Topic: MilitiaRC - Rifle Clubs
At the beginning of the new century, the well known and top Australian rifle shooter, P. Fargher of the Melbourne Rifle Club wrote the book called Hints on Rifle Shooting, published by Sands and Mcdougal in Melbourne. The text deals with all the problems people found with the commonly available service rifles employed in the first decade and beyond within the Australian military forces. As part of the Rifle Club Movement, shooting at rifle clubs was strictly carried out with the designated service weapon. This little book is a gem in detailing all aspects of the rifles from the shooter's point of view. To assist readers to fully understand the weapons used by the Mounted Rifles and Light Horse, the book will be serialised on this blog.
The cover of P. Fargher's book, Hints on Rifle Shooting.
THERE are four patterns of service rifles used in Australia at the present time, viz., Lee-Metford, Lee Enfield, Martini-Enfield, and Martini-Henry. The latter has done useful work during the last twenty years, and some fine shooting has been made with it, but it was never a satisfactory weapon beyond 100 yards, to say nothing of its terrible recoil, and its always more or less inferior ammunition. Most of us are eagerly looking forward to the time that we may hang it up over the mantelpiece as a relic of the past, and a reminder of the days of our youth.
The other three patterns are of the same calibre, and take the .303 service ammunition, with cordite powder and a nickel-covered lead bullet.
The calibre of the Martini-Henry is .450, muzzle velocity 1,315 feet per second, initial velocity of rotation 744 revs. per second. It has seven grooves, which make one full turn in 22 inches.
The Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield both have the Lee-Speed bolt action, and a magazine which holds 10 rounds of ammunition. The Metford has seven, the Enfield five grooves, and the following particulars apply to all patterns of the .303:-Length of barrel, 30.197 inches; twist of rifling, 1 turn in 10 inches; muzzle velocity, about 2,000 feet per second; velocity of rotation at the muzzle, 2,400 revolutions per second. Length over all of the magazine rifle, 49.5 inches; of the Martini-Enfield, about 46.25 inches. The Metford rifling is semicircular in section, with rounded lands between the grooves; it has therefore no sharp corners in and- part of the barrel for fouling to set hard in. The Enfield has five grooves, which are square cut, so that its rifling consists of sharp corners and right angles. These corners are liable to hold the fouling in hot weather, and cause the rifle to lose its elevation. The trajectory of the .303 is much flatter than the Martini-Henry. At 1,000 yards' range its highest point is at about 600 yards, when it is 25 feet above the line of sight, as against the Martini's 48 feet. It has, therefore, a shade more than half the trajectory of the Martini-Henry. The reason of the M.-E. being 3.25 inches shorter over all than the magazine rifle is because the Martini action is that much shorter than the bolt action, the barrels being the same length.
Rifles referred to in the text are pictured in the order of mention in first paragraph.
Citation: Fargher - Hints on Rifle Shooting, Part 1