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One of the greatest impacts on all Africa's history, its peoples, and its wildlife is the Gun -

 

 
Introduced initially as a hunting weapon to provide fresh game meat for the passing sailors and little European settlements and to protect them from marauding wild animals, it eventually became a deadly end for many when it was used against the Bantu tribes - first as protection against cattle raids, and then in the struggle for land.
 
The Europeans also suffered in these wars - fighting each other.
 
The ivory trade and pelt trade opened up the way for the gun to be used as an effective way to bring down large-sized game, and man got the 'taste for blood' as he began to hunt not simply for food, but for monetary gain and pure sporting pleasure.
 
 
All young European boys from the age of about 7-10 were trained by their fathers in the art of hunting, using knives, catapults, and the gun. And although guns were produced that were scaled down so that they could be used by a child, many boys learned first how to use the big guns of their fathers. Even Bantu male children learned the art of hunting - and skill with spears, knives, and their first 'kill', were honoured amongst their society, initiating them into manhood.
 
Whilst today gun-warfare in Africa has somewhat abated with countries living in relative peace, the hunting and poaching warfare has not lost impetus and guns are now more sophisticated, high powered, accurate, and deadly.
 
The continued desire by man for trinkets made of ivory, and horn for 'medicine', and high prices for these articles mean that many of Africa's countries still battle another war - with the poachers -

 


 

 
 
Sporting History in Africa


On 6th April 1652 Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape where he established a settlement and eventually built a castle.


On Monday, 5th August 1686, instructions were issued from the Castle, detailing the rules and regulations of a shooting competition to be held at Stellenbosch from the 1st to the 14th October, 1686.

This is the first reference to an organised sports event in South Africa.


The origin of the shoot comes from Middle Age Europe when parrots, geese and probably other birds were used as targets for shooting events at village fairs.


Later clay and wooden replicas were used instead of live birds and it seems obvious that Governor Simon van der Stel had this tradition in mind when he introduced the"papegaij"as the target to be used.


This proclamation from the Castle would give the citizens an opportunity to exercise their firearm skills and so encourage a state of military readiness in the event of any requirement in this direction.


The rules of the match were numerous and fairly complex.

The entry fees were 2schillings (about 10 current South African cents) for locals from Stellenbosch and 1Rixdaalder (40c) for others, whilst there were several prizes for shooting off various parts of the parrot's body. The person who eventually shot down the body itself received a prize of 25 Rixdaalders (about 10 SA Rand) together with entry fees and other emoluments, and was escorted home by all the competitors.

For the first 100 years of their existence firearms were not used for hunting in Europe due to their unwieldiness, lack of accuracy and the mess the projectile would have made of a carcass in the unlikely event of a hit, and it wasn't until the 16th century when the refinement of the matchlock and the new wheel-lock began to make hunting with firearms a possibility.

 


As sporting with firearms became more successful, more rules were laid upon them by the authorities.

Hunting deer, the chief sport of medieval kings,  for example was especially restricted and in some countries, deer shooting could incur the most extreme penalties ranging from confiscation of all property and in some cases, death.


By the middle of the 19th century, hunting firearms had essentially divided into two major classes - the sporting rifle with its single and usually solid projectile for larger game at longer ranges and the shotgun with its multiple charge for smaller game.

The shotgun was now usually percussion ignition and double barrelled and muzzle loaded, with the exception being the German Dreiling - a three barrelled weapon with two shotgun barrels and a rifle barrel below.


The standard cartridge for the shotgun became the centre-fire 12 bore, which is the term given to the number of spherical balls of diameter equal to the bore that go into a pound weight.


Except for police duties, shotguns were seldom used with solid shot, and instead a number of different cartridges were selected to match the intended game - small birds demanded many small balls in the load - larger game demanded a lesser number of heavier shot.


Sporting rifles varied in size and calibre according to the intended quarry, with rook and rabbit rifles at the lightest end of the spectrum, often with a cartridge as small as .22 inch.

Deer shooting required a larger cartridge and a .300 was adequate. But for really big game, such as the American buffalo, guns of about half an inch calibre and a heavy barrel was required.

Particular favourites of the professional hunter were the Sharps, Ballard and Winchester single shot rifles.


The 'elephant' or big game weapons with an 8 bore flint lock had existed as early as the beginning of the 19th century but the combination of really good range, accuracy and stopping power did not emerge for another 50 years.


A percussion gun made by Pether of Oxford, England in the early 1830s weighed 15lb and had a bore of 1.5 inches, and early 'big game weapons' such as this relied on the sheer mass of the projectile rather than high velocity.


As the gun was twice as heavy as the military musket, it was fitted with a mounting for a swivel, visible as a square section in front of the lockplate, and it was not unknown to mount really heavy pieces on small carriages, screened at the front to hide the hunter.

 

President Theodore Roosevelt


By 1860 these really powerful guns were being likened to express trains and the term 'express rifle' soon gained currency for any powerful sporting arm.


In the 1890s smokeless powders and brass cartridges combined with nitrocellulose propellants aided the emergence of really modern bolt-action big-game rifles.


The best cartridge for delivering a smashing short-range blow against elephants, rhino, hippo, tigers and lions was the .600 nitro express, but an alternative was to deliver a solid shot from a shotgun.


One way to do this was to rifle a part of the shotgun barrel (preferably the part near the muzzle) with a choke or narrower section - these weapons were known as 'paradox guns', and the idea possible came from the British inventor Fosbery who subsequently devised the Webley-Fosbery revolver.


Optical or telescopic sights had been devised as early as 1800 and experiments in their application had taken place in many areas with different weapons.

One of the most successful was that of the British in India during the 1830s to 1840s and some had been used during the American Civil War, but it was late in the century before there was any widespread sporting application.


During the Boer War in 1899-1902 many of the best 'sniping shots' using telescopic sights were men who had served their 'apprenticeship' hunting in Canada, India, or the forests in Germany and Europe.


Hunting for pure sport in South Africa began in earnest around the time of the 1830s when Cornwallis Harris who had read the accounts of the botanist William Burchell.


William Burchell had trekked into the interior making botanical drawings and descriptions of wildlife and collecting plant specimens in 1811-1815 and had made maps of the area.

He was the first European to report the existence of white rhino and the zebra-like animals called the quagga.

 

Burchell had hunted eland and other antelope as a means of survival on his 4500 mile trip of the interior.

Cornwallis Harris went out to South Africa in 1836 when he fell ill with Indian fever and upon his arrival in the country he and William Richardson, a friend from the Bombay Civil Service, followed the route Burchell had took taking with them food supplies, bullet moulds, lead ingots and 18,000 ready-to-fire bullets.

They met up with Mzilikazi and traded goods with him for the rights to hunt in Matabeleland (Rhodesia/Zimbabwe). The two men then proceeded on horseback to fire upon giraffe, rhino, eland, waterbuck and other game at will. In the Magaliesberg Mountains they met up with herds of elephant which they killed with wanton bloodlust.

The hunt finally came to an end when Harris and Richardson reached Graaff-Reinet on January 24th, 1837.

Harris published accounts of his trip, including a folio of 31 coloured engravings.

The way of the 'professional hunter' had begun - and by 1883 the quagga was extinct.


David Livingstone estimated that over 30,000 were killed yearly in central Africa from the 1840s to the 1870s to supply the ivory trade.


The weapons used during the 19th century were cumbersome and not particularly effective and it was not unusual for hunters to have to shoot big game like rhino and elephant a dozen times before felling it. Some took 27-50 shots.


This meant that the animals were wounded first. Some fled and had to be tracked before they were eventually killed - some turned and fought back - and many a hunter was gored by an elephant or rhino, or mauled by a lion or leopard.


Amongst the Colonial Big Game Hunters were names like the American President Theodore Roosevelt who 'justified' his slaughter as 'providing specimens for museum display' and the writer Ernest Hemmingway whose hunting expeditions were merely competitions with his friends to see who could shoot the most, the biggest, the finest -

 


 
Ivory Hunting


 
More than 2,000 years ago the Chinese were buying ivory from Siberia.

The Mediterranean world, the Greeks and the Romans, also had heard of a place far to the north where this ivory was dug from the ground.


The ivory came from the extinct Mammoths whose remains were preserved in the frosty ground. Mammoths had died out from Europe 15,000 years ago and from North America 5,000 years ago when the ice caps and glaciers retreated.


Arab traders entered the Siberian ivory business 1,000 years ago, and the English started buying mammoth ivory in the 1600s.


The center of the mammoth ivory trade was Yakutsk in Russia and during much of the 1800s 25 tons of ivory was sold annually. Over 50,000 mammoths reached 19th century markets.


The first known mention of African elephants in literature did not occur until 480BC when Hanno, a Carthaginian, who sought to establish settlements on the west coast of Africa, reported that the marshes surrounding the Tensift River near the Atlas Mountains were teaming with them.


Egyptian pharaohs and the Arabs had established elephant hunting and slave trading stations along coastal Ethiopia and Somalia with the main markets at Aksum and Meroe by the 3rd century BC.


Not only for trade in ivory but also to capture live elephants for use in warfare - Hannibal's trek from Tunis in North Africa and across the Alps to Rome (Italy) being the best example of the elephants use in warfare.


Thereafter they were also used by the Romans for entertainment in circuses and gladiatorial games.


When over-hunting wiped out most of the game animals of north Africa, traders sought to procure ivory, ostrich feathers, and furs from the sub-Saharan savannah and beyond. The desert proved a difficult terrain for all but the hardiest of pack animals and peoples, but the sea routes excelled with ports being opened up down the east coast of Africa as far as the Tropic of Capricorn.


Until the 1800s when explorers and European hunters began expeditions themselves into the interior of central Africa, ivory hunters were African.

Many states, such as the Chokwe of Angola on the western side and the Imbangala of Kasanje on the eastern side, formed armies of professional hunters trading deep into the interior.

The most famous Arab/Swahili trader of the central African interior was Hamed bin Muhammed, commonly known as Tippu Tip, who started his hunting and raiding experience among the Kazembe.

The Kazembe had been another strong trading and hunting kingdom in the 1850s until civil wars crumbled the empire.

By the early 1880s Tippu Tip's 'hunting army' was several thousand strong and they hunted elephants (and slaves) deep into the Zaire forests.

The African tribes in Tsongaland/Maputoland near Delagoa Bay also provided a lucrative trade in ivory to the Portuguese.

 

 

 


 
Magic of the Rhino


 
 
One of the most long-cherished beliefs in the realm of love lore, and one that remains relatively unshaken in the East, centres on the "magical qualities" of powdered Rhinoceros horn.
 
Because of the insatiable demand for it, the Indian Rhino was hunted almost to extinction, and about 60-70 years ago the authorities had to establish a government sanctuary to preserve the species.
 
But the superstition lingers on, and Rhino horn is still prized as an aphrodisiac in India and the Far East.
 
And in an effort to combat the poaching of Rhino and preserve the species in southern Africa, reserves and parks are now cutting off the rhino's horn.
 
 
 

 



 
South African Military History


The century or so between the first British landings in the Cape in 1795 and the end of the Anglo-Boer War in 1902 saw a many-staged progression from the smooth-bored, flint-lock, ball-firing, black powder, "Brown Bess" musket, to the rifled, bolt action, Lee Metfords and Lee Enfields using metal cartridges, smokeless powder, long bullets and multi-shot magazines.


In the hands of a trained soldier the Brown Bess required 22 different actions to load; could discharge three shots a minute unless it misfired; was long and heavy; unreliable in damp conditions, and accurate only up to 80 yards or so.


It could not be fired prone (lying down); it had no sights; and it required soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder if it was to be effective. It was easily outclassed in terms of range and accuracy by the rifled guns of the time -- although these had the disadvantage that they could take even longer to load and often required considerable force in the ramming action.


As a hunting weapon, the flint lock was so slow and noisy that it could alert the quarry, and that accelerated the invention of the percussion cap. This was a big improvement, although it did have the military disadvantage that the cap was small and fiddling to position correctly.


As the century advanced the ball was replaced by the bullet, and incorporated with the charge into a single paper cartridge. In 1852 a new weapon, the Enfield muzzle-loaded"rifled musket"replaced the Brown Bess as standard issue.


The British Army was slow to adopt the breach-loadingmethods being developed in Europe and America.


By various steps it eventually fell into line, and by the time of theZulu War of 1879 the standard issue was the famed, breach-loaded, single- shot Martini-Henry.


The paper cartridge containing a short, solid bullet had by now been replaced by abrass-cased charge surmounted by a longer bullet hollow in the base to take the rifling. Ranges now exceeded a mile, and accuracy had increased to at least half that distance.


The main problems with the Martini Henry were its weight, its length, and its single-shot action.


By the time of the Anglo Boer War it had been replaced as standard issue by the Lee Metford, a rifle that was shorter, had a smaller bore, bolt action and a magazine holding ten rounds loaded separately. This was later replaced by the lighter, shorter, Short Lee Enfield, loaded with a five-round clip of .303-inch calibre bullets.


The Maxim Gunwas perfected by Sir Hiran Maxim in 1885 after experimenting with an old 'Brown Bess' rifle. It was successfully employed by General Stanley during an expedition in 1887. The weapon was awarded the gold medal at theInventors' Exhibitionin 1886 and the producers were overwhelmed with orders from many countries.

 


History of Warfare


For much of history European armies were divided into three main combat arms: numerousinfantry, who fought on foot; cavalry, who fought primarily on horseback; and artillery, with an assortment of cannon whose spectacular rise in effectiveness was to dominate most battlefields from the early 20th Century.


These were backed by services responsible for things like transport, supply, communications and medical support, although these did not really become part of the army proper until the 19th century was well under way.


Success in battle often focused on the combination of the combat arms, with artillery preparing the way for attack by the infantry, and cavalry seeking intelligence, preventing a force from being surprised, charging on the battlefield and pursuing a beaten enemy.


At no time did the gun suddenly supplant bows and armour, but over a period of three centuries firearms slowly gained their ascendancy, and the efficiency of the first guns was strictly limited as good powder was difficult to make and extremely expensive.


Accuracy and velocity were also low given the ill-fit of projectile with barrel, and these guns were best used in siege situations, where the target was likely to be large and to stay still, or for shock effect against cavalry or inexperienced troops.


Weapons were divided into those like longbow, musket, rifle and field gun, which achieved their effect by fire, and others, like pike,sword and bayonet, which accomplished physical shock.

The bill, used in Europe and Turkey in the 15th century, originally was an agricultural implement intended for pruning and hedging.


Often the two effects were merged: a line of infantry might charge after firing, with the implied shock inherent in its bayonets producing a psychological effect which caused its opponents to seek an urgent appointment elsewhere.

It was easier to move troops and to deliver physical shock in columns, formations which were deeper than they were broad, but to deliver fire in line.


Armies moving into battle would deploy from column into line, a process in which drill and discipline were important.


Until the end of the 19th century, combat was a centralised process, with men fighting standing up, under the eye of their leaders and often within touching distance of their comrades.


One of the consequences of the rise of the infantry rifle at the end of the 19th century was a more formless battlefield, with combatants more spread and often lying down.

This tended to make formal discipline less useful than it had been in the past, and to emphasise individual qualities like initiative and determination.


The same can be said about the Zulu warriors.

Although they did not at first have firearms or cannons, their impi regiments followed the same formations and battle tactics, and had military discipline. They fought using the long-spear, and the short stabbing-spear called the assegai or iklwa.


Bows and arrows were not used by the Zulu impi in warfare but the San and Khoikhoi have used the bow and arrow in their hunting, with the arrows tipped with a natural poison to stun the prey. Why the Zulu impi did not use the bow and arrow in their warfare remains somewhat of a mystery.


The Zulu 'horns' formation  was more effective than the traditional 'lines' formation as the enemy then had to fight on all sides.

 


 
History of the Gun


The Matchlock Musket


The British Army was born when battlefields were being transformed by the impact of gunpowder, called black powder.


The musket, which was easy to produce in large numbers and could be used effectively by a soldier with a few week's training, had replaced the longbow, manufactured by skilled artisans and used by men whose muscles had been strengthened by years of practice.


The infantry of the English Civil War consisted of pikemen and musketeers. The former carried the pike as their main weapon - a contract of 1657 specified that this should be 16 feet long - and wore a steel cap and body armour, though the use of armour declined as the century wore on.


The latter used a muzzle-loading matchlock musket so called because its charge was ignited by the 'match', a length of smouldering cord. But even contemporaries found these weapons unreliable.

In his 1627 military manual Pallas Armata Sir Thomas Kellie wrote:

 

"A musketeer may fail of his shot by sundry accidents, as by the rolling out of the bullet, a bad match, a match not right cocked, by evil powder, or wet powder in his pan; and I have often seen a rank of musketeers having presented and given fire that three or four of ten have failed of their shot, and you must know that in service there is no time to prime again or to right their match, for they must fall away with the rest of their rank, and make place for the next rank to give fire."

(Translated into modern English)
Sir Thomas Kellie, Pallas Armata



The order 'fire' dates from this period: the musketeer 'gave fire' by pressing the trigger of his musket so that the smouldering match descended into the powder in his weapon's priming pan.

In the early 18th century the order 'Give fire!' was replaced by the modern 'Fire!'
 

 
The Wheel Lock


The Wheel Lock was the next major advance when it was introduced in the early 16th century.

The mechanism worked in a similar principle to the modern flint lighter, showering the primer with sparks which would then ignite the priming powder and the main charge.


The wheel lock was very unreliable as the spring would break or the mechanism would jam, or the pyrites could shatter, and the original problem of reloading time still remained.


The introduction of the cartridge in about 1700 provided a major improvement in the reloading time as it then became unnecessary to measure the quantity of powder.


Now all the musketeer had to do was to tear the tube and pour the contents into the barrel, push the shot into the barrel, followed by the paper, and ram it home.
 


The Flintlock Musket : The Brown Bess


The proportion of musketeers to pikemen grew during the century, but it was not until 1705 that the British Army abandoned the pike altogether.


It was cumbersome, and the invention of the socket bayonet, which fitted round the muzzle of the musket so that the weapon could be used with its bayonet fixed, meant that each musketeer was now, in effect, his own pikeman, with a shock weapon attached to his firearm.


The musket was transformed by the improvement of its firing mechanism, with a spark produced by flintstriking steel igniting the priming powder which fired the main charge.


This meant that soldiers no longer needed to have a length of smouldering cord to hand if they wished to fire their weapons, and made muskets a little more reliable in windy or damp weather.


In 1722 regiments were ordered that any new muskets should conform with the standard pattern, and from then till the 1830s various variants of what became known as Brown Bess were the standard British infantry weapon.


To load and fire the flintlock musket the soldier had to carry out a set sequence of movements.


First, he bit one end off a paper cartridge containing powder and musket-ball. He dribbled a small amount of powder into the priming pan, and clicked the steel (a metal plate which the flint would strike) back to cover it. Then he drew the ramrod from beneath the musket's barrel, inserted powder and ball into the muzzle, following this with the paper cartridge as wadding: the whole was firmly rammed home.


To fire, he drew back the cock, whose steel jaws held a flint, and then pressed the trigger. As the cock flew downwards the flint struck the steel, producing sparks. The steel moved forward, exposing the powder-filledflash-pan to the sparks. There was a brief pause while the powder in the pan ignited, and then the main charge fired, sending the musket-ball on its way.

So much, at least, for theory.


Again, in wet or windy weather the priming powder might not ignite, and sometimes even if it did there would be'a flash in the pan'which would not set off the main charge.

Ungainly soldiers might forget to remove their ramrods and fire them off.

And it was not uncommon for a man whose musket failed to function to believe, in the chaos of battle, that it has in fact fired, and to set about reloading.


A subsequent ignition would be likely to blow the weapon to pieces, but some weapons were loaded repeatedly and never actually fired.

A well-rammed charge gave the weapon a heavy kick: a man who wished to reduce the kick, or who wanted to fire as quickly as possible, might omit the ramming altogether, simply seating the ball onto the powder by rapping the musket-butt sharply against the ground. The practice not only reduced the force of the ball when it emerged from the muzzle, but might even cause it to trickle out of its own accord, especially if the firer was aiming downwards.

Shaka, the Zulu King often remarked that the muskets used by the Boers, were ineffective as  weapons because the effectiveness of the guns was reduced by the time it took to reload, so enabling his warriors to reach and overwhelm their opponents.

He considered Zulu weaponry and fighting tactics superior to these firearms.



Brown Bess


The term 'Brown Bess' was not used in writing till 1785, and it remains uncertain if the phrase originated in the German Büsche (gun) and whether 'brown' applied to the colour of the stock or barrel.

By the 1740s, there were two main types in use, the Long Land Pattern with a 46-inch barrel and the Short Land Pattern with a 42-inch barrel.


In 1797, during the French Revolutionary Wars, contractors were ordered to supply muskets with a 39-inch barrel, based on East India Company muskets which had been ceded to the British government, and this 'India Pattern'musket remained the principal infantry weapon of the Napoleonic period.


After a series of experiments with a more reliable system of ignition based on a cap containing fulminate of mercury, the percussion musket came into service in the 1830s. A

lthough Brown Bess still survived - some old muskets were taken to theCrimea - her days were numbered.

 

 


Smoke and fire


Although the flintlock musket was certainly an improvement over the matchlock, it was an inherently primitive weapon: slow-firing, unreliable and very inaccurate.


Recognition of these facts encouraged commanders to emphasise the importance of getting as close to the enemy's line as possible, and striving to maintain discipline which would both maintain the volume of fire and discourage men from running away.


Burning black powder gave off dense grey-white smoke with a distinct bad-egg stink, and on a damp or still day the smoke hung about, obscuring men's vision and further reducing the effectiveness of their fire. A trained soldier might get off four shots a minute, but this soon shrank to three or even two as the weapon became clogged with the residue left by burnt powder.


The Royalist Captain Richard Atkyns gives a good description of the effects of the smoke generated by musketry. On 5 June 1643 he rode up Lansdown Hill, just outside Bath, towards the infantry, which was fiercely engaged.

 

"When I came to the top of the hill, I saw Sir Bevil Grinvill's stand of pikes, which certainly preserved out army from a total rout, with the loss of his most precious life: they stood as upon the eaves of an house for steepness, but as unmovable as a rock; on which side of this stand of pikes our horse were, I could not discover; for the air was so darkened by the smoke of the powder, that for a quarter of an hour together (I dare say) there was no light seen, but what the fire of the volleys of shot gave."

Peter Young, Richard Atkyns


 



The Breech Loading Rifle : Fifteen rounds a minute


Towards the close of the 19th century a series of developments transformed the weapon carried by the footsoldier, and with it the whole character of battle. Within a generation the muzzle-loading musket was replaced by the breech-loading rifle, and the effect on the fighting man was immediate and deadly.


Infantry weapons became more accurate, and could be fired more rapidly before, and reached out to longer ranges. Groups of determined men making skilful use of the ground became more important than the steady lines of yesteryear, and the need for concealment saw the British Army replace its traditional red coat by the less conspicuous khaki in the 1880s.


The pace of technical change increased. A veteran of Malplaquet (1709) would have been able to use a musket on the field of Waterloo (1815) without difficulty: but a veteran of Waterloo would have regarded the rifle used at the battle of Mons (1915) with utter disbelief.

 


Development of the Rifle : The Martin-Henry


The first phase of development still used the familiar black powder. Brown Bess was superseded first by a percussion musket and then, in 1851, by a percussion rifle, still muzzle-loading but with a barrel containing spiral grooves which spun its .577 inch conical bullet in flight, giving greater range and accuracy.


In 1867 existing muzzle-loading rifles were modified, by the addition of a hinged breech-block, to a breech-loading system named after its inventor Jacob Snider.
 
This was, however, only a temporary expedient, and in 1871 the Martini-Henry rifle, which fired a .45 inch bullet in a brass case, was adopted.


Rifles were now relatively fast-firing and accurate, but still produced clouds of smoke, and were still not wholly reliable. In early versions of the Martini-Henry, cartridges sometimes stuck in the weapon after they had been fired, a significant disadvantage to a man with a Zulu warrior bearing down upon him.


The battlefields of the Napoleonic Wars were smoky places, and even early breech-loading weapons still used black powder. Private George Mossop, who fought in the Zulu War of 1879, described how:

 

"We were armed with Martini-Henryrifles charged with black powder, and each shot belched out a cloud of smoke; it became so dense that we were almost choked by it - and simply fired blindly into it. There was one continuous roar from cannon, rifles and the voices of men on both sides shouting. The smoke blotted out all view. It made every man feel that all he could do was to shoot immediately in front of him - and not concern himself with what was taking place elsewhere."

George Mossop, Running the Gauntlet



In the 1880s the advent of smokeless powder, which enabled a smaller quantity of powder to impel a bullet with even greater force, helped make ammunition even smaller. It also greatly reduced the amount of smoke on the battlefield, and made it easier for men to remain concealed when firing.

The British Army adopted the .303 inch Lee Metford rifle, with a magazine containing eight rounds, loaded by drawing back and then pushing forward the weapon's bolt.


The Lee-Metford initially used black powder while a smokeless cartridge was developed, and this necessitated further changes, culminating in the adoption of the Lee-Enfield rifle, using a similar bolt to that in the Lee-Metford but with rifling designed at the government's arms factory at Enfield Lock.

 

 


 
Guns and Manufacturers:
 

    Manufactured Effective Range  
0.436 IN MATCHLOCK MUSKET (muzzle loading matchlock)
15th century
India 100m still used in the late 19th and early 20th century in some parts of the world
0.75 IN WHEEL-LOCK CAVALRY CARBINE (muzzle loading wheel lock) 16th century Netherlands 75m never widely used by the Military
10 BORE BROWN BESS (muzzle loading flintlock) 1700 England  by Cookes 7 5m 3 to 4 rounds per minute
.5 IN FERGUSON RIFLE (breech-loading flintlock) 1776 England by Durs Egg 250m 6 rounds per minute
.57 IN SEA-SERVICE FLINTLOCK PISTOL (muzzle loading flintlock) 1790 England by Tower close quarters only widely used for military pistols
.65 IN BAKER RIFLE (muzzle loading flintlock) 1800 England by Tower 150m issued in quantity and used by British Rifle Regiments
10 BORE NEW LAND PATTERN BROWN BESS FLINTLOCK MUSKET (muzzle loading flintlock) 1803 England by Tower 100m this new design did not entirely replace earlier models
.704 IN BRUNSWICK RIFLE (muzzle loading percussion cap) 1838 England by Enfield 180m to 270m with sights replaced the Baker in British service from 1838 - belted ball unstable in cross winds - remained as standard until 1851 (and in India until 1870) being replaced by the Minie
15.43 MM ZUNDNADELGEWEHR (DREYSE NEEDLE FIRE) M1841 RIFLE (bolt action needle fire) 1848 Prussia by Spandau effective range 300m to 400m with sights used by the Prussian Army against the Danes and the Austrians
.702 IN MINIE RIFELED MUSKET (muzzle loaded percussion lock) 1852 Designed by the French and manufactured in England by Tower 800m to 830m with sights first issue rifle for the British Infantry but replaced in 1853 by the Enfield Pattern - used in the Crimea
.577 IN MODEL 1853 RIFLE (muzzle loading percussion cap) 1853 England by Enfield 457m to 730m with sights possibly up to 900m adopted by the British Army and used in the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny, and the American Civil War
.53 IN CAPPING BREECH LOADING CARBINE (breech loading Maynard tape primer) 1857 America by Sharps 91m to 548m with sights used extensively by the Americans in the Civil War while the British experimented with and used similar versions, namely British Terry, Westley Richards, American Sharpes, and Greene while the Cavalry used the Westley Richards - the term "sharpshooter" originated from the use of this gun
.45 TARGET RIFLE (muzzle loading percussion cap) 1859 England by Whitworth 457m to 822m with sights possibly up to 900m used by the British Rifle Brigade for a while but was not adopted due to its tendency to foul the bore but many were purchased by the Confederate States of America and used in the American Civil War
.44 IN SPENCER REPEATING CARBINE (lever action rolling block) 1862 America by Spencer 275m first successful repeating rifle - 7 round tube magazine in butt - only used late on in the American Civil War and the Spencer company was bought out by Oliver Winchester to ensure demise of competition
.45 IN WESTLEY-RICHARDS MONKEY TAIL CARBINE (breech loading single capping) 1863 England by Enfield 350m principal British Cavalry carbine issued until 1871 when it was replaced by the carbine version of the Martini
.577 SNIDER/ENFIELD CONVERSION (breech loading centre fire cartridge) 1865 America and England by Enfield 450m to 731m with sights the British chose the American Snider as a stop gap rifle for the Infantry before the introduction of the Martini-Henry rifle from 1871, but the Snider remained in service as late as 1900

.44 IN MODEL WINCHESTER 1866 CARBINE
(lever action repeater) 1866 America by Winchester 275m 13 round magazine - used extensively by the Turkish against the Russians - the outcome of this war sparked off demands all round Europefor repeating rifles
11MM MODEL 1866 CHASSEPOT RIFLE (bolt action needle fire) 1867 France by Imperiale 400m to 1200m with sights adopted by the French army and remained the standard until 1874
10.4 MM VETTERLI VITALI MAGAZINE RIFLE (bolt action breech loading) 1867 Italy by Brescia (Vetterli) 1000m with sights 4 round magazine - adopted by the Swiss Confederation and later by the Italian Army
.450 IN MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE (breech loading pivoted block) 1887 England by Enfield 350m to 1280m with sights the original Martini-Henry was adopted in 1871 to replace the stop-gap Snider converted Enfields - the original rifle was re-barrelled in parallel with change to the .303 ammunition and as a consequence Martini actions occur with a wide variety of calibres and rifling - remained in service well into the 1900s when it was finally replaced by the Lee bolt action
.303 LEE METFORD RIFLE MK 1 (bolt action) 1888 England 900m to 1462m with sights the .303 calibre bolt action was adopted by the Britishin 1888 which incorporated the bolt mechanism with the Metfords rifling - the introduction of cordite as a propellant made the Metford rifling too shallow and in 1895 the existing rifle was re-barrelled and issued as the Lee Enfield

7.92 MM GEWEHR M1898 MAUSER
(bolt action) 1898 Germany by Spandau 900m to 2000m with sights one of the most successful bolt action rifles produced and used by most countries of the world - was the principle rifle for the German Army in World War 1 and in a shorter version in World War 2






 


 
Description of an Antique Gun


The Revolutionary War Period Dutch-Made Musket, ca. 1760-1770:


  • Round, band-fastened, 73 caliber, smoothbore, iron barrel with bottom-mounted bayonet lug and secured to the stock by three iron bands, the uppermost with brass blade sight and long under-rib to protect the fore-stock. Each band with a "CT" inspector's mark.

  • Full-length Beech/Birch' stock with "Fish-Belley" butt and cut-out cheek piece.

  • Typical Dutch/German type lock with flat gooseneck hammer and faceted integral powder-pan without a fence.

  • Iron hardware, includes the buttplate, trigger-guard and sideplate.

  • Original flintlock configuration with original lock components and 60% polish.

  • The stock is very good overall and retains 85% of its original varnish.

  • Several minor handling marks and an old repaired crack under the lock and sideplate.

  • The barrel and hardware with lightly cleaned surfaces.

  • Original iron trumpet-head ramrod and sling-swivels. Overall length 56".




 

Sources:

SABU  The organizing and controlling body of Target Rifle and Free Rifle Shooting in South Africa 

The South African Military History Society


The BBC Information Site ... History
MILITARY RIFLES IN THE AGE OF TRANSITION
(Non-U.S.) Black Powder Metallic Cartridge, Military Rifles
from about 1865 to about 1888
(A Research, Photo-Identification & Information Website)
 

Rifles and Pistols by Jeremy Flack pub. Sunburst Books ISBN 1-85778-128-7
An Historical Guide to Arms and Armour by Stephen Bull pub. Cassell ISBN 0-304-34055-3
The African Elephant (Twilight in Eden) by Roger L. DiSilvestro pub. John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 0-471-53207-X

 


 
About these books:


  • The Boer Wars (1) Paperback; November 15 1996; 48 pages; ISBN: 1855326124

  • Over the space of two centuries, the original Dutch settlers of South Africa, augmented by a trickle of refugees from a succession of religious wars in France and Germany, grew into a hardy breed. In time, these people came to think of themselves as white Africans or 'Afrikaners' though they were generally known to one another, and outsiders, as 'Boers', meaning farmers. This book details the fascinating history of the Boers from the 'Great Trek' of 1836-40, through theirr many wars with such peoples as the Zulus and the Pedi, to their final defeat of the Venda in 1898.

 

 


  • The Zulu Wars Paperback; January 1 1976; 48 pages; ISBN: 0850452562

  • By the end of the nineteenth century the fame of the Zulu was world-wide, and their army was one of the few non-European military organisations to have become the subject of serious historical study. Their very name is still synonymous with bravery, discipline and military skill. This excellent addition to Osprey's Men-at-Arms series tells the story of the Zulu's at war, from their rise to unrivalled power under the fearsome Shaka to the final devastating defeat against the British at Ulundi, detailing Zulu weapons and tactics, and the famous battles in which they fought.

 

 


  • Zulu Paperback; November 9 1995; 64 pages; ISBN: 1855324741

  • Zulu military organisation was extremely sophisticated. Warriors were organised into regiments with some form of basic uniform and shields were state-manufactured and owned. Yet, in spite of this sophistication, much of the Zulu's military outlook was extremely primitive: firearms were ill understood, and between 1816 and 1906 the Zulu's maintained their primary reliance on hand-to-hand fighting. In this book Ian Knight investigates Zulu weaponry in detail, and also their society, beliefs and rituals, particularly with regard to ceremonies conducted before and after battles. Tactics, costume and customs are also carefully examined, making this a thorough account of the Zulu warrior.

 


  • Zulu War 1879 Paperback; January 30 1992; 96 pages; ISBN: 1855321653

  • In the late 1870s the British Imperial administration in the Cape colony in southern Africa began to view the Zulu kingdom as a challenge to their authority.To contain this perceived threat, they engineered a war. The early campaigns went terribly wrong, with the decisive Zulu victory at Isandlwana. Ultimately however, the British won the war. The Zulus, primarily reliant on their skill with the stabbing spear, had no real defence or retaliation against the massed firepower of professional British soldiers. Ian Castle examines the British-Zulu war and its two key battles, Isandlwana and Khambula, with excellent black and white photographs accompanying the clear and detailed text.

 

 


  • The Zulus Paperback; January 26 1989; 64 pages; ISBN: 0850458641

  • 'A very remarkable people, the Zulu', the British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, said on hearing of a fresh disaster in the war of 1879, 'They defeat our generals; they convert our bishops; they have settled the fate of a great European dynasty'. Remarkable indeed, to have taken on the full might of the British Empire at its height, and won, if not the war, at least some of the battles. This book explains who the Zulus were, and how they achieved the fame as warriors which they enjoy to this day.

 

 


  • Queen Victoria's Enemies 1 Southern Africa Paperback; July 27 1989; 48 pages; ISBN: 085045901X

  • When Queen Victoria acceded to the British throne in June 1837, British troops had recently concluded a war in southern Africa against the Xhosa people, and the seeds were already sown for a clash with the Boers. When she died in January 1901 Britain was once more fighting the Boers, in one of the longest and most costliest of the Imperial Colonial Wars. Southern Africa had proved a cockpit of tension and conflict second only to the Indian sub-continent. The causes of these troubles lay in the opposing interests of a variety of competing colonies, independent white republics, and black African states.

 



  • Rorke's Drift 1879 Paperback; January 26 1996; 96 pages; ISBN: 1855325063

  • Rorke's Drift sums up some of the best traditions of the British self-image: steadfastness against the odds, victory in adversity and the thin red line. The British stand deserves to go down in history as one of the most heroic actions of all time. The story of a mere 150 British and Imperial soldiers defending an isolated outpost against over 3,000 Zulu warriors summed up the experience of the colonial adventure for the Victorians and remains part of our heritage even today. Ian Knight recounts the course of this famous conflict in which no less than 11 Victoria crosses were won.

 



  • The Zulus and Matabele Warrior Nations Hardback 1998; Glen Lyndon Dodds; ISBN 1-85409-381-9
     
    The story of the two great warrior nations that held sway in much of southern Africa during the first three-quarters of the 19th century. Based on recent scholarship, it presents a lucid, authoritative account of the histories of the Zulu and Matabele nations, from their rise to power in the first half of the 19th century to their downfall at white hands as the century drew towards its close. Beginning with the reign of Shaka, the controversial founder of the Zulu nation, moving on to the reign of Dingane which witnessed bitter fighting between the Zulus and the migrant Boers in engagements such as the epic Battle of Blood River, and describing the civil wars of the Zulus before they found themselves fighting for survival in the clamatic war of 1879 against imperial Britain which led to the subsequent incorporation of Zululand into the British Empire. The chapters on the Matabele, an offshoot of the Zulu, their emergence as a nation under Mzilikazi, who clashed with both the Zulu and the Boers until their defeat by the British in the 1890s concluding with a discussion of recent events in Zulu and Matabele history, such as the end of apartheid and Matabele involvement in the bloody war that resulted in the creation of today's state of Zimbabwe.


 


 
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