1888 BSA & MC Mk.II Martini-Henry Rifle.

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TomcatPC
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1888 BSA & MC Mk.II Martini-Henry Rifle.

Postby TomcatPC » Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:59 pm

Here is my one and only Martini-Henry Rifle. This rifle was purchased with the cash I saved when I quit smoking a few years back (2007). Yes, it is from the "Nepal Cache", and from Atlanta Cutlery.

It is a 1888 Mk.II made by Birmingham Small Arms and Metal Company.
Also in the photo is a Pattern-1876 Bayonet from 1887.
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Re: 1888 BSA & MC Mk.II Martini-Henry Rifle.

Postby Niner » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:36 am

You must have gotten one of the special select and working offerings. A true collectible with British production marks. I got one of the as found local made Nepal rifles. It took some doing to get it to come close to functional. ...and as I value my life I wouldn't try shooting it.

Your rifle looks to be a much better collectible choice than mine. Have you attempted to fire it?
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Re: 1888 BSA & MC Mk.II Martini-Henry Rifle.

Postby TomcatPC » Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:05 pm

I had a lot of cleaning up to do on mine, it was covered in "gunk". I still need to do a few things like tighten the fore-end up a bit somehow. I need a spring for the back sight "slider", as mine will not stay in place when the sight is raised up. All in all, I'm happy with the rifle, I'd love to have an earlier dated Martini-Henry, but I'm just grateful to have one right now. There is a bit of pitting on the breech end of the outer barrel that is hidden by the fore-end, from what I have been reading, this seems to be common with these "Nepal Cache" rifles, also the markings on the action body are not the best, but they can be read all right.

I have not fired it yet. Mainly because at the time being cash is short and buying loaded cartridges, or buy reloading kit to load the .577/.450 Calibre Cartridge is a bit out of my reach right now. Also living in inner city Toledo, Ohio, there is nowhere to shoot for cheap/free, legal and safe, really miss Alaska now LOL. but given time and money, I do intend to fire it. I had a gunsmith give it a once over and he gave it a thumbs up.
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Re: 1888 BSA & MC Mk.II Martini-Henry Rifle.

Postby Woftam » Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:33 am

A belated welcome to the forum Tomcat, I've been on holidays so haven't had a chance to say gudday earlier.
Nice Martini, still looking for a MH myself so I envy you lucky buggers in the US with access to the Nepal Cache and other goodies.
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Re: 1888 BSA & MC Mk.II Martini-Henry Rifle.

Postby Aughnanure » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:13 am

I remember when The Grange Rifle Store in South Australia had them for 5/- each.
Didn't bother to buy one as I had better ones back in NSW.

Long time ago :bigsmile: I was eighteen at the time.
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Re: 1888 BSA & MC Mk.II Martini-Henry Rifle.

Postby DoubleD » Mon May 16, 2011 1:56 pm

Niner wrote:You must have gotten one of the special select and working offerings. A true collectible with British production marks. I got one of the as found local made Nepal rifles. It took some doing to get it to come close to functional. ...and as I value my life I wouldn't try shooting it.

Your rifle looks to be a much better collectible choice than mine. Have you attempted to fire it?


what on earth did you buy?
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Re: 1888 BSA & MC Mk.II Martini-Henry Rifle.

Postby Niner » Mon May 16, 2011 4:58 pm

I bought one of those "battle field pick ups". You know, made by the original Kiber Pass specialists and probably actually issued to some local troops. I posted about this adventure once.

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Re: 1888 BSA & MC Mk.II Martini-Henry Rifle.

Postby DoubleD » Mon May 30, 2011 8:22 am

Actually Nepal is about a thousand mile west of the the Khyber pass and the guns made there are a bit more sophisticated than the stuff made in Darra.
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Re: 1888 BSA & MC Mk.II Martini-Henry Rifle.

Postby Niner » Mon May 30, 2011 11:04 am

Actually, I wasn't thinking about a geographic mileage difference between the actual Khyber Pass and wherever the artisan was when he made the rifle I ended up with. You have me there. I was thinking about the metallurgy and tolerances and quality control that was probably more or less based on the "if it looks like a duck" principle rather than any more sophisticated quality tests. Any indigenous rifle made anywhere in that part of the world, before arsenals like Ishapore, would have to be equally suspect from the standpoint of lacking any significantly evident quality control..... at least in my mind it would.

It's actually pretty amazing what those artisans with few to no modern tools or machining technology made in the past and can make in the way of weapon copies today. I have a Pakistani friend who has actually seen such village artisans work on the frontier of Pakistan and the things they can make with so few modern tools. It is like alchemy and art all blended together the way he describes it. But that doesn't mean they know anything about pressure created by the explosion of powder or the amount of stress suspect steel and assorted parts made of the same can tolerate. Give a rifle like that a hundred plus years to rust and gather dust like a shovel in storage no better than a tool shed and it becomes even more suspect.


Double D. What do you think of the supposed British marked Martini rifles that SOG offers for much less than the Nepal cache rifles and seem to be in better general shape....from the advertising photos at least? The messageboard cognoscente seem to think SOG is offering Khyber Pass rifles and not offering the genuine British issue rifles they claim to be offering. What do you think DoubleD? Would you shoot one of them? Do you consider them more substantial if they were made in the Khyber Pass than wherever the ones out of Nepal were made? Was one made in the Khyber Pass a hundred years ago more substantial than one made a quarter century ago? How about one made last week for the American trade?
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Re: 1888 BSA & MC Mk.II Martini-Henry Rifle.

Postby DoubleD » Tue May 31, 2011 2:40 pm

Niner wrote:Actually, I wasn't thinking about a geographic mileage difference between the actual Khyber Pass and wherever the artisan was when he made the rifle I ended up with. You have me there. I was thinking about the metallurgy and tolerances and quality control that was probably more or less based on the "if it looks like a duck" principle rather than any more sophisticated quality tests. Any indigenous rifle made anywhere in that part of the world, before arsenals like Ishapore, would have to be equally suspect from the standpoint of lacking any significantly evident quality control..... at least in my mind it would.


There is a vast difference between the quality of the Khyber gun and a Nepalese gun. The Nepalese were involved in a dedicated effort to create a legitimate Arms market and were working unofficially with the British to develop that market. The Nepalese had a trials Martini to work with before the British Army was armed with them. The pre Martini guns in the Nepalese cache are mostly local made but with heavy use of British made parts. The Snider I posted in another thread has an all British Tower lock dated 1847. The gun is not as high a quality as a British Snider but it is a quality piece.


It's actually pretty amazing what those artisans with few to no modern tools or machining technology made in the past and can make in the way of weapon copies today. I have a Pakistani friend who has actually seen such village artisans work on the frontier of Pakistan and the things they can make with so few modern tools.


Back in the day yes, but today they have all the modern conveniences. There was a documentary a couple of years ago by a Middle eastern TV network about the industry in Darra. The reporter gets escorted through the markets and all you see is primitive hand work... But watch closely. In the back ground of one of the shops you can seen a CNC milling machine and lathe.

This marking is no crude hand made mark but is either laser or cnc made.

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It is like alchemy and art all blended together the way he describes it. But that doesn't mean they know anything about pressure created by the explosion of powder or the amount of stress suspect steel and assorted parts made of the same can tolerate. Give a rifle like that a hundred plus years to rust and gather dust like a shovel in storage no better than a tool shed and it becomes even more suspect.


True enough, and there is stuff like that in the Nepalese and for sure there is that issue in the Darra stuff. The Nepalese cache is something different all together. They were paying attention to detail and were considering the science. They did have some problems but the worked and learned and improved. I suspect your continued criticism of the Nepalese cache is based on a limited exposure to the guns and a lack of understanding of the science. You are selling yourself short by not taking the time to learn more about these guns . You owe it to your self to get over to Atlanta and personally inspect these guns. You will change you attitude real fast. These guns were covered in storage grease and put in an old palace and forgot for over a 100 years. Some suffered from ravage of this storage but others are well preserved. They are not, pre Martini original British made rifles but they are very good rifles to own, shoot and collect.


Double D. What do you think of the supposed British marked Martini rifles that SOG offers for much less than the Nepal cache rifles and seem to be in better general shape....from the advertising photos at least? The messageboard cognoscente seem to think SOG is offering Khyber Pass rifles and not offering the genuine British issue rifles they claim to be offering. What do you think DoubleD? Would you shoot one of them? Do you consider them more substantial if they were made in the Khyber Pass than wherever the ones out of Nepal were made? Was one made in the Khyber Pass a hundred years ago more substantial than one made a quarter century ago? How about one made last week for the American trade?


About 8-9 years a go several of us who were active Martini aficionados were offered container loads of Martini's. The offer came from Pakistan and the pictures weapons looked very unusual. I suspect but do not know, that the SOG rifles are these same rifles.

I am not able to get into the section of SOG's website to view their current listing of these rifles. i cab tell you I have seen their ads for the guns on the past and bought one for evaluation. As represented when I last viewed the SOG ad, they were a 100% complete fraud. The rifle were represented as original British made aresenal rebuilds. That is a complete fraud. There is nothing about these rifles that is British.

Pre-1898 British Enfield Martini Carbine .303 British Cal.

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Martini .303 British Cal. carbines. These carbines were used by the British military forces all over the world during the latter quarter of the 19th Century. These are original British Martinis that have been arsenal refinished by the British years ago. Metal and wood are in decent shape, with a lot of markings, etc. Rifles show use, and have a good, historic look to them...dated receivers from 1903 to 1930’s, and have just been found in a long forgotten stash of British Military weapons in a secret (And it still is,...we might get some more!) place! Own a piece of history from a war long ago. These rifles were certainly used. These won’t last long, and haven’t seen daylight for 80–90 years! These carbines are relatively inexpensive...(Some might have a hairline crack, or small stock repair–Don’t expect mint rifles at this price. Barrel length may vary a little. These rifles are sold as antique, historic rifles, and are not to be shot with modern ammo. We have no testing facility, and because they were made for low-power black powder rounds, we can not assume any responsibility for their safety whatsoever. We consider them potentially dangerous to be shot.)



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The one I got has never been able to fire more than twice with out malfunctioning. Give me a couple of days and I will make a post on those guns. I also believe these guns are all new made and not old at all.
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Re: 1888 BSA & MC Mk.II Martini-Henry Rifle.

Postby Niner » Tue May 31, 2011 3:42 pm

Well done post, Douglas. I appreciate your taking the time and effort to make it. Obviouly you have some knowledge of the subject at hand and I appreciate your sharing it with those of us who read this string. I look forward to reading what you conclude about the SOG offering.

The SOG website description is, as of a few minutes ago:

These are original British Martinis that have been arsenal refinished by the British years ago. (Some might have a hairline crack, or small stock repair–Don’t expect mint rifles at this price. Barrel length may vary a little. These rifles are sold as antique, historic rifles, and are not to be shot with modern ammo. We have no testing facility, and because they were made for low-power black powder rounds, we can not assume any responsibility for their safety whatsoever. We consider them potentially dangerous to be shot.


Now if they aren't "original British Martinis" as they state, why doesn't someone call them on it? Would it be a BATF complaint if they are advertising something that is actually a new made import ..... and made......for all anybody knows....by the Taliban merchant support network? ;) At an advertised price of $359.95, they aren't exactly giving them away.....but cheaper than the Nepal cache offers from IMA and Atlanta Cutlery that are sold as being in working condition.....not that I have any intention of buying one of them from SOG. Maybe if they were down to a $100 I'd buy one as a curiosity.

The Martini and the 1853 Enfield I have from the Nepal offerings have no mark on any part that shows any British origin or proof mark on either rifle. The only marks look distinctly from Nepal. All of this is fine with me as that was not out of line with what I expected. I didn't buy them to shoot. I bought them because of where they came from and the curiosity value.
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Re: 1888 BSA & MC Mk.II Martini-Henry Rifle.

Postby DoubleD » Tue May 31, 2011 7:54 pm

My Gues is you have a Francotte and not a martini at all. The picure you posted sure looks Francotte. The Francotte is pretty poor and early into the Nepalese venture into cartridge guns. They have some problems with those guns, I don't think they had British help with that one.

I still think you need a visit to AC.

I did find the SOG material and will post it in a separate post. I though I posted it on BM a couple o years ago, but can't find it now.
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