|Edwin Perry's 'Modern Observations on Rifle Shooting' (1880)|
Edwin Perry shares, in his Third Edition of Modern Observations on Rifle Shooting (1880), some of the major changes / advancements at Creedmoor in just a short 5 years. When it comes to bullet alloys, much of what has been passed around on the internet as fact about the advent of harder alloy bullets is, frankly, nothing but conjecture. And what has been passed off as fact is in effect WRONG.
Very hard alloy bullets, were in vogue by 1879 for long range competition and were sold by Sharps and Remington. Factory ammo was no longer used by any of the big name shooters. Most had, after careful study, found that their own reloads had much better performance on the long range targets. Make no mistake about it, rapid advances in long range shooting were going on, and much of it we knew little about, until now. Rare contemporary catalogue data shows it, but no reasons as to what or why or WHO was using it. Now we have some insights, the sad part is it was always there, we just had to know where and how… to find it.
What I liked about this edition of Perry’s book, which is as different as night is to day to the First Edition, is that he does not share just an opinion: he shares what the shooters were actually using. Powder charges much heavier and the reasons why. Bullet alloys, sorry soft bullet alloy advocates, the softest bullet in use at Creedmoor by 1879, for long range was 1-14 in the Sharps Borchardt, patched with the Hyde base-pattern or method. Many were using 1-11 and the Hepburn base method. Others used 1-11 alloys, but patched with the Hyde method. Huge advancements, not just in alloy / powder charges, but also in nose shape and bullet weights are also mentioned. He goes into discourse on the need for a rifle to hold elevation (vertical) on the target, something I have never seen before in print on the subject of Black Powder Cartridge Rifles from that era. He makes mention of Frank Hyde’s methods and that his targets spoke volumes on the subject of hand loading one’s own fixed ammunition when it came to holding elevation / vertical. Talk about some eye openers! The advice given was simple, increase the powder charge until elevation required, and the vertical was reduced to the minimum, then use 1-2 grains above that! Our British cousins lamented the fact and said we used to much powder, yet we kept handing them their collective team’s asses in every international sanctioned match.
Perry states: The Men looked on as Giants in the 1874 International Match, have since been dwarfed by those willing to devote careful study to the Science of Long Range Shooting. Perry proposed a match to promote the advancement of this very thing. Proposing a long range match at that time, was nothing new to be surprised at but… The conditions / rules laid down for this match were.