The Ashburton Guardian. Magna et Veritas et Prævalebit MONDAY, APRIL 7, 1890 OUR VOLUNTEERS.
Wa are afraid that the Volunteer Force cannot safely look to the present Government for much encouragement, it having been apparently the aim of the last Minister of Defence (Mr Fergus) to break up the country Corps, and to replace them by Rifle Clubs, while his successor (Captain Russell), the present Minister, seems, judging from his recent action in relation to the Easter Encampments, to be working in the same direction. This we regard as a mistaken policy, very greatly to be regretted for the countty companies, as truly as the city Corps, wero and are truining the young men of the colony in drill and in shooting—the two things necessary to enable them to render good service jto the colony in time of need. Yet, even from the standpoint of Ministers, which seems to be encouraging Rifle Clubs in -country districts and Volunteer Corps in the cities, it must surely ! be apparent that neither the one nor the other can be of the slightest use unless supplied with a more mod am arm than that which is now on issue, and which can only be depended upon up to a distance of about 1000 ysrds. This sort of weapon would be absolutely of no use if onr men were called upon to meet a detachment of the troops of any European power, all of whom are armed with long-range magazine rifles. That supplied to the British army carries up to a distance of over 2 miles, being indeed sighted up to 8500 yards, while its trajectory is so low that a head and shoulder figure can be hit at any distance between 150 and 375 yards, with the lowest sight. The magazine will contain eight ccrtridges and may bs filled when in position on the rifle, while the accoutrements are supplied with two pouches, one cf which holds 50 and the other 40 rounds. The weight of the rifle itself is 91b 80oz, and of the magazine when full 18o&. Its length is 4ft lin, and that of the sword bayonet lit 4in. In every respect it is a vastly superior weapon to thoß3 ou issue to our New Zealand volunteers, and it is high time, if we are to rely on the volunteers in time of need, that steps were taken to remedy their deficient equipment in this respect.