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´╗┐Title: A.B.C. of Snap Shooting - Sporting, Exhibition, and Military
Author: Fletcher, Horace
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Transcriber's Note:

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.
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as printed.

Words printed in italics are noted with underscores: _italics_.






My object in publishing this little book is to explain a method of
teaching Snap Shooting, by using the rifle in practice, which, by its
economy, ease, quickness, and fascination, will recommend itself to
any who are desirous of becoming skillful in the use of firearms.

It is true that by this method almost any one can make himself a good
snap shot in a few weeks or months, according to the amount of
practice indulged in, and that too at very small cost.

I make no claim for it, except that having received the original idea
from Dr. Carver, I have demonstrated for myself and seen several
friends demonstrate its practicability beyond a doubt.

I submit it for what it may be worth.



Snap shooting is the throwing of both the rear and front sights of a
gun into line between the eye and the target and pulling the trigger,
all in one motion, and is distinguished by that name from any shooting
where the aim is leisurely taken, by bringing the piece to the
shoulder, getting the sights in line, hunting the target and pulling
the trigger when the aim is most steady.


In snap shooting, the eye catches the target, and the attention is
riveted on it, while the piece comes into line instinctively.

In other shooting, the attention is turned from the target to the gun
and sights, and after getting them in line, is returned to the target.

The practice of snap shooting does not interfere with aiming at
leisure, but aiming at leisure unfits one for snap shooting.

When the face is in danger, the hand comes before it instinctively to
protect it; and in the same manner when a target appears the gun
should as instinctively and quickly find its place in line between it
and the eyes.

This is necessary to the perfect _snap shot_.

  [Illustration: First Position.


  After inserting the cartridge, close the breech and swing the piece
  up to the Second Position.]

  [Illustration: Second Position.


  The piece should be cocked only in this position.]

  [Illustration: Third Position.


  After firing, drop the piece immediately to the Fourth Position.]

  [Illustration: Fourth Position.


  Extract and re-load as quickly as possible in order to be ready to
  fire again.]


The following rules of safety should _never_ be disregarded:

1. On taking a firearm in your hands, see for yourself if it be
loaded or not, and _never_ take any one's word for it.

2. Keep the muzzle of a loaded gun above the level of the eye, and
hold a pistol at a corresponding angle.

3. Handle _all_ firearms as if loaded.

                     *      *      *      *      *

NOTE.--_The Numbers scattered through "The Outfit," and "Rules of
Practice," refer to paragraphs further on, correspondingly numbered,
which are explanatory of terms used, and give the reasons for the
suggestions offered._

_This plan relieves the pith of the book from any confusing element._


Three[1] persons purchase a .22[3] calibre rifle,[2] having a
shot-gun[4] stock, and buck-horn[5] or clover-leaf rear sight, a
supply of short cartridges,[6] and a Fletcher bell-ball.[7]

The place for practice should be open[8] ground, or in front of a
bulkhead,[9] at least twenty-five feet in height, and three soft pine
boards in thickness.


 1. Each should take his turn in the positions of FIRER, TOSSER, and

 2. The TOSSER should stand ten[11] feet distant from the FIRER, with
his side[12] to him, and toss the bell-ball about fifteen[13] feet
high, and so that it will fall on soft ground,[15] two or three[14]
feet in front of where he (the Tosser) is standing.

 3. The FIRER should disencumber his shoulders of anything that in
any way interferes with their free action, by removing his coat, vest
and suspenders, and stand firmly[16] on his feet, holding the rifle
with the stock below his right[17] elbow, the muzzle above the level
of the eye,[18] and his left hand clasping the barrel as far out[19]
as it can reach with ease when the rifle is brought to the shoulder in

 4. The instant[20] the ball is tossed, the rifle should be brought
to the shoulder with as quick a motion as possible, regardless of the
speed the bell seems to have.

 5. When the bell has reached its greatest[21] elevation, just see it
full[22] over the line of both[23] sights and pull the trigger.[24]

 6. The rifle should not be allowed to get[25] foul, but cleaned
before any burned powder has accumulated in the grooves.[26]

 7. Practice at balls thrown straight[27] up to a uniform height
should continue till tolerable proficiency, say the average hitting of
80 per cent., has been attained, when the direction should be changed
gradually to that of a curve, which lengthened out sufficiently
constitutes the CROSS-SHOT.[28]

 8. The DROP-SHOT is the following of a bell, from its summit down to
within one or two[29] feet of the ground and hitting it there.

 9. The INCOMING-SHOT[30] is at a ball thrown at the firer from a
distance of say 50 feet, and is the easiest of all; but unless thrown
so as to go above his head, and caught by him in passing over, is not
recommended, owing to the danger to the tosser. If a trap be used it
is safe and good practice.

10. The TRAP-SHOT is the most difficult, requires the quickest[31]
action, and is consequently the very best practice, and is the hitting
of balls thrown straight away from the firer by a spring-trap, or by
hand, so that they fall not more than twenty-five feet distant.

11. The above are the cardinal directions, but any variety of shots
can be made at will after these have been mastered.

12. Shooting at a bell-ball, suspended by a wire or cord, which can
be done indoors, is excellent practice. The bell is made to swing, and
as each hit gives it a new motion a variety of shots can be tried.

13. Balls _only_[32] should be used as flying targets, for the
reason that a bullet may pass very near the center of an
irregularly-shaped object, and not hit it, the miss conveying an
erroneous impression of the aim.

14. Quickness[31] of action is _most_ important in snap shooting,
not only in firing but in loading.

15. Reload your piece immediately after discharging it, and be ready
to fire again. That you may accustom yourself to be quick in all your
movements, try how many[33] times you can fire, reload, and hit a
bell-ball thrown up perpendicularly in a given time, say one or two

NOTE.--_100 consecutive misses at first will not indicate an inability
to learn to hit. Perseverance and attention to the suggestions here
given will make one a good snap shot in less time than may at first
seem possible._


 1. Economy facilitates practice by removing the dread of expense
which takes the keen edge off of any sport and discourages it.

The expense of an outfit, consisting of a rifle, one thousand
cartridges, and a bell-ball is less than twenty-five dollars, which
divided between three persons is very light.

Three persons can work together to advantage by taking the positions
of firer, tosser and scorer, and benefit by friendly competition.

 2. The rifle should be the elementary arm used in practice, and be
handled with success on all the shots before the shot-gun is taken up.

True impressions only should be given the learner, which the rifle
does, and the shot-gun does not, give.

Occasionally, the scattering of shot may allow an object to drop
without being hit, when the gun has been held right on it, and again,
a stray shot may hit, when the aim has been high, low, or to one side,
in both of which cases the impressions given the firer are erroneous.

With the rifle this cannot occur, and every time one makes a hit he
has received a true impression of the position the sights should hold
relative to the bell.

 3. Rifles of .22 calibre are the best to use in practice, for
several reasons:

    1. The expense of shooting them is very light, owing to the low
    cost of the cartridges.

    2. Because there is no perceptible recoil, which is an important
    consideration, inasmuch as the _flinching_ which a beginner
    does involuntarily, if he stand behind a kicking rifle at first,
    is very hard to overcome; but which he avoids when he has learned
    to hold his gun firm against his shoulder and to brace against it.

    3. The rifle does not heat quickly, and in cool weather can be
    fired one hundred times without becoming hot. The reasons for this
    are the thickness of the barrel, and the small quantity of powder
    burned in each cartridge.

    4. It has a light report, scarcely louder than the cracking of a
    whip, and can be used anywhere without being a nuisance on that
    account. In hunting birds or squirrels in a wood, this advantage
    is considerable, because the report does not frighten the game any
    more than the breaking of a twig, and one can move about within a
    limited space, shooting many times at the same game, if not
    successful in hitting it at first, whereas a noisy gun would clear
    the neighborhood after each discharge.

    5. These rifles are a desirable weight, being not lighter than
    about seven pounds, and shoot accurately at ranges of two hundred
    and three hundred yards. It is true that light bullets are more
    easily affected by the wind than heavy, but the ranges are
    generally less than one hundred yards, and in any case it is easy
    to make allowance.

 4. It used to be the fashion to make rifle stocks with projecting
points to fit around the shoulder, which was all right for target
practice, but in snap shooting there should be nothing to catch the
sleeve, and consequently the shot-gun stock is recommended.

In case your rifle has the points, have the upper one, at least, cut

The lower one is no objection, if the stock has sufficient drop for
your length of neck, but if it has not, the catching at the shoulder
will necessitate your ducking your head, which is awkward and
detrimental to rapid work.

 5. The BUCKHORN and CLOVER LEAF rear sights are shaped as their
names would indicate, and the front sight can be brought down into
them quicker and easier than into others, and there is less danger of
canting the rifle to one side. The buckhorn is preferable to the
clover leaf, and both are infinitely better than the flat sight, which
has only a niche in it. Any gunsmith can change the sights to suit, or
you can put them in yourself if you have them.

In shooting point blank at a given distance, with fine sights, if the
rifle shoot low, file off the front sight, which is equivalent to
giving elevation to the bore.

 6. SHORT CARTRIDGES are preferable, because they hold quite as much
powder as will burn in the rifle, cost less than the long, are even
more accurate, make less report, and principally because the FLETCHER
BELL BALL is not made to resist a heavier charge.

 7. The FLETCHER BELL BALL is a metal ball, made up of two
hemispherical gongs, joined by a post of the same metal, all cast in
one piece, and is about two inches in diameter.

A space between the gongs allows perfect vibration, and being all one
piece it rings distinctly, no matter where hit, so that it can be
heard several hundred yards.

It is practically indestructible and can be hit thousands of times
without being destroyed.

John Ruth of Oakland, California, in an exhibition at Badger's park,
in the summer of 1879, hit one nine hundred and ninety times out of
one thousand shots fired, leaving it in good condition for further

Its advantages over glass balls are:

    1. It is inexpensive.

    2. It can be carried in the pocket.

    3. It avoids broken glass in the fields.

    4. It is a perfect indicator of hits, telling by its sound if hit
    in the dead center, or is only touched.

    5. It is a new principle in bells, and has greater resonance than
    others of the same metal, because the sound passes through the
    post from the gong which has been hit to the other and is repeated

    This bell-ball was patented August 6, 1878; and for snap shot
    rifle practice, and as a swinging target in shooting galleries, is
    very useful and economical.

 8. Inasmuch as the bullets are projected high in air in nearly all
the shots recommended, and are quite light, when they are spent they
are harmless, so that long range is not necessary; but it must be kept
in mind, however, that they are projected with much force, and at two
hundred or three hundred yards even, have considerable penetration,
and great care should be taken in giving them direction.

 9. A BULKHEAD to resist short cartridges should be, at least, three
soft pine boards in thickness.

10. The keeping of SCORES during practice to show the progress made
by each, is beneficial. At first an occasional hit will seem like good
shooting, while later an occasional miss will seem to make a bad
average, owing to the advanced ideas of the firer, but the scores will
determine the true progress. There will be times when the learner will
shoot easily and well, and others when he may find it very hard, but
practice can develop a skill which will be able to overcome the
influence of shaky nerves.

11. The near distance of ten feet is the best range at first because
the object is to hit as easily as possible, but later, as proficiency
is acquired, the tosser may retire till ten yards is reached, which is
far enough for all practical purposes.

12. If the tosser stand with his face to the firer he is apt to
divert his attention from the ball, which is in part avoided by
turning his side, and is also the proper position for the delivery of
the drop and other shots.

13. Fifteen feet of elevation is sufficient, a higher ball being
really easier to hit, because the firer is more under it.

14. The ball thrown perpendicularly is of course the easiest to hit,
but if it fall in front of the tosser two or three feet, the firer is
less liable to be disturbed.

15. The metal of the bell being somewhat brittle, if it happen to
fall on a stone or very hard ground in a certain position it will
break the post and disable it.

If it fall into mud and fill, or partially fill with it, the sound
will be very much deadened.

16. The free use of the shoulders is necessary, and a shooting suit,
consisting of loose shirt, and pants which fit the hips closely, made
of dark blue flannel to avoid the powder stains showing too plainly,
is recommended.

Twenty or thirty cartridges can be carried in the hollow of the left
hand, which holds the barrel, and can be got at easily in reloading;
but if they interfere with the holding of the rifle, it is better to
use a pouch or open-mouthed bag suspended in front of the waist.

It may seem trivial to mention nice points of position, such as
standing, which any one might know, but in truth there are many little
things which in the aggregate are essential.

Intense earnestness, quickness, firmness, the avoiding of diverting
attractions, all help to success though any one may seemingly be
disregarded without prejudice.

17. No shot is counted fair unless the stock of the rifle remain
below the elbow till the ball has been thrown.

18. After firing, the stock of the rifle is brought down and held
between the elbow and the hip by pressure of the elbow, while the
shell is extracted; the muzzle is then depressed to an angle of
forty-five degrees below the horizontal; the new cartridge inserted
and the breech-block forced into place, when the muzzle is brought to
its position above the level of the eye and the piece cocked.

It should be a matter of discipline with all to practice these motions
with a view to making them a habit, in which there is safety and

19. The farther out on the barrel you can clasp your gun with your
left hand, easily, the better control you will have over it.

It is this advantage that tall men have over short, that makes them
frequently better field shots.

20. The importance of quickness of motion, cannot be over-estimated.
There is always a tendency to follow the ball up with the rifle, but
the first care should be to get the rifle to the shoulder as quickly
as possible, when time to aim will be secured before the summit is
reached, whereas, tardy action necessitates hurried firing.

21. During the second of time when the ball is at the summit, it
does not seem to have any motion, and is, consequently, the best time
to hit it.

22. Seeing the ball _full_ over the sights, means in reality the
allowing for a little drop before the bullet gets there.

23. It is the fault of nearly all beginners to uncover too much of
the front sight, and consequently to overshoot. Be careful that the
front sight is well down into the rear when you see the object
finally, and pull.

24. The pulling of the trigger must be done without hesitation, but
quickly as soon as the judgment orders it.

25. The fouling of the rifle will depend on the ammunition used. The
author has fired as many as five hundred shots from a rifle without
cleaning, while using cartridges of American make, but has not been
able to shoot more than ten of those made by Eley Brothers, of London,
before cleaning, and as the English cartridges cost just twice as much
as the American, the result of the test is strongly in favor of the

26. As soon as burned powder begins to accumulate in the grooves, it
tears the bullet, and accuracy is impossible; the digression being
sometimes several inches in a ten yards flight.

When bullets tear you can usually hear them hum when they leave the

27. The practical value in field shooting, gained by the mere
hitting of balls thrown up perpendicularly, is not great, but as a
preliminary practice it is essential, and should be accomplished
before other directions are given to the bell.

28. With practice on the CROSS SHOT, and similar ones, comes the
true benefit which is derived from this system, and which will perfect
one in field shooting, not only with a shot-gun on birds, but with a
rifle on running game.

The instant the bell is thrown for the cross shot, bring the rifle to
the shoulder as quickly as possible, take aim and follow it, firing as
you go, _never_ stopping the motion to pull the trigger.

29. The DROP SHOT is, perhaps, the prettiest as an exhibition,
because the bell is hit just when your spectators think it has gotten
away from you, and is excellent practice. Like the cross-shot, it
teaches an easy sweeping motion of the rifle, which is the secret of
successful snap shooting.

Catch the bell just full over your sights and keep it there while you
lead it down.

30. The "BASE BALL" or INCOMING SHOT at a bell thrown at the firer
by an attendant is dangerous on account of the possible glancing of
the bullets in his direction, and as all chances of accident should be
carefully avoided, it is better not to try it.

31. The TRAP SHOT. The glass ball traps ordinarily used in shot-gun
practice, throw glass balls too far for the rifle, at first, but as
the bell-ball is heavier are about the proper strength for that.

The bell should not be thrown so as to fall at a greater distance than
twenty-five feet, and the firer should stand right beside or just
behind the trap.

Quickness of motion in getting the rifle to the shoulder becomes a
habit, if persisted in, and is absolutely necessary to success in this

If the learner, in beginning his practice, is sufficiently impressed
with the importance of the quick first motion of getting his gun to
his shoulder, the instant a mark appears he will find the chief
obstacle to hitting it removed. "Buck fever" means the forgetting that
one has a gun in his hands, in the absorbing interest he takes in the
game in sight.

The trigger should not be pulled in a hurry, and never till sure aim
has been taken. Quick action allows deliberate aim, while tardy action
prevents it. I have repeated the lines urging quickness of action,
because too much stress cannot be laid on it.

32. BALLS ONLY should be used as flying targets. When the beginner
has attained some skill in snap shooting with a rifle, he takes
justifiable pride in exhibiting it, by hitting all kind of things,
such as cans, bottles, sticks, coins, pencils and stones, but it is
not well to do so.

The impression given every time the rifle is discharged, ought to be a
true one, but when a ball passes near the center of an irregularly
shaped object without hitting it, the impression given is that the aim
was defective, when it was good.

33. It is excellent practice, when you have become proficient, to
see how little time it will take you to make a given number of hits,
say twenty, not counting the misses as anything.

The less misses you make, the less time you will require.

The Tosser should observe the instant the breech block is replaced
after the cartridge has been inserted, and throw immediately without
waiting for instructions.

In order to establish a standard of quickness it may be well to state
that the writer has made twenty hits in one minute and sixteen
seconds, and one hundred hits in seven minutes and twenty-nine

In the first instance he made no misses, but in the second there were
seven misses, making one hundred and seven shots in all; an average of
about four seconds to the shot.


Without attempting to treat the subject exhaustively, I will give some
hints on aiming, which being taken by a beginner, will save him much

Long practice teaches one to hold in certain positions, under certain
circumstances, but the majority of gunners cannot give reasons for
their doing so.

POINT BLANK means aiming directly at the object without making visible
allowance for depression or windage.

When a rifle is sighted to shoot point blank a given distance, the
front sight is filed off, which acts to depress the line of the
sights, or elevate the line of the bore, which is the same thing,
sufficient to counteract the effect of gravity on the bullet.

When firing point blank at a given distance it is natural to suppose,
though all know to the contrary, that the bullet travels in a straight
line between the rifle and the target; or in other words, that the
trajectory is flat, and that the line of the sights and line of the
bore of the rifle are parallel.

Flat trajectory is impossible, because the instant the bullet leaves
the rifle it is under the influence of gravity, and in traveling an
inch even is depressed by it.

For convenience of description I will call this elevation of the line

I shall also term that part of the circle between the horizontal and
perpendicular above, the UPPER QUADRANT; and that part between the
horizontal and perpendicular below, the LOWER QUADRANT, and use the
figures on the dial of a clock to indicate the positions of hits on
the target.

A gun is CANTED when a perpendicular line drawn from the line of the
sights will not intersect the line of elevation.

"SHOOTING STRAIGHT" (an expression legalized by use) means hitting a
target at the point which is in line with the sights.

When a rifle is canted, no matter how little, it will not shoot

Unless the contrary is stated it is always supposed that you are
firing point blank at the range for which the rifle is sighted.

A bullet projected from a rifle canted to one side, say the left, at
right angles to the upright position, will hit half-past seven
o'clock, because the line of elevation throws it to the left just as
much as gravity pulls it down, to counteract which influence the rifle
must be aimed at half-past one o'clock.

If the rifle be held upside down it will shoot very low, because the
line of elevation and gravity both act to depress it.

Held in any position between these, the two regular causes of
deflection, gravity and elevation, will influence the shot;
counteracting or aiding each other with mathematical precision, as
they approach or depart from each other; in the upright position, just
counteracting; in the inverted position aiding each other; and in the
side position pulling down at an angle of 45 degrees.

In shooting at point blank range horizontally, the line of elevation
is just counteracted by gravity.

In shooting straight up or straight down there is no lateral
attraction to affect the course of the bullet, gravity acting only to
aid or retard its speed, consequently the line of elevation will throw
it off the target the full distance.

In shooting at any point in either the upper or lower quadrants, aim
low; the lower as you approach either perpendicular.

The speed of a bullet diminishes as it travels, and as it requires
much greater time to make the second than the first hundred yards,
gravity has more time to depress it in that distance.

In bending backwards to shoot, remember that the rifle is inverted.

The flight of a bullet is not in a perfect curve; at first it travels
almost straight, then curves gradually, then abruptly, till finally
when it has lost its momentum, it drops perpendicularly, affected only
by gravity.

If you are stationary and your target moves, aim ahead.

If you are in motion and your target is stationary aim behind, because
your motion is given to the bullet.

If you and your target are both moving in the same direction at the
same speed, near each other, aim at it, but if the distance be great,
aim ahead, because your target keeps up its speed, while the momentum
which you have given the bullet decreases as it travels.

The force of wind being irregular and capricious must be judged from
personal observation and experience, but remember, that like gravity,
it has more time to deflect a bullet during its second than during its
first hundred yards flight.

Hold the gun firmly against your shoulder to prevent its kicking.

To counteract recoil, hold yourself against it by making a slight
movement forward as you fire.

The general fault in aiming, in snap shooting, is over-aiming.

The front sight should always be brought well down in the rear sight,
which is facilitated by having sufficient drop to the stock of the

Aim at an object going straight away from you, as if it were rising.



The shooting at still targets, either off-hand or from a rest, judging
windage and the elevation required, nice cleaning, regular loading,
etc., are very scientific and good practice for sharp shooting, but
unfit one for snap shooting.

To be able to judge distance, windage, the height above or depression
below the level, the speed and direction the object is moving, while
you count one, two, three, is the skill which this system endeavors to
teach, and which is solidly practical.

To stand for one or two minutes, with the elbow resting on the hip,
and the hand twisted in an awkward position underneath the trigger
guard waiting for a season of partial paralysis to steady the aim, for
any purposes other than sharp shooting, is unpractical.

To rest, either standing or lying is more unpractical still.

To be able, in spite of shaky nerves, to throw the rifle, bullet and
all at the object in an instant, is practical.

A good snap shot can shoot better off-hand than from a rest, and does
not close either eye, when he aims.

Keeping both eyes open comes unsought with practice, and indicates
that the gun has become the servile weapon, which finds its way to its
place between the eyes and the object, without demanding attention,
and delivers its charge direct at the bidding of the master, whose
both eyes are intently watching the course of the target.

The brain and finger become so sympathetic that the firing is done
almost without bidding.



1. The standard calibre of the rifle shall be .22, and the standard
distance fifteen feet.

2. Rifles of .28 calibre shall be handicapped two feet, those of .32
calibre four feet, those of .38 calibre eight feet, those of .40
calibre ten feet, and those of .44 calibre twelve feet.

3. THE REFEREE, whose decision shall be final, shall take position on
a line at right angles to that between the firer and tosser, opposite
the tosser, and see that no balls are thrown inside a perpendicular to
that line. In case a ball be hit inside the perpendicular, it shall
count neither for nor against the firer.

4. THE FIRER shall shoot at twenty balls and then retire, must keep
the stock of his rifle below his right elbow till the ball is thrown,
must shoot at each ball he orders or lose it; is responsible for the
throwing of his tosser, whom he is at liberty to choose or change at
will, and also for any failure to load or cock his rifle; but is
entitled to another ball, if there be a misfire on account of a
defective cartridge.

5. TIES shall be shot off on time; the contestant _hitting_ the
greatest number of balls in five minutes, shooting as he pleases, at
balls thrown according to the rules, shall be declared winner of the
tie, provided, of course, that rifles of the same class be used by
both parties.


1. The same trap shall be used by all contestants, and shall be made
to throw the balls as nearly horizontal as possible, and so that they
shall fall about twenty-five feet distant, all in the same direction.

2. Rifles of .22 calibre are standard, and entitle the firer to stand
three feet in rear of the trap. Firers using .28 calibre rifles shall
be handicapped to five feet back of the trap; those using .32 calibre,
to seven feet back; those using .38 calibre, to eleven feet back;
those using .40 calibre, to thirteen feet back; and those using .44
calibre, to fifteen feet back.

3. THE REFEREE'S decision shall be final, and he shall judge, among
other points, if the trap throw equally for all.

4. THE FIRER shall shoot at twenty balls and then retire, must keep
the stock of his rifle below his right elbow till the trap is sprung;
must shoot at each ball he orders or lose it; is responsible for the
service of his trap-puller, whom he is at liberty to choose or change
at will, and also for any failure to load or cock his rifle; but is
entitled to another ball in case there is a misfire on account of a
defective cartridge, or on account of the breaking of the trap.

5. TIES shall be shot off on time; the contestant _hitting_ the
greatest number of balls in five minutes, shooting as he pleases, at
balls thrown according to the rules, shall be declared winner of the
tie; provided, of course, that rifles of the same class be used by
both parties.



_Shooting at a Bell-Ball, suspended by a wire about five feet in
length, at a range of from thirty to fifty feet._

 1. RIFLE CANTED SIDEWAYS. Aim at half-past one o'clock, two inches

 2. RIFLE UPSIDE DOWN over the head. Aim at twelve o'clock, three
inches off.

 3. MIRROR SHOT. Stand with back to the target, rest the rifle on the
shoulder, hold a small hand mirror back of the sights, and see the
reflection of the target in a line with them. Aim at the target. This
shot is difficult, because a change of position of the mirror has the
same effect as moving the rifle, and steadiness of both is requisite;
also, movements are seemingly reversed in the glass.

 4. SNUFFING A CANDLE. The wick must be _cut_ by the bullet.

 5. EXPLODING CARTRIDGES. Shoot ten holes in a plank, place a cartridge
in each hole, and explode them in ten shots. This shot is very
interesting, but dangerous if the cartridges are pushed into the holes
so that the shell is inserted, because a resistance is made, and the
shells or parts of them are forced back towards the firer. The end
only of the bullet should be covered, and then there is no danger.

 6. CARD SHOT. Cut a hole, the size of the barrel, in an ordinary
business card, and slide it on as far as the forward sight. In looking
along the line of sights with one eye, the target will be obscured;
but if both eyes are left open, there will appear to be a hole in the
card through which the target can be seen. The reason of this is, that
while one eye looks at the sights and card, the other looks past the
card at the target, and, of the double impressions conveyed to the
brain, the more distinct ones of the target and sights unite in one
and displace the card. In this shot aim a little to the left, the
more, the nearer the target is to you, because the eyes are not
focussed on the object, but are looking in parallel directions,
consequently the discrepancy of aim is the distance between the eyes.

 7. THE BENDING BACKWARD OR "ATHLETIC SHOT" is very difficult for any
but gymnasts, or those who have very limber backs. Stand with the back
to the target, put the rifle to the shoulder as if aiming
horizontally; bend backward till you are aiming at the target with
inverted rifle. Aim high, as in any shot where the rifle is turned
barrel down.

 8. THE HIP SHOT is made by holding the stock of the rifle on the hip
and judging the aim. It is very difficult, but not all chance, for one
can observe how his arms are held, and soon learn to _feel_ if the aim
be accurate.

 9. Bending forward and SHOOTING BETWEEN THE LEGS, holding the rifle
BACK OF THE NECK, and similar unusual shots, are good practice, and
teach one to overcome adverse positions.

10. KNOCKING THE ASHES OFF A CIGAR in an attendant's mouth, or apples
or potatoes from his head, are fool-hardy shots, which are not
brilliant, and only interest because they are dangerous. No man is
sure of himself, his cartridges, or his rifle. Nervousness, a dirty
rifle, a bullet which does not fill the grooves, the unsteadiness of
the attendant, or other causes of inaccuracy are within the range of
possibility, and any danger, especially where another is liable to be
the sufferer, should be avoided and discouraged by audiences.


1. Shooting at a Swinging Bell and hitting it in various positions.

2. Shooting at Bells thrown up perpendicularly.

3. TURNING SHOT. Stand with back to the target and turn and hit the
bell after it is thrown.

4. Hit Bells, holding the rifle in One Hand.

5. Toss the Bell up yourself and hit it, using one or both hands.

6. Cross Shot, Drop Shot, Incoming Shot, and Trap Shooting, explained
in Rules for Practice.

7. Shooting at coins thrown in the air is interesting, but expensive.


1. DOUBLE SHOT. Hitting two objects thrown in the air at the same
time, reloading the rifle once.

2. TRIPLE OR QUADRUPLE SHOT. Firing into the air two or three times
after an object has been thrown, and hitting it with the third or
fourth bullet before it reaches the ground.

3. JUMP SHOT. Place a _light_ ball, either glass or wood, on the
ground three feet in front of you. Shoot three inches under it, which
will project it into the air. Reload your rifle, and hit it before it

4. SHOOT AS MANY HOLES AS YOU CAN IN A BOARD, one foot square, which
has been thrown in the air, before it reaches the ground.

5. BREAK A BRICK with one bullet, then reload, and hit one of the

6. ORANGES, when hit hard with a bullet from a .44 calibre rifle,
disappear in a shower of juice; or, if struck only lightly with the
first bullet, can be hit again with a second before falling.

7. IN TIME SHOOTING with a repeating rifle, balls can be hit as fast
as they can be thrown up, one at a time, by one person.

NOTE.--_The above repeating rifle shots, and many of the others, were
invented by Dr. Carver and successfully made in his various
exhibitions in this country and at the Crystal Palace, near London._



_The records given below have not been made in matches but in
exhibitions, but are well authenticated, and will serve as Standards
of Excellence._

DR. WILLIAM F. CARVER, the originator of ball shooting with a rifle,
to whom great credit is due on that account, has performed many
remarkable feats in his exhibitions, and one of both skill and
endurance which will stand for them all.

At Brooklyn Driving Park, on Saturday July 13, 1878, he attempted to
break 5500 glass balls in 8 hours, with the following result, copied
from the account in _Forest and Stream, Rod and Gun_:


          Time per  Schedule    Actual
          hundred.    Time.      Time.     Ahead.  Behind.
            M. S.    H. M. S.   H. M. S.    M. S.   M. S.    Misses.
    100     5 05        9 05       5 05     4 00                6
    200     6 25       18 11      11 30     6 41                2
    300     7 50       27 16      19 20     7 56                5
    400     6 40       36 22      26 00    10 22                2
    500     6 20       45 27      32 20    13 07                4
    600     7 10       54 32      39 30    15 02               10
    700     5 50     1 03 38      45 20    18 18                3
    800     6 00     1 12 43      51 20    21 23               12
    900     7 00     1 21 48      58 20    24 28                9
  1,000     8 00     1 30 54    1 06 20    24 34               10
  1,100    10 10     1 39 59    1 16 30    23 29                9
  1,200     5 50     1 49 04    1 22 20    26 44                6
  1,300     8 00     1 58 09    1 30 20    27 49               10
  1,400    10 10     2 07 15    1 40 30    26 45                9
  1,500     7 50     2 16 21    1 48 20    28 01                6
  1,600     7 50     2 25 26    1 56 10    29 16               13
  1,700    11 10     2 34 32    2 06 20    28 12               18
  1,800     8 00     2 43 37    2 14 20    29 17               16
  1,900     8 00     2 52 42    2 22 20    30 22               23
  2,000     7 00     3 01 48    2 29 20    32 28               20
  2,100     9 00     3 10 53    2 38 20    32 33               20
  2,200     8 10     3 19 59    2 46 30    33 29               15
  2,300    10 10     3 29 04    2 56 40    32 24               11
  2,400    15 00     3 38 09    3 11 40    26 29               28
  2,500     8 30     3 47 15    3 20 10    27 05               21
  2,600    10 20     3 56 20    3 30 30    25 50               10
  2,700    10 10     4 05 26    3 40 40    24 46                5
  2,800    12 30     4 14 31    3 53 10    21 21                8
  2,900    16 30     4 23 37    4 09 40    13 57               12
  3,000    10 00     4 32 43    4 19 40    13 03               21
  3,100    38 30[1]  4 41 48    4 58 10             16 22      16
  3,200     6 30     4 50 54    5 04 40             13 46      16
  3,300     7 30     4 59 59    5 12 10             12 11      10
  3,400     6 30     5 09 04    5 18 40              9 36      10
  3,500     8 30     5 18 10    5 27 10              9 00      11
  3,600    11 30     5 27 15    5 38 40             11 25      22
  3,700     7 20     5 36 21    5 46 00              9 39      10
  3,800     9 10     5 45 26    5 54 10              8 44      22
  3,900     9 10     5 54 31    6 03 20              8 49      16
  4,000     9 20     6 02 36    6 12 40             10 04      24
  4,100     9 00     6 11 41    6 21 40              9 59      17
  4,200     7 30     6 20 47    6 29 10              8 23      10
  4,300     8 10     6 29 52    6 37 20              7 18      14
  4,400     6 20     6 38 58    6 43 40              4 42       6
  4,500     7 20     6 48 03    6 51 00              2 57      18
  4,600     8 20     6 57 08    7 00 20              3 12      19
  4,700     7 00     7 06 14    7 07 20              1 06       9
  4,800     7 00     7 15 20    7 14 20     1 00               13
  4,900     7 00     7 24 26    7 21 20     3 06               15
  5,000     7 50     7 34 31    7 29 10     5 21               16
  5,100     8 10     7 43 36    7 37 20     6 16                8
  5,200     6 20     7 51 42    7 43 40     8 02               18
  5,300     8 20     8 00 48    7 52 00     8 48               16
  5,400     8 00     8 09 55    8 00 00     9 55               21
  5,500     7 30     8 20 00    8 07 30    12 30               11
                                Total misses                  712

          [1] Rest of 32 minutes included. Actual breaking time,
          6m. 30s.

During this shoot, he used five Winchester Repeating Rifles, weighing
about ten pounds each, the aggregated weight of which, raised 6212
times, was about thirty-one tons. Before the first thousand had been
broken, the balls of his eyes became sunburned, and being further
irritated by rubbing them with his powder-stained gloves, the pain
became excruciating, but he hung to his self-imposed task and
accomplished it, and left the field in company with the writer,
physically unstrained. It is true that the greater number of balls
were broken within fifteen feet of the end of the rifle, but it was
nevertheless a wonderful exhibition of skill and endurance.

The working of the levers of the rifles, which, when heated, are said
to resist over thirty pounds pressure, with the middle finger of the
right hand, 6212 times, was a monstrous task in itself.

In exhibiting before the Prince of Wales at Sandringham, he broke 100
balls consecutively, and successfully made nearly all of the various
shots described here.

JOHN RUTH, of Oakland, California, who was a companion of Carver
during his preliminary practice, has become a successful exhibitor,
and has taught his wife to shoot nearly if not quite as well as
himself. At Badger's Park, in an exhibition, he hit the bell-ball 990
times out of 1000 shots, as referred to previously.

JOHN E. GRAHAM, of Erie, Pennsylvania, is reported to have made 986
hits in 1000 shots, or only 4 less than Ruth.

GEORGE A. MEARES of Salt Lake City, who is the champion rifleman of
Utah, is enthusiastic in recommending this method, and claims to have
derived immense benefit from it.

The late MAJOR THORNBURG was very successful at this kind of shooting,
as well as perhaps hundreds of others, who have so practiced as to be
able to hit 95 per cent. of balls thrown perpendicularly, but who have
yet to get the best benefit from the various shots which are here

The writer, after having practiced an hour each day for about three
weeks, gave a private exhibition before numerous German army officers,
members of shooting clubs, and others, at Frankfort-on-the-Main, in
which he made the following scores at balls thrown in the air, besides
successfully making the other shots spoken of:

Ninety-nine out of 100 balls thrown up perpendicularly; 10 Turning
Shots; 10 One-handed Shots; 10 Cross Shots; 10 Drop Shots; 10 Incoming
Shots; 17 out of 20 from a Bogardus trap; 19 out of 20 English

An English gentleman, who was spending his vacation in Frankfort, and
who was a very indifferent shot-gun shot, practiced under instruction
at the same time, and as a result, before he left for home, went out
several times with parties of the best shots in the vicinity, and
bagged more birds than any.


A range of 100 feet and a bulkhead 25 feet square is all that is
required to make perfect facilities for shooting at reduced still, or
running targets, or at balls thrown in any direction; and for ball
shooting only, a range of 30 feet is sufficient.

A club of ten or twenty can build and run such a range anywhere, even
within city limits, at a very light expense; or it is exceedingly
profitable to run one and charge for the shots or ammunition, as a
private enterprise.

In this manner unlimited practice can be had at a very light expense.


It may be offered, simply as a suggestion, that the method of practice
recommended in the preceding pages, might be of service in teaching
recruits to handle firearms.

Practice in hitting moving objects inspires a confidence which can not
be obtained in any other way, and the repetition of the three motions
of loading, extracting, and aiming and firing, habituates the learner
to a free use of the arms and a confidence in pulling the trigger.

In the German army they aim and snap an unloaded piece repeatedly as
an exercise, considering the pulling of the trigger a necessary finish
to the motion of aiming.

Aided by a minimum expense, light report, easily-acquired range
facilities, and a most-fascinating system, might not the practice be
carried to firing and hitting, which is the desired result?

This need not at all interfere with the manual, but can be practiced
as an outside exercise; and the result of adopting it would be felt
immediately by a company, not only in the ease and quickening of
motion and the improved marksmanship, but in the increased interest it
would create among the members.


A. B. C.








Copyright, 1880, by HORACE FLETCHER.




See Cut and Price-List on Following Page.


1. It teaches both arms to pull alike.

2. It compels the feathering of the oar.

3. The stroke is even throughout.

4. There is no aid or resistance to the return.

5. It is perfectly clean, as no oil should be used about it.

6. Slots in the casting, where the end of the oar is made fast to the
out-rigger, permit the lifting of the blades in returning.

7. All oarsmen unite in pronouncing it a perfect teacher of rowing.

8. Men practicing in the double skull or four oared pattern MUST all
do the same work, and their coach can stand over them and direct their


1. It exercises ALL the muscles of the body and strains none.

2. It can be regulated by the set screws to accommodate any strength
and size of person, and is as well adapted for the use of ladies and
children as gentlemen.

3. Its use for five minutes each morning, immediately after getting
out of bed, will cure any case of dyspepsia, because of the easy
exercise of the muscles of the stomach, the improved respiration and
the accelerated circulation of the blood.

4. The sliding seat aids fleshy people in taking the stroke, and for
them is a most excellent exercise.

_It takes but little room, is clean, and fascinates all, both ladies
and gentlemen, because it is practical in teaching a useful and
graceful accomplishment, and at the same time inviting health._





A perfect Rowing Machine, and the New Health Pull for Ladies,
Gentlemen and Children.

(_See preceding page for description._)

  Four Oared Pattern with Sliding Seat, for Clubs            $40 00
  Double Scull Pattern with Sliding Seat, for Clubs           20 00
  Single Scull Pattern with Sliding Seat, suitable for
    Ladies and Children, as well as Oarsmen                   12 00
  Juvenile, without Sliding Seat, for Children only            5 00

Packed in pieces for shipment, readily put together. Address with

    _Shattuck & Fletcher,
    520 Commercial St., San Francisco, Cal._

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