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Commander Crawford Caffin, R.N
H.M.S. Natal, aboard which the prisoner Cetshwayo was transported from Port Natal to Capetown. Caffin had joint charge of the King with Captain Ruscombe Poole, R.A. (Isandula Collection)
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 telescopic sights

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Mr Greaves


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PostSubject: telescopic sights   Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:43 pm

The first experiments directed to give shooters optical aiming aids go back to the early 17th century. For centuries different optical aiming aids and primitive predecessors of telescopic sights were created that had practical or performance limitations. Are there any accounts of these type of sights being used by any of the forces during the Zulu War.
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PostSubject: Re: telescopic sights   Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:02 pm

Mr G. can’t find anything of scopes being used during the Zulu War, but came across this. It’s some sort of periscope, There seems to be a rifle attached not really sure what’s going on and what supposed to happen.

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PostSubject: Re: telescopic sights   Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:53 pm

Hi all
The picture show's a sniper or crack shot in the first world war trenches, probably on the Gallipoli front, iam sure this periscope and fixed rifle idea is shown in the film Gallipoli.
Scoped rifles were used at military shooting contests in the 1870's 1890's there are illustrations in the Illustrated London News showing this.
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PostSubject: Re: telescopic sights   Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:26 pm

I'm sure from memory I've seen a picture of someone with a scope in the American Civil War...
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PostSubject: Re: telescopic sights   Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:47 pm

Early scope type used during the American Civil War.

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PostSubject: telescopic sights   Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:21 am

hi all.
The picture littlehand has posted was taken at Gallipoli and as far as I am aware they are Australian Troops
who were credited with that periscopic invention. Rai, I am fairly certain that photo was certainly put into the
movie Gallipoli which featured a very young Mel Gibson , who I must say hasnt aged very gracefully :lol!:
I have never found any mention of scope sights or snipers in the zulu war.
cheers 90th.
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Neil Aspinshaw


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PostSubject: Re: telescopic sights   Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:07 pm

There was no particular telescopic sight available for service rifles of the Anglo Zulu War.

In 1883 the RSAF began to experiment with three options and one "adaptation" on the sighing of the Martini Henry at ranges beyond 1000 yards, indeed since the MK3 rifles inception in 1879 accurizing shooting at ranges beyond 500 were being addressed.

In the Mk3 the sight ladder bed was set offset to give the raised sight ladder a 5 degree cant, this allowed for the natural bullet deflection curve as an effect of the rifling causing spin, similar to a footballer curving a ball from a free kick.

Option #1 took the form of a tubular brass telescope, mounted on the left hand side of the action, it had to be set at a 30 degree angle as the bullet trajectory at range was over twelve feet, it was trialled but found innefective.

Option #2 A swivelling graduated ruler, pivotted on a specially adapted bayonet band, a small folding sight was brazed to the side of the reciever which meant the firer was looking at point of aim, but the rifle was raised to allow for trajectory, as in the tubular telescope.

Option #3, which was a C1888 idea was from mr Speed, superintendent of the RSAF, he designed a "dial" sight on the forend, and a raisable peep sight on the axis knuckle, whilst being ineffective on the Martini, it was not far out, and became standard issue on the Magazine Lee metford and Lee Enfield.

The adaptation was to knock the cotter pin holding the bayonet band out a touch, and using the sight bed and the pin end gave a natural trajectory whilst looking down the line of sight.

All these prototypes becme redundant with the adoption of Cordite, as the trajectory began to flatten out with the 800 fps increase in bullet speed it afforded.
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