Bush Fighting. Illustrated by remarkable actions and incidents of the Maori war in New Zealand.
In Abyssinia, when the gate of the fortress of Magdala was attacked by the British troops, the garrison did not consider it fair fighting, for the rifles were fired through the loopholes at the defenders of the gate, and repeatedly fired without being withdrawn to load—they were breechloaders.
A superior breechloader in modern warfare is of the highest importance for arming troops; and, since the introduction of the Snider rifle, a number of rival arms have been offered for the acceptance of the military authorities. We have seen the chassepot used on the Continent: the fault of it seemed its length of range, for young troops armed with it are tempted, unless under very strict discipline, to open fire at 1500 yards or more; whereas the needle-gun, with shorter range, induces those carrying it to reserve their fire for closer quarters, and with more deadly effect. As an old member of the Montreal Rifle Club, we never thought of firing over the ice of the St. Lawrence with a range of a mile, or when a man appears the size of a black pin, but preferred a much shorter range for our practice.
A very enterprising gentleman of Montreal (a relative), Mr. Edward Alexander Prentice, brought to my notice lately a new rifle with various excellencies in its construction and action; its history and description are as follows:
It was invented by an ingenious French Canadian of the name of Joseph Duval, of Laprairie, opposite to Mon-page 320treal. He not only made the "stock, lock, and barrel," but he made his own tools. Of course it was at first rather a rough, ungainly weapon, but Mr. Prentice, recognising its originality and great merit, purchased the patent rights, with a few friends, had it well made and much improved by Mr. James Macnaughton, gun-maker Edinburgh; also it was superintended by Mr. Alex. Duncan, Advocate, New Club, Edinburgh.
It was then submitted to the Minister of Militia, Canada, Sir George E. Cartier, Bart., who ordered Lieut.-Colonel G. A. Trench, Inspector of Artillery and Warlike Stores, and Lieut.-Colonel M. W. Strange, R.A., Quebec, to report on it. These gentlemen made elaborate reports, the gist of which was that they considered it a more suitable arm for the service of troops than the Martini rifle.