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following day. The fresh stag in all probability rose before the hound when on the scent of the wounded animal, and was preferred ; proving that the best of deerhounds do not infallibly pursue the scent of a wounded deer, preferably to a fresh deer rising immediately in sight. Some persons entertain so favourable an opinion of the instinctive sagacity of the deerhound, that they believe he will not abandon the scent of a wounded deer under any circumstances. Experience is, however, the other way. The sportsman who has deer driven to him, and who has the command of several double-barreled rifles, may possibly be indifferent as to the use of the breech-loader, but this weapon will be invaluable to the stalker, who only avails himself of one double-barreled rifle, as an opportunity will frequently occur of which he can avail himself of reloading after an unsuccessful shot, in sufficient time to make a second trial of his skill.
A striking instance, as far as opportunity is concerned, of the advantage derivable from a breech-loading rifle occurred to a friend of mine; of which he could not avail himself, having only a muzzle loader. He was out grouse-shooting, when he espied three stags which had arrived on his moor from some neighbouring forest; as chances of this kind occasionally occurred, he was in the habit of carrying a few balls in his pocket; he was using a copper-cap gun, from which he instantly drew the shot and substituted the balls ; and leaving his dogs with the gillie, endeavoured to stalk the three stags; he could not approach nearer than 130 yards, and this position he reached only by crawling on the ground and lying as flat as possible; then finding he could not get one inch nearer, he thought he would hazard a shot, as he did not think there was any chance of the stags coming in his direction. He fired, but without success; the stags raised their heads and gazed about in all directions, and seemed for some time undecided which way to move, apparently not being aware from what quarter the shot proceeded; at last they advanced slowly towards the spot where the stalker lay in concealment, till they came within twenty yards of him, when he rose and took a deliberate aim at one and killed him. Now, if he had had a breech-loader, he could easily have reloaded the empty barrel which he had in the first instance unsuccessfully discharged, and had a right and left at two of the three stags, and as easily have killed two as one, as he was a first-rate shot-lying flat on the ground in heather, which was not deep; it was impossible to reload a muzzle-loader without being seen, but with a breech-loader there would have been no difficulty.
For those who like to indulge in considerable slaughter, Lancaster's four-barreled rifle would be a luxurious instrument to use, in the event of a large herd of deer being driven past at a convenient distance. For moderate appetites his double-barreled rifle will be found to answer sufficiently well. Lancaster's cartridges cannot be refilled : whereas the Lafanchaux cartridges can be refilled three or four times. Moreover, the Lafanchaux rifle is in every respect as efficient; it is equally strong, and is without any complication, and I know of no double-barreled rifle which surpasses the one made by Lang, and which is more generally approved of not only by the deer-stalker, but by the Indian sportsman, whose attention is sometimes directed to a more formidable and much more important quarry than deer, and when the facility and dispatch in reloading the breech-loader are sometimes available for the salvation of life. The strong binding power of Lang's improved lever renders this weapon as safe and efficient as it is possible to be made; and his judicious arrangement of the relative positions of the two barrels to the line of sight is such, that they carry to the greatest accuracy to any given distance : within and beyond that given distance it will be necessary for the sportsman to exercise his own judgment, having a fixed principle for his guidance.
tions of the two barrels of a double-barreled rifle arises from the effect of the recoil, which, taking place at the moment of combustion, gives a slight external tendency to the barrel from which the discharge occurs before the bullet has escaped from the muzzle; so that if the axis of each barrel were parallel with the line of sight which lies evenly between them, any object at a long distance, at which a strictly accurate aim were taken, would not be hit, as the bullet from the right barrel would deviate slightly to the right, and the bullet from the left barrel to the left of the object aimed at. It has therefore been found necessary to give to each barrel a slight internal tendency, by which means the effect of the recoil is partially counteracted; and here the skill of the gunmaker is called into exercise, as it is by a nice arrangement of the degree of convergence that the line of trajection is made to intersect the line of sight at a given point. This may be fixed at 150, 200, or 250 yards, but it cannot be made to intersect the line of sight at each of these distances, because, the axis of the barrel not being parallel with the line of sight, there can only be one point or distance at which the line of trajection can intersect the line of sight: beyond and within this point, as I have before intimated, the sportsman will have to exercise his own judgment. The subject admits of easy mathematical demonstration. Some gunmakers will tell you they can make their rifles to carry with strict accuracy to all distances; but this is impossible, being mathematically untrue: it is in defiance of the fact of the recoil taking place at the moment of combustion, and of its inevitable consequences before the bullet leaves the muzzle, when the rifle is discharged from the shoulder ; but if they make their experiments from a vice in which the stock is so firmly fixed that the effect of the recoil on the direction of the muzzle is counteracted, they resort to a test which is fallacious, and are deceiving themselves, and must subsequently disappoint the sportsman, as a double rifle, which might carry with accuracy from an immovable and fixed position, would infallibly prove altogether faulty when fired from the shoulder, for the reason which I have already given. With regard to elevation, the degrees are ascertained by experiments, and the sights arranged with so much accuracy and precision, that there can be no mistake.
To Lang the sporting public are considerably indebted, as he was the first who improved the original Lafanchaux to such an extent as to bring it into notice, and render it worthy of general acceptance. In fact, till Lang produced his improved specimen of this principle a breech-loader was not only considered a very inferior but also