It is believed that the introduction of a trustworthy naval rangefinder will lessen the necessity of extremely long guns, change the present disposition of the battery, modify the construction of warships, and materially alter the conduct of the naval battles of the future.
For more than twenty years guns have been increasing in length of bore. Previous to 1879 twenty-caliber guns with a muzzle velocity of 1400 f.s. or 1500 f.s. were considered quite good enough; but the introduction of hard armor of great thickness called for greater penetrative power in the guns, and this has led by successive steps to the present high-power rifles, 45 and 50 calibers in length, with initial velocities as great as 2800 f s.