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Normal Topic Milton Farrow named suspect re: breechseating (Read 4787 times)
dick_norton
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Milton Farrow named suspect re: breechseating
Apr 19th, 2005 at 12:24pm
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A James Duane writing in the Rifle, December 1885, indicates that famed shooter Milton Farrow introduced breechseating. Duane describes the breechseating procedures and goes on to coment; "What do we do next? Repeat this rather cumbersome operation? By no means. A grand house-cleaning must first be inaugurated. 

Scubbing brushes, mops, and an assortment of utensils more varied than a char-woman ever dreamt of must be called into recognition". ( Duane "hot button" is that the knowledge to make barrels that would shoot dirty was commonly available.)

Duane comments that a Major Merrill states that the breechloader breechseater is but a  servile imitator of the muzzleloader.

Continuing the theme that clean-shooting barrels could be made he states, "That so many barrels are not so cut simply proves a wide-spread existence of a very depraved taste"!

A muzzleloader that would shoot clean would sure simplify offhand shooting. No cases, no primers, just flush her out at the end of the day.

Dick
  
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PETE
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Re: Milton Farrow named suspect breechseating
Reply #1 - Apr 19th, 2005 at 5:47pm
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Dick,

  Yes.... The Zettler Bros., I believe it was, advertized that they could alter your existing barrel so that you could shoot it dirty indefinitely with no loss of accuracy. Warner in a letter to Lowe mentions that when he took one look down such a barrel that he immediately could tell what had been done to make it so. He comments that he'd tried the idea 20 yrs. earlier and had given up on it.

  It becomes a little hazy after that but the way I got it all they did was to cut a "V"(?) groove down the middle of each land.

  Apparently there was quite a demand for this alteration and Warner got on the bandwagon and made quite a bit of money doing it till the novelty wore off. I don't recall whether there was anything to the idea, but have my doubts as if so it would have been taken up by Pope and other barrel makers of the era if it had real merit. As it is I think you would be hard pressed to find such a cut barrel.

  There are a lot of these ideas sprinkled thruout The Rifle and S&F. This was a time when shooters were switching over from ML'ers to cartridge guns for match shooting and a LOT of wild ideas were brought forth for a time only to disappear in short order. So, you kind of have to take things with a grain of salt. The ideas that were sound are still with us today.

  I have a Steigele Martini actioned 8.15 x 46R whose barrel is cut this way, altho why it was done so is beyond me as it was made well into the smokeless era.

PETE
  
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dick_norton
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Re: Milton Farrow named suspect breechseating
Reply #2 - Apr 19th, 2005 at 7:54pm
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Following up on this ability to "shoot dirty", I note that Wm. Hays shot a muzzleloading rifle by Schalk. Hays said he did not clean between shots. I've heard that the BP of that era was superior to what is on the market today.

Dick
  
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PETE
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Re: Milton Farrow named suspect breechseating
Reply #3 - Apr 19th, 2005 at 10:39pm
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Dick,

  Well, if you'll look at the way a muzzle-breech loader, or a straight muzzle loader works, you'll see one of the reasons why Pope adopted that method. As the bullet is shoved down the barrel it effectively wipes the bore clean enuf so it can be shot indefinitely. One of the problems of course was where did the fouling go. That problem was solved by leaving the case in the chamber to catch it. Then it was taken out and scraped out and charged for the next shot.

  I have never read any comments as to why we were allowed to wipe our guns out at the Creedmoor matches and the ML'ers had to shoot dirty, but suspect this was why,

  In some regards SOME of the powders of yesterday were better than we have now. Curtis & Harvey #6 being the prime example. But it was also very hard to get in the interior of the country, and even on the East coast was quite a bit higher priced than very exceptable American products. Hazards Sea Shooting being used quite a bit. Slug gun shooters and Buffalo hunters of the day thought highly of it. Today Swiss is considered very close to either of those mentioned above.

PETE
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Re: Milton Farrow named suspect breechseating
Reply #4 - Apr 24th, 2005 at 8:56am
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Colonel Peel, the adjutant to the British team to Creedmoor in 1877, had this to say about the American powders and cleaning out:

"The Americans state that with the breech-loader they can use a heavier charge of gunpowder than can be done with the muzzle-loader.

"They also lay great stress upon their powder burning slower than ours.

"They claim by these means they obtain a lower trajectory , and that in other respects, their bullets are less effected by external conditions.

"The heavy charge necessitates "cleaning out" after every round, but they claim that the weapon they use, being in itself a practical one, and suitable for military or sporting, they may consider themselves entitled, for match purposes, to get the best shooting or if they can."

I don't believe the M/L's had to shoot dirty; it wasn't banned in match rifle events in GB. Indeed in 1878 cleaning was specifically permitted "provided that the competitor by ready to fire when called upon in his turn."

Cleaning between shots at any single distance was not prohibited by the NRA(GB) for match rifle competitions until 1883; ie. after the series of match rifle international events had finished at Creedmoor.

David
  

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PETE
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Re: Milton Farrow named suspect breechseating
Reply #5 - Apr 24th, 2005 at 8:49pm
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David,

  You might be correct about there being no rules that the ML'ers couldn't wipe out between shots. But, if I recall right, the whole idea of shooting the LR matches was to emulate firing with the military rifles of the day in Britain, altho the target ML'ers of the era were a long ways from conforming to military spec.'s. But, one of the ideas was to further the development of the barrels & rifling in order to find the most efficient type. Some experimentation was done on wiping the ML'ers out between shots, but,  as I get it, after someone got all heated up about this cleaning vs shooting dirty the no cleaning rule was strictly adhered to and applied to all guns being used in the specific matches and as a result I don't think we won a match after that.

  I'm not a student of the Creedmoor, or this style of matches as practiced in your country, like you are, so if any part of this is wrong I hope you'll correct me.

PETE



  
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Re: Milton Farrow named suspect breechseating
Reply #6 - Apr 25th, 2005 at 2:30am
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With the formation of the Volunteers (akin to the US National Guard) in Great Britain in 1859 and subsequent founding of the NRA there was great interest in rifle shooting. The NRA, as you observe were keen to promote development of small arms. In the earliest years they held competitive trials to determine the rifle to be issued to finalists to use in the Queen's Prize. Breech loading comps were also promoted from the first NRA match of 1860.

There were essentialy two classes of shooting that developed, one for Volunteers shooting their arm of issue, and another open to all shooting 'any-rifle,' commonly the small-bore (.451) match rifles. Another class, the military breech loader developed later.

Match rifle shooting evolved into a highly specialised discipline and the finess of the riflemen with all their equipment and carefully weighed charges was often the focus of humour in the likes of 'Punch' magazine. It was these riflemen that competed in the International matches. 

Originating in the ingenuity of the Americans in the international matches, the practice of wiping out between shots became general practice in match rifle competitions in Great Britain. It was not prohibited until 1883. This post-dates the series of international match rifle events. 

In 1882 and 1883 there were matches between the British Volunteers and American National Guard using military rifles. Cleaning was prohibited in these and in both matches the British team won.

David
  

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PETE
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Re: Milton Farrow named suspect breechseating
Reply #7 - Apr 25th, 2005 at 3:23pm
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David,

  Thanks for the clarification. I figured I might be mixing some of the venues and time frames up, but wasn't sure which ones.

PETE
  
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