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A couple of BSA Martinis

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by forindooruseonly, May 6, 2012.

  1. forindooruseonly

    forindooruseonly Well-Known Member

    Here are a couple of rimfires you don't see everyday. BSA started producing smallbore competition rifles on a Martini action in the early 1950s. They were fairly successful in competition, and eventually were built in five different variations until production ceased in the 70s.

    I have a soft spot for firearms that strike me as unusual. Not that the BSA International isn't recognized in competition circles, but among the the wider shooter community it's a bit of unknown. It's unfortunate too, as it is a wonderfully comfortable and well built rifle that is more capable than most shooters. The specialized purpose certainly limits their usefulness, too big and heavy for the field; shooting off-hand takes some effort. Even then, I'm still surprised these aren't more sought after - especially when I see as many people shooting off benches as I do.

    The action is a marvel. The ejection is almost freakish in how hard and far it pitches the spent cases. Under my local covered range, I'm careful to not position myself with anyone immediately to the right - they'll be pelted with hot .22 cases bouncing off the ceiling. It has a solid, precise feel to it and is easy to load without looking at the chamber. Very natural, and you don't have to come off the stock.

    So it's a nice solid rifle, so what? There must be a hundred different rifles that would fill the same role for a casual smallbore shooter like me. So what's the attraction? I'm not quite sure why I'm so fond of them. I think a little has to do with the aesthetics, a little more about the quality, another factor is the accuracy, maybe some is because I don't see them very often. It does have a lot going for it. However, these two guns are half a century old. Technology and technique have changed much since this rimfire's heyday and, head to head with a modern target rifle, the old BSA lags into obsolescence as a top competitor's rifle. It's run has effectively been finished. Despite this, I see them at some competitions and on forums continuing to perform well for their owners. Like a trusted old dog that's had it's day but still can, if coaxed into it, make a showing.

    The scoped version is the first version of the International, the one with the Parker-Hale sights is a Mk.II...

  2. content

    content Well-Known Member

    Hello friends and neighbors // Outstanding wood grain, on a fine shooter, nice snag/save.

    I have heard of the BSA Target rifles and also their Military rifles but they do not turn up around here often. $400 for a beater .577/450 Martini Henry is not unusual.

    I hope you enjoy them.
  3. paintballdude902

    paintballdude902 Well-Known Member

    awesome. any more pictures ?
  4. browningguy

    browningguy Well-Known Member

    Very nice, I don't have any BSA'a but I do have a few 1/2 action centerfire Martini type rifles.


  5. forindooruseonly

    forindooruseonly Well-Known Member


    None that are worth looking at, unfortunately.

    Browningguy - those are nice! What's the story on the one in the close-up? I like that.
  6. browningguy

    browningguy Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately I've reached a dead end on researching the one in the closeup. I bought it out of a collection in Australia a few years ago. It has Belgian proofs, chambered in .380 Centerfire, some decent quality light engraving. The action is a strange 1/2 action size Martini type, but with an exposed center mounted hammer, I have not been able to find anything similar.
  7. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    Thanks to all who posted pictures, those are some wonderful examples of the Martini style rifles that you just don't see anymore. Always a pleasure to view rifles that I haven't seen before.

  8. forindooruseonly

    forindooruseonly Well-Known Member

    That is a shame! Cool gun nonetheless - I've never seen one like that.
  9. ms6852

    ms6852 Well-Known Member

    Those are some great rifles. I have wanted to add one to my collection of Remington 513T, Winchester 52C, and my H&R. Unfortunately I have come across that were overly priced for their condition and as a lefty, the rifle stock was all wrong.
  10. Edarnold

    Edarnold Well-Known Member

    The BSA's - finely fitted and finished steel, a classic design, wood that today would cost more than the rifles ever did.

    The question is not why the owner prizes them so. The question is how could you NOT?

    One of the gun writers recently had a column on how some few guns today still had soul, but most (despite technical excellence) did not. The English, bless their imperialist hearts, knew how to imbue wood and steel with soul.
  11. Edarnold

    Edarnold Well-Known Member

    As for the Belgian whatsis, in deference to Messrs. Peabody and Martini, I'd rather call it a tipping block of 'unusual' design and unknown provenance. Then again, the Belgian military adopted the Comblain...
  12. Vaarok

    Vaarok Well-Known Member

    Belgians and Brazillians use the comblain design.

    As for the Martinis, I've never heard of them being the least bit unknown by people who are at least somewhat into firearms... It's just they're expensive.
  13. osprey176

    osprey176 Well-Known Member

    I picked up a Martini 12/16,I believe, some 25 years ago.It was a long barreled ".220 Long Rifle",at least for a while. I had it rechambered to .218 Bee and mounted a 6 x 18 in Conetrol rings.I installed the flush fitting Pachmayer sling swivels,with an extra standard Uncle Mikes mount up front for a Harris bipod.It averages around an inch,but if the red gods smile,and the wind stops blowing,I sometimes get down to the .600's.It is a bunch of fun in the prairie dog towns.
  14. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    Al Freeland used to sell those. For what I heard Al won the NRA small bore with a BSA Martini.

    I can see an advantage with a Martini shooting prone. You could load the thing without having to break position in the slightest way as there is no bolt in your face.

    Can you adjust the trigger on those? What is the lightest trigger pull you can get?
  15. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Well-Known Member

    Perhaps a video of how they operate for those who aren't familiar with the design? BEAUTIFUL rifles, by the way.
  16. springer99

    springer99 Well-Known Member


    Thanks for posting the pic's. Really brought back memories for me. I shot three position in the UK back in the late '60's with a Mk II, and often wish I still had it. There were built like swiss watches and it's hard to find such metal/wood quality today, sadly.
  17. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Well-Known Member

    All of the pictured rifles are very nice. I love Martinis and wish I had more than the 2 I own.
  18. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    Here is one I aquired in my teenage years. From what little research I did, it is German made from between the wars, but it may be older than that.


    Close up of the action.


    It was brought to this country after WWII and the sights were seperated from the rifle prior to that. I have used a scope on this and it is quite accurate but heavy.

    The triggers are incredible and easily adjusted. You can adjust them to the point that when elevating the muzzle, the weight of the trigger causes them to fire. I keep them at about 3-4 pounds.

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