Report of Experiments

Introduction | Results | Conclusions

In the Annual Report of the National Rifle Association for 1875, General Alexander Shaler (President 1875-1877) reported on experiments with powder charges for long range shooting.

The experiments commenced during the summer 1875 and were concluded that December. The aim was to determine the proper charge of powder to use in long range shooting in the Remington Creedmoor Rifle. Swaged bullets weighing 550 grains were used, and interestingly made of a hard alloy composed of fifteen parts lead and one of tin.



New York, December 20, 1875

To the Directors of the National Rifle Association:

Gentlemen – The experiments commenced during the last Summer, to determine the proper charge of powder to use in long range shooting in the Remington Creedmoor Rifle with a swedged bullet, composed of fifteen parts lead and one of tin, weighing 550 grains, have been continued since with considerable regularity, and completed within the past few days.

The results are herewith submitted for the information of the members of the Association.

The practice was at 500, 800, 900 and 1,000 yards.

At 500 yards, seven kinds of ammunition were used, viz.: 90, 100 and 105 grains with a lubricant, and 100, 105, 110, and 115 grains without a lubricant.

At 800, 900 and 1,000 yards, eight kinds of ammunition were used, viz.: 90, 95, 100 and 105 grains with a lubricant, and 105, 110, 115 and 120 grains without a lubricant.

Fifty shots of each kind were fired at each of the distances, except that there were but thirty and forty shots of the 120 grains cartridges fired at 800 and 900 yards respectively.

About half of the 90 grains ammunition were factory made. All the rest were made by the undersigned. The powder used was the same in all cases (Hazard F. G). The shells were all new (of the long kind), none being reloaded. All the balls except a few first used were carefully weighed, and those used in the same score never varied as much as one grain. The powder was also carefully weighed in all cases, and never varied one quarter of a grain to a charge. Generally, the scores were made of ten shots each, after the correct elevation had been obtained.

To ensure accuracy of aim all the shots were fired over a camp stool. The shooting was continued without regard to weather, some times in heavy rain, and some times in very high winds, shelter having been provided for the purpose.

For locating the hits with precision, the targets for most of the shooting were lined off with one vertical line, marking the centre of the length of the target, and three horizontal lines one foot apart, the centre one marking the centre of the width or height of the target.

At no time was the wind gauge very carefully manipulated for the purpose of making large scores, but the elevations of the hits were noted with great care, as the relative merits of the different ammunition could be correctly determined only by a comparison of the deviations of the hits from a horizontal line. At the end of each day’s shooting the distance of each hit from the centre horizontal line was measured, and the average distance per shot of each score computed and recorded on a table prepared for the purpose. When the fifty shots of a particular kind of ammunition had been fired at a given distance, an average of the deviations of all the hits was computed and recorded.

Introduction | Results | Conclusions