American Team Selection and the Amateur Rifle Club

In March 1874 the Amateur Club circulated an appeal to the riflemen of America. This was in anticipation that they would receive from the whole nation sufficient support to enable them to produce a creditable team to compete against a team from Ireland. The appeal was published in newspapers throughout the country. Native-born Americans interested in rifle shooting, and desiring to be considered for the team, were requested to forward scores on or before the 1st day of July 1874. Despite the publicity, the renowned ‘riflemen of the plains’ failed to materialise.

The Amateur Rifle Club Long Range Badge

On 30 May 1874 (#onthisday) competition began for the Long Range Badge of the Amateur Rifle Club of New York. Eighteen contestants were entered for the match, twelve used rifles by Sharps and six used rifles by Remington.

Amateur Rifle Club Gold Badge

On 12 July 1873, the Amateur Rifle Club of New York held at Creedmoor their first contest for the Club’s Gold Badge. The competition was fired at 500 yards, seven shots to count, and with rifles not over ten pounds in weight. Matches were to continue monthly, and once won by someone three times, the badge would belong to them forever.

British Musketry Manuals, 1859-1920

The 1st February 1859 saw the beginning of the new series of smaller format Musketry Instructions now more grandly entitled “Regulations For Conducting The Musketry Instruction Of The Army.” Popular at the time are the Official Pocket Editions of some of these manuals. Bound in red leather and secured by a hinged brass clasp they are attractively embossed with the full Royal Arms and the title.

To The Riflemen Of America

On 11 March 1874 a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Amateur Rifle Club was held to consider the programme of the proposed match with Irish riflemen. The Committee accepted the programme with a single exception. It was intended to organise an American team of picked riflemen, and the Secretary of the Club, Frederick P. Fairbanks, issued a circular to all native-born Americans.

Planning the International Rifle Match

In February 1874 Arthur Leech wrote to George Wingate, with the programme of the proposed international rifle match between Ireland and America. Leech confirmed that the 1,100 yards range had been omitted – owing to lack of such at Creedmoor. He also sought to reserve the right of limiting the team to not less than four men or more than eight.

Irish Challenge Accepted by the Amateur Rifle Club of New York

On 20 November 1873 the ‘New York Herald’ published a letter from Arthur B. Leech, founder of the Irish Rifle Association, with a challenge to the riflemen of America from the riflemen of Ireland for a long range competition. It was the Amateur Rifle Club of New York City that accepted the challenge on behalf of American riflemen.

Challenge from Ireland to America, 1873

Buoyed by their success in 1873 by beating England and Scotland in the Elcho Shield match, Ireland wanted further laurels. Unaware of the existence of the American NRA (established in 1871), a challenge to the ‘Riflemen of America’ for a long range rifle match was sent on behalf of Irish riflemen to the editor of the New York Herald. It was published on 22 November 1873.