During the latter decades of the 19th Century, Frenchman Édouard Foa traveled, and hunted extensively, from one end of Africa to another. The diversity of species taken, the extensiveness of his geographical and natural history observations, as well as his description of equipment carried, provides a wonderful journal in his After Big Game in Central Africa. For me, one of the most delightful aspects of Foa’s text was its historical setting. The following quote concerning his views on the newfangled piece of equipment he called a ‘telescope’, but we know as the ‘riflescope’.

“A telescope adjusted on the barrel [of his .303 rifle] is intended to magnify and consequently bring the quarry nearer; but I was never able to use this instrument, and I recommend you, if one is suggested to you, not to make this useless expenditure.”

On the off chance that the reader had not understood his point Foa added:

“As to diamond sights, telescopic sights, or others…which imaginative gunsmiths invent at every moment, the only object which they reach is, most certainly, the pocket of the sportsman.”

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