Long Range Shooting
Today I wanted to cover a topic near and dear to this shops heart, long range shooting. If you want to ring the gong at a Km then Claremont’s is the shop for you, we even have weekends away where the sole purpose is to knock crap out of a steel plate at a ridiculous distance. We have long range scopes, apps for the smart phone that will turn it into a ballistic computer and camera’s that will beam live shots of the gong getting the poo hammered out of it. I used to be able to do it years ago when I was both young and keen, I still have my old Steyr SSG 69 even though it is considered to be almost as obsolete as me, what can I say I’m old.
For now I will leave the modern side of the house to that Smith Kid who is getting pretty god dam good at ringing that gong. Today as you might expect I’m going retro, really retro, back to the days when muzzle loading rifles had reached their zenith.
From 1853 to 1867 the Enfield rifle was the Queen of the long range rifles, using the mammoth 577 round, its effective range was considered to be 1250 yards. The word being effective range, it would go further but people could still hit the target at 1250 yards, have a think about that for a moment, no scope, no computer, no precision cartridges with modern powder just black powder and a humungous lump of lead.
This was after all a very different time, Victoria was on the throne, the empire was at the peak of its influence and there were rifles clubs across the Empire. Back then Her Majesty’s Govt. considered it desirable that males of age for military service had some form of rifle handling and marksmanship training, just in case the Empire needed to assert its influence with extreme prejudice.
Around 1850 the NRA (English) was formed to promote and organise rifle clubs throughout Britain and the era of long range competitive rifle shooting was born. Competition was fierce between military and civilian teams as well as teams from all over the Empire.
This was true precision shooting, you had to learn how to read the range e.g. what the flags could tell you about what the wind was doing, ground mirage effect and how humidity could affect your shot. Almost a lost art now and difficult enough with a modern range rifle let alone a black powder gun.
I’m lucky enough to have a Parker Hale Whitworth Rifle on my open licence, this has hexangular rifling and is in 451 Calibre and was considered to be quite advanced in its day, it’s great fun to shoot and I’ve stretched it out to 200 but that’s it for me, it’s just amazing what the old blokes use to do.
This leads to the question “have we replaced skill with technology’, Well yes and no, yes in the fact that we don’t have to learn the skills the old timers did because we have different tools and technology which means we don’t have to and no because back then these guys stretched their tech to the max and achieved tremendous results and we are just doing the same thing with our tech.
As for me, well I managed to score some black powder from the last shipment and it’s my intention to get up to the range and worry the crap out of the 200 m gong. As for the rest you why don’t you see exactly what you and your rifle are capable of and start practicing those long shots, you might surprise yourself.