Her Majesty the Queen fired the opening shot at Wimbledon on July 1st, 1860.
Queen Victoria fired the first shot in the National Rifle Association Competition - using a Whitworth rifle mounted in a machine rest and struck a bulls-eye at 400 yards.
The muzzle-loading Whitworth rifle won most of the important prizes at the competition - indeed it won most of the prizes in the next eleven years up to 1871 - being the rifle competitors were required to use through-out most of those years.
Whitworth Rifle (muzzle loader)
Note: This was 12 years before the American NRA was formed.
Following the Boer War - British society became very aware that security of that nation relied on its military fighting skills - leading to the establishment of many rifle ranges and the subsequent development of shooting technology aimed at constantly improving performance.
The 1800s were a critical time in development of firearm technology with much new science being successfully applied. From black-powder to nitro, (white powder or smokeless), - breech loading systems, - refinement of barrel rifling, development of choke-boring, metallic cartridges, and longer bullets - and improved sighting systems all came from this era.
Often the peak developments of the old technology managed to out-perform the new - until the new was also refined and perfected to the extent that it dominated.
- Smokeless powder caused the projectiles to come-down in calibre from the lead ball above half-an-inch in diameter to under .4" - and the black-powder .303" became the British military calibre (1888) in the Lee-Metford rifle.
.303" British Cartridge (1945)
The fast growing cities eventually pushed-out the big outdoor ranges from their localities and forced the building of many smaller indoor ranges - often using the new .22 Rim-fire cartridges in various lengths for bulls-eye target shooting - 'Miniature Rifle'. - The Bisley complex survives to this day as the shooting centre of Britain.
Anti-Gun sentiment currently dominates the hysterical Media rants while ignoring that skill with arms is what maintains our modern western society's standard of living. - Without the use of firearms by our military and law-enforcement forces we'd be rapidly thrown into the chaotic dark-ages again.
- Never mind, - mustn't grumble eh!