The usual description of the maximum range of a warship's muzzle-loading guns during the days of sailing navies. It was anything up to 1,600 metres (2 mls.), according to the bore of the gun, the length of the barrel, and the weight of the charge of powder used. It was called random, as a gunner was not expected to hit an enemy ship at the maximum range of his gun, but might possibly do so with a lucky shot. Random range was rarely used in battle, ships usually preferring to get within half-musket shot before firing their broadsides. However, it was employed when in a chase, or when being chased, in the hope that a lucky shot would damage a mast or rigging.
Subjects: Maritime History.