MR. H. BERKELEY
said, he rose to ask the Under Secretary of State for War, Whether, as the Armstrong breech-loading guns, constructed by Sir William Armstrong and now under trial at Shoeburyness, are made chiefly of solid blocks of mild steel (tempered in oil), and consequently totally different from the service guns which they are considered to represent; and whether it is the intention of the War Office to institute any and what trial of the Armstrong guns as at present employed in Her Majesty's service, it being evident, from Admiral Kuper's report, that some trial is urgently needed?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he was afraid that he could scarcely, within the limits of a reply to a question, enter into a discussion of the points which the hon. Gentleman raised. He could only say that he would be very glad to enter more fully into the discussion of those points when they came to the gun Vote in the Army Estimates. He might, however, then state that the Armstrong guns now on trial at Shoeburyness were, 1080 with very trifling alteration, the same guns that were in the service. The guns in the service were constructed of barrels of steel strengthened by bands. That was the principle of the guns now at Shoeburyness. The object of the trial was to discover whether Mr. Whitworth or Sir William Armstrong could produce the best gun. As to whether it was the intention of the War Office to institute any trial of the service guns, he could only say that those guns were now undergoing a practical trial. A great many of them were now in possession of the army and the navy. Reports were received at the Horse Guards, and also quarterly Reports of the condition of the guns, stating any injury which they might have received during the practice.
MR. H. BERKELEY
said, he wished to know, whether he was to understand that the Armstrong gun, which was to be tried, was not of homogeneous metal?