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Thread: Nepalese Francotte Pattern Martini Henry preliminary range report...

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Nepalese Francotte Pattern Martini Henry preliminary range report...

    Well, I carried that rifle a lot of people told me I'm not supposed to shoot to the range yesterday and shot it.
    405 grain hollow base 45-70 bullet, card disk/lubed felt wad, cotton filler, and 50 grains by volumn of Pyrodex R-S manually handloaded.
    The rifle survived a 3 round sandbag/lanyard test followed by 7 rounds fired from the shoulder, I only loaded 10 rounds since I wasn't sure it would survive the test firing, the rifle functioned fine and the recoil was surprisingly light.
    The only issues that I found were a smooth but brutally heavy trigger pull that's going to take some getting used to and the rifle shoots high (which I expected) and a little to the right.
    I still need to work on the load/filler combination, the first 3 rounds at 25 yards grouped at about 1.5 inches and I think it will group better once I get used to that trigger.
    The next 3 rounds at 50 yards however did a vertical string on me because I used too much filler.

    I'm going to take it to the range again next weekend weather permitting and load the rest of the brass like I did the test loads and the first 4 rounds.
    I should have let well enough alone but I wasn't sure I was compressing the Pyrodex enough so I added more filler.

    All in all I was very pleased with the way it performed.

    Jim
    Last edited by WOLF257; 06-09-2013 at 01:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master wellfedirishman's Avatar
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    Cool, take some pics next time

    Here is a RR I did some time back on mine, using Pyrodex:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...=1#post1069863

    They can shoot decently once you figure out what load they like. I have not tried the 405 hollow base bullet.

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    Ok, tried another load combination.
    The diagram I have of the original round shows a paper sleeve in the case, presumably to reduce the case volume so I thought I'd try to duplicate the original round as closely as I could except for the powder load.
    I used a rolled strip of index card about an 1 3/8th inches wide and 5 inches long which reduces the volume as well as the inside diameter of the case down to something like a 45-70 case.

    I loaded 50 grains of Pyrodex R-S and about half of a regular cotton ball to fill the airspace.
    The diagram showed the powder charge to be topped by 2 card wads, a beeswax plug and two more card wads followed by a hollow base paper patched bullet.
    I don't have the right size bullets to paper patch but I do have hollow base 405 grain 45-70 bullets the right size for my bore so I used that.

    I only made up 5 rounds to test this load but the results looked pretty good.
    This was fired supported at 50 yards, I figured it would shoot high considering how it shot the first time so I aimed low.
    I could have aimed at the center of the target after I saw where the first one hit but for consistency I used the same point of aim in all of them.
    I suspect the group might close up a bit if I ever get used to the trigger pull but for a 130 year old rifle firing a home made load it didn't do too bad.
    The rifle shoots to the right so I may see if I can make a temporary front site to correct the windage.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    All in all it's a fun rifle to shoot and the recoil is easy to handle.

    Jim

  4. #4
    Boolit Man Rojelio's Avatar
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    Dang! looks like you got a good one.

    I got one with a junk barrel so I rebarreled it.

    Here's my target.


  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
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    People have told me that the breech block is the weak spot on these Francottes.
    So I've given some thought to buying another one and installing a breech block for a British Martini Henry and rebarreling it for 45-70.

  6. #6
    Boolit Man Rojelio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WOLF257 View Post
    People have told me that the breech block is the weak spot on these Francottes.
    So I've given some thought to buying another one and installing a breech block for a British Martini Henry and rebarreling it for 45-70.
    It won't fit. Most parts from one nepalese francotte won't fit another one. That's been my experience.

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    I know it won't fit as is but it can be machined to fit.

  8. #8
    Boolit Man Rojelio's Avatar
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    Yeah, guess you could do that. I've never compared the length of the two breech blocks. You would have to machine it to fit in the Francotte subframe. If you do it, be sure and post your results here.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master The Double D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WOLF257 View Post
    I know it won't fit as is but it can be machined to fit.
    Quite a bit of difference there and I have my doubt it can be done. Good luck trying.

    Have you had the breech block you have x-rayed for inclusions and tested to determine if it is hardened all the way through or just surface/case hardened? If it has no inclusions and is surface harden it should be fine. After that the worry is the soft frame. Is there any evidence of that on your gun? Look for metal peening or a gap at the top of the receiver where the top of the trigger frame meets the top rear of the receiver. You need to watch that closely. Whe that starts headspace grows.

    This gun is one of those guns that is just better left alone and kept in your collection as a representative type. It shows the Nepalese were thinking and in some ways were leaps and bound ahead of the game. It is a shame they did not have better understanding of the technology to make these guns. I don't know if Francotte ever made any of these guns in this pattern. But his later Models made as small cadets and the larger models made for Westley Richards for the ZAR are the best Martini's ever made.

    I can't fault your action to much, 30 years ago, I built and sold a number of sporters in 30-06 and 22-250 on Chinese 98 Mauser actions. I shortened one and made .219 Donaldson Wasp Single shot-yes it will feed and shoot. That gun is the most accurate gun, I have ever made. In the early 90's I wrote an article about Mr. Donaldson's Wasp for Varmint Hunter and that was the gun. Still have it still shoot it.

    Absent the X-ray and hardness test, I would never shoot your gun. It is like the low number Springfield, not all are unsafe, you just have guess which one is safe. When I was active gunsmithing I had a couple of broken Springfield's come in. It was the same with all of them, modified into sporters and shot for years before they failed. Not catastrophic.

    To many better guns out there to play with-including Martini's, to mess with these possible train wrecks.

    Oh and just further illustrate. The Nepalese Francotte that failed and was reported over on Gunboards. 14-15 years ago, did not fail until it had fired over 150 rounds. A piece of the breech block, just fell off.

    Nope better guns to play with, use one of those MK II Martini actions and build your 45/70 and you will have something worth some money when you are through.
    Douglas, Ret.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master The Double D's Avatar
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    Yes, I am aware this is a five year old thread. It was quoted on another board as a can do. I just wanted to add my "maybe not"
    Douglas, Ret.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
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LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check