I purchased a handgun today that is rather unusual. It appears to have been made from a Martini-Henry rifle. I'm thinking it was made in Nepal, the Congo or Afghanistan. It is decorated with triangular punch marks. Has anyone ever seen one of these before or know anything at all about it?
I have not yet slugged it to determine the caliber. The action is tight, but that might be from the goat dung used as lubricant.
I paid $125. I figure I'll get that much enjoyment from it.
February 11, 2007, 04:46 PM
I'd be willing to bet that your wife will love it and be happy that she'll be the first kid on the block to have one!I hope you get to track down it's origins.
February 11, 2007, 05:47 PM
That is a so-called "Khyber Pass" or "Darra" gun, made in that area of Pakistan or Afghanistan. The tradition of gun making in that region goes back centuries, and men consider owning guns an absolute necessity. FWIW, I doubt the gun is made from a rifle; more than likely it was made as a pistol and (for any legal questions) no one could possibly prove otherwise. It is an interesting novelty.
I have a pistol that is almost identical, except that the markings are circles ("o") instead of "V"; apparently they used whatever stamp they could get hold of. Mine also has no other marks. The caliber is .303 British; FWIW, I have fired it with a light load. It works.
February 11, 2007, 05:59 PM
If you have the time and inclination, I would love to see a few photos of your's.
February 11, 2007, 09:59 PM
FWIW, I doubt the gun is made from a rifle; more than likely it was made as a pistol and (for any legal questions) no one could possibly prove otherwise.
Nor could they prove it was made after 1895, which I doubt anyway.
Odds are good that the federales don't even consider that to be a firearm.
February 12, 2007, 04:12 AM
The Martini action is so simple and strong, you see a lot of Khyber Pass copies. Rifle KP Martini versions usually go for around $70 here, but that's the first Martini pistol I've seen. :)
February 12, 2007, 06:00 AM
Are you talking 70 bucks US in Afghanistan?
FWIW, after reading this page (http://www.martinihenry.com/khyberpage.html) and boning up on Martini-Henrys, I am pretty dadgummed certain this one was forged at the Kyber Pass, not converted from a rifle. My primary cause for this conclusion is the lack of a sling swivel in the trigger guard, or a hole for it.
February 12, 2007, 07:52 AM
Even if "converted from rifle", this was a KP piece, which doesn't necessarily mean it would be set up identically to British Martinis.
February 12, 2007, 09:58 AM
February 12, 2007, 06:44 PM
I wonder what they would think about the name it they knew it came with an olive floating in it?
February 12, 2007, 08:31 PM
I recieved this email from the owner/operator of the Martini-Henry Rifle (http://www.martinihenry.com/) website.
Thanks for your message, and for the kind words about the website. It
makes me happy to hear that people find it useful.
With regards to your pistol, yes, it is either of Khyber manufacture,
or possibly even Indian manufacture. Such weapons were carried as a
"last resort" weapon in the event of a Tiger attack. Given the
prospect of firing a pistol in .303 British, or death by Tiger, I
personally would chose the latter. There's a bit of assumption
there...I'm assuming the pistol is in .303 caliber??? Most of the
ones I've seen have been in .303.
Beyond this, I don't have too much more info for you. I hope this
helps. Please let me know if I may be of further assistance.
February 12, 2007, 09:29 PM
While I have no doubt that a .303 would take care of a tiger, those M-H pistols were not made for that purpose. The "howdah" pistols, made specifically for protection against tigers were large caliber (usually .577), and had two or four barrels. They were English made, and of very high quality.
I have little doubt that the M-H pistols under discussion here were not intended for use on tigers. For one thing, they were made and used in the mountains, not in tiger country. They were probably made so the natives could carry a powerful pistol concealed when anyone carrying a rifle would have been arrested by the [British] authorities.
FWIW, a couple of pics of mine, below.
February 13, 2007, 07:23 AM
Wow, that is VERY cool.So unique, strange and ugly that its back to being beautiful again...
I would LOVE to find one of those somewhere, especially at that price.
February 13, 2007, 09:21 AM
It reminds me of something you'd see a prisoner cobble together in his spare time...
February 13, 2007, 04:18 PM
You should post the pic on the Martini Henry forum over at www.gunboards.com They'll probably get a kick out of it and might be able to provide some info. There's a sticky on "Kyber Pass" rifles there.
February 13, 2007, 04:38 PM
I paid $7.50 for mine, and it came by mail, pre-1968. Navy Arms had bought a lot of junque from somewhere and were selling the stuff dirt cheap. FYI, I will show a couple of pics of a Webley Mk IV copy that came from the same place. I think it was $9.00.
The second picture shows the markings. The "PIKINGHAM & LOND" mark is actually pretty well done, but I guarantee neither it nor the Webley trademark is authentic.
February 23, 2007, 10:30 PM
So, when do we hear the range report? :)
February 24, 2007, 04:23 AM
I have pretty much an exact same handgun. There are some very small differences, but it's basically the same. Mine is stamped with 8's. Here's what I know about it: It was purchased in Vancouver, BC in 1970 from Lever Arms Service. Lever stated that it is a .303 calibre, one shot with a 140 mm barrel. I know this because it's typed out on an RCMP Restricted Weapon Registration Certificate. It is classified as a Martini-Enfield, but a few years ago I took it to the RCMP & they sent photos back to a firearm technician who works for the Canadian Firearm Registry. He stated: "The firearm subject is of the Martini-Henry family, the pronounced shoulder at the back of the receiver/frame denote a Martini-Henry IV model originally chambered for 577/450 Martini-Henry caliber. If your handgun is chambered for such caliber it qualifies under the Antique regulation therefore registration is not required in Canada."
February 24, 2007, 12:58 PM
I like that...very cool! If you ever need a "pistol-sitter" let me know.
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