Some of you know that there was a cache of old Victorian era Martini Henry rifles and accessories found in Asia here recently, and imported to the USA. IMA and Atlanta Cutlery have them. To get a really nice late model, long lever, one can go here.
There are quite a few listed on GunBroker as well. These seem to have been brought back by a soldier from Afghanistan. Some of these are a bit less expensive than the IMA or Atlanta Cutlery rifles.
Knowing the facility with which the Afghan border regions manufacture knock offs of firearms, I would be a bit concerned that the GunBroker Enfields would be maybe less safe.
I am contemplating getting one of these rifles both for collecting and shooting with black powder cartridges, and solicit the collective advice, especially experience.
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August 30, 2013, 09:11 AM
If you're talking about the old "Zulu War" British Empire rifles, I would have two main concerns.
The first would be the quality/type of steel used in production being safe to fire even with black powder. The second would be the availability of ammo/brass to shoot if it is still safe to fire the gun. IIRC they came in a few different calibers (or calibres.... since we are talking about British guns) :D
I think some of the late ones were in .303 British made just before the transition to the Enfield rifles. I would look for one of those because if the brass issue.
Not really much help other than general concerns but that's about all I can add to the subject on this one.
August 30, 2013, 06:19 PM
The Atlanta Cutlery/IMA British Martini-Henry's are generally considered ok to shoot if you check headspace, etc. I would be much more careful about the Nepalese made versions from those same sources. Many of those have very out of spec bores, so you'd really need to slug it to know for sure.
As to Martini-Henry's that are bring backs from Afghanistan? Avoid them unless you just want a wall hanger. Too many of them are dangerously made Khyber Pass knockoffs. There are a few tricks that let you sort out the worst copies, but it's not fool proof, so I'd just pass on them.
As InkEd points out, .577/450 ammo for these can be very expensive. It's really a reloading proposition. You can make brass by reforming 24 ga brass shotshells.
I've been planning to pick up one in the semi-near future, I just haven't been able to yet unfortunately. They look like they'd be a ton of fun.
August 30, 2013, 07:44 PM
I'll sell you my 80% 1903 enfield medium lever .303 calvary carbine for $450 + mshipping and it shoots surplus .303 real nice (maybe 400 rounds) this last 25 years. Bottom one in picture: