I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War to what extent the magazine rifle has been issued to the troops; how many rifles have been distributed in India; what steps, if any, have been taken to give the soldiers magazine practice with the rifle; and whether the Government have adopted any system of miniature practice for the magazine, such as that used in the Martini rifle?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN,) Stirling, &c.
The magazine rifle has been issued to all the battalions of Infantry at home and in the Colonies, except to eight battalions in Ireland and four abroad, the rifles of which are ready and will be issued as soon as suitable ranges can be provided. Twenty-three companies of Royal Engineers have also got the now rifle; 70,000 have been sent to India; but the distribution there rests with the Local Authorities. Magazine practice forms part of the regular annual course of instruction for all troops armed with the Lee-Metford rifle, for which a system of miniature practice has been introduced.