Measuring Velocity

The ballistic pendulum invented by Benjamin Robins (1707 – 1751), was first used in 1740, with the object of measuring the velocity of projectiles and the resistance of the air. Electro-ballistic apparatus was seeing use by the mid-19th Century. One such device was Navez Apparatus, which saw use in Great Britain with both small arms and artillery.

Measuring Precision

The 19th saw firearms evolve from flintlock muzzle loaders, using patched round ball and black powder, through to bolt action breech loaders with smokeless powders. As firearms development proceeded, so arms and ammunition needed assessing in comparative trials by the military. In the 1860s the National Rifle Association held competitive trials to determine which rifle would be used in the final stage of the Queen’s Prize at their Annual Rifle Meetings on Wimbledon Common. The system used to measure precision of rifled arms at this time was the “Figure of Merit”.

Lancaster Oval Bore

In 1863 the “Army (Rifles)” report was published, being a ‘Report of the Committee on Small Bore Rifles and the various Systems of Rifling as tried last year.’ Large-bore and small bore rifles were tested, and the report commented favourably on the large bore Lancaster.