American Rifles, 1877

Following defeat of the British rifle team by American riflemen at Creedmoor, USA, in September 1877, there was debate about the reasons for defeat and this discussion included talk of the rifles used. Here Irish gunmaker John Rigby offers his observation on Remington and Sharps Creedmoor rifles.

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.

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.

The Creedmoor Rifle, 1876

“Forest and Stream” published a ‘Hand-Book for Riflemen’ in 1876. The Hand-Book is authored by Major George C. Starr, Secretary of the American Rifle Association. The author of the ‘Hand-Book’ cites Wingates ‘Manual for Rifle Practice’ as a source for “valuable hints and facts”.

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.”

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.

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.

Long Range Target Rifles

INDEX. 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.