Page images

Hedges, Chas. Askins, Chas. Newton, Ordnance Department, Springfield Armory, and Fred Adolph for assistance and many valuable suggestions, also to my associates in the Rocky Mountain Rifle Club for proving many of these problems on the range and to our friends who proved the applicability of those problems directly related to hunters in their successful big game hunts.

January 1, 1917.




IFLE shooting is a science and an art in the highest sense of the terms, attained only, first— by the mastery of the principles of ballistics, and second-by the intelligent application of those principles by constant, systematic practice to the accomplishment of precision. The second includes the ability to apply the principles of ballistics, which presupposes that the rifleman should have a practical mind, a good physique-his muscles developed to possess the power of maintaining the rigidity of the body and arm in position while aiming and firing; an eye well trained to discriminate minutely in order to be able to discern the slightest variation in sighting.

He should know, not guess, where the projectile will strike after it leaves the rifle, taking in full consideration all affecting influences. Each shot should be better than the preceding, or else the reason for its not being so determined and the correction made for the following shot. One shot, intelligently shot, is worth more to the student rifleman than a hundred shots shot desultorily.

Then he who is deficient in the science or in the underlying principles of the art of applying the principles of science, and all of us are deficient to a greater or less degree, cannot attain the highest proficiency, and the proficiency he will attain will be in

direct proportion to his knowledge of the science and his proficiency in the art.

The lack of incentive, the cost of range practice, the lack of scientific literature in popular form, all have discouraged the riflemen to attain a high degree of proficiency. The basic principles of ballistics not being generally known has led to desultory practice, which has left its mark upon the riflemen.

However, with these facts in view, it is wonderful what great efficiency has been attained by some of our riflemen, those who have made world's records, and those, equally as proficient, who live unknown to the world, possessing an unerring eye, a muscle of brawn and the finger of an adept.

On the other hand, these attainments as a rule have not been the result of the proper coordination of science and art, but the outgrowth of the development of one at the expense of the other. It would be interesting to note what maximum proficiency may be attained if one has the means, the time, the physical and technical training.

Mathematics is an exact science. And because of its rigorous demonstrations, its infallibility and precision, it is the fundamental of all the physical sciences.

Had it not been for mathematics the Atlantic would never have been crossed, America never discovered, railroads and canals never built, great tunnels and massive bridges never constructed, other sciences wrought out by mathematics never have

made the strides they did, and the world never have progressed.

On the other hand, were all knowledge of mathematics obliterated, commerce would suddenly come to a standstill, transcontinental trains could run but slowly, ocean steamers stranded, there would be no time, no communication with foreign countries, manufacturing as it is known today would suddenly cease, and civilization would degenerate.

Mathematics had its beginning in the very early centuries; the Egyptians were well versed in engineering; the Chinese foretold eclipses as early as 2200 B. C.; and the Chaldeans were astronomers.

Wonderful beyond comprehension have been the attainments of mathematics. The fact that light does not travel instantaneously was discovered in 1675 by Roemer, a Danish astronomer. The discovery was made by observations of Jupiter's moons, and from their motions he deduced a velocity of light 186,000 miles per second. Jupiter is 483,300,000 miles from the observer. Later, by a method of his own, Prof. Simon Newcomb, an intimate friend of the writer, deduced for the velocity of light a value of 186,330 miles per second, plus or minus 20 miles. This value has been accepted by scientists as being correct.

When a planet is discovered, astronomers work out its path among the stars, and also determine its time of revolution about the sun. This path will be analytically correct and the planet will hold its course, unless some unknown force acts upon it.

« PreviousContinue »