From Agepedia

Jump to: navigation , search

RANGE, in gunnery; the path of a bul)et, or the line it describes from the mouthof the piece to the point where it lodges Range is also the distance to which a bomb or cannonball is thrown from a piece of artillery by the explosion of gunpowder. The flight of a shot is distinguished by artillery men into two different ranges, of which the first is called the pointblank, and the second the random shot To these also may be added the ricochet, or rolling and bounding shot The pointblank range is the extent of the apparent right line described by a ball discharged from a camion. The random shot is when, by letting the breech down upon the bed of the carnage, the ball is carried to its greatest possible distance, and describes a curve in its flight. The ricochet is fired by elevating the piece from three to six degrees, and only charging it with a quantity of powder sufficient to carry the shot along the face of the works attacked. The shot thus discharged, so as to go just over the parapet, rolls and bounds about, killing, maiming, or destroying all it meets in its course, creating much more disorder, by going thus slowly, than if thrown from the piece with greater violence. As one of the effects of the bomb results from its weight, the range of mortars is extremely different from that of cannon, because the former is not pointed at a certain object, like the latter, but inclined to the horizon at a certain angle, so that the bomb, being thrown up obliquely, may fall upon the place intended: hence it appears that the mortar has no pointblank range, or, at least, that no use is made of it. Ricochet signifies duck and drakea name given to the bounding of a flat stone thrown almost horizontally into the water. It was the opinion of engineers formerly, that, by charging the pieces high, the ball was thrown to a greater distance: hence the pieces were charged with two thirds, or even the whole weight of the shot, in order to impel it with greater velocity ; buf it has been discovered since, that the half or one third of the weight of the ball is the fittest charge for the piece. It may not be amiss to observe here, that the range of cannon is greater in the morning and at night than at noon, and in cold than in hot weather. The reason is, that, at these times, the air being less heated; gives less way to the dilatation of the powder, which being, by these means, confined, as it were, to a smaller sphere of action, must have a stronger effect in proportion. When the lengths of cannon are proportionable to the height of the charge, the shot will be discharged with the same velocity, whatever the calibre may be. The greatest distance to which a shell can be thrown, with the strongest charge, is little more than about 1800 or 2000 fathoms.