Remarks on guns.—How to cure skins.—Different recipes.—Conclusion.
My remarks on guns shall be brief. The true sportsman has many facilities for acquiring the best information on a choice of weapons. For large game perhaps nothing can equal the Express rifle. My own trusty weapon was a ’500 bore, very plain, with a pistol grip, point blank up to 180 yards, made by Murcott of the Haymarket, from whom I have bought over twenty guns, every one of which turned out a splendid weapon.
My next favourite was a No. 12 breachloader, very light, but strong and carefully finished. It had a side snap action with rebounding locks, and was the quickest gun to fire and reload I ever possessed. I bought it from the same maker, although it was manufactured by W.W. Greener.
Avoid a cheap gun as you would avoid a cheap Jew pedlar. A good name is above riches so far as a gun is concerned, and when you have a good gun take as much care of it as you would of a good wife. They are both equally rare. An expensive gun is not necessarily a good one, but a cheap gun is very seldom trustworthy. Have a portable, handy black leather case. Keep your gun always clean, bright, and free from rust. After every day’s shooting see that the barrels and locks are carefully cleaned and oiled. Nothing is better for this purpose than rangoon oil.
For preserving horns, a little scraping and varnishing are all that is required. While in camp it is a good plan to rub them with deer, or pig, or tiger fat, as it keeps them from cracking.
To clean a tiger’s or other skull. If there be a nest of ants near the camp, place the skull in their immediate vicinity. Some recommend putting in water till the particles of flesh rot, or till the skull is cleared by the fishes. A strong solution of caustic water may be used if you wish to get the bones cleaned very quickly. Some put the skulls in quicklime, but it has a tendency to make the bones splinter, and it is difficult to keep the teeth from getting loose and dropping out. The best but slowest plan is to fix them in mechanically by wire or white lead. A good preservative is to wash or paint them with a very strong solution of fine lime and water.