H.- First he fired the army rifle-on the target. Next came my winged shot, and flew over the top of the target. • How did
know one shot from the other ? H.-The winged shot gave a shrill whistle like a bird; the belted ball was a lower note and duller. The soldiers marked the place of every shot of the Colonel, and if they had been permitted to do so for me, I should have found my charge sooner. Next came the belted ball, and one of the winged shot, which cut the ground. The Colonel was obviously trying to find the proper elevation for the old gun. I cannot remember every shot, but as the artillery soldiers had been ordered to go to the target and pick up
the lead, I went with them to look at the centre bull'seye. It had not been properly blacked at first, and several old rusty shot-marks were upon it, which would have been painted over on a well-regulated bull's-eye. Near the top, however, were two distinct stamps of lead, and one less distinct lower down. These were the only marks of shot that I could find on the bull's-eye which were certainly new. About two feet from the centre of the bull's-eye were a great many shots, and others were scattered over various parts of the target, perhaps in all, thirty or five-and-thirty.
Mr. Buck. - Had not Colonel Chalmer said that he had seen Colonel Dundas hit a visiting card over and over again at two hundred and seventy-five yards ?'
H.— True. But a visiting card that could have caught all the shots of the army rifle to-day must have been as large as that of the gentleman in the pantomime.
Colonel de Beaufort here insisted that the Colonel had abstained from putting forth his well-known skill. . 'I am assured by my friends, who are acquainted with him, that he is an urbane and agreeable gentleman, and he did not wish to outdo you too far because he perceived that you were a stranger and contending with unusual difficulties.'
Mr. Buck. — In America we know your army rifle well, and it does great credit to the science of Mr. Moore, the gun-maker in the Edgeware-road, but if I had to oppose one of your men I should care nothing for him either in the woods or the clearings. Gill, just hand up that gun, will you ? Here is your regulation rifle. Look; these sights are so high that your ball rises fifteen or twenty feet from the earth before it strikes the mark. Among trees this ball would be turned or stopped by low branches at any good range; and at two or three hundred yards in open ground I would watch the flash,—your belted ball is heavy and slow, and before it reached me I could leap ten feet to the right or left of the spot I stood on. Then comes my turn. There are hundreds and thousands of men in the States who do not miss the size of a saucer at two hundred yards once in five-andtwenty shots. My ball of forty to the pound would need no second shot. Besides, your army rifle has too much recoil, and kicking gun never carried true bullet; but
on.' H.-The trial was fairer now. It was no longer the soldier against the student who came from his books, but still it was the old gun against the new, and the winged shot of nineteen to the pound against the belted ball of eleven or twelve to the pound. Soon I heard the army ball again on the target, and then the winged shot to the right of the bull's-eye. Next the army ball on the bull's-eye. Again the winged shot close to the left-hand edge of the bull's-eye, or else upon it, I could not distinctly see which.
• Bravo, Tinderbox! Creeping up very steadily to the bull'seye. Now the Colonel had only to go on and he would have known something about winged shot.
H.-But you are aware of the peculiarities of this old gun; it was now very foul, and two or three rapid shots followed—then the firing ceased, and an artilleryman sent from the officers called to me. I returned and found Colonel Chalmer.
And where was Colonel Dundas ?'
De Beaufort.-—' The Colonel had done enough to shew what your new shot could do. In spite of every difficulty and every obstacle it could be made to strike the bull's-eye at one hundred and seventy-five yards, and on a day when even the army rifle did not appear to advantage. You have not told us how often your shot flew wide of the mark.'