Story of Famous Shots: Prowess of Captain Horation Ross and His Relatives-Scores with Men as Targets, Daily Racing Form, 1922-03-30


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i r I * 8 ] 1 r a J e I . j » * r . r " j f J 1 a * r : I i . 1 I I STORY OF FAMOUS SHOTS • • • • Prowess of Captain Horatio Ross and His . Relatives — Scores with Men as Targets. "I was a practical rifle-shot before the Wimbledon McattaCS and the National Kifle Association ;:me into existence." wiltM Thormanhy in the London Sportsman. "llan;;ing on the wall in front of nit as I write are two old muzzle-loading rifles— the one a fonr-grooved. the other a two-grooved — which were made. I suppose, seventy years ago, and have aeca si-ivicc all over the world. Tln»e venerable wcapfaf onid excite the derision of the crack shot, accustomed to put on strings of bulls eyes at 1.000 yards with his beautifully accurate match rifle. When these two old rifles first came into my possession each was fitted with a ponderous steel ramrod, with a large, broad, round top, and you had lo hammer the bullet down with a mallet. Yet. for all that. I can testify they were deadly weapons in skillful hands up to 290 yards. I have seen some good shooting done with Hie old P.rown Hess, too. up lo the s:inie range, though perhaps it was only one in a hundred of those weapons that could be trusted to carry straight for 100 yards; and with an old Spanish smooth-bore gun. of about ]S-gauge. converted from a flint into a percussion. 1 Lave frequently beaten rifles at IM yards. 1 well remember watching a dt tachment of the Twenty-third Welsh 1usileers practicing with the Minie rifle just before the Criaieaa war. and hearing military men go into ecstacies over its wonderful power as an arm of precision anil destruction. Ip to 300 yards I daresay it would have held its own fairly well; at any rate, against the KnfieM and the Snider; but beyond that range it would have taken a good shot to make an average of outers. "In those days the Yankees were supposed to be the crack shots of the universe and marvelous tales were told of the prowess of the riflemen of Ken-lucky. with their six-foot rifles, carrying a bullet of about thirty-two to the pound. Headers of James Ieuimore Coopers novels will remember that the target for a Christmas prize shooting was the head of a turkey at IM yards. The whole body of llie bird was buried in the snow, leaving nothing but the head and an inch of the neck visible. Yet the immortal Leather Stocking never failed lo cut the turkeys head clean off at the first shot. Though this, after all. was but a trifle compared with the hammering in of an ordinary nail with a single bullet at 100 yards— nothing but the head of the nail, remember, visible to the shooter. If you want to realize what the feat means, just knock a nail into ■ board and then measure a hundred paces: you will find that even to see the head of the nail at that disl.inee requires remarkably good eyes. WONDERFUL FEATS OF MR. KILLER. "One of the best rifle shots I ever met with — I menu before the modem express and match rifles were known — waa a Mr. Smith, of Stone, in Staffordshire a miller, and ■ wonderfully keen sportsman. 1 have seen him. in a match for S100. hit five penny pieces in succession at fifty yards, and in the i:ir MM when M was an old mnn. obliged to wear spectacles. 1 saw him smash seven oyster shells natives! in succession at 100 yards. And be was just as good a shot with the fowling- pieee. He shot partridges with a double-barrel of eighteen bore .ind nekton failed to dTOf his right :;nd left stone dead. Bat whether he would have been any use as a rifle shot at the long ranges now in vogue i more ;.i;in I can say. "P.ut. take him ior all in all. I suppose the late Captain Horatio Koss was about the l«st nll-round shot we have ever seen in this country. He had no superior as a pigeon and game shot, and no equal as a pistol and rifle shot. Talk of your Boganlue. and Carvers of recent date. I should like to know what they ever did to compare with Captain Baas feats at pigeon shooting. Take two instances. In l-SLO he won the led House Club Cup by killing seventv-six birds out of eighty, thirty yards rise. five traiis; three more hit the top of the palings and counted as misses, but fell within the grounds. One got over the paling owing to Koss right barrel missing fire, but was feathered with the left. But even this was eclipsed in 1841. when the captain shooting against Lord Macdon.ild. killed fifty-two pigeons in fifty-three shots at thirty-five yards rise. la his groat pistol match against a Spanish gentieman. whose name I forget, the captain in his Inst twenty-five shots hit the small bullseye. which was exactly the size of a aixpeace, twenty- three times at twelve yards, the then favorite duel- ing distance, "lint it is as n rifle shot that I call particular attention t.i Cnptnin IlornHi Koss. When rifle shooting, as we bow understand this term, came into vogue. Koss was upwards of sixty years of ane mid although he had had plenty of practice at deerstalking, had not h. nulled a rifle to shoot a in .itch at targets for aaOTC thaa five-anil twenty -J ears. Yet be tool; his place at once in the front, ranks of mnrksmeii. At Wimbledon be carried off the three great small-bore prizes at long ranges, the Association Cup. the Any Rifle Wimbledon Cup and the Dake of Cambridges, lor which all the era! k shots of the day competed. When he was in his sixty-sixth year, he v. rote as fallow* to a friend: 1 have begun my training for the rifle season; I am shooting wonderfully well, all things con xldered. Last week I tried the lon distance of 1.100 yards and made a better score than is often made at that great range, seven bullseyes, three centers and five outers in fifteen shots. "It is interesting to con pare this score with that of Captain Hellish, who in .luly 1M1, v.on the Any Kifle Wimbhiloii Cup. the laat lime it was shot for. with nine bulhyes. three inners, two magpies and an outer in tiltei ii shots at the s.nne distance. It in it l be remembered that there were no magpies in Captain Koss day. otherwise it is probable that the greater number of his outers would have ranked :;s nings. We may. therefore, put Koss score down :i sixty a galas! C.iptnin Melliaha sixty-five Cut it must he remembered that the reteraa was la his sixty sixth year aad thai match rifles have Bad bad thin. alt. lined a far hinher degree of neouraev than existed when Koss made his credit -able score. A VETERANS REMARKABLE SHOTS. "It was. I think, la June. 1SIV7. that I saw this wonderful veteran win he Cambridge Iniversity ; Long Kange Clubs Cop at Cambridge, against 1 all the best shots of the day, including his own son 1 Edward, the first winner of the Queens lrize. If f I remember rightly the captain wound up on that occasion with seven consecutive bullseyes at l.outl yards. Cambridge at time was a great center of rifle shooting and with such splendid siiots as Edward Koss and .1. II. DM of Trinity and Peter-kin of Ihninnniiel. in the Iniversity Corps, they never failed to carry off the Chancellors Plate j from Oxford. Edward Koss. though a wonderfully , sternly and accurate marksman, was never equal 1 lo his father and his saaaewhat supercilious manners prevented him from being generally popular at Cambridge. He and his father were joint heroes I of one memorable Coat. At the Highland Kifle ■ Association meeting in. I think, 1SU7. there were thirteen open prizes to be competed for and Captain 1 Koss nnd his son Edward won eleven of them. "A not less remarkable shot was another member . of the family. Hercules Koss. who won the Indian 1 championship three years in succession, and on the last occasion made nine bullseyes with his ten [ shots at 1,000 yards. Hercules Koss was one of r the heroes of the Indian mutiny, and did signal 1 service with his deadly rifle during that terrible , struggle. On one oecaaioa he performed a grow-some feat of skill which has probably never been I equaled. He rode marly a hundred miles to a lord J on the Kivi r Cogr.i. where it was thought that a large force of mutineer* intended to rrosa. It was . I of vital importance to keep them at bay till the women and children, the sick and the wounded I could be removed to an English suit ion close by. Hercules Boos mulct took the task. He had a pit ■ dug on the bank of the river commanding the ford, where he took his post, with a dozen good rifhs. and four attendants to load for him. lltuy ; rains had swollen the river, and the ford was ! impassable; the enemy, however, had a large boat, With which they tried to make the passage of the stream: but Koss. from his pit. pickiil off the . rowers one by one with m.uvelons skill; time after lime the boats put back: time after time they came ■ on again, but the quick and deadly fire which that I single rifleman kept BB prevented theni from ever getting nearer than a third of the way across. For three hours, with unfailing skill and Mile, Baas shoL down the rebel oarsman whenever they attempted to craaa, till at last a body of English troops with three guns came tip. and the Sepoys retired. By his eonraye aad skill Koss undoubtedly Bared the lives of thase Kuglish women and their wounded raaapaa! m. "An.ither feat of what I may call practical rifle nhoottag araa doae .;t Lackwaw during the long .■md terrible siege, it surpassed Koss- achie»-menl. in so much as it was a sustained effort— kept up for many days awder circumstances that made fearfal demands upon the watchfullaesa and endurance of the solitary marksman. The hero of this exploit was Bergeaal Holwell of the Thirty - .Second Foot. The Repays had hauled a couple of ■aps to tho flat roof of one of the palaces which surrounded the residency. if they could have in. .anted those guns, they would hive Iveu able to poor down such a fire upon the iddency that it would have been BB tenable and the English would have been compelled In mi: lender. IJolwoll. being •A crack shot, was supplied with the lust rifles the place possessed and p.isli .1 III .111 .uile of Ihc • • . deney, with orders to present the Sepoys from mounting those guns. The part of the building in which Holwell took up his position had already been battered into a heap of ruins and behind the scat- tered masonry he lay at full length — there whs .just cover enough to protect him in that posture. For days he remained there, never once rising to his feci, or even to his knees, for that would have brea to court instant death from the swarm of rebel marksmen surrounding him. The only change af posture iii which he could indulge was liy rolling over from his back to his stomach and vice vers,. The Repays never succeeded in mounting those gun--. Whenever they attempted it, Holwell picked them off, till they dared 110 longer exjMjse themselves to his deadly aim. In the dead of night provisToi wen- conveyed to him by men crawling on their hands and knees to avoid the shots of their foes. For this service Holwell was rewarded with the Victoria Cross and never did any man more richly desi-rvc it. HERO OF LUCKNOW. "Some years ago. as I was walking along New Oxford street. I saw a tall, soldierly looking 111:111, in a peculiar costume, pacing up and down what then the establishment of Moses and Son. He had medals on his breast and among them the little A ran cross which bears the simple inscription 1 For Valor. I got into conversation with the man I and found that he was Sergeant Holwell, the hero of Lucknow. who was acting as outside attendant at the shop of Moses and Son. I had more than one conversation with him afterwards and then lost sight of him. I believe he has been dead many yeara, I . ler how many of the ladies whose carriage doors lie opem-d. or gentlemen who, perhaps. fare him a trifling tip, KBtiised what a ealiaat soiilier was rendering them his humble services. "I was a constant attendant at the old Wimbledon meetings, and have seen rifle shooting make some wonderful strides since Edward Koss won the Queeas lrize with a score of twenty-four out of a possible thirty at SH. 900 and 1.000 yards. But if must be liorne in mind that there were no centers at the iong range la those days. A bullseye eoaated two and an outer one. o that to make even an average outer was no mean performance. I think the most remarkable sight I ever saw at Wimbledon was the shooting for the jueens lrize in 1ST.",. Sergeant Measles, of the First Edinburgh, bad made sixty-five; private lullman. of a Somerset coips. was. if I rememlier rightly, onlv one point behind and had three shots to fire. He had only to hit the target once in three shots and the prie wis his. Some rash friend acquainted him with this fact. The excitement was too much for him; be missed every shot and lost the coveted prize just when it seemed within his grasp. Three years later lullman. then a sergeant in the Second Middlesex, wiped out the memory of that failure by winning the blue riband of Wimbledon in gallant Style. Angus Cameron, of the Sixth Inverness, was up to the year 1!00. when Ward, of Devon, rivaled his great the only man who had won he Queens Prize twice, and each time be was credited With a higher score than had previously been made in the competition. But the most remarkable point ahour this feat was that between the first and second triumph he lost the sight of his right eye. and had lo shoot on the second occasion from the • left shoulder instead of the right as before. Subsequently I believe he lost the sight of both eyes, and so his shooting days CBme to an untimely em; Cameron w.-:s a teetotaler, and I shall not forge the looks of disgust on the faces of the gallant aad hospitable Victorias. who claimed the prescriptive right of handing their splrmwd regiinpntal loving cup. foaming with champagne, to the winner. when that little Highland miller refused the proffered goblet and asked for a liottle of gingi r beer. What .1 contrast to his countryman. McTItie, of Dumfries, who used to fortify himself with a remarkably stiff dram of .mountain dew before shoot-iag at each range. "I will wind up this gossip with I couple of instances of tall shooting. which the reader is at liberty to believe or not. as he chooses. John Myt-tou. the mad Squire of llalston, was one of the finest game and rifle shots of his day. In the fa tier capacity it is told of him that ha could split a bullet on the edge of a razor at thirty yards, and ar double that distance send a ball time after time through the peg hole of a trimmer used for pike-fi-hing — the said hole being an inch and a half in diameter. After that the following Yankee yarn may not seem wholly incredible. The hero is" Dr. Fiank 1owell. of La Crosse, Wis.. I. S.. a popular am! successful surgeon and M. D., but even more famous for his hunting exploits and his marvelous skill with the rifle. Among the Indians, who have the greatest respect for him. he is known as the While Beaver. According to the very reliable authority quoted in an American journal, some gentlemen called upon .Mr. 1owell one day for the purpose of asoertalaias his powers and accuracy as a marksman. They round him with his friend." Mr. Richardson, when th- doctor, as a pleasing preliminary, observing tliat Kichardsons lips embraced a clear about an inch long, picked up his rifle ami knocked away the cigar sutb without injuring the smoker. But that was not all, adds the Yankee Barrator, fir Mr. Kichardson. in order to show his friends steadiness of aim. placed u cork on the top of his own head and as a favor asked the other to shoot at it, which the doctor annihilated at once by a revolver shot. Then, stooping backwards, Mr. Kichardson balanced a peanut on his nose, which must have been a wide as well as a large one the nose, not the peanut — and that at once shared the fate of the cork. But listen to the closing feat of this miraculous display of shootiug. Taking a knife blade. Dr. 1owell fastened it t.» a target, and upon each side of the target h* fastened a tiny hell. Then calling in his office boy. he placed between the youths fingers hU masonic ring previously covered with some whitu tissue paper. Between the bay and the target Kichardson stood, cigar in mouth, when, stepping back fully fifty feet. White Beaver" raised his rifle. "Now both of you stand steady." he said, fired, and simultaneously came two sharp rings from the bells. The bnll waa found to have passed through the finger ring, snuffed the ashes from Rirhardsoas cigar, and splitting upon the knife blade, had on each side glanced off, ami lung both bells. How is that for high."

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