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CO-OPERATION.

THE GUNS OF THE FUTURE.

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THE GUNS OF THE FUTURE. The new guns which have been designed to main- tain the naval supremacy Æ Great Britain are in an advanced state, but they have to undergo a course of experiments to settle the range tables and other par- ticulars, and it will probably be the beginning of next year before they are ready for sea. This will, how- ever, be earlier than the ships which are to carry them can be completed, and there will be ample time available for a full and leisurely study of their re- quirements and capabilities. The first of the four 63-ton steel breechloaders for her Majesty's ship Rodney will be shortly finished, and will be used as an experimental gun, care being taken that it is not damaged in the process by any of the surgical opera- tions to which experimental guns are occasionally sub- jected. Although 17 tons lighter than the 80- ton muzzle-loaders on board the Inflexible, the 63-ton gun is expected to surpass the older weapon in its destructive power. It will probably throw a 13jin, shot of 12501b. weight, wioh a powder charge of about 5801b., and the esti- mated velocity at the muzzle is to be 2100ft. per second. The 80 ton gun projectile weighs 17001b., but the cartridge is but 4501b., and the muzzle velocity recorded is 1600ft. per second. Should the new gun realise expectations it will penetrate 29in. of wrought iron armour at close quarters, and prove too much for 27in. even at the liberal fighting range of a thou- sand yards. Still more powerful, but not in the same ratio of increase, will be the 110-ton guns now being manufactured for H.M.S. Benbow. There are three of these guns ordered, one of which will be sur- rendered for the purpose of scientific experiment, while the other two are sent on board ship, where, however, they will not be wanted until the Mid- summer of 1886. The projectile will. be lô¥n. diameter, and weigh 18001b. or 20001b. The powder charge will be the enormous one of 9001b., or half the weight of the projectile supposing this to be 18001b., I el on which supposition the velocity may be reckoned at 2050ft. per second, and its power of penetrating armour at 31,1 in. near the muzzle, or 2in. less at 1000 yards. The new guns will be vastly superior to the Italian 100-ton guns, which are at present at the head of all the naval artillery in the world, and they are to the like extent in advance of the 100-ton guns which are doing duty for England on the forti- fications of Malta and Gibraltar, although these are larger in the bore by 1 giu. The substitution of steel for wrought-iron admits of heavier charges of powder, and this fact makes all the difference. Two huge sleighs for the proof trials of these and such like guns are being built—the one for use at Woolwich, and the other for Shoeburvness, whither both the experi- mental guns just mentioned will be sent for practice at the sea ranges. To Shoeburyness there is also to be immediately sent the 80-ton infant, which has been returned to Woolwich from the Inflexible. The inner tube of the gun is unquestionably cracked, but this is regarded as a trifling injury, and before it is repaired the gun will be fired with a series of heavy charges at the targets which have been put up at Shoeburyness to represent the Spithead forts. These targets, which are respec- tively faced with granite, wrought-iron plates, and compound steel, have already been attacked in a course of earlier experiments, and the compound steel has shown to very great advantage. The double barge Magog will, as heretofore, convey the 80-ton gun, but L u for the 110-ton gun a still larger craft is being built, which is to be called the Gog, and measure 20ft. onger than the Magog.

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