Famous Firearms

Creedmoor Rifle

ACreedmoor rille is a single-shot long-range target rifle designed to be fired from a prone or supine position without artificial support. The name derives from the famous rifle range at Creed-moor, Long Island, designed and built under the auspices of the newly formed National Rifle Association in 1872.

The Creedmoor range was the first facility for long-range shooting in the United States. A year after it was finished a challenge arrived from an Irish rifle team which had just won the championship of the British Isles for a match which would ostensibly carry the championship of the English-speaking world. The Irish team used muzzle-loading rifles made by John Rigby of Dublin, but the U. S. team established a precedent by using breechloaders. These rifles had been especially designed for the match by the Remington and Sharps companies, each producing 4 rifles for the occasion. They were the first Creedmoor rifles, and they served as models for long-range target rifles made by several U. S. firms in the following years.

Before the Creedmoor Match, the ü. S. had no special models of long-range target rifles readily available. The U. S. victory in the contest and the attendant newspaper publicity tended to arouse interest in the sport of target shooting at 800. 900. and 1000 yds. Creedmoor rifles became standard models for both Sharps and Remington, and other leading manufacturers including Ballard. Maynard, Providence Tool Co. (Peabody-Martini), and Frank Wesson.

Despite the number of manufacturers. Creedmoor rifles were remarkably uniform in appearance. It was primarily the action which varied. All conformed to the rules formulated by the National Rifle Association which required single triggers with not less than a 3-lb. pull and a total weight for the rifle of not more than 10 lbs.

These rifles were graceful, and had gradually tapering barrels, usually partly octagonal and partly round. The usual sights consisted of a hooded front sight, often with a spirit level and wind gauge, and a long-range Vernier rear sight, also often adjustable for windage. The rear sight was mounted either on the tang of the action or on the top rear of the butt, depending on whether the shooter preferred to fire from a prone or supine position. Most stocks had finely checkered pistol grips and relatively short slender forearms. However, the military Creedmoor models possessed long forearms. Cal. .44 was standard.

Because the Creedmoor rifle was a high-quality precision rifle, the workmanship throughout was generally fine. Stocks were often Circassian walnut, and there was frequently engraving on the action. A few rifles were even marked "Creedmoor", and in these instances they usually represented the top quality of a manufacturer's product. Lesser models of the same type were just classified as "Long Range".—Harold L. Peterson

Famous Guns

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