Found in The Ironmonger – Autumn 1901 Issue
As a reminder, The Ironmonger & Metal Trades Advertiser was a British trade journal whose purpose (according to the publisher) was “concerned with helping people to make a living.” It is full of articles and exposition reviews and trade news and advertisements related to Ironmongers, which would be similar to modern-day hardware stores. I have began a series of publishing some of the guns and ammunition related features and ads from these historic journals that have largely been lost to history and are not published anywhere else.
This post will focus on the contents in the July-September 1901 Issues. The August 31, 1901 weekly issue had a nice two-page section on Guns and Ammunition. I will transcribe these articles here!
A Top-lever Hammerless-gun.
Following a well-established custom, Robert Hughes & Son, of the Universal Firearms Works, Moland Street, Birmingham, have issued an abridged list of their productions illustrating the leading lines in sporting-guns which they are this season offering to the trade. The list embraces some two dozen weapons, ranging from a simple farmers’ gun listing at 4l. 4s., up to the highest class of Anson & Deeley ejecting hammerless-gun retailing for about 50l. One of the best selling lines is the No. 4,4640, illustrated in fig. 1. This is a top-lever hammerless-gun, with cross-bolt action, and either plain damascus or steel barrels.
It is fitted with many modern improvements and is nicely finished in every detail. It retails at about 11l. Another popular line is the “Gentleman’s” gun, No. 4,456. This is a good-looking and well-finished weapon, with nicely-figured damascus barrels and figured stock, and it lists at 7l. to 8l. 10s.
In a Cartridge-factory.
We recently paid a visit to the cartridge-works of the Normal Powder and Ammunition Co. (Lim.), of Hendon, N.W., and were not a little interested in the preparations that had been made to cope with the demand for cartridges that invariably comes with the autumn. The company fill many thousand cases daily at this time of the year, and the various operations were in progress at the time of our visit. The process of loading is done by hand-machines. The cases are first placed in 100-hole blocks, ten each way. This block is automatically fed through the powder-machine, and at each revolution of the handle ten cases receive a charge. The amount deposited in each case can be so nicely adjusted that in a full block the heaviest and the lightest charge can only vary very slightly. The grease-wad is then introduced and rammed home in a 100-rammer lever-press, after which two other wads are similarly treated. The shot-machine is practically a duplicate of the powder-machine. Another wad and one more ramming-up, and then the cartridges are carried to the turnover-room. In this department there are six power-machines, driven from an underground shaft, the motive – power being derived from a “Campbell’’ oil-engine. The cartridges are fed into the chucks by lads, who display great dexterity at the work. One lad in particular we noticed took a hand of eight nearly every time he dipped into the box containing his supply. Finally, the finished cartridges are examined by an expert before they are passed to the packers. If the slightest fracture or bruise is found in the case it is a “waster,” and is thrown out. Side by side with this rapid production tests are made at the company’s private range at frequent intervals during the day. Samples from every batch of cartridges undergo two tests. Under the first the cartridge is placed in a small cannon-like block and fired. The block is so arranged that the discharge flattens a small lead pellet fixed in the breech. The flattened disc is then gauged and compared with a standard. If the thickness exceeds a given measurement the powder is under strength, but if the disc is too much flattened the explosive is above the normal. The second test is made to determine the ballistic properties of the powder. The cartridge is discharged from an ordinary . gun. The shots are fired through a wire-screen on to a swinging plate fixed 20 metres down the range. Both screen and plate are electrically connected with a delicate apparatus fixed inside the office. The action of the shots is to break two contacts and mark a smoked rod at two places. The space between the two marks is then read upon a scale graduated to show the velocity at which the shot is travelling. Besides these tests for strength, patterns are taken at frequent intervals on the target by an expert marksman. In this way the company claim that a greater degree of uniformity is obtained than can possibly be secured by a local gunmaker or ironmonger. Five patterns of cases are supplied, of which the “Hendon,” a half-brass case, is new this season. The company’s powder is a nitro-cellulose, and is said to possess the advantages of low pressures and high velocities, quick ignition, and great keeping qualities under any climatic condition—in proof of which latter statement they point out that the Normal powder has been supplied to two South Polar and one Arctic expedition, while their Indian sporting-trade is evidence of its serviceability in the tropics.
Guns for Antipodes.
With a view of the development of their Australasian trade, Ward & Sons, of the Central Gunworks, St. Mary’s Row, Birmingham, have appointed two agents, one for Australia and the other for New Zealand, and have placed in their hands, amongst a number of other useful weapons, two lines expressly adapted for the market “down under.” The drawing reproduced in fig. 2 represents one of these special patterns.
It is a well-designed gun of the cross-bolt type, with good damascus barrels. It is nicely made and fitted, and is thoroughly well finished. The other pattern is a cross-bolt hammerless-gun, embodying many recent improvements suitable for a high-class trade. Mr. J. A. Lockhead, who represents the firm in Australia and Tasmania, has an office at Clarke’s Buildings, 430 Bourke Street, Melbourne, and their New Zealand representatives are Miller, Wilson & Co., of 35 Victoria Street, Wellington.
A New Small-bore Bullet.
A bullet specially designed to meet the requirements of rifle-clubs is being manufactured by Kynoch (Lim.), of Lion Works, Witton, Birmingham. The bullet is similar lo the ordinary type of bullet except in two particulars— viz., the bottom half of it has a nickel covering, which is concave at its base. It is claimed that the nickel covering precludes the escape of gases between the bullet and the rifling, and that it also protects the rifling from injury through leading. It has been subjected to numerous tests, and it has been found in every respect efficient. In addition to the fact that the nickel jacket prevents the spreading of the base of the bullet, it diminishes frictional resistance to a minimum, and a bullet made in this way with a given charge behind it leaves the barrel of even a small-bore rifle at a much higher velocity than an ordinary lead bullet. It is, moreover, comparatively inexpensive, and thus again well adapted for use in the manufacture of ammunition for amateur riflemen.
An Inanimate Bird.
Mr. W. P. Jones, of Whittail Street, Birmingham, whose steel pigeon is already well known to the inanimate-bird shooting world, has lately introduced another novelty, in the form of a hollow steel ball. This, when coated with blue and flung, as it may be by means of a specially devised flinger, some 60 or 80 yards into the air, affords excellent sport. Being of steel, it is, of course, indestructible, and may be used any number of times. The cloud of blue dislodged by the shots indicates when the “bird” is “killed.”
A New Capped Bullet.
An important improvement in destructive bullets has recently been perfected by Westley Richards & Co. (Lim.), of Bournbrook, Birmingham.
These bullets consist of a lead core covered entirely with a nickel jacket. The jacket is made in two pieces, the base-cover extending to the shoulder, where it is met by the point-cover, the two being swaged together and grooved at the shoulder-joint. The lead core does not entirely fill the jacket, there being a space—an air-chamber, in fact—between the forward end of the core and the nickel covering, as well as a hollow in the base of the lead core.
When fired from either a pistol or a rifle these bullets exhibit a remarkable expansive power, which renders them very destructive, and, therefore, admirably adapted for large-game shooting. Some recent trials with these bullets have demonstrated their remarkable efficiency. Firing at a distance of 10 yards one of them penetrated 4 inches of beech wood and 8 inches of compact and moistened sawdust, and when recovered was found to be completely mushroomed. An ordinary soft-nosed bullet, on the other hand, after piercing the 4 inches of beech penetrated into the sawdust some 14 inches. While the penetrative power of the new bullet as compared with that of the old one has been reduced by about one-half, however, it is still capable of entering any .animal, and when inside it works deadly damage. In other words, the expansive power and the penetrative qualities of the new bullet are more nicely balanced. The new missile offers many advantages over the soft-nosed bullet, for being completely enclosed in nickel there is no risk of its damaging the rifling of the barrel. The new bullet, moreover, maintains the same accuracy of flight on all ranges as characterises the ordinary bullet.
The Joyce, Kynoch and King’s Norton Metal Co trademarks that were present in The Autumn 1896 issue of The Ironmonger are still present here.
The Schultze Gunpowder Co., Lim. has a new full page ad in this issue. They have introduced a new line of explosives called “Imperial” Schultze for use in modern shotguns. This is their new smokeless powder that they claim to spare no expenses on manufacturing.
F. Joyce & Co., Ltd. takes out a half-page ad. They mention “The Ironmonger’s Cartridge, thoroughly reliable, cheap, and of English manufacture throughout,” .22 rifle and revolver cartridges, .22 rifles, breech-loading shotguns, and air guns.
There is also a small ad by George Farmiloe & Sons, Limited for their patent, hardened, chilled and moulded shot. And one by Colt Patent Fire Arms M’F’G. Co. for the new pocket revolver.
Here we have a selection of ads for American companies with an ad by Union Metallic Cartridge Co. and their sole agent, Chas. Osborne & Co., Ltd. There is also an ad by Smith & Wesson and one by Harrington & Richardson Arms Co.
Here we have an ad by Buck & Co. who used to be Wholesale Arms and Ammunition Trading Company. They still advertise their “Shamrock” brand of cartridges. They claim they are “equalled perhaps, but not excelled.”
There is also an ad for Normal Powder & Ammunition Company, Lim. for their smokeless and waterproof “ammunition that is unaffected by temperature and there is therefore no danger in using cartridges which have been stocked some time.”
The September 28, 1901 issue has another feature on Guns and Ammunition.
The “Rigg-Starkey” Target.
Our illustrations figs. 1, 2, and 3 represent the “Rigg- Starkey” patent target, which M. Pulvermann & Co., of Lancaster Buildings, Minories, E.C., have just introduced. The drawings are those of the smallest size, intended for practice indoors or in the limited space usually associated with the words “back garden,” the weapons used being airguns loaded with slugs or darts, but larger outfits can be obtained. The apparatus, which is self-contained and packs away in the box which forms the foundation, provides a variety of moving-target practice.
The rectangular frame fits into a seating in the base, and can be oscillated from the end of the range by means of a cord attached to the underside. The frame is counterbalanced, and returns to the normal position as soon as the cord is released. Fig. 1 shows the target fitted with a pendant-disc suspended from a small carriage running on a steel rod. In fig. 2 the metal disc is fitted with an eccentric card, and, as shown, travels from end to end of the frame as it oscillates. When this form is used the pendant-carriage is locked out of sight behind one of the side-screens so as not to distract the attention from the rolling-mark. Concentric cards can be used in this relation if desired. By hooking a third screen to the frame as in fig. 3 the apparatus is converted into a disappearing target.
The back of the target and the shields are made of green baize, and are sufficiently strong to resist the impact of a slug without tearing. A box of duplicate cards is provided with each outfit. The target can be set at a central point if the shooter wishes for a fixed disc. The woodwork is nicely finished and stained, and the No. 1 box when packed measures 17 inches by 11 inches by 6 1/2 inches deep. The retail price is 30s.
A New Single-trigger Gun.
The evolution of the single-trigger gun has been a slow process, but with the invention of the one-trigger gun which has recently been patented by Westley Richards k Co. (Lim.), of Bournbrook, Birmingham, it may perhaps be said to have been practically completed. The new gun, an illustration of which is given in fig. 4, is simple in construction and clean and efficient in action. The mechanism w of the two-pull, as distinct from the three-pull type—that is to say, there is no intermediate pull to be operated by the recoil This is an important matter, for where the three-pull system has been adopted it has been found that when timed for rapid firing both barrels were liable to be simultaneously discharged, and when the timing was delayed to prevent the double discharge the firing of the second barrel was too apt to hang. The new mechanism, moreover, has a positive action—that is to say, it acts without the help of the recoil Indeed, the recoil in this gun, so far from operating the mechanism for the second pull, is used for precisely the opposite purpose—i.e., to secure the mechanism against involuntary discharge on the part of the shooter.
The moment one barrel has been fired the mechanism automatically arranges itself for firing the other one. A remarkable feature of the gun is the shortness of its draught After firing the first barrel the trigger moves forward about jj inch, and is then ready for the second pull. This short draught of the trigger prevents all possibility of hanging, and enables both barrels to be fired in rapid succession, the one shot following the other much more quickly than is possible with an ordinary double-trigger gun. The gun may be made to fire either right-left or left-right, or as many rights first or as many lefts first as may be desired. This is accomplished by means of a selective lever placed in a convenient position where it can be operated while the gun is to the shoulder. This new single-trigger mechanism is applied to the firm’s well-known hammerless ejector-gun with hand detachable locks A gun so fitted can fire heavy or light charges with heavy or light pulls, and, moreover, the shooter may hold the gun in any position and operate it with equal facility.
And that’s it for this 1901 issue. If you are new to these posts be sure to check out the article linked below, introducing The Ironmonger.