HC Deb 03 April 1865 vol 178 cc672-3

said, he rose to ask the Under Secretary of State for War, Whether it is intended to test the Lancaster, Scott, and French 7-inch gun, competion guns, by firing from them shells filled with powder, before coming to a decision as to the best system of rifling; and whether it is true that the 7-inch shunt and French guns have, in the late competition at Shoeburyness, been placed under similar conditions, and whether one has yet been fired from a wooden and another from an iron carriage; and whether other advantages have not been given to the shunt gun?


said, it was rather unusual and very inconvenient that information of that kind should be asked for during the progress of these experiments. The experiments which had been ordered between the competitive systems of rifling were now going on, and not likely to be concluded for a short time yet. As a matter of fact, he believed the competition guns had not yet had shells filled with powder fired from them, and he could not say yet whether it was intended to test them in that way or not. As to the shunt and French guns, they had both been fired on wooden carriages; the shunt gun had been fired from an iron platform, but the French gun had not been placed on that platform. The Committee were not aware of any advantage having been given to the shunt gun over any other, and perhaps he might be permitted to observe that if the hon. Member supposed—as he appeared to do—that the Committee did not carry out the experiments fairly, he had better state to the House what the circumstances were which gave rise to that impression, rather than convoy imputations against the Committee by means of questions.