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  #1  
Old 05-04-2008, 02:52 AM
Rocky_Raccoon Rocky_Raccoon is offline
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martini henry rifles

Im here in lovely afghanistan and on saturdays when were back in the fob theres this thing called a "bizarre" its kinda like a flea market, only different... anyhow they have a plethra of surplus arms, some dating back as far as 1840's and 1850's in quite excellant condition, theres some enfield muskets and martini henry's and some trapdoor type rifle as well as some rifles that look like they are strait from bugs bunny (where the barrel cones out like a bullhorn at the muzzle) not sure of the type but can anyone tell me the possible value of these, im really concitering purchasing one or more of these (they run about 100$ us) as well as any markings to indicate good value or a fake? any info would be appreciated.
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Old 05-04-2008, 06:03 AM
Gil Martin Gil Martin is online now
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It depends

I have seen these rifles advertised for a considerable amount of money. Perhaps a web search would point out what to look for regarding markings. My recommendation would be to get one in the best condition possible. For the money, it might be worth it, All the best...
Gil
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:05 AM
Jack Jack is offline
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There is a thriving cottage industry in that area of making fakes of some of the typical rifles used in that region in the past. Including the Martini actioned rifles, and even Lee Enfields.
I believe American Rifleman has written about the fakes in the past.
As best I can recall, some of the fakes are amazingly good copies, but, since they are done under primitive conditions, the fakes have no heat treating at all, and are made with whatever metal was handy.
In other words, they aren't something you would want to shoot. If you're after a souvenir to hang on the wall, they might be interesting.
Unless one of the experts here can tell you how to tell real from copies, I would be very, very wary.
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Old 05-04-2008, 07:58 PM
Catfish Catfish is offline
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RR,
It`s been along time since you`ve posted, glad to see you on again. I`ve been keeping you in my prayers. Let me know hwen you get home and we`ll do alittle shooting together.
AND, Thanks for your service to our country.
I don`t know a thing about those gun, but would guess Jack has hit the nail on the head, nice to look at, but don`t shoot them.
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:18 PM
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BILLY D. BILLY D. is offline
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Hey Rocky, my best wishes also. Know what your going through. From '64 to '71 I was a participant of the South East Asia War Games.

I'd be over there with ya but I'm just too darned old now and I'd prolly just get in your way.

About the guns, I read in Handloader an article by Ross Seyfried about those guns. They found beau coup of them in a warehouse in India and were selling them by the cart load to whoever wanted them. I'm sure there are more than a few here in the States. Ross even provided reloading data.

Let me do some searching to see what I can find.

The Afghans like the Turks have a cottage industry in guns. Like a poster has already stated the guns are not mass produced and are for all essential purposes hand made.

From what I understand those Martinis fired the Snider Cartridge. Relying on my memory which some times has flashes of brillance, it was a 544x450. The Martini was a pretty strong action from what I've read.

I'll get back to ya. Keep your six covered buddy.

Best wishes, Bill
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:31 PM
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BILLY D. BILLY D. is offline
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Well my mind had one of those flashes of brilliance. One flash and it was gone.

The cartridge was a 577 not a 544.

If you google Martini you will get more info than you might want to see. There are sites there that give marking descriptions.

www.martinirifles.com sells parts and also has complete rifles, or will build you a custom.

Good luck on finding something out.


Best wishes, Bill
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Old 05-05-2008, 01:06 PM
skeet skeet is offline
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Shot one

Of the Martini rifles. Honest to pete you could actually see the bullet in flight..and it took a long time to get to the gong at 200 yds. But I actually hit it. It seemed to swing a little more than when hit by a fast small caliber bullet too. Bad part about it was we shot it with black powder...and of course ya gotta clean it..and clean it and clean it.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:17 PM
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BILLY D. BILLY D. is offline
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skeet

I'll bet they were a bear in combat. Can you imagine cleaning one under field conditions?

Lets see old chap, shall we use Tide or Rinso?

The cartridge cases looked flaky to me, no pun intended, they were rolled brass. You can buy modern formed cases now for them.

Did you ever use the 40mm Grenade launcher on the M-16? that was a hoot to. You could shoot it and make a sight correction and fire again and almost beat the first shot to the target. When I shot for qualification we only got two shots, they were short on ammo.

Thats almost as brilliant as when we ran out of Standard fins for bombs and had to use High Drag Fins wired shut at the cost of $4000 for every mission we flew.

Best wishes, Bill
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Old 05-05-2008, 03:20 PM
skeet skeet is offline
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Ordnance

I've shot a bit of all sorts of stuff. That was really neat shootin that ol Martini though. I also had a 38-56 Win 86 and it was almost like that. I loaded the ammo with ctg pyrodex and they shot fine. Can't remember where i found the data now. Sold that ol rifle. The gummit runs outta all kinds of stuff...always at the wrong time too. And it always costs us extra. I really don't know if they are the same but I listed some 577 cases on swap and shop. They are the 3 1/4 inchers though. Maybe I should get ahold of my friend with the rifle. He just might need 'em. The rifle he has is in exc condition and even has what is supposed to be the orig bayonet. Glad i didn't have to use one of them in the wars as the Brits say!
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Old 05-12-2008, 06:16 AM
Brithunter Brithunter is offline
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Hi All,

A few Martinis may have been chambered for the .577 Snider cartridge how ever most were chambered for the .450 Short chamber which later became know as the 577/450. The original .450 cartridge was long and thin and prooved fragile in service with it's rolled brass construction. Remebr drawing brass was not developed back then.

Velocity of the .450" 480 grain lead bullet was about 1350 fps and it hit like a tons of bricks. Penetrated well too. Martinis went through several marks oen enve had an extended lever due to extraction problems caused by the rolled brass cases in the tropics. Later drawn brass cases solved this problem. The Martini was certainly faster to reload and fire than the Trapdoor Springfield and pulling the lever down not only extracted and ejected the case but cocked the action as well. Put a new shell iand close the lever raise to aim anf fire. No hammers to muck with


Now out in the Gulf there are a lot of fakes as well as lot's of originals you have to be careful. Some of the originals are in bad shape and some messed with and there are some in 303 as well. 303 Martinis were popular in South Africa with the Boers and Oman in the Gulf used them as well. The British army used several marks of 303 Martinis those with Metford rifling are Martini Metfords (MM) and those with the later Enfield form are Martini Enfields (ME) and they all came in long and short versions. Sevaral carbine versions were adopted and issued.

Of course Egypt also adopted the Martini and those marked Citidel are Egyptian so the choice is varied and confusing to those new to them. Luckily the home built ones are more often than not marked incorrectly but to knwo this you need to be familar with the correct marking and there are books devoted to just this.


The trap doors you speak of, now does the breech block swing sideways? if so they are probably Sniders and most likely in .577" this was the stop gap breechloader a conversion of the .577 muskets along the same lines as the US trapdoor Springfields. Again it's buyer beware they might be originals they might be fake and both types may or may not be safe!
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  #11  
Old 05-16-2008, 05:40 AM
Rocky_Raccoon Rocky_Raccoon is offline
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well you were right birdhunter they were snyders, ive been doing some research on all the above mentioned weapons and well most are phoneys and the more signs i see how to tell, the easier it is to see.. maybe if i can find a real one ill purchase it. but thanks for everything everyone.. and catfish, ill be back in a few months (just in time for deer season) so we gotta get together and do some hunting or at least drink a cup of coffee. ill let you know when exactually.. all the best
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Old 05-16-2008, 07:05 AM
Catfish Catfish is offline
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Rocky,
If you don`t have a placr to hunt I can put you on a deer. Not likely a big buck, but can put you on meat for the freezer. I`ll pm you with my phone number if you want.
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