Release that Witch Chapter 474
Since the northwest side was vulnerable to the attacks of demonic beasts, the new shooting range was set on the other side of the Redwater River. When Iron Axe got there, the prince's guards had already surrounded the place with hemp ropes and red flags, and set a checkpoint at either end of the steel bridge. Unauthorized personnel were not allowed in that area.
Obviously, His Highness took the test on new weapons seriously.
Iron Axe walked quickly in the uneven snow, and every guard he met gave him a friendly glance. Seeing this, he could not help but remember his first time participating in a test of flintlocks. Back then, he was a nobody, and the people of the Kingdom of Graycastle were vigilant and suspicious of him because he was from the Sand Nation. He had lived in the town for five years by then, but only had built up relations with huntsmen living near him because of his expertise in archery, and no one knew him beyond the Old District.
At the time, he believed that he would live in seclusion in this desolate town as a hunter until he died of old age, or got killed by demonic beasts or prey. He didn't expect that His Highness would hand-pick him and show him the power of fire and thunder. Then, fast changes began to happen. He fought against demonic beasts in the Militia, which was then turned into Border Town's First Army. He was promoted rapidly from Head of the Hunter Squad to Commander of the First Army. To his great surprise, and to make up for his greatest regret of his life, he had met the heiress of the Osha clan, Lady Drow Silvermoon, again in the town because of His Highness' open attitude towards witches. Due to this trust, recognition, and improvement of his fate, he swore allegiance to his new lord deep within his heart.
In the middle of the shooting range, Iron Axe saw His Highness Roland, Chief Knight, and unexpectedly, several Sleeping Island witches.
"Your Highness, Iron Axe reporting to you!" He walked forward and saluted the prince.
The prince nodded and said, "Everyone's here. Let's get started." He gave two long guns to Iron Axe and Carter. "It's one of my newly developed weapons, still in the prototype stage. The numbers are limited, so take turns trying them, please."
Iron Axe carefully studied the gun in his hand. It looked similar to a revolving rifle except that it had no cartridge.
"It's called a bolt rifle," His Highness quickly explained. "It uses the newest smokeless gunpowder. The caliber is 8 mm, smaller than the 12 mm of a revolving rifle, but it's more powerful." He turned the gun over to give a demonstration. "The ammunition is inserted from the front of the trigger, and each clip can be embedded with five bullets. However, it cannot fire continuously like a revolving rifle, so you need to reload it after ejecting all the bullets."
Soon after the prince's demonstration, Iron Axe understood how to operate the new rifle and shot a clip of bullets. The kickback of the rifle was quite strong. Every time the gun was discharged, he felt a heavy kick on his shoulder from the butt, and it was much louder than a revolver.
Five bullets shot out of an old gun would usually cause thick smoke that blocked his sight, but now there was no smoke in front of the muzzle, which might be due to the "smokeless gunpowder" that His Highness had just mentioned. Apart from that, there was nothing special about this new bolt rifle. Iron Axe thought there was a substantial improvement from the flintlock to the revolver, but the bolt rifle seemed to have no improvement and even wasn't as good as a revolver. Its most obvious shortcoming was the low rate of fire.
He could fire continuously while standing with a revolving rifle, but it was inconvenient to do so with the bolt rifle, since he had to reload the gun by hand and then raise it back up to aim at the target again after each shot. Though this process took much less time than a flintflock, it wasn't effective in suppressing the enemy in a short time. For example, it was obviously less practical than a revolver in battles—like the ones against the noble rebels in Longsong Stronghold with close combat in the streets or indoors.
Iron Axe told Roland his honest opinion, and Carter voiced a similar view.
The prince nodded and said, "Yes, it's not as convenient as a revolver, but it also has a great advantage. Andrea, come here and show them." He gave the rifle to the witch and said, "Remember to shoot using your ability."
"Uh-huh." The blonde witch picked up the gun and skillfully reloaded it. They could tell that this was not her first time operating this new weapon. "Now, watch me!"
They were standing at least 400 meters away!
"Your Highness, it's..." Carter stuttered in disbelief.
"Andrea's derivative ability enables her to accurately hit the target with a gun or a bow," the prince explained with a smile, "but her ability works on neither bullets nor arrows. It only gives her proficiency for using weapons. For example, she'll hit a target ten meters away if she throws a stone at it, but if she throws a bird at it, her ability just won't work."
"You mean... ordinary people can also achieve that kind of proficiency through training?"
"Exactly. The greatest merit of this bolt rifle is its greatly improved shooting range and accuracy. Unlike the guns before, there's no gap between the barrel and the cartridge, so there's no air leak in this new rifle," Roland nodded and answered. "With a telescopic sight on it, any ordinary soldier can use it to precisely shoot down enemies around 400 to 500 meters away, while a revolver can only shoot accurately within 100 meters."
Iron Axe instantly realized why this weapon was so deadly. Most people would never be on guard against attacks from this long distance. If the shooter hid himself inside a residential area or at a higher point, he could easily kill his target. And if the shooter was Lady Nightingale, nobody could survive bullets coming from an invisible source.
"Your Highness, you agreed to give me one when it's put into mass production." Andrea reminded Roland, covering her mouth.
"Of course," Roland said and put the two rifles away. He walked to the other side and removed a cloth covering something. "In fact, bolt rifles are just the beginning. This one is the focus of today's test."
Iron Axe took to the newly unveiled weapon as soon as he saw it. Different from rifles made of steel and wood, this new, black gun seemed to be made of pure metal. It was also bigger than all the other guns. Including the tripod beneath it, it was about half of his height. Its long barrel was half as thick as his wrist. Connected to the big gun, a long, thin piece of cloth carried shining bullets. It was obviously nothing like the guns before in both design and size.