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Firearms, Long Range Target Shooting & Associated History

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Long Range Target Rifles

Long range target rifles are scarce and highly prized collectors items today. While some saw limited use as sharpshooters arms (notably in the American Civil War) the rifles featured here in these general discussions were more often encountered on the rifle range. Further information can also be found at: Gunmakers.

Small-bore Rifles Compared, Wimbledon 1862

During the early years of the National Rifle Association's Annual Rifle Meeting there was keen interest in the small-bore rifles used. One correspondent to the Volunteer Service Gazette in 1863 in seeking to understand the merits of different makers rifles, collated scores obtained at Wimbledon in 1862 by four rifles – Henry, Kerr, Turner and Whitworth. His letter and comparative tables are reproduced.

Read more: Small-bore Rifles Compared, Wimbledon 1862

The 1862 London International Exhibition

The International Exhibition of 1862, successor to the 1851 Great Exhibition, was held at London 1 May to 1 November. Featuring over 28,000 exhibitors from 36 countries, it represented a wide range of industry, technology, and the arts and attracted about 6.1 million visitors. Amongst the arms and ordnance exhibited were a number of long range rifles, which were described, briefly, by John Rigby for the Practical Mechanic's Journal.

Read more: The 1862 London International Exhibition

Creedmoor Rifles, 1873

In October 1873 a Forest & Stream reporter at Creedmoor observed that "at the longer ranges the qualities of the finer rifles of course gave them greater advantages. This match also demonstrated the great improvement that had been made in breech-loaders. The score at 800 and 1,000 yards showed but little difference between the muzzle-loading Rigby and Metford rifles, and the breech-loading Remington, Sharpe, and Maynard."

Read more: Creedmoor Rifles, 1873

Short Barrel and Long Range

Mr. Leonard Geiger, the inventor of the Remington gun, had a new weapon on the range for the purpose of testing its accuracy. This rifle, called by Mr. Geiger, "a son of a gun," has the stock and breech mechanism of the Remington long-range rifle, without the pistol grip. Its barrel is only twenty-six inches long, but very thick, the weapon weighing slightly over ten pounds. [1877]

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Elcho Shield Rifles, 1878

American riflemen using their breech loading rifles in long range competition beat Ireland at Creedmoor (USA) in 1874 and again at Dollymount (Ireland) in 1875. In the Centennial Match of 1876 at Creedmoor they were again successful beating teams from Australia, Canada, Ireland and Scotland. A Great Britain team was also beaten at Creedmoor in 1877. Despite this British riflemen were slow to adopt the breech loader for match rifle shooting.

Read more: Elcho Shield Rifles, 1878