Martini Henry Rifles


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TheAzn
February 21, 2011, 05:42 PM
Before I begin, I would like to say that I am very new to guns.
I just have some questions about the Martini-Henry rifles.

1. How strong is the Martini-Henry action compare to the rolling block actions, break actions, falling block actions, bolt actions and trapdoor actions?

2. Is the Martini-Henry rifle - and any guns that load the same way - considered a falling block action rifle?

Thank you

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GCBurner
February 21, 2011, 06:03 PM
It seems to be plenty strong, as it's been chambered in some pretty hefty calibres, for its day. I'd say it was a type of falling block action, but the Martini action is really a class all by itself, compared to other falling block rifles like the Ballard, the Sharps, or the modern Ruger No. 1. The Martini and the Peabody are more pivoting blocks, since they hinge downward on a pivot pin, instead of sliding down grooves in the reveiver.

SaxonPig
February 21, 2011, 07:34 PM
Falling block.

Moderate strength. I would not try to chamber one for a real high intensity cartridge. They work well for the 45/70 and the like. The rolling block is generally seen as stronger and if you want a real boomer think Ruger #1.

I have one in 45/70 that's great fun. But I would never try to load it to 458 levels.

http://www.fototime.com/C2449F8752DFF49/standard.jpg

Jim Watson
February 21, 2011, 07:36 PM
Ken Waters put his Peabody Martini in Group 2 along with Winchester '85 and '86.
I doubt a real British Martini Henry would be much different.
Note that the Martini Enfield was in .303 calibre.

TheAzn
February 21, 2011, 09:38 PM
Thanks for your answers, guys. Guess I'll pick the Martini-Enfield rifle, since it has a stronger action.

BrocLuno
February 21, 2011, 09:57 PM
Lovely rifle and great action for a single shot. Don't forget to post pictures when you get yours :)

TheAzn
February 21, 2011, 11:24 PM
Lovely rifle and great action for a single shot. Don't forget to post pictures when you get yours :)

I will when I have the chance

Jim Watson
February 21, 2011, 11:39 PM
A Martini Enfield was pretty much a Martini Henry with the firing pin reduced in diameter and the hole in the breechblock bushed down to fit for smokeless ammunition like .303. If you can find one it will save you on gunsmithing but is not essential.

What calibers are you interested in? How's your budget? One like Saxon Pig's would not be cheap these days unless you have the skills and equipment to do it all yourself.

A copy of Frank DeHaas' Single Shot Rifles and Actions would be helpful.

Beware of copies from Nepal and Pakistan.

TheAzn
February 22, 2011, 12:50 AM
A Martini Enfield was pretty much a Martini Henry with the firing pin reduced in diameter and the hole in the breechblock bushed down to fit for smokeless ammunition like .303. If you can find one it will save you on gunsmithing but is not essential.

What calibers are you interested in? How's your budget? One like Saxon Pig's would not be cheap these days unless you have the skills and equipment to do it all yourself.

A copy of Frank DeHaas' Single Shot Rifles and Actions would be helpful.

Beware of copies from Nepal and Pakistan.

Thank you for your advice. I'm pretty okay on the budget, so I can buy expensive things.

Pokyman
February 22, 2011, 11:25 PM
The rifle pictured is a beautiful conversion. Who ever did the work did a nice job.
I am thinking that the picture is of a Greener Martini. The Martini Enfield has a different shape to the action where is joins the stock than the one pictured. Also, I have not seen and Enfield with a safety. Just has the cocking indicator. The rifle pictured has a safety.
If having a safety is important, make sure it has one before you buy.
I did a conversion for a customer on the Greener. I was a 12-14 ga. shotgun from one of the British commonwealth countries. Rebarreled to 45-70. Customer likes it so much that it is all he hunts with. Killed moose, deer, and elk with it.

SaxonPig
February 23, 2011, 12:39 AM
It did start as a Greener 14 ga shotgun. A smith named Crow (forget first name) based in Utah did it about 12 years ago. Shoots clover leafs at 50 yards using any bullet.

SWAT1911
April 3, 2011, 11:15 AM
Little late to join the conversation but can someone give price ranges & calibers on these?wasant finding much online. Thanks

alemonkey
April 3, 2011, 11:42 AM
If you're looking for an original Martini-Henry the cheapest source right now is http://www.ima-usa.com. They have British manufactured rifles that were stored for years in Nepal which you can pick up for $400-500 if you're willing to clean them up. Cleaned and complete ones go for more. These will all be in the original .577-450 chambering.

Gunbroker usually has quite a few Martinis for sale. Beyond that you're getting into custom built territory if you're looking at large frame Martinis in other calibers. David Kaiser in Montezuma, IA is a Martini specialist and can build pretty much anything you want. You can look him up on the forum at www.assra.com. His screen name is 38_cal.

The Martini action was also made for many years in a small frame model. These are readily available in .22LR if you search Gunbroker. They have a reputation for being very accurate. They're often found in other chamberings also. Vic Samuel makes some very nice custom small frame Martinis. His website is

natman
April 3, 2011, 12:50 PM
I don't see much difference in the action of a Martini Henry and a Martini Enfield. Most MEs are MHs with the Henry 450/577 barrel removed and an Enfield 303 barrel screwed in. The Martini is a pretty strong design.

However, they are still 130+ year old black powder actions and some discretion is called for. I wouldn't go for the low end 458 loads in one.

krinko
April 3, 2011, 02:19 PM
This is an 1899 MkII Martini Enfield---converted at Enfield from an 1875 MkII M-H originally made by LSA.
http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL165/1109208/8312249/375339787.jpg
The internal conversion, in this case, involved a dovetail cut across the bolt face and insertion of a tougher steel replacement with smaller firing pin hole. The firing pin and extractor were also replaced.
Any Martini is a joy to fire---but the ones that fire smokeless loads are joy-without-scrubbing.
-----krinko

alemonkey
April 3, 2011, 04:59 PM
Krinko, that's a beautiful gun. BTW, if you happen to have a regular Martini-Henry we do a big bore single shot match once a month in Lincoln.

Z71
April 3, 2011, 10:35 PM
I own 2 1889 BSA MkII rifles and a 1886 MkIV rifle....all either purchased from International Military Antiques or Atlanta Cutlery.

Good rifles and lots of fun. The actions are pretty tough looking. The Brits rebarreled many of the old MkIII rifles to .303 and they do fine.

forestdavegump
July 1, 2011, 02:55 AM
Yeah I saw these http://www.ima-usa.com/nepalese-martini-rifle-system-set-francotte-ganhendra-untouched.html Its a two-fer
Wonder what the difference is with these and the ones from sportmansguide other than a few bucks?
Fun to fix and shoot. History man!

Also http://www.atlantacutlery.com/c-162-guns-rifles-untouched.aspx

alemonkey
July 1, 2011, 08:31 AM
The IMA, Atlanta Cutlery, and Sportsman's Guide guns are all from the same Nepal Cache. IMA and Atlanta Cutlery partnered on importing the guns to America. I'm not sure how Sportsman's Guide got involved. The Francotte and Gahendra rifles you linked to are NOT Martini-Henry's. They're Nepal-produced variations on the Martini action and the general consensus is that they should not be fired, at least not without very careful inspection and safety precautions. They would be a neat addition to a collection, though.

If you want a real Martini-Henry, IMA and Atlanta Cutlery also sell real, British-made Martini's. I just picked up an 1873 dated Mk II from them and it's in really good shape. The metal is excellent with the exception of some pitting below the wood line on the barrel, and the bore is in fantastic shape. The forend is very good, but the stock is fairly rough. I'll probably keep my eyes open for an original replacement stock. Time to track down some .577/450 dies...

Here's the real deal. They also offer cleaned rifles, but mine was very easy to clean up, and that's half the fun:

http://www.ima-usa.com/nation/british-militaria/guns-of-the-british-empire/martini-henry/martini-henry-rifles/british-p-1871-martini-henry-mkii-short-lever-rifle-1880-s-dated-untouched.html

http://www.ima-usa.com/nation/british-militaria/guns-of-the-british-empire/martini-henry/martini-henry-rifles/british-p-1871-martini-henry-mkii-short-lever-rifle-1870-s-dated-untouched.html

http://www.ima-usa.com/nation/british-militaria/guns-of-the-british-empire/martini-henry/martini-henry-rifles/british-p-1885-martini-henry-mkiv-long-lever-rifle-untouched.html

forestdavegump
July 19, 2011, 03:59 AM
Yeah had the other link and deleted when I saved this. Your right not the same thing but still kindah cool?;)

alemonkey
July 20, 2011, 07:49 PM
They are definitely cool.

I just bought a barreled MK IV receiver for the stock that came with it. I figured I would keep the stock and sell off the barrel & receiver. The stock and receiver are in great shape but the barrel looks like it's a sewer pipe at first glance. I just found out that a .303 SMLE barrel will thread right into a Martini-Henry receiver......

vellocet
July 21, 2011, 12:33 AM
Listen to alemonkey and hit some other sites,too. There are alot of paki/afghan/indian fakes out there and they are often good fakes. Buyer beware.

Gordon
July 21, 2011, 02:06 AM
I have a 1903 Martini Enfield .303 that was made for the smokeless .303. It is a great condition cavalry carbine and I am selling for $700 which I think is cheap for this rare and sweet little Martini which is a great (bore is very good!) shooter or hunting gun as is.. I have 2 other small BSA martinis in .22K Hornet and .17 Ackley hornet which I am keeping.

alemonkey
July 21, 2011, 08:07 AM
That is a good price for a .303 carbine.

alemonkey
July 30, 2011, 12:04 AM
I ordered a "Fair" condition SMLE barrel from Numrich, not knowing what I would get. I opened the package and it was one big lump of cosmoline. After pushing a big worm of cosmoline out of the bore and running a few patches it looks like this is a NOS barrel, never installed. Looks like my SMLE-Martini hybrid is a go!

Now, is that a Smelly-Tini? Or a Martenfield? Either way, this should be a nice light little rifle. I'll probably shoot it with cast bullets and light loads for plinking. It would make a nice deer rifle, too.

medhist
August 15, 2011, 01:03 AM
What actually is involved besides screwing on a barrel and finding a 303 extractor? surely there is some sort of headspace adjusting to do? Why is it necessary to bush the firing pin?

Many thanks:)

alemonkey
August 15, 2011, 10:01 AM
You have to ream the chamber out a little to get the headspace right.

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