HC Deb 16 March 1891 vol 351 c1053
MR. JEFFREYS (Hants, Basingstoke)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, with, reference to the magazine rifle, why it has been decided to abandon the sights invented by Lieutenant Colonel Lewes, and revert to the old barleycorn sights; whether the Lewes sight was adopted because it enables fire to be kept low in the shock of rapid volleys; whether, with this sight, recruits are much more quickly taught to become effective shots; whether the Lewes sights were incorrectly marked, in consequence of having been calculated for the strength of a powder not yet issued; and whether he will therefore have a portion of the Mark II. rifles fitted with Lewes sights, with elevations correctly marked for the ammunition now in use, so that a fair estimate of their value may be obtained?


The Lewes sight was abandoned at the suggestion of the Committee on the Magazine Rifle after much practical experiment. It was found that the foresight was liable to injury, and difficult to repair if injured. The soldiers preferred the barleycorn sight, and the Naval Authorities distinctly objected to the Lewes. Seeing the importance of uniformity for all Services, and bearing in mind that the Lewes flight gave no decided superiority in firing, it was thought best to revert to the system which had given satisfaction with the Martini-Henry rifle. I am not prepared to go back on this decision.