Joseph Whitworth: Guns and Steel (5)

Introduction | Comparative Trials | Hythe Trials | Whitworth & Enfield Trials |
Rifle Fired by the Queen | Ordnance Select Committee | Henry & Metford Rifles | Hexagonal Rifling

A Rifle Fired By The Queen

The first prize meeting of the National Rifle Association was held at Wimbledon on the 2nd July, 1860. Her Majesty, the Queen, graciously signified her intention of inaugurating it in person, and also of firing the first rifle shot.

Accordingly a Whitworth rifle was mounted on the mechanical rest, which is dependent on the use of my true planes for its geometrical exactness. The drawing shows the rest supported on a tripod stand, and weighted to ensure steadiness; the rifle is placed on a light steel slide, having true plane surfaces sliding on other true planes, which construction ensures that the recoil of the piece shall take place in one definite unchangeable line. Nothing can disturb the accuracy of the aim at the instant of firing.



A spring balance fixed on a smaller tripod, also weighted, receives the recoil by means of a projecting arm, and measures, its amount.

The target having been fixed at a distance of 400 yards, a silken cord attached to the trigger was handed to Her Majesty by me, and the rifle was discharged by a slight pull on the cord.

The adjustment was so accurate that the bullet struck the target within 1.25 inches from the centre, or point of intersection of the two cross lines, as shown by the diagram copied from a photograph:-