PISTOL TARGET-SHOOTING
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PISTOL TARGET-SHOOTING

PISTOL TARGET-SHOOTING




      

PISTOL TARGET-SHOOTING


PISTOL TARGET-SHOOTING

IN the development of firearms and ammunition, target-shooting has always occupied an important place. It is regularly and systematically practised in the army and navy, in order to maintain and improve the proficiency of the men as marksmen. Target-shooting, with many different styles of firearms, under prescribed rules and regulations, has also become extremely popular with civilians.

Target-shooting was indulged in extensively with the rifle before it became popular with the pistol and revolver. The shorter barrel, and the greater difficulty in acquiring skill with the latter weapons, were doubtless responsible for the mistaken idea, long prevalent, that these arms were extremely inaccurate. When, however, a few individuals developed sufficient skill to obtain fine shooting, their performances were considered phenomenal. Among the first to obtain a high order of skill with the muzzleloading pistol in the United States was Captain John Travers of Missouri. He was well known as an expert pistol shot as early as 1860. In that year Captain Travers shot an interesting individual match in St. Louis at a distance of 100 feet. Fifteen china plates, nine inches in diameter, were used as targets. Captain Travers broke n out of 15, while his opponent broke but 9.

In 1865 Colonel William F. Cody, (Buffalo Bill) and Captain William P. Schaaf of St. Louis became prominent as pistol shots. The latter subsequently joined Captain Travers in a three years' tour of the United States, giving exhibitions in nearly all the large cities.

About 1880 Ira Anson Paine, a native of Massachusetts, attracted attention by his fine marksmanship with the pistol. In 1881 he went abroad, and for a number of years he traveled over the principal countries of Europe, giving public exhibitions of his skill with the pistol and revolver. While in Portugal in 1882 he was knighted by the King in the presence of a notable assemblage, and made a chevalier of an ancient military order. In his exhibitions Chevalier Paine used a Stevens Lord Model pistol and a Smith & Wesson revolver. His skill with these arms was so far in advance of his contemporaries that he was popularly supposed to accomplish many of his feats by trickery. Target-shooting with the pistol and revolver, as a sport, may be said to have originated at the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association at Creedmoor in 1886. During that meeting a revolver match was scheduled to be shot at 25 yards on the 2OO-yard Standard American Rifle Target. It was a reentry match, with the three best scores of five shots each of any contestant to count. In this match three scores of 48 out of 50 were made, the highest individual aggregate of three scores being 143 out of a possible 150.

The same year a similar match was announced at the fall meeting of the Massachusetts Rifle Association at Walnut Hill. Chevalier Paine was a competitor in this match, and made 504949=148 in six entries. The next best three scores equalled 142.

These matches proved so interesting and successful that target-shooting with the pistol and revolver became instantly popular all over the country. It was soon found that the arms possessed remarkable accuracy, and as the skill of the shooters improved the distance was increased to 50 yards retaining the same target. pound trigger pull.

Himmelwright, A.L.A.. Pistol and Revolver Shooting. New York: MacMillan, 1922.

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