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Historical Firearms, Long Range Target Shooting & Military History

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William (Bill) Scott Curtis

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Whitworth Rifle enthusiasts

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Whitworth military target rifle

Wigan Volunteer Rifles were formed in January 1860, and were the 21st Corps of Lancashire Rifle Volunteers. Their first rifle contest commenced on Thursday 29 November 1860 at Wigan practice ground, with a moderate attendance of spectators. 

Henry Woods MP presented the above Whitworth military target rifle (serial number B40) as a prize. The rifle is cased with accessories, including mould, wad punch, powder flask, percussion caps, oil bottle, nipple key and cleaning jags.

It was to be shot for at 200 and 300 yards, each competitor firing five shots at each distance. The entrance fee was 2s. 6d., two-thirds of the whole amount received going to form a second prize. Shooting was likely with the .577 P.1853 Enfield Rifle Musket and from the standing position - Volunteer rifles had to accept the Government cartridge and percussion caps.

Whitworth lock detail

Thirty nine volunteers entered the list and the following are the top scores:

  200 yards 300 yards Total
Private R. Waddington 9 4 13
Lieutenant Marshall 7 5 12
Sergeant Swift 6 6 12
Private R. Lea 7 5 12
Private M'Cann 6 6 12
Private Whaley 8 4 12

Private Robert Waddington made the highest score of 13 and was declared the winner. For the second prize there were five ties. Despite failing light, and at the competitors request, the tie shoot proceeded, which resulted in the second prize being awarded to Private M'Cann.

Prize rifle

Images courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company