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Vintage Pistol and Revolvers

 

Colt Peacemaker

Firearm Prints at Vintage Internet Patents

 

Partial Reprint of Pistol and Revolver Shooting

BY
A. L. A. HIMMELWRIGHT

 

Published 1904

We have published this as a reference to the pistols and revolvers refered to in the book, because it is so dated much of the target shooting information has not been included.

 


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INTRODUCTORY AND HISTORICAL

 

Pistol shooting has been practiced ever since “grained” gunpowder came into general use. It is only recently, however, that it has developed into a popular pastime and has been recognized as a legitimate sport.[1]

The useful and practical qualities of the pistol and revolver have been developed almost wholly during the last half-century. Before this period the small arms designed to be fired with one hand were crude and inaccurate, and were intended to be used only at short range as weapons of defense. The single-barreled muzzle-loading pistol has, nevertheless, been part of the army and navy officer’s equipment since the sixteenth century. These pistols were of large caliber, [Pg 14]smooth-bored, heavy, and unwieldy. The load was a spherical bullet and a large charge of powder. Enough accuracy was obtained to hit a man at 15 to 20 paces, which was deemed sufficient. The usefulness of these arms in action was limited to the firing of a single shot, and then using them as missiles or clubs.

The pistol in early days was considered a gentleman’s arm—a luxury. It was the arm generally selected for duelling when that code was in vogue, the contestants standing 10 to 20 paces apart and firing at the word of command.

The development of the pistol has been contemporaneous and closely identified with that of the rifle. With the grooving or rifling of the barrel, the accuracy was greatly improved and the arm adapted to conical bullets. Although numerous attempts were made to devise a multishot arm with flint, wheel, and match locks, it was not until the percussion cap was invented that a practicable arm of this character was produced. This was a “revolver” invented by Colonel Colt of Hartford, Conn., in 1835, and consisted of a single barrel with a revolving cylinder at the breech containing the charges, the mechanism being such that the cocking of the piece after each discharge [Pg 15]revolved the cylinder sufficiently to bring a loaded chamber in line with the barrel.

colt patent Print of Colt revolver available at Vintage Internet Patents

 

The greatest advance in the development of firearms was the introduction of the system of breech-loading, employing ammunition in the form of cartridges. This principle rendered the operation of loading much simpler and quicker, and vastly improved the efficiency and general utility of the arms.

The present popularity of pistol and revolver shooting is due, no doubt, to recent improvements in the arms and ammunition. The arms are now marvels of fine workmanship, easy to manipulate, durable, and extremely accurate. With the introduction of smokeless powders, the smoke, fouling, and noise have been reduced to a minimum. The effect of these improvements has been, not only to increase the efficiency of the arms, but also the pleasure of shooting them.

As a sport, pistol shooting has much to commend it. It is a healthful exercise, being [Pg 16]practiced out-of-doors in the open air. There are no undesirable concomitants, such as gambling, coarseness, and rough and dangerous play. In order to excel, regular and temperate habits of life must be formed and maintained. It renders the senses more alert and trains them to act in unison and in harmony. But, above all, skill in shooting is a useful accomplishment.

Anyone possessing ordinary health and good sight may, by practice, become a good pistol shot. Persons who are richly endowed by nature with those physical qualities which specially fit them for expert shooting will, of course, master the art sooner than those less favored; but it has been conclusively shown that excellence is more a question of training and practice than of natural gift. Some of the most brilliant shooting has been done by persons possessing a decidedly nervous temperament; but those of phlegmatic temperament will generally make more uniform and reliable marksmen.

It is much more difficult to shoot well with the pistol or revolver than with the rifle. The latter, having a stock to rest against the shoulder and steady one end of the piece, has a decided advantage in quick aiming and in pulling[Pg 17] the trigger. The former, without a stock and being held in one hand with the arm extended so as to be free from the body, is without any anchor or support whatever, and is free to move in all directions. Consequently the least jar, jerk in pulling the trigger, puff of wind, or unsteadiness of the hand greatly disturbs the aim. Intelligent practice will, however, overcome these difficulties and disadvantages to such a degree that an expert shot with a pistol or revolver under favorable conditions can equal a fair shot with a rifle at the target up to 200 yards. When the novice essays to shoot the pistol or revolver, the results are generally disappointing and discouraging; but rapid progress invariably rewards the efforts of those who persevere, and when once thoroughly interested in this style of shooting, there comes a fascination for it that frequently endures throughout a lifetime.

 

 


[Pg 18]

ARMS

 

The term “pistol” is frequently applied indiscriminately to the single-shot pistol and the revolver. A marked distinction between these arms has gradually been developed.

The pistol is now recognized as a single-shot arm, adapted for a light charge and designed to secure extreme accuracy. Its use is limited almost exclusively to target and exhibition shooting.

The modern revolver is an arm with a revolving cylinder holding five or six cartridges, which are at the instant command of the shooter before it is necessary to reload. It is designed for heavy charges, and is a practical and formidable weapon. Revolvers are made in great variety, and adapted for various purposes, such as military service, target shooting, pocket weapons, etc. The best grades of pistols and revolvers may be had at a reasonable price. The cheap grades with which the market is at[Pg 19] all times flooded should be avoided. They are incapable of doing good work, and frequently are positively dangerous, on account of being made of inferior materials.

The magazine or automatic pistol is the latest type of hand firearm. It is a multishot pistol in which the mechanism is operated automatically by the recoil. Pulling the trigger is the only manual operation necessary to fire successive shots until the supply of cartridges in the magazine (usually six to ten) is exhausted. The first models were introduced about 1898. These had many defects and objections, such as failure to function regularly, danger in manipulation due to insufficient safety devices, poor balance, unsightly lines, etc. Nevertheless the advantages of this type of arm over the revolver for military purposes in effective range, rapidity of fire, accuracy, interchangeability, etc., were soon recognized and manufacturers were encouraged to improve and perfect them.

Practically all the mechanical defects referred to have been corrected, the balance and the lines improved, and safety devices introduced so that these arms are now well adapted for military use and are rapidly superseding the revolver as service weapons in the United[Pg 20] States army and navy. A synopsis of the severe tests leading to the adoption of a magazine pistol by the War Department of the United States government may be found in the Appendix.

Military Arms.—The revolver and the magazine pistol are used for military service. To fulfill the requirements these arms must be strong, very durable, and withstand a great amount of hard usage without becoming disabled. The effectiveness, or “stopping power,” is of prime importance. The caliber should be large, the bullet should have a blunt point, and the powder charge should be sufficiently powerful to give a penetration of at least six inches in pine. There was a tendency some years ago to reduce the caliber of military revolvers. While this resulted in increased velocity and penetration, and reduced the weight of the ammunition, it did not improve the stopping power of the arms.

The ineffectiveness of the .38-caliber service revolver charge was frequently complained of by the officers and men serving in the Philippine Islands. This was due to the light powder charge and the conoidal shaped point of the bullet. To remedy this weakness .45-caliber revolvers were issued for the Philippine[Pg 21] service, and a new .45-caliber cartridge designed to which magazine pistol manufacturers were invited to adapt an arm. Unfortunately this new cartridge, which is now the service ammunition, has also a conoidal pointed bullet, is not well proportioned, and consequently develops only a part of its stopping power possibilities.

The sights must in all cases be very substantial, and solidly fixed to the frame or barrel. The trigger pull varies from 4 to 8 pounds, the barrel from 4 to 7½ inches in length, and the weight from 2 to 2¾ pounds. Ammunition loaded with smokeless powder is now invariably used for military service.

The service revolvers still in use in the United States army and navy are the Smith & Wesson and Colt, both .38 caliber, and taking the same ammunition. They have passed the prescribed series of tests as established by the United States government,[3] and as improved and perfected represent, without doubt, the highest development of the military revolver.

These arms, shown in Figs. 1 and 2, have solid frames, and the actions are almost identical, the cylinder swinging out to the left, on[Pg 22] a hinge, when released by a catch. The shells may then be extracted simultaneously by pushing back the extractor rod. The Smith & Wesson has an additional hinge-locking device in front of the cylinder. The Colt has an automatic safety lock between the hammer and the frame, permitting discharge only when the trigger is pulled. Apart from these features there is very little difference between these arms.

The Smith & Wesson .44-caliber Military Revolver is the latest model of the large caliber revolvers. Its action and general lines are the same as the .38-caliber military, but it is a larger, heavier, and more powerful weapon.

Other excellent military revolvers are the Colt New Service and the Smith & Wesson Russian model, usually in .45 caliber and .44 caliber, respectively. The ammunition for these arms was formerly loaded with black powder; but smokeless cartridges have been adapted to them, which give slightly increased velocity and the same accuracy. (See Fig. 4, facing p. 24.)

The Smith & Wesson Russian model has a hinge “tip-up” action, with an automatic ejecting device. The action is operated by raising a catch in front of the hammer. It is easy to manipulate and, on account of the accessibility [Pg 23]of the breech, the barrel can be readily inspected and cleaned. This arm is single action. (See Fig. 5, facing p. 24.)

 

Fig. 1.—SMITH & WESSON 38 cal. MILITARY REVOLVER
Six shots; 6½ inch barrel; weight, 1 lb., 15 oz.

 

Fig. 2.—COLT ARMY SPECIAL REVOLVER
Six shots; 6 inch barrel; weight, 2 lbs. 3 oz., .38 cal.

 

Fig 3.—SMITH & WESSON .44 cal. MILITARY REVOLVER.
Six shots; 6½ inch barrel; weight 2 lbs. 6½ oz.

 

The action of the Colt New Service is similar to that of the .38-caliber revolver shown in Fig. 2, with a solid frame. It is double action.

The Colt Officer’s Model is identical in every respect with the Army Special except that it is fitted with adjustable target sights and may be had with lengths of barrel up to 7½ inches.

The foregoing arms, with good ammunition, are capable of making groups of ten shots on a 3-inch circle at 50 yards.

The Colt single action Army is the most popular belt or holster weapon among ranchmen, cowboys, prospectors, and others. It has a solid frame, simple mechanism, and is exceedingly durable and reliable. The arm is operated by opening a gate on the right-hand side, back of the cylinder. The cartridges are inserted in the cylinder through the gate, the cylinder being revolved by hand until the respective chambers come opposite the gate. In the same manner the shells are ejected by pushing the extractor rod back into each of the chambers. (See Fig. 6, facing p. 24.)

The Smith & Wesson Schofield Model, .45[Pg 24] caliber, was formerly a United States service weapon. The ammunition for this arm, while less powerful than the .45 Colt, was admirably adapted for military service, and had much less recoil.

The Webley & Scott W. S. Model revolver is an English arm of much merit. The caliber is .455. It has a hinge “tip-up” action, with an automatic extractor very similar to the Smith & Wesson. (See Fig. 7, facing p. 26.)

The service weapon adopted by the Joint War Office and Admiralty Committee for the British army and navy is the Webley & Scott “Mark IV,” or “Service Model,” revolver. This model is almost identical with the W. S. Model, except that the barrel is 4 inches long and the weight is 2 lbs. 3 oz. On account of the short barrel, the accuracy of this weapon does not equal that of the W. S. Model.

Another English arm is the “Webley-Fosbury” automatic revolver. The recoil revolving the cylinder and cocking the hammer, it can be fired as rapidly as the automatic pistols. It is chambered for the .455 service cartridge loaded with 5½ grains of cordite. This arm has been introduced since 1900. (See Fig. 8, facing p. 26.)

Among the leading magazine or automatic pistols used for military service are the Colt,[Pg 25] Luger, Webley & Scott, Savage, Mauser, Knoble, Bergmann, White-Merrill, Steyr, Mannlicher, Mors and Bayard. Most of these arms were tested by the United States government[4] previous to the adoption of the Colt as the service weapon of the U. S. Army and Navy. (See Fig. 9, facing p. 26.)

 

Fig. 4.—COLT NEW SERVICE REVOLVER
Six shots; 5½ inch barrel; weight, 2 lbs., 8 oz.; .45 cal.

 

Fig. 5.—SMITH & WESSON RUSSIAN MODEL REVOLVER
Six shots; 6½ inch barrel; weight, 39¼ oz.; .44 cal.

 

Fig. 6.—COLT SINGLE ACTION REVOLVER
Six shots; 5½ inch barrel; weight, 2 lbs. 6 oz.; .45 cal.

 

The Luger has been adopted as the service weapon by Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Holland, and Brazil. (See Fig. 10, facing p. 28.)

The Webley-Scott (.455 caliber) was adopted as the service arm by the British navy in 1911, and the .32-caliber (weight 1 lb. 2 oz.) is now the adopted arm of the London City and Metropolitan police forces. (See Fig. 11, facing p. 28.)

In most of these weapons, including the Colt, Webley & Scott, Luger, and Steyr pistols, the cartridges are inserted in magazines which feed them into the breech through the handle. In the Mauser pistol the cartridges are supplied through clips from the top and forced into a magazine located in front of the trigger. (See Fig. 12, facing p. 28.)

The magazine pistols can be fired at the rate of about five shots per second. These arms equal the best military revolvers in accuracy.

[Pg 26]Many persons believe that the magazine pistol will soon supersede the revolver for general use. While this may be the case eventually, it is not likely to occur within the next few years. The magazine pistol is more complicated, and consequently more difficult to learn to shoot with and care for, than the revolver. On account of the special problems to be solved in the mechanism, many of them balance poorly and the trigger pull is almost invariably long and creeping. The novice will also find it difficult to avoid flinching in shooting these arms, on account of the recoil mechanism, louder report, etc. The line of sight being considerably higher than the grip, if they are not held perfectly plumb, or in the same position at each shot, the shooting is liable to be irregular. The cost is more than that of a good revolver. Until these undesirable features can be remedied or eliminated, the revolver will probably remain a popular arm.

Target Arms.—For target purposes the greatest possible accuracy is desirable. To obtain this, many features essential in a military arm are sacrificed. Delicate adjustable sights are employed, the trigger pull is reduced, the length of the barrel is increased, the charge reduced, etc.

 

Fig. 7.—WEBLEY & SCOTT “W. S.” MODEL REVOLVER
Six shots; 7½ inch barrel; weight, 2 lbs., 7 oz.; .455 cal.

 

Fig. 8.—WEBLEY & FOSBURY AUTOMATIC REVOLVER.
Six shots; 6 inch barrel; weight, 2 lbs., 10 oz.; .455 cal.

 

Fig. 9.—COLT AUTOMATIC PISTOL.
Seven shots; 5 inch barrel; weight, 2 lbs. 7 oz.; .45 cal.

 

[Pg 27]The most accurate arms available at the present time are the single-shot pistols manufactured by Smith & Wesson, Springfield, Mass., The J. Stevens Arms & Tool Co., Chicopee Falls, Mass.; Fred Adolph, Genoa, N. Y. These pistols are furnished in calibers from .22 rim-fire to .38 central-fire. The barrels are generally 10 inches in length and the trigger pull 2 pounds. In the latest approved form these pistols are of .22 caliber specially bored and chambered for the rim-fire, .22 caliber long rifle cartridge. This is a light, clean, pleasant shooting charge, and may be fired many times with very little fatigue. Pistol shooting with arms of this caliber is rapidly becoming a popular pastime for ladies as well as gentlemen.

The Smith & Wesson pistol has a tip-up action and an automatic extractor. It is made of the best materials and with the greatest care. The fitting and workmanship are superior to that of any other machine-made pistol. The action is similar to that of the Russian Model revolver. (See Fig. 13, facing p. 30.)

The Stevens pistols were formerly furnished in three models and for many years they have enjoyed merited popularity for target shooting among the leading marksmen. This pistol is now supplied only in the No. 35 or [Pg 28]“Offhand Target Model,” which like the earlier models has a tip-up action and an automatic extractor. A small knob on the left side is pressed to release the barrel and operate the action. (See Fig. 14, facing p. 30.)

The Remington pistol has an exceedingly strong action, and is the only machine-made pistol with an action adapted for regulation .44, .45, and .50 caliber cartridges. It has a large handle and a heavy barrel. The action is operated when the hammer is at full-cock by throwing back the breech-block with the thumb, simultaneously ejecting the empty shell. Unfortunately the manufacture of these weapons has recently been discontinued. (See Fig. 15, facing p. 30.)

The Adolph-Weber pistol designed by M. Casimir Weber, of Zurich, Switzerland, is a high grade hand-made arm that can be supplied by Mr. Fred Adolph in accordance with any specifications that the marksman may desire. Fig. 16 illustrates it conforming to the rules and regulations of the U. S. Revolver Association. It has a strong, durable, tip-up action resembling in principle that of the Stevens, and when closed the barrel is securely locked in position by a cross bolt, actuated by a button on the left side. (See Fig. 16, facing p. 32.)

 

 

Fig. 10.—THE PARABELLUM OR “LUGER” AUTOMATIC PISTOL
Eight shots; 4⅝ inch barrel; weight, 1 lb., 13.4 oz.; .30 cal.

Firearm Prints at Vintage Internet Patents

 

 

Fig. 11.—WEBLEY & SCOTT AUTOMATIC PISTOL
Eight shots; 5 inch barrel; weight, 2 lbs., 7½ oz.; .455 cal.

 

Fig. 12.—MAUSER AUTOMATIC PISTOL
Ten shots; 5½ inch barrel; weight, 2 lbs., 7½ oz.; .30 cal.

 

The Adolph-Martini is a weapon de luxe [Pg 29]that has been produced in the same manner as the Adolph-Weber, in which the action of the Martini rifle has been employed. It has double set triggers and is highly ornate.

The Adolph “H. V.” is a .22 caliber pistol adapted for a special high velocity cartridge developing a muzzle velocity of 2,000 ft. per second and an energy of 623 foot-pounds.

With good ammunition all these pistols are capable of placing ten shots within a 2-inch circle at 50 yards.

A very accurate pistol for gallery and short-range shooting is made by M. Gastinne-Renette of Paris and used in his gallery in that city. These are muzzle-loading and are very tedious and inconvenient to manipulate. For this reason they have not become popular. A few of these arms have been made up as breech-loaders, with a tip-up action similar to the Stevens, but operated by a side lever under the hammer and chambered for the .44 Russian cartridge. In this form with gallery charges the pistol has given very good results. (See Fig. 17, facing p. 32.)

The revolver is not quite as accurate as the pistol, on account of the necessity of having the cylinder detached from the barrel. If the pin on which the cylinder revolves is not at right angles with the end of the cylinder, there[Pg 30] will be more space between the cylinder and the breech end of the barrel in some positions of the cylinder than in others. The result will be varying amounts of gas escaping from the different chambers of the cylinder, and consequently irregular shooting. The accuracy of the revolver depends largely, too, upon the degree of perfection in which all the chambers of the cylinder align with the bore of the barrel at the instant of discharge. When the chambers do not align perfectly, the bullet enters the barrel eccentrically and a portion of it is shaved off. This is fatal to accuracy, especially when smokeless powder is used. Imperfect alignment of chamber and barrel is also a frequent cause of the “leading” of the barrel. Some very ingenious mechanical expedients are used in the best revolvers to reduce to a minimum the wear of those parts which operate and hold the cylinder in position.

The revolvers generally used for target shooting are the military arms already described, with longer barrels, chambered for special cartridges, fitted with target sights, special handles, and other modifications to suit the whims and tastes of individuals.

Some of these modifications are distinctly advantageous. One of the most recent fads is to skeletonize the hammer by boring away as much [Pg 31]metal as possible and to increase the tension of the main spring. The combined effect is almost instant response to the trigger pull.

 

Fig. 13.—SMITH & WESSON PISTOL
Ten-inch barrel; weight, 1 lb., 8¾ oz., .22 cal.

 

Fig. 14—STEVENS PISTOL, GOULD MODEL
Ten-inch barrel; weight, 1 lb., 10 oz.; .22 cal.

 

Fig. 15.—REMINGTON PISTOL
Ten-inch barrel, weight, 2 lbs., 8 oz.; .44 cal.

 

The best and most experienced shots are careful to keep the modifications of all their arms within the rules and regulations of the various national organizations,[5] in order that they may be used in the annual competitions and other important events. These organizations control the pistol and revolver shooting, and conduct annual competitions. “Freak” arms which do not comply with the rules are not allowed in the competitions, are seldom practical, and have little or no value other than for experimental purposes. Target arms are generally used for trick and exhibition shooting.[6]

Pocket Arms.—The most extensive use of the revolver as a pocket weapon is for police service. Special arms are manufactured to meet the requirements. These weapons are[Pg 32] generally similar to the military revolvers, but smaller in size and adapted for lighter charges. All projections, such as sights, hammer, etc., must be eliminated or minimized so as not to catch in drawing the arm from the pocket or holster. The barrels are usually from 3 to 5 inches in length, the trigger pull 4 pounds and the caliber .22 to .38. The larger calibers are much preferable for the general purposes of an arm of this character. The difference in weight is slight, while the power and effectiveness of the large calibers is important and a great advantage.

The pocket arms shown in Figs. 18 and 19 are practically reduced sizes of the military arms shown in Figs. 1 and 2. They have solid frames and actions identical with those of the military arms. The Smith & Wesson is made only in .32 caliber but the Colt may be had in .32 or .38. Both are double action.

The Colt Police Special is similar in model to Fig. 18 but is slightly larger and heavier and can be had chambered for the powerful .38 caliber Special, or the .32 caliber Winchester cartridges.

The Smith & Wesson Double Action, Perfected, is an improved model of this popular pocket weapon, having a double locking action. (See Fig. 20, facing p. 34.)

 

Fig. 16—ADOLPH WEBER PISTOL
Ten-inch barrel; weight, 2 lbs. 2 oz.; .22 cal.

 

Fig. 17—GASTINNE-RENETTE PISTOL
10316 inch barrel; weight, 2 lbs. 6 oz.; .44 cal.

 

Fig. 17a—COLT AUTOMATIC TARGET PISTOL
Ten shots; 6½ inch barrel; weight, 28 oz.; .22 cal.

 

Fig. 18—COLT POLICE POSITIVE REVOLVER
Six shots; 4 inch barrel; weight, 1 lb., 4 oz.; .32 cal.

 

[Pg 33]One of the most popular pocket revolvers is the Smith & Wesson Safety Hammerless. This arm has a safety latch in the back of the handle, so designed that unless the piece is properly held it is impossible to operate it. It has many valuable and desirable features to commend it as a practical pocket weapon and for home protection. The standard length of barrel is 4 inches. This arm is also furnished in .32 caliber. (See Fig. 21, facing p. 34.)

With 4-inch barrels, the foregoing pocket weapons are capable of shooting regularly within a 2-inch circle at 20 yards.

A heavier and correspondingly more powerful Pocket revolver is the Colt “Double Action” revolver. This arm is chambered for the Colt .41 caliber short and long cartridges. It has a solid frame, and is operated exactly like the Colt Single Action Army Model (Fig 6). It is compact, strong, durable, and accurate.

For many years there was no high grade .22 caliber revolver on the market. Within the last few years two excellent arms in this caliber have been produced. The Smith & Wesson is supplied chambered only for the S. & W. long cartridges, but in two lengths of barrels; 3 inches with fixed sights and 6 inches with target sights. The Colt is furnished only in one length of barrel, 6 inches, but chambered for any of the[Pg 34] rim-fire cartridges, and the .32 caliber short and long Colt, central-fire cartridges. These arms with 6-inch barrels are extremely accurate, pleasant to shoot on account of the light recoil and the ammunition is inexpensive. They are well adapted for target shooting for ladies and excellent for small game shooting. (See Figs. 22 and 23.)

A very handy little arm to carry in the pocket on hunting and fishing trips is the Stevens Diamond Model single-shot pistol. It is light in weight, very accurate, and low in cost. (See Fig. 24, facing p. 36.)

All these .22 caliber arms can be depended on to kill grouse, ducks, rabbits, and other small game. The hollow-pointed bullet ammunition should be used, or the regular cartridge, with the front of the bullet cut off square, so as to leave a flat point. This will increase the killing effect of the bullet considerably.

Magazine pistols of smaller size than the military arms have in recent years become popular as pocket weapons. Such types as have safety devices to prevent discharge when the arm is not properly held for firing, are well adapted for this purpose.

The Colt Pocket Models are made in .38 caliber and .32 caliber as shown in Fig. 25, and [Pg 35]in .25 caliber as illustrated in Fig. 26 (facing pp. 36 and 38.)

 

Fig. 19—SMITH & WESSON HAND EJECTOR REVOLVER
Six shots; 4½ inch barrel; weight, 18½ oz.; .32 cal.

 

Fig. 20.—SMITH & WESSON DOUBLE ACTION PERFECTED REVOLVER
Five shots; 4 inch barrel; weight, 17¼ oz.; .38 cal.

 

Fig. 21.—SMITH & WESSON SAFETY HAMMERLESS REVOLVER
Five shots; 4 inch barrel; weight, 1 lb., 1¼ oz.; .38 cal.

 

Fig. 22.—SMITH & WESSON POCKET REVOLVER
Seven shots; 3½ inch barrel; weight, 10 oz.; .22 cal.

 

The Savage Pocket Model is made in .38 and .32 caliber using the same cartridge as the Colt. It has an automatic indicator showing when the arm is loaded. A recent improvement in this arm is a spur cocking lever which permits cocking with the thumb of the hand holding the weapon. (See Fig. 27, facing p. 38.)

The Smith & Wesson automatic is furnished only in .35 caliber. It has a wood stock backed by steel plates. The automatic safety in this arm is located in front of the trigger guard and is operated by the second finger. (See Fig. 28, facing p. 38.)

As in the case of pocket revolvers, the larger calibers of the pocket automatic pistols will be found to have better stopping power and as practical weapons for use in case of emergency are to be preferred to the smaller calibers.

Persons who have very limited use for a weapon as for home protection and occasional pocket use, especially when they do not expect to practice shooting with it regularly will find a suitable revolver much more serviceable, safer, and generally more satisfactory than a magazine pistol. The latter on account of its more[Pg 36] complicated and concealed mechanism is liable to be left in an unserviceable condition for safety in the home (unloaded, magazines misplaced, etc.) and when needed, unfamiliarity with its manipulation not only causes delay in getting it in action but also is a fruitful source of accident. For the purpose referred to in this paragraph a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson Safety Hammerless, a .38 or .32 caliber Colt Police Positive, or a .32 caliber Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector with a 4-inch barrel and a 4-pound trigger pull in each case is recommended. Owners of such weapons for home or personal protection should practice with them occasionally, firing at least 20 or 25 shots. A good range for such practice is 20 to 30 feet. After using the arm it should in all cases be carefully cleaned and oiled as described under “Cleaning and Care of Arms.”

 

Fig. 23—COLT POLICE POSITIVE TARGET REVOLVER
Seven shots; 6 inch barrel; weight, 1 lb., 6 oz.; .22 and .32 cal.

 

Fig. 24.—STEVENS DIAMOND MODEL PISTOL
Six inch barrel; weight, 8¾ oz.; .22 cal.

 

Fig. 25.—COLT AUTOMATIC POCKET PISTOL
Eight shots; 3¾ inch barrel; weight, 1 lb., 7 oz.; .32 and .38 cal.

 

 


[Pg 37]

AMMUNITION

 

The degree of perfection that has been attained in the manufacture of ammunition is remarkable. Generally speaking, the smaller the charge the more difficult it is to make it accurate. Notwithstanding this, we have in the .22 caliber ammunition a tiny cartridge the accuracy of which falls little short of marvellous.

Until 1907 black powder ammunition was used almost exclusively for pistol and revolver shooting. In central-fire ammunition smokeless powders are now invariably used, especially in military shooting, where the regulation full charge is required. In the .22 caliber pistols, the fouling of the black powder is not a very serious matter, and it is not uncommon to shoot fifty or a hundred rounds without the necessity of cleaning. In the larger calibers, however, the fouling is frequently so excessive that it affects the accuracy after the fifth shot. The incessant cleaning that is necessary in order to[Pg 38] get good results with black powder ammunition was a great drawback, and detracted much from the pleasure of revolver shooting. Fortunately this objection is now entirely eliminated by the use of smokeless powders.

Nearly all the cartridges referred to in this chapter were originally designed for black powder. The various manufacturers now supply them loaded with smokeless powder at a very slight advance in price. The cartridges are loaded so as to give approximately the same velocity as the former black powder charges but the new charges are rarely the exact equivalent of the old ones.

The accuracy and uniformity with the smokeless powder was not at first equal to that of the black, but with a better knowledge of the action and behavior of the smokeless powders, these difficulties have been overcome and the smokeless ammunition now gives not only superior accuracy and reliability, but also causes much less fouling and smoke and has a lighter report. In “gallery” ammunition light conical bullets have entirely superseded spherical bullets and smokeless powder is almost invariably used.

To obtain the best results, the proportions of any charge must be adapted to the caliber, length of barrel, and weight of the arm in which [Pg 39]it is to be used. These proportions are generally determined by experiment.

 

Fig 26 COLT AUTOMATIC POCKET PISTOL
Seven shots; 2 inch barrel; weight, 13 oz.: 25 cal.

 

Fig. 27—SAVAGE AUTOMATIC POCKET PISTOL
Ten shots; 4¼ inch barrel; weight, 1 lb. 5 oz.; .32 and .38 cal.

 

Fig. 28.—SMITH & WESSON AUTOMATIC POCKET PISTOL
Eight shots; 3½ inch barrel; weight, 1 lb., 7¾ oz.; .35 cal.

 

The accuracy of the cartridge depends largely upon the uniformity exercised in the operations of loading, the fit of the bullet, its shape, and the reliability and uniformity of the powder. The primer must be of uniform strength also, especially in reduced charges. In ammunition for military service the shells are crimped on the bullets to hold them in place. This does not increase the accuracy in black powder ammunition, but it is necessary and advantageous in all smokeless ammunition including gallery charges, in order to confine the powder and produce uniform results.

The following is a digest of the principal pistol and revolver cartridges in use at the present time.

Rim-fire Cartridges.—These are primed with a fulminate of mercury mixture around the outer edge of the rim, or base of the shell, and are generally loaded with Lesmok, semi-smokeless, or black powder.

 

Figure 29.

 

The smallest and lightest charged ammunition in general use is the .22 caliber. In this[Pg 40] caliber the “C. B.” or Conical Ball Cap loaded with black powder is the smallest practicable cartridge. The charge is 1½ grains of powder and a lubricated conical bullet weighing 29 grains.

 

Figure 30.

 

An excellent cartridge in this caliber is the .22 short, (Fig. 30). This cartridge fouls very little and is almost equal in accuracy to the .22 “long rifle” up to 50 yards. On account of its lighter report it is preferred by many for gallery shooting.

 

Figure 31.

 

The .22 caliber “long rifle” cartridge is more extensively used for pistol shooting than any other. It is the most accurate of the .22-caliber cartridges, being well proportioned, the bullet well lubricated, and the shell uncrimped. In addition to this, the ammunition is inexpensive and has very clean shooting qualities. It is, therefore, particularly well adapted for pistol shooting. This cartridge, fired from a 10-inch barrel, will shoot regularly inside of a[Pg 41] 2-inch circle, at 50 yards, and inside a 5-inch circle at 100 yards.

The .22-caliber Long Rifle “Armory” and the .22-caliber Smith & Wesson Long are special makes of the long rifle cartridge that are furnished with a crimped shell, preventing the bullet from becoming dislodged and thus adapting this popular cartridge for use in revolvers of this caliber.

In all of the foregoing cartridges only the surface of the bullet outside the shell is lubricated. Exposed in this way, the lubricant is easily rubbed off, or melted if allowed to stand in the sunlight on a warm day. Great care should be taken to prevent this, as, without lubrication, the bullets will lead the barrel and cause inaccurate shooting.

 

Figure 32.

 

The .22-caliber Winchester is a cartridge with inside lubrication. It is more powerful than the .22 long rifle, and gives good results in the pistol. The bullet has a flat point, making it suitable for game shooting, and the lubrication being within the shell, these cartridges may be carried loose in the pocket.

[Pg 42]All of the .22 caliber cartridges can be had with hollow-pointed bullets, which are to be preferred for game shooting. They are also furnished loaded with smokeless powder. When this powder was first used in .22-caliber ammunition the results were far from satisfactory, but as now manufactured the smokeless ammunition approximates very closely in uniformity and accuracy to that loaded with black powder.

There still remains, however, considerable difficulty with the rim-fire smokeless cartridges on account of their liability to rust the inside of the barrel.[7] The novice is therefore cautioned not to use this ammunition until the difficulty of rusting is overcome.

The .25-cal. Stevens is a much more powerful cartridge than any of the preceding, and gives excellent results in the pistol. It is selected[Pg 43] by those who wish a more powerful rim-fire cartridge than is furnished in .22 caliber.

 

Figure 33.

 

Rim-fire cartridges in larger caliber than .25 are used for derringers (large-bore, single-shot pocket pistols now seldom used) and inferior grades of revolvers. These cartridges sometimes lack uniformity in caliber when made by different manufacturers, are frequently defective, and discharge occasionally in closing the action of the arm in which they are loaded. They consequently lack the safety, reliability, and accuracy of the corresponding calibers in central-fire ammunition. Rim-fire cartridges cannot be reloaded.

Central-fire Cartridges.—This type of cartridge has a brass or copper primer fitted with a skeleton anvil of brass and charged with a small quantity of priming composition containing a sensitive explosive for igniting the powder charge. The primer fits water-tight in a socket in the center of the base of the shell. After being discharged, the primer can be renewed and the shell reloaded.

In all the central-fire cartridges the lubrication[Pg 44] of the bullet is inside of the shell, rendering the ammunition much more serviceable and less liable to be damaged.

Mantled bullets designated as “metal pointed” and “full metal patched” can be supplied by the ammunition manufacturers for all the central-fire cartridges at a cost of one dollar per thousand more than the regular lead bullets. The mantled bullets do not deform as readily in handling, shipping, etc., and give slightly increased penetration in soft woods, animal tissue, etc., as compared with the plain lead bullet with the same powder charge.

 

Figure 34. Figure 35.

 

The .32-caliber S. & W. cartridge is adapted to the Smith & Wesson, Colt, or other pocket revolvers. Occasionally single-shot pistols are chambered for this cartridge. It is fairly accurate at ranges up to 50 yds. A gallery charge is furnished in this shell consisting of 4 grains of black powder and a spherical or “round” bullet weighing 47 grains.

The .32-cal. S. & W. Long is more accurate and powerful than the preceding cartridge. It[Pg 45] gives excellent results in both the pistol and revolver. The gallery charge is the same as that of the .32 S. & W.

The .32-caliber Colt New Police is also an accurate cartridge, and was designed specially for the Colt New Police revolver. The flat point adds to its effectiveness. A good gallery charge in this shell consists of a powder charge of 1½ grains of Bullseye and the regular bullet.

 

Figure 36.

 

The .32-44 S. & W. and the .38-44 S. & W. were special black powder cartridges designed for the S. & W. Russian Model revolver bored for these calibers. The shells were uncrimped and the bullets seated inside of the shells flush with the mouth. A large variety of special bullets of varying weights were designed for these cartridges and much experimentation was done with them. The .38-44 Caliber was originally designed for and largely used by Chevalier Ira A. Paine, the noted pistol shot in his exhibitions.

While these cartridges proved very accurate and were popular when black powder was in general use they are entirely unsuited for smokeless[Pg 46] powders and consequently are now seldom used.

The .38 S. & W. is adapted to the Smith & Wesson, Colt, and other pocket revolvers. It is much more powerful than the .32 S. & W., and is consequently more practical and better adapted for a pocket revolver charge. When shot from a 4-inch barrel, groups of ten shots can be made in a 2-inch circle at 20 yards and in a 6-inch circle at 50 yards.

A good gallery or reduced load in this shell is Ideal Bullet No. 358242, 36072, or 360302 with 2 grains of Bullseye powder.

 

Figure 37. Figure 38.

 

The .38 Colt New Police is almost identical with the .38 S. & W., the only difference being a slightly heavier bullet with a flat point.

 

Figure 39.

 

The .38 Long Colt is adapted to the Colt and S. & W. Military revolvers. It was the regulation charge of the service weapon of the U. S. Army until 1911. Under service [Pg 47]conditions the cartridge was found to have insufficient power, was inaccurate and on account of the deterioration of the powder with which some of the ammunition was loaded it proved most unsatisfactory, especially in the Philippine war.

 

Figure 40.

 

The .38 Smith & Wesson Special cartridge is more powerful than the .38 Long Colt and is exceedingly accurate. From a 6-inch barrel six shots may be placed within a 5-inch circle at 100 yards. Numerous gallery and mid-range charges with special bullets have been designed for this cartridge. It is now the most popular of all the revolver cartridges for target practice. Some of the special bullets are illustrated herewith, the numbers being those used in the “Ideal Handbook”:

 

358242  360345  36072
   
125 gr.  115 gr.  110 gr.

 [Pg 48]

360302  360271  360363
   
112 gr.  150 gr.  70 gr.

Figure 41.

 

A powder charge of 2¼ to 2½ grains of Bullseye will give good results with any of these bullets. Bullets No. 360345, 360302 and 360271 cut full-size bullet holes in the targets.

The following are some of the special charges supplied by the manufacturers in this shell:

Name Manufacturer Weight in
Grains
Powder
Charge
Wt. in
grains
Bullets
Type
Bullet
Gallery U. M. C. Co. 5.2 Black 70 Spherical
Target U. M. C. Co. 2.6 Bullseye 130 R. N.
Colt Special U. M. C. Co. 3.4 Bullseye 160 F. N.
Sharp Shoulder U. M. C. Co. 2.1 Bullseye 122 F. Head
Mid Range Winchester 2.0 Bullseye 104 R. N.
Gallery Winchester 8.5 C. P. W. 70 R. N.

The .44-caliber Smith & Wesson Russian[8] was the most popular revolver cartridge for target shooting before smokeless powder was introduced. Since smokeless charges have been[Pg 49] adapted to it many expert shots prefer this cartridge in the gallery contests as the large bullet hole is a decided advantage over the smaller calibers at ranges of 20 yards and under. Nearly all the great records in revolver shooting in the past have been made with this cartridge and many important matches have been won with it. A great deal of experimental work has also been done with it, and many reduced charges have been evolved. The Ideal Manufacturing Company can furnish moulds for bullets of the shapes and weights shown in Fig. 43.

 

Figure 42.

 

429336  429251  U.M.C.  U.M.C.  429106
       
255 gr.  256 gr.  110 gr.  130 gr.  175 gr.
 
429348  429106  429239  429215  429220
       
176 gr.  160 gr.  125 gr.  205 gr.  175 gr.

Figure 43.

 

[Pg 50]Bullets No. 429336, 429348, and 429220 cut clean, full-size holes in the target. The weight of the powder charge and bullets in grains and the accuracy of the various loads fired from 6½-inch barrel are about as follows:

Bullseye
Powder
Bullet Diameter of Circle Enclosing Group of 10 Shots
    20 yds. 30 yds. 50 yds. 100 yds. 200 yd.
4.1 256 1 in. in. in. 6 in. 15 in.
2.3 110 1 in. 2 in.    
2.7 130 in. in.    
3.0 160   2 in. 3 in.  
2.8 176 in.      
3.0 175   in.    
2.7 125 in. in.    
3.2 205   2 in. 3 in. 7 in.
2.6 175 in.   in.    

These various loads adapt this shell to almost any conceivable requirement in revolver shooting.

 

Figure 44.

 

The .44 S. & W. Special is the latest and most powerful of the .44-caliber cartridges. It equals the .44 S. & W. Russian in accuracy and is the best proportioned of the heavy revolver cartridges. The reduced and gallery loads of[Pg 51] the .44 S. & W. Russian will give equally good results in this shell.

 

Figure 45.

 

The .45 Colt Army is the most powerful of all the revolver cartridges. It was formerly the United States army service ammunition. The charge was so heavy, and the recoil so excessive that it was almost impossible to shoot it without flinching. The smokeless powder charge of 5 grains of Bullseye makes it much more practical and very similar to the .44 S. & W. Special cartridge. Both of these are exceedingly powerful and accurate and suitable for military service.

 

Figure 46. Figure 47.

 

The caliber of the service ammunition for the revolver of the British army is .455. This is a very accurate cartridge, but not as powerful as the corresponding military cartridges used in this country. A special cylindrical bullet with a deep convex hollow point is furnished[Pg 52] in the same shell and is known as the “man stopper.”

This form of bullet is used in the English .450 and .38 caliber cartridges also.

The .450 Welby is another English cartridge that is accurate, and pleasant to shoot. It is used largely at Bisley in the annual revolver competitions of the National Rifle Association of Great Britain.

In order to avoid excessive fouling with black powders a self-lubricating bullet has been invented and introduced by Smith & Wesson, which can be furnished in all calibers above .32. The bullet has a hollow core open in the rear. Lubricant is filled into the core, after which it is closed with a lead plunger. Four small ducts communicate from the forward end of the core to the exterior of the bullet just ahead of its bearing on the barrel. At the moment of discharge the plunger is driven forward, forcing the lubricant through the ducts into the barrel ahead of the bullet.

This bullet has given excellent results and will be found decidedly advantageous when black powder is used. With it a hundred or more shots may be fired with black powder without causing sufficient fouling to impair the accuracy.

[Pg 53]Revolvers are sometimes chambered for the .44-40-200, the .38-40-180, and the .32-20-115 rifle cartridges. These charges in black powder load are not as accurate as the corresponding revolver cartridges in these calibers, but can be relied on to shoot inside a 5-inch circle at 50 yards. These cartridges are desirable for revolvers only when it is an advantage to use the same ammunition in the rifle and revolver, or in certain localities where only a few varieties of ammunition are to be had. The large powder charge makes the recoil of the first two cartridges named rather unpleasant. The .32-20-115 is the most accurate of these cartridges, and gives the best results in the pistol or revolver. All these cartridges having flat-pointed bullets are well adapted for game shooting. None of these rifle cartridges loaded with smokeless powder will give good results in revolvers because the brand of powder generally used in rifle ammunition requires a long barrel to consume the charge. Fired from a short barrel only part of the charge will be consumed and the rest will be expelled unburned, thus reducing the velocity and power of the charge and sometimes increasing the recoil. It is of course entirely practicable to adapt a charge of bullseye or similar smokeless[Pg 54] powder to these shells which would make them much more satisfactory. Another disadvantage of using the rifle cartridge in revolvers is the possibility of inexperienced persons using the new high velocity rifle ammunition, which would prove not only most unsatisfactory but extremely dangerous in revolvers. There are no reduced or gallery loads supplied in these shells.

 

Figure 48. Figure 49.

 

Figure 50. Figure 51.

 

Figure 52. Figure 53.

 

Automatic Pistol Cartridges.—With the introduction of the magazine pistol special smokeless cartridges have been devised that are rimless and have a crease around the base of the shell by which they may be held and manipulated by the mechanism. These cartridges are exceedingly clean-shooting. Several hundred rounds may be fired without causing more fouling than is apparent after the first[Pg 55] few shots. This ammunition is furnished loaded with “full-mantled” and “soft-nosed” bullets; the latter, having the lead exposed at the point will mushroom on striking animal tissue and are sometimes referred to as “dum dum” bullets and are intended for hunting purposes.

 

Figure 54. Figure 55.

 

Figure 57. Figure 56.

 

The mantled or metal cased bullet has undoubted advantages in rifle ammunition, in which low trajectory and extreme long range are desiderata that can be obtained only by high velocities. In ammunition for magazine pistols and revolvers, however, the prime object is to deliver the most effective blow possible at comparatively short range.

The velocities attainable in large calibers within the permissible weight of an automatic pistol are comparatively low. The deformation of any bullet on striking animal tissue is[Pg 56] in direct proportion to its velocity. It is, therefore, extremely doubtful that a metal cased bullet will ever prove as effective and satisfactory in “stopping power” and for military service, either in the automatic pistol or the revolver, as the large caliber lead bullet.

The .25 cal. is the smallest of the American made automatic pistol ammunition and is adapted for the Colt and other magazine pistols. It is an accurate cartridge but the short length of barrel of the Colt weapon makes it impossible to do accurate work with it.

Figures 49 and 50 are the well known Luger and Mauser cartridges adapted to the pistols of that name. They are powerful charges, accurate and clean shooting. These were among the first cartridges developed for automatic pistols and are still extensively used.

The .32 Automatic Colt is adapted to Colt and other magazine pistols of this caliber. It is an accurate, pleasant shooting cartridge with very little recoil and excellent work can be done with it at the target.

The .35 S. & W. Automatic is adapted to the Smith & Wesson magazine pistol. It is a very accurate cartridge, has no unpleasant recoil and like the preceding is well adapted for target shooting.

Figure 53 is the .380 Automatic Colt [Pg 57]cartridge designed to meet the demand for a light charge in this caliber. It is adapted to the Colt and other magazine pistols.

The .38 Automatic Colt is the best proportioned and most powerful of all automatic pistol cartridges. It has a slightly flattened point and is extremely accurate. When fired from regulation arms this ammunition is capable of placing ten shots inside a 3-inch circle at 50 yards and inside a 7-inch circle at 100 yards.

This was the ammunition of the first Colt automatic pistol introduced in the United States.

Figures 55 and 56 are two cartridges adapted to the .45 Automatic Colt pistol. Figure 56 is the new service charge of the U. S. Army. They are exactly alike except that the service charge has a 230 gr. bullet (30 gr. heavier than the other). The service charge when fired from the regulation service arm is capable of placing 10 shots in a 3½-inch circle at 50 yards and an 8-inch circle at 100 yards.

A flat or blunt pointed bullet of about 185 gr. and a ten per cent. heavier powder charge would improve the effectiveness and stopping power of this cartridge wonderfully without materially affecting the recoil or the accuracy.

Figure 57 is the service charge of the regulation magazine pistol (Webley & Scott) of the British Army. It is an accurate cartridge but[Pg 58] it lacks sufficient power to fulfill the exacting requirements of present-day military service.

Light or gallery charges in magazine pistol shells are impracticable on account of not having sufficient recoil to operate the automatic mechanism. Slightly reduced loads with lead bullets may be used in some of the arms but seldom with satisfactory results. Reduced loads can be used in most of the weapons if the mechanisms are hand operated for each shot.

The following ballistical table gives the charges, muzzle velocities, etc., of the principal factory-loaded, smokeless pistol and revolver cartridges. The factories aim to keep the muzzle velocities uniform for each cartridge. To produce this result with the various brands of smokeless powder, all of which differ more or less in strength, the weight of the powder charge necessarily varies for the different brands of powder. Even when purchased in large quantities, different blends and packages of the same brand of powder occasionally vary somewhat in strength. For these reasons it is impossible to designate the exact weight or volume of any brand of powder which will in all cases produce the muzzle velocities in the table, and the charges given must therefore be considered as approximate only.

[Pg 59]

 

[Pg 60]

BALLISTICAL TABLE

Name of
Cartridge
Weight in Grains
and Brand
of Powder
(Approximate only)
BULLET Length
of bbl.
in arm
tested
Muzzle
velocity
(50 ft.
from
muzzle)
Energy—foot
lbs.: Wv2÷2g
Penetration
(inches in
white pine)
Exact
diameter
in
inches
Weight
in
grains
Round
or flat
nosed
  Rim Fire:                  
.22 Short 1.6 Lesmok .223 30 RN 6 789 41.5 3
.22 Long 2.1 " .223 35 RN 6 770 46.2
.22 L. Rifle 3.4 " .223 40 RN 6 765 51.8 4
.22 W. R. F. 3.5 " .2275 45 FN 6 811 65.8 4
  Central Fire:                  
.25 Auto Colt 1.1 Bullseye .251 50 RN 2 733 59.7 3
7.63 m.m. Mauser 5.5 " .3105 86 RN 1397 373 11
7.65 m.m. Luger 4.1 " .3095 93 RN 4⅝ 1173.5 284.3 10
9 m.m. Luger 4.6 " .3555 125 FN 4 1039.2 299.8 10
.32 W. C. F. 10.0 Sharpshooter .3125 115 FN 954 232.4 5
.32 Auto Colt 2.5 Bullseye .3125 74 RN 938 144.8 5
.32 S. & W. 1.5 " .315 85 RN 4 606.7 69.5 3
.32 S. & W. 1.5 " .315 85 RN 10 902 159 4
.32 Lg. Colt 2.0 " .313 90 RN 4 641.4 82.2
.32 Sht. Colt 1.4 " .315 80 RN 4 657.2 78.7
.32 S. & W. Long 2.0 " .315 98 RN 4 706.9 108.6 4
[Pg 61].32 Colt N. P. 2.5 " .314 98 FN 4 706.3 108.6 4
.35 S. & W. Auto 1.9 " .3195 76 RN 809 110.5 4
.38 S. & W. 2.4 " .359 145 RN 5 579.3 108.2
.38 Auto Colt 4.6 " .359 130 RN 6 1175 398.0 10
.38 Colt N. P. 2.4 " .359 150 FN 4 579.6 111.7 4
.38 Sht. Colt 2.5 " .375 130 RN 6 608 107 4
.38 Long Colt 3.0 " .358 148 RN 6 786 203
.38 Long D. A. 3.4 Gray Walsrode .358 150 RN 6 771.6 198.3 6
.38 S. & W. Spl. 3.4 Bullseye .358 158 RN 6 856.7 257.5 7
.38 Colt Spl. 3.4 " .358 158 FN 6 857.6 258 7
.38 S. & W. Spl. Gal. 8.5 C.P.W.[9] .358 70 RN 6 1300 263 5
.38 S. & W. Spl. Mid Range 2.1 Bullseye .358 123 RN 6 655 99 3
.38 W. C. F. 15. Sharpshooter .400 180 FN 5 983 386.5 6
.380 Auto Colt 2.6 Bullseye .357 95 RN 887 166
.41 Sht. Colt 2.5 " .406 160 RN 6 707 177 4
.41 Long Colt 3.3 " .387 200 RN 6 705.6 221.2 5
.44 S. & W. Russ. 4.1 " .431 246 RN 6 706 272
.44 S. & W. Russ. Gall. 2.5 " .431 115 RN 6 685 118 3
.44 S. & W. Spl. 5.1 " .431 246 RN 5 755 311.5 7
.44 W. C. F. 16.5 Sharpshooter .426 200 FN 918.8 375 6
.45 Auto Colt 4.7 Bullseye .4505 200 RN 5 910.2 368 8
.45 Auto Colt (Govt.) 4.7 " .4505 230 RN 5 809 335 6
.45 Colt D. A. 5.0 " .455 255 RN 5 770.6 336.3 5
.455 Colt 4.5 " .458 265 RN 5 756.6 336.5 5
.455 Webley Auto 7.0 Cordite .455 220 RN 5 750 280.6
.455 British Service 5.5 " .455 265 RN 700 288

 

 


[Pg 62]

CHAPTER IV

SIGHTS

 

The purpose of sights is to assist in aiming the piece. The national organizations allow only “open” sights in pistol and revolver shooting. “Peep” or “aperture” sights are barred. The rear sight usually consists of a notch shaped like a V or a U, the notch being as wide on top as at any part. The front sight is a piece of thin metal set on edge. Sometimes the latter has a special shape or section resembling a pinhead when looking at it from the breech, as in aiming.

 

     
Side View.  End View.  Side View.  End View.
Front Sights.
 
   
Rear Sight.    Appearance when aiming.
Military Sights.

Figure 58.

 

[Pg 63]Military sights usually consist of a plain groove in the top of the frame for the rear sight and a tapering front sight fixed to the barrel near the muzzle.

 

     
Rear Sight.  Side View.  End View.  Appearance
when aiming.
  Front Sight.

“Paine” Sights.
Figure 59.

 

Target sights are made in endless variety to suit individual ideas. The sights most generally used for target shooting are the “Paine” sights, named after Chevalier Ira A. Paine, who invented and was the first to use them. The rear sight is a flat bar with a semi-circular notch, and the front sight is a “bead” sight; that is, a sight that resembles a pinhead when aiming.

 

     
Rear Sight.  Side View.  End View.  Appearance
when aiming.
  Front Sights.

Patridge Sights.
Figure 60.

 

[Pg 64]Another sight that many of the best shots are using is the “Patridge” sight, developed by Mr. E. E. Patridge of Boston, Mass. The rear sight has a wide rectangular notch; the front sight is plain, with a square top, as shown.

Fig. 61 represents the “Lyman” sights as adapted to Smith & Wesson revolvers. The distinctive features of these sights are the ivory bead of the front sight and the horizontal ivory line in the rear sight. These sights are well adapted for hunting and shooting at objects with a dark background.

These sights have been referred to in the order in which they are most used. It is generally necessary for individuals to try various sights before they are able to select intelligently. In target arms different-shaped sights may be used in the same base or fitting, so that it is a comparatively easy matter to try any or all of these sights on the same arm.

The notch of the rear sight should have a bevelled edge concave toward the front. This will secure sharpness of outline in any light. The front sight should also be distinct and is found to be more satisfactory when the side toward the eye is a surface at right angles to the line of sight.

 

Fig. 61.—Lyman Sights

 

Fig. 62.—THE WESPI SEARCHLIGHT SIGHT
A-Battery; B-Mercury switch; C-Electric bulb; D-E-Lenses.

 

Fig. 63.—The Wespi Searchlight Mounted on a Pocket Revolver.

 

[Pg 65]For years means have been sought to make successful shooting at night possible. White and phosphorescent paints have been applied to the sights and to the top of the barrel but all such methods have proved more or less unsatisfactory even in dim light and in total darkness the target or other object cannot be seen. A recently invented device that overcomes all these difficulties and makes shooting at night practicable is the “Wespi” searchlight sight.[10]

This sight is a tube about 6 inches long and ¾ inches in diameter containing a miniature electric searchlight which projects a dark spot in the center of the illuminated field. When properly mounted on the piece the black spot indicates where the bullet will strike. This sight can be readily attached to any pistol or revolver. As offered on the market at the present time it is adapted for short range work up to, say, 60 feet. The illustrations show a section through the sight tube, and the sight attached to a revolver. The weight is six ounces. (See 61 and 62 facing p. 64.)

This sight embodies the principles of the telescopic sight and can undoubtedly be modified to increase its illuminating power and adapted so as to project well-defined dark lines[Pg 66] similar to cross wires, on a target; or the dark spot decreased in size to about 3 or 4 inches in diameter at 60 feet. So modified this would be a practical sight for target shooting and would be a boon to many of the older marksmen whose sight is failing and who find it more and more difficult to shoot in artificial light with the ordinary sights.

Such a sight would also possess many advantages for beginners as the moving spot on the target would indicate the unsteadiness of the holding and impress upon the marksman the importance of holding the spot in the right position at the instant of discharge. A further improvement would be to substitute for the dark spot, a spot of intensely bright light. This would be equally as effective as the dark spot and would greatly increase the range at which the sight could be used, adapting it to game shooting at night. It is hoped that the manufacturers will develop a sight as suggested for target and game shooting.

 [Pg 87]

colt peacemaker

Colt "Peacemaker" Prints at PatentPrintArt.com

 

[Pg

 

HINTS TO BEGINNERS[16]

 

Selection of Arms.—There is no single arm that can be used advantageously for all classes of shooting. It is therefore necessary in the first place to decide for what purpose the arm is to be used. A careful perusal of the text under “Arms” and “Ammunition,” will be of assistance in reaching a decision. The next step is the selection of the arm. As already stated, the cheap, unreliable, and unsafe arms are to be carefully avoided. It is preferable to buy a second-hand arm of a reputable manufacturer, if in good condition, than a new one of inferior make. Second-hand arms frequently have defects that cannot be detected by the novice, and, if obliged to buy a second-hand arm, it is advisable to ask some expert shot to assist in making the selection. The price of the best grades of[Pg 123] pistols and revolvers is, fortunately, within the reach of almost every one, and, if at all possible, new arms should be purchased.

In any case, whether a new or a second-hand arm is to be chosen, it is well to examine and handle all the different models of the best makers. The fit and feel of the arm are very important. Select an arm that feels comfortable, and which, when properly held, fits the hand so that the first joint of the trigger finger just touches the trigger when that part of the finger is bent at right angles to the barrel.

The correct manner of holding the pistol or revolver is shown in Fig. 84 and illustrates how the hand should fit the arm. Note particularly the position of the trigger finger and the thumb. The trigger finger in this position acts directly backward in pressing the trigger, and the thumb assists materially in steadying the piece. If the piece is too large for the hand, the trigger finger will be more or less extended, and will pull side-wise to a greater or less degree, and thus increase the difficulty of fine shooting. Fig 84a illustrates the approved position of the thumb when the locking catch interferes with the extended thumb. The fit of the arm is much more important, and has a vastly greater effect upon the results than fine[Pg 124] distinctions between the merits of the different arms. Any of those named are excellent and are capable of shooting much more accurately than they can possibly be held by the most expert shots. A man with a large hand will probably find the Remington pistol or the Colt New Service revolver best suited for him; another with a hand of medium size will find the S. & W. pistol or the S. & W. Russian Model revolver most desirable; while another still, with a small hand, may prefer the Stevens pistol or the .38-caliber military revolver, either the S. & W. or the Colt.

If an arm is wanted for steady use, select the plain blue finish, and wood handles; elaborate engraving and gold, silver, copper, or nickel finished arms are handsome and pleasing, but, if much used, become burnt and discolored where the powder gases escape, and soon become unsightly. A blued finish is also to be preferred when shooting in the sunlight. Most arms as offered on the market have hard rubber handles. These become smooth and slippery when the hand perspires, and are not as desirable as wood handles. A few expert shots prefer pearl handles.

 

Fig. 84.—Correct Manner of Holding the Revolver with Thumb Extended

 

Fig. 84 a.—Showing Thumb when Locking Catch Interferes with Extended Position

 

The trigger pull should have the smallest possible travel and be smooth and positive. [Pg 125]The smaller the travel of the hammer and the more rapid its action, the quicker will be the discharge after pulling the trigger. If the trigger does not pull smooth and “sweet,” or becomes “creepy” from wear, it should be corrected by a skilled gunsmith. While the rules allow a trigger pull of 2 pounds for the pistol and 2½ pounds for the target revolver, many expert shots prefer to have their arm pull from ½ to 1 pound more. The rules also allow 7½ and 8 inch barrels for the revolver. Many of the experienced shots prefer to have their revolvers balance near the trigger, and are of the opinion that the extra length of barrel above 6½ inches does not offset the disadvantage of poorer balance. In the pistol, however, the length of the barrel is invariably 10 inches. Accuracy in aiming is lost very rapidly as the distance between the sights is reduced below 7½ inches.

For target shooting, the .22-caliber pistols will be found admirably suited for beginners. The charge being light, there is less liability to “flinch,” a fault easily and most invariably acquired when the novice begins shooting with a heavy charge. The practice in aiming and pulling the trigger with these arms is excellent training and a first-rate and valuable preliminary[Pg 126] to the more difficult and practical work with the revolver.

The double-action feature in a revolver is of very little practical value. Owing to the varying amount of resistance to the trigger in operating the mechanism, the aim is disturbed more than if the hammer is cocked with the thumb. Even in rapid-fire shooting better results are obtained with a double-action arm if used as a single action. It is also more difficult to make the trigger pull smooth and short in double-action mechanisms.

Manipulation.—Most of the accidents with firearms are caused by carelessness and ignorance in manipulating them. The revolver and pistol, being much smaller, are more dangerous to handle than the rifle or shotgun. An experienced pistol shot can easily be singled out by the extreme care and unostentation with which he handles his arms.

On picking up an arm, or if one is handed to you, open the action at once and make sure it is not loaded. Always do this, even if it is your own arm and you are quite sure it was not loaded when you last put it away; some one, without any idea of danger, may have loaded it in your absence. Cultivate and practise the habit of always holding the arm, whether loaded[Pg 127] or unloaded, so that it points in a direction where it would do no harm if it were to go off unexpectedly.

By observing these simple rules, serious accidents will be impossible. No one should be allowed to handle firearms in a shooting club or participate in any of the public matches until these rules have been thoroughly mastered.

Position and Aiming.—If you know of a club or shooting organization to which one or more first-rate pistol and revolver shots belong, it is well to join it, if possible. Much more rapid progress can be made by observation and by following the suggestions of experienced shots than if one is obliged to solve the various problems without such assistance or advice. In order to familiarize yourself with your arm, it is well to practise aiming and pulling the trigger before any actual shooting is attempted. By inserting an empty shell for the hammer to strike upon, the piece may be aimed and “snapped” without injury.

The position you adopt is very important. Stand firmly on both feet, with the body perfectly balanced and turned at such an angle as is most comfortable when the arm is extended toward the target in aiming. Let the left arm assume any position that may be comfortable[Pg 128] and natural. Select a small black spot with an extensive white background to sight at. A small black paster on a window-pane with the sky for a background, is excellent for this purpose. When the aiming is correct, that is, when the sights are properly aligned, their position with reference to the spot or bull’s-eye should be as shown in Fig. 85. The top of the front sight should just make contact with the lower edge of the bull’s-eye corresponding to the position of VI o’clock. It has been found by experience that it is less fatiguing to lower the arm, fully extended, holding the piece, to the target than to raise it up to the target.

 

Fig. 85—Correct Position of the Sights
in Aiming at the Target.

 

Firing.—With the pistol or revolver in the right hand cock the hammer with the thumb, making sure that the trigger finger is free from the trigger and resting against the forward[Pg 129] inner surface of the trigger guard. In cocking the piece have the barrel pointing upward. Then extend the arm upward and forward, so that when you assume your firing position the piece will point about twenty degrees above the bull’s-eye. With your eyes fixed on the bull’s-eye at VI o’clock inhale enough air to fill the lungs comfortably and lower the piece gradually until the line of the sights comes a short distance below the bull’s-eye. Now, holding your breath and steadying the piece as well as you possibly can, bring the line of sights into the position shown in Fig. 85. At the same time gradually increase the pressure on the trigger directly backward, so that when the sights are pointing at the bull’s-eye the hammer will fall.

Be careful not to pull the trigger with a jerk, but ease it off with a gentle squeeze, so as not disturb the aim. Accustom yourself not to close the eye when the hammer falls, but note carefully where the line of the sights actually points at the instant that the hammer falls. You will, no doubt, find it almost impossible to pull the trigger at the moment the sights are just right. The hammer will fall when the line of sights may point a little too high or too low, or to one side or the other of the [Pg 130]bull’s-eye; but patient practice will correct this, and in time you will be able to let off the arm at the right moment.

 

Fig. 86—Showing the Travel of the Line of
the Sights About the Bull’s-eye in Aiming

 

The pulling of the trigger is a very delicate operation; it is, in fact, the most important detail to master—the secret of pistol and revolver shooting. If the trigger is pulled suddenly, in the usual way, at the instant when the sights appear to be properly aligned, the aim is so seriously disturbed that a wild shot will result. To avoid this, the pressure on the trigger must always be steadily applied, and while the sights are in line with the bull’s-eye. It is, of course, impossible to hold the arm absolutely still, and aim steadily at one point while the pressure is being applied to the trigger; but, in aiming, the unsteadiness of the shooter will cause the line of the sights to point above[Pg 131] the bull’s-eye, then below it, to one side of it, and then to the other, back and forth and around it, as shown by the dotted lines in Fig. 86. Each time that the line of the sights passes over the bull’s-eye the smallest possible increment of additional pressure is successively applied to the trigger until the piece is finally discharged at one of the moments that the sights are in correct alignment. Long and regular practice alone will give the necessary training of the senses and muscles to act in sufficient harmony to enable one to pull the trigger in this way at the right moment for a long series of shots. A “fine sympathy” must be established between the hand, the eye, and the brain, rendering them capable of instant coöperation.

After obtaining a fair idea of aiming, etc., watch carefully when the hammer falls, and note if it jars the piece and disturbs the aim. If not, you are holding the arm properly. If the aim is disturbed, you must grip the arm tighter or more loosely, or move your hand up or down on the handle, or otherwise change your method of holding the piece until your “hold” is such that you can snap the hammer and the aim remain undisturbed. This aiming and snapping drill is largely practised by expert shots indoors, when they do not have[Pg 132] the opportunity to practise regularly out-of-doors.

Target Practice.—If your first actual shooting is done at the range of a club, it is best to ask one of the members to coach you until you get accustomed to the rules, etc. A target will be assigned to you, and you will repair to the firing point and load your arm. It is well to let your coach fire the first shot or two, to see if your piece is sighted approximately right. If so, you are ready to begin shooting. If the sights appear to be as in Fig. 85 at the moment of discharge, then the bullet should hit the center of the bull’s-eye. If, after several shots, you are convinced that the bullet does not strike where it should, the arm is not properly sighted for you.

In adjusting the sights you will find it an advantage to remember a very simple rule: To correct the rear sight, move it in the same direction as you would the shots on the target to correct them, or move the front sight in the opposite direction. Most target arms have the front sight non-adjustable, and the rear sight adjustable for both windage and elevation. A few arms have interchangeable or adjustable front sights for elevation. Move the sights a little at a time, according to the foregoing[Pg 133] rules, until they are properly aligned. A few ten-shot scores should then be fired for record. As you become accustomed to the range, rules, etc., you will feel more at ease. This will inspire confidence, and your shooting will improve correspondingly.

Do not have your sights too fine. Fine sights are much more straining on the eyes, and have no advantage over moderately coarse sights. The rear sights as generally furnished are purposely made with very small notches, so as to enable individuals to make them any desired size.

It is well to have the trigger pull at least ¼ of a pound greater than the minimum allowed by the rules. If much used, the pull sometimes wears lighter; and if there is little or no margin, you run the risk of having your arm disqualified when you wish to enter an important match.

Never use other ammunition in your arm than that for which it is chambered. A number of accidents and much difficulty have resulted from wrong ammunition. In the same caliber the actual diameter of the bullets frequently varies considerably, and a few shots, even if they should not prove dangerous, may lead the barrel, and thus cause much delay and[Pg 134] annoyance. When a barrel is “leaded” from any cause it will become inaccurate. In such cases, particles of lead usually adhere to the inside of the barrel at or near the breech. A brass wire brush, of suitable size to fit the barrel, will generally remove it. When this fails, carefully remove all oil, cork up the opposite end of the barrel and fill it with mercury, letting the latter remain in the barrel until the lead is removed.

Occasionally the powder is accidentally omitted in loading a cartridge. When the primer explodes, the bullet may be driven partly through the barrel and remain in it. When this happens, whether from this cause or any other, always be careful to push the bullet out of the barrel before firing another shot. If the bullet is not removed, and another shot is fired, the barrel will be bulged and ruined. This may occur with a light gallery charge.

When shooting the .22-caliber long rifle cartridge, there will be an occasional misfire. In withdrawing the cartridge the bullet will stick in the barrel and the powder spill into the action. To prevent this, hold the barrel vertically, with the muzzle up, and withdraw the shell carefully. Then remove the bullet in the barrel with a cleaning rod; or extract the[Pg 135] bullet from a new cartridge, inserting the shell filled with powder into the chamber back of the bullet and fire it in the usual manner.

Do not use BB caps in any pistol that you value. They are loaded with a composition of fulminate of mercury in combination with other substances that cause rusting and the bullets have no lubrication. These caps will ruin a barrel in a very short time. The .22-caliber conical ball caps are loaded with black powder, and the bullets are lubricated, making this a much better cartridge; but it is best to adhere to the regular .22 ammunition for which the arm is chambered.

Never under any circumstances shoot at objects on the heads or in the hands of persons. There is always a possibility of something going wrong, and such risk to human life is unjustifiable, no matter how skilful you may be.

It is necessary to exercise extreme care in practising with the pocket revolver. Some persons delight in practising quick drawing from the pocket and firing one or more shots. This is dangerous work for the novice to attempt. Most of the pocket weapons are double action. If the finger is on the trigger and the arm catches in the pocket when drawing, a premature discharge is likely to result, which is[Pg 136] always unpleasant and sometimes disastrous. Practice in drawing the revolver from the pocket or holster should always be begun with the arm unloaded. Only after a fair degree of skill is acquired should actual shooting be attempted. For quick drawing from the pocket the only double-action revolvers that are fairly safe to handle are the S. & W. Safety Hammerless, and the Colt “Double Action,” which has a safety notch for the hammer to rest on.

Drawing a revolver from a holster is easier and much less dangerous than drawing it from the pocket. Larger and more practical arms are generally carried in holsters, and such arms should be single action in all cases. In practising with a holster weapon, fasten the holster on the belt, and anchor the belt so that the holster will always be at the same relative position. The holster should be cut out so that the forefinger can be placed on the trigger in drawing. Always carry a loaded revolver with the hammer resting on an empty chamber or between two cartridges.

In the woods, or in localities where such shooting would not be likely to do any harm, it is good practice to shoot at a block of wood drifting down in the current of a swift-flowing stream, at a block of wood or a tin can swinging[Pg 137] like a pendulum, from horseback at stationary and moving objects, and from a moving boat at similar objects. Such practice is largely indulged in by cowboys, ranchmen, and others in the western part of the United States. The shooting is generally rapid-fire work with heavy charges at short range, and is to be commended as being extremely practical.

Many of the published reports of wonderful shooting are gross exaggerations. The prowess of the so-called “Gun Men” of New York and other large cities is greatly over-estimated. These criminals do not practice shooting with the fire arms they use but operate by stealth and intrigue which makes them dangerous. They are, in fact, very poor marksmen, few of them being able to hit an object the size of a man more than 15 or 20 feet away.

In shooting a long series of shots with black powder ammunition, when the rules allow it, the barrel should be cleaned and examined every six or ten shots, depending upon the clean-shooting qualities of the ammunition used. It is well to examine the shells, also, and note if the primers have been struck in the center. If not, then some of the mechanism is out of line, and the parts likely to have caused the trouble must be cleaned.

[Pg 138]After securing good, reliable arms, stick to them. Much time and progress is frequently lost by buying and trying different arms, ammunition, etc. If in any of your shooting, you should get results that are peculiar and unsatisfactory, make it your business to find out the cause of the difficulty, and remedy it as soon as possible.

“Blazing away” a large quantity of ammunition carelessly and recklessly is absolutely valueless as practice, and is a waste of time. Give your whole attention to your work, and try your very best to place every shot in the center of the bull’s-eye.

It is very important to keep a full, detailed record of all your shooting, for comparison, study, etc. A suitable book should be provided for this purpose. Do not fall into the habit of preserving only a few of the best scores; but make it a rule to keep a record of every shot, and figure out the average of each day’s work. The more painstaking and systematic you are, the more rapid will be your progress. By careful, intelligent work, it is possible to become a fair shot in three or four months, and a first-rate shot in a year.

Matches and Competitions.—After a number of good shots have been developed in any club,[Pg 139] there is generally a desire to measure skill with the members of another club. This leads to friendly matches, which are usually very enjoyable and instructive. Shooting in a match places a man under a certain strain which affects individuals quite differently; some become nervous and shoot poorly when the best work is expected of them, while others are braced up by the occasion and shoot more brilliantly than under ordinary conditions.

Before competing in any match be sure to thoroughly familiarize yourself with all the conditions. This will prevent mistakes that frequently disqualify competitors and lead to disagreeable controversies. Avoid getting into any arguments or disputes with range officers, or officials in charge of the matches, and particularly while the matches are in progress. The range officers are invariably extremely busy and it is unjust to the other competitors to usurp more of their time than is your proper portion. They are generally intelligent men who have been selected because of their fitness for the positions they hold, and their decisions and rulings should be accepted as final. If for good cause you should wish to protest against any decision or ruling of an officer in charge, do it in a quiet and gentlemanly way, and[Pg 140] whether the rules require it or not, such protest should be made in writing.

Beginners, as well as those who keep up their practice shooting, should enter the annual championships of the U. S. Revolver Association each year. These events are conducted by the Association in different parts of the country simultaneously, under as nearly identical conditions as possible. By this arrangement, long and expensive journeys to one place of meeting are avoided, and all those interested in the sport can participate without serious inconvenience.

Competing in these events is extremely advantageous and beneficial. It enables the beginner not only to note his improvement from year to year, but affords training and experience in shooting under real match conditions, and will correct any misinterpretation of the rules. The more experienced shot, by entering these contests is enabled to compare his skill with that of the leading marksmen of the country, and accurately determine his position among them from year to year.

Persons wishing to compete in the annual championships should practice regularly throughout the year under the conditions of the matches; firing the full number of shots and within the specified time limits in all cases.

[Pg 141]The National Pistol Match and the National Rifle Association matches are generally held at some selected state or government range, and at a certain specified time. All the contestants are, therefore, shooting on the same ground and approximately under the same conditions. All these matches are shot in the open; i. e. without shelter or protection from the wind. When shooting under these conditions in the glaring sunlight, it is a decided advantage to wear suitable, colored large-lensed spectacles to temper the light and rest the eyes. The sights and top surfaces of the barrel should be smoked or blackened to prevent the reflection of light. This may be accomplished by burning a small piece of gum camphor, which makes an excellent smoke for this purpose, or by painting with “sight black.” A wide brimmed hat will also add to the shooter’s comfort in the bright sunlight. Nailed or rubber soles for the boots or shoes are to be preferred because they do not wear slippery.

In squadded competitions the weather conditions must be accepted as they are at the time of the shooting. In re-entry and individual matches the time of the shooting is sometimes optional with the competitor. When this is the case it is a decided advantage to select a[Pg 142] time when the conditions of light, wind, etc., are most favorable. On normal clear days, the early forenoon, or just before sunset, are generally the most favorable for suitable light. The wind generally slacks up to a certain degree also just before sundown. Immediately after a shower the conditions are sometimes excellent.

The position of the target with reference to the sun must also be taken into consideration. It is generally best to shoot directly toward or directly away from the sun. Rapid-fire shooting in a gusty wind is perhaps more difficult than under any other conditions. When the wind is steady one can brace up against it and do fair shooting, but when it is unsteady there will invariably be some wild shots. In deliberate untimed shooting one can wait for a lull and get the shots in during such brief intervals.

In practising rapid-fire shooting, great care is necessary in order to prevent accidents, especially in the case of the automatic pistols, which remain cocked and ready to pull the trigger after each shot. In shooting within a time limit, practise to use the entire period and endeavor to do the best possible work, getting in the last shot just before the end of the period.

In team matches always follow the [Pg 143]instructions and suggestions of your team captain implicitly. Coöperate with him to the limit of your ability in developing the best and most consistent work of each member of the team. Always remember that the high average shooting of a team wins more matches than the brilliant shooting of an individual.

In training for matches be abstemious and maintain good physical condition. If your liver is torpid it must be stimulated. Do not tire yourself with too much practice shooting. One or two hours practice daily is generally ample.

Cleaning and Care of Arms.—To maintain the highest efficiency in an arm, it is necessary to keep it in perfect order. The working parts must be kept clean and oiled, and the barrel should receive special attention and care. The residue of some powders is less injurious than that of others, but the arm should in all cases be cleaned and oiled immediately after it has been used. The cleaning should be thorough. Heavy cotton flannel is excellent for this purpose. It should be perfectly dry. Much of the fouling will rub off without moisture, but if moisture is necessary to soften the fouling in places, use thin oil. Never use water, ordinary kerosene, or similar fluids. For certain kinds of smokeless powders, cleaning fluids have been prepared that give good results. Be careful to use the special fluid that is adapted to the particular powder used, as the wrong fluid may not accomplish the desired results.

A good cleaning fluid for many of the Nitro Powders, such as “Bullseye,” “R. S. Q.,” “Walsrode” etc., is Dr. Hudson’s nitro solvent formula, as follows:

Astral oil (or Kerosene free from acid)   2 fluid ounces
Sperm oil   1 fluid ounce
Acetone   1 fluid ounce
Turpentine   1 fluid ounce

Note.—To make sure that the kerosene or Astral oil is free from acid, it can be shaken up with some washing soda, which will neutralize any free acid that may have been present.

To clubs, or those who wish to make up a cleaning fluid in quantities, the above will prove very effective and inexpensive.

For cleaning the inside of the barrel a wooden rod is best. It should have a knob on the end of such size that one or two thicknesses of the cotton flannel around it will fit the bore snug and tight. Square patches of suitable size may then be cut in quantities and used as required. Clean from the breech end of the barrel whenever possible. The slightest burr or injury at the muzzle will spoil the accuracy of an otherwise good barrel. Particular care should be exercised, especially if a steel rod with a slot is used, to prevent the wad from“jamming” in the barrel. Continue cleaning the inside of the barrel until tight-fitting patches, when withdrawn, show no discoloration, and the barrel is warm from the friction of the cleaning. Then saturate a fresh patch with good oil and pass it through the barrel several times, making sure that the entire surface of the grooves has been thoroughly coated with oil. After the cylinder and other parts are cleaned, they should also be oiled.

A good oil for cleaning is “Three in One”; for preventing rust, use Winchester Gun Grease or refined sperm oil. Plenty of oil should be kept on the circle of teeth in which the pawl engages in revolving the cylinder. If smokeless ammunition is used, the oil should be removed from the interior of the barrel and the chambers of the cylinder, a day or two after the first cleaning, and fresh oil applied.

In warm weather, when the air is humid, arms rust very quickly. If they are not kept in an air-tight compartment, they should be inspected, and, if necessary, re-oiled every few days. Under favorable conditions, a thorough cleaning and oiling will preserve the arm in good condition for a month.

If it is desired to store the arms, or protect them for long periods of time, the interior surfaces of the frame, and all the mechanism, should be carefully cleaned and oiled, and then the entire space within the frame filled solid with non-liquid grease, like the Winchester “gun grease.” After cleaning the barrel and cylinder, the bore and chambers in the cylinder should be filled solid with the grease. This treatment excludes the air, and absolutely prevents oxidation. The exterior should be oiled, and then coated heavily with “gun grease.” Place the arm in a dry woollen cloth, or flannel cover, and wrap it up in a double thickness of new manila paper of the weight of ordinary writing paper. Repeat this, wrapping twice more, each wrapping independent of the other. Then lay the arm in a dry place, where the temperature will always be uniform, and not so warm as to melt the grease. An arm protected in this way will remain in good condition for a period of two years.

Another method of protecting weapons from rust is to immerse them in oil. The wood or rubber stocks should be removed and the arms suspended from a rack in a large glass jar with a ground glass cover to prevent the evaporation of the oil. This is a very quick and effective method and is much more convenient than the preceding plan. The best quality of refined sperm oil should be used.

 

 

 

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