Oldie but goodie, circa 1910

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DaleH
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Oldie but goodie, circa 1910

Post by DaleH » 21 Sep 2016, 09:48

Here’s something you don’t see every day and some of the younger members here may have never run into one. This is a Winchester ‘high wall’ model 1885 single-shot rifle, circa 1910, as designed by the most prolific firearms designer ever – John Browning. This particular arm was sent to the famed Harry Pope to have one of his custom barrels installed, as he was THE most famous rifle barrel maker around during the early 19th century.

The wood, checkering and accessories (butt plate, sights, finger grooves added to the lever, palm rest, etc.) were highly customized to make this rifle into a ‘Schuetzen’ rifle for shooting ‘offhand’. Chambered in 22 Long rimfire, it was intended for use in gallery or short-range offhand matches. More on Schuetzen shooting to follow for anyone interested …

Intro to the Schuetzen Shooting Sport
The shooting sport called Schuetzen was the predominant shooting sport in the US from the 1880s to the beginning of WWI. Originating in Germany, these Schuetzenfests or ‘shooting festivals’, dating back to the days of the crossbow, were as popular then as baseball or football games are to us today! Thousands would flock to their local shooting ranges; all dressed in their Sunday best clothes, to cheer on their favorite shooters of that era.

Schuetzen was brought to America by the great number of German immigrants; the same folks that developed the Jaeger (short rifle) that eventually evolved to become the Pennsylvania (or alternate named ‘Kentucky’) muzzleloading longrifle.

These matches were shot standing – offhand shooting! – typically at 40-rods or 220-yards (based on its European metric equivalent) although benchrest side matches were common. Distances eventually changed to become 100 and 200-yard events as we still have today. Rifles progressed from muzzleloaders to cartridge rifles and as cartridges became more common, calibers began to drop from .40+ size (think 40-65, 45-70, 45-90 or 45-110 and bigger) to the .38's (38-55) and finally settled to about .32 (32-20, etc.). Nowadays there is a contingent of shooters using .25-caliber rifles, that call themselves the ‘Quarter Bore Club’, where one member recently shot a perfect score, offhand (no rest!) whilst shooting at 200-yards!

Some record scores, originally set in the late 1800s including those set by Harry Pope, and fired offhand at a distance of 200-yards remain unbroken to this day! And they were shot using blackpowder cartridges!

The Schuetzen rifles were specialized and evolved for shooting offhand, unsupported whilst standing. Hooked butt plates, greater drop in the stock (allows the supporting elbow to be braced against the ribcage) with exaggerated cheek pieces (keeps the head up), and hand/palm rests attached under the forend for the supporting hand to hold. Loading methods changed from traditional muzzleloading to a combination of loading the bullet from the muzzle with a special attachment (engraving it into the rifling), then ramming it down the barrel to a pre-set distance above the case, and then inserting a charged case from the open breech. Another method uses a bullet seated firmly into the rifling using a special lever, where a charged case is then inserted behind it. This last method (breech seating) is still used today and gives very precise results.

This style of shooting made the transition to smokeless powders and telescopic sights. In the modern reincarnation, smokeless powder and great big, long scopes (Unertl etc.) are the rule. Most interestingly, the .22 rimfire rounds (22 CB, Long, Long Rifle, etc., as there are about ~20 variations thereof) were developed for the rifles used by Schuetzen competitors for Winter practice or gallery (short range, like 50’) shooting competitions.

Schuetzen-style shooting lasted until WWI when it dropped almost overnight. When the doughboys came home beginning in 1918, more ‘American’ style shooting competitions took its place.


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FormerParatrooper
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Oldie but goodie, circa 1910

Post by FormerParatrooper » 21 Sep 2016, 20:24

That is a beautiful rifle. I love the older firearms, the history, the craftsmanship and the fact many are still usable today. Is that yours?
1979 MirroCraft F4604
1967 Johnson MQ13 9.5 Hp
1974 Evinrude 25452M 25 Hp

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DaleH
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Oldie but goodie, circa 1910

Post by DaleH » 21 Sep 2016, 22:13

FormerParatrooper wrote:That is a beautiful rifle. I love the older firearms, the history, the craftsmanship and the fact many are still usable today. Is that yours?
Yes it is. My 12-year old just started shooting it and her 1st 5-shots at 50' were all in < 1" group ... and she's new to rifles and could barely cheek it.

I too love the old stuff, but this really is one of my newer ones, LOL! I have others (shoot able replicas) dating back to the 1500s.
#1) 1st tin rebuild, 18' Lund http://forum.tinboats.net/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=36583
#2) 25' Parker refurb from EMPTY hull http://www.classicparker.com/phpBB3/vie ... p?f=15&t=6
#3) 16' V-tin rebuild http://forum.tinboats.net/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=36465
#4 Procraft SV14
#5) 16' Starcraft entirely NEW Transom Skins http://forum.tinboats.net/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=37548

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Kismet
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Oldie but goodie, circa 1910

Post by Kismet » 21 Sep 2016, 23:28

You got neat toys.

Nice that your daughter likes to shoot.

Well done, Sir.

=D>
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FormerParatrooper
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Oldie but goodie, circa 1910

Post by FormerParatrooper » 22 Sep 2016, 19:24

DaleH wrote:
FormerParatrooper wrote:That is a beautiful rifle. I love the older firearms, the history, the craftsmanship and the fact many are still usable today. Is that yours?
Yes it is. My 12-year old just started shooting it and her 1st 5-shots at 50' were all in < 1" group ... and she's new to rifles and could barely cheek it.

I too love the old stuff, but this really is one of my newer ones, LOL! I have others (shoot able replicas) dating back to the 1500s.
It sounds if you are good teacher and your daughter is a good listener. I am at that stage with my Granddaughter now. It is so enjoyable to watch their smiles when they hit targets.
1979 MirroCraft F4604
1967 Johnson MQ13 9.5 Hp
1974 Evinrude 25452M 25 Hp

Life member of the LGOPPs

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