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Thread: My Kingdom For A Martini...

  1. #1

    My Kingdom For A Martini...

    Errr... a Martini-Henry, that is!

    Yannow I see these heartbreakers everywhere with their elegant lines, spectacular wood and once and awhile, just some nice old plain Jane shooters.

    Think I could ever lay my grubbers on one? Fah! Fat chance! I am more likely to shoot a world record Whitetail than getting my hands on one of them! I've only seen pictures of them and any that come up for sale are fetching ridiculous prices! Is there a place a guy can buy a reasonably priced Martini...?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    Not long ago a fella here had one that had been converted to .357 magnum . It was priced right I thought for the fella that could have done a face to face in Pennsylvania .

    Of course it came up for sale just AFTER I'd laid out my money for a different rifle

    Jack
    Buy it cheap and stack it deep , you may need it !

    Black Rifles Matter

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I had the want for a long time. I finally found a cadet in original form and did it up. Shilen med weight sporter barrel22 cal 1-14 twist 20" long chambered in 218 bee. Made a rail type scope mount and a 2-7 redfield on it. New wood for stock and forearm. Got just the way I wanted it

  4. #4
    Boolit Man
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    They are still very common in this part of the world, in 303,577/450,22 and all sort of modifications.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    In the US so much Khyber Pass junk has been brought back from Afghanistan its hard to tell real from the fake.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Guy La Pourque View Post
    Is there a place a guy can buy a reasonably priced Martini...?
    Nowhere sure and without snags, but there are a few things that might help.

    The Greener GP shotgun can be built into an extremely good rifle by rebarrelling or lining with a tube from TJ's. You can see the tubes on www.trackofthewolf.com , and a few for the .45 Colt revolvers are in ⅞jn. diameter. The guns are commonplace and fairly cheap on the UK market, and you might find a seller who can export them.

    You might be French Canadian by your name, and I have no idea what the difficulties of import might be. Unfortunately none of them meet the US pre-1899 criterion for an antique.

    http://www.gunstar.co.uk/All-Guns-fo...GP&ads_dist=50

    A BSA rimfire target rifle of the type that got made obsolete by the Martini-International in the 1960s simply is a Cadet except for the centrefire conversion if that is what you want. This website is worth spending a lot of time on. The best for conversion is the Model 12 (i.e. 1912), which has thicker sides (not really a strength advantage but easier to make look good with a restocking job), but doesn't have the rear of the receiver cut away for a large and specialised receiver sight like the 15 and 12/15.

    http://rifleman.org.uk/welcome.htmls

    Here is an auction house in Australia which has served me well, and is pretty switched on about exports. You should ask about export of any item which isn't obviously old, though. I got my 12ga. sidelock Gibbs and 24ga. Pieper out without the slightest difficulty. The Gibbs dated from the early 1890s, and couldn't be distinguished from a much more recent one until I checked the serial with Gibba, and the Pieper was 1926, which counts as antique in the UK when the cartridge isn't commercially available.

    A ban on guns via Australia Post has been on and off more than once, but is probably still in force. But they have a system for sending everything in bulk to a forwarding agent in most popular destinations. I don't know what would happen if you are the only one in France, say.

    http://www.australianarmsauctions.com/

    Finally here is a good source of parts. You can often fix up a bargain obtained because something is broken or missing, and if you would like to build a functional sporting rifle, you could probably do all of it except the barrel.

    http://www.martinihenry.org/index.php?route=common/home

  7. #7
    A whole bunch of these were brought in to the US from the Royal Palace in Katmandu. (I kid you not). Some came in the UK for the equivalent of 450 bucks. That is after import duty and profit, so the US price should be less. For that you got something in as-stored condition. Covered in a mixture of grease and soap. Very few were rubbish but most were shootable. Mine just needed the lever hammering flat, the result of a jam last century. The rest of it is lovely.If you are willing to clean them up, most are bargains.There must still be lots of them about. Check out the cost of reloading components and cases before you buy though!

  8. #8
    Boolit Master




    Boz330's Avatar
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    Not knowing where you are, makes for problems. In the US Vic Samuels is a great resource. Here are 2 he has done for me. A 357mag without the scope, a 7mm Waters with the scout scope. The Waters shoots a dime size group at 100yd, haven't figured out the 357 yet, but it is fun to shoot. The price keeps escalating unless you're in Oz or one of the Brit Commonwealth countries, where they seem to be cheap as dirt. Somehow the single shot assault rifle doesn't seem to bother them much.

    Bob
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    GUNFIRE! The sound of Freedom!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iomskp View Post
    They are still very common in this part of the world, in 303,577/450,22 and all sort of modifications.
    So common here I give them away as birthday presents!

    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad *** Wallace View Post
    So common here I give them away as birthday presents!
    How many birthdays a year do you find people having?

    In the UK the .22 BSA rimfires are cheap, being individually controlled on licence and yet without a really obvious role in life for either game or modern target shooting. The Greener GP is a shade less so, since you need a different licence which means you can buy any number of shotguns whenever you like, and one or two spares never hurt. But most of the centrefire small Martinis, on our hard fought-for and relatively sensible list of obsolete chamberings, count as antiques, totally uncontrolled till you start shooting, at any age up to 1939. So they can be very expensive.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Black Beard View Post
    A whole bunch of these were brought in to the US from the Royal Palace in Katmandu. (I kid you not). Some came in the UK for the equivalent of 450 bucks. That is after import duty and profit, so the US price should be less. For that you got something in as-stored condition. Covered in a mixture of grease and soap. Very few were rubbish but most were shootable. Mine just needed the lever hammering flat, the result of a jam last century. The rest of it is lovely.If you are willing to clean them up, most are bargains.There must still be lots of them about. Check out the cost of reloading components and cases before you buy though!
    Here is the main source for the Nepalese cache. The book "Treasure is where you find it", which I have in the paper version, is an eyeopener.

    The Gahendra and the Francotte Martinis are locally manufactured versions of excellent designs, marvellous achievements for a small mountain nation which has never been either rich or a colony of anybody's, but of dubious barrel quality. There are British made Martinis as well, but it would be best to assume that they will be pretty rough, with poor bores, and probably in need of various small parts and new woodwork. But I've supplied a link above for that.

    http://www.ima-usa.com/

  12. #12
    Boolit Man blackbahart's Avatar
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    Martinis are worse than tater chips.Just got another ,this one is a 222 rem (rimless) .It was a nearly completed from eastern canada and I just finished the wood and took of the weaver mounts (they were out of wack any way )and put on the talley hr base .Also removed the front sight base as it shadowed in the scope.Will get it blued in a bit Click image for larger version. 

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  13. #13
    Boolit Master




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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad *** Wallace View Post
    So common here I give them away as birthday presents!

    BA, my birthday is the end of this month. Do you want me to PM you my address.
    GUNFIRE! The sound of Freedom!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    The nepalese ones were floating around for a while. I bought 2 off sportsman guide, since it said 'may be missing parts'. Figuring 2 would get me one, one was missing the sling. So both work.

    Ammo is usually the bigger issue. The cost of dies, a press to use them, not all will use the bigger dies. And a mold that will cast bullets to work in one. I ended up using a Lee 405gr hollow base mold that cast big at .460, I leemented it a little bigger size to .461, accurate enough for what it is, a handmade 130 yo rifle. Trick was getting the neck to size. The Lee dies are for the british rifle and its bigger bullet. A .461 falls inside. So I had to modify a 45-70 die to neck size, but not to much so I dont over work the brass. And then of course the overly expensive brass, who knew there was something that equaled the cost of a 50BMG per round, and thats for an empty case. And then learning to form 24ga shells without destroying to many.

    Its the kind of thing you pull out, people ooh and aah. Want to fire a round or 2 out of for the unique factor.

  15. #15
    Yes indeed, ammo is the problem. The Gahendra barrels were made for bullets of the common .457 or .458, but they were mostly made by welding of a spiral ribbon, and can be deeply pitted by concealed rust under the wood. If you were to get a good one, they might be very good, and I haven't heard anything against the quality of the actions. All of this might apply to the Nepalese made Francotte Martinis too.

    I once, in an experimental turn of mind, used carbide drills in the lathe to drill a ⅝in. taper pin reamer for an inserted pilot. It has a ¼in. per foot taper, which is just about right for the 3¼in. Express, but there is also a metric version with the very slightly smaller taper of 1 in 50. This method should also be fine for the .45 New South Wales Police Carbine, 2.45in. in length, which I think is one of the best of all traditional Martini cartridges. It uses .457 bullets and isn't too large to be convenient with smokeless, as the .577/.450 is. If you do that kind of job on any high speed steel reamer you should drill a little at a time with alternate sizes of carbide drill, as it is so inelastic that a heating and cooling reamer will easily seize and shatter it.

    I have seen people saying that .577/.450 cases made from Magtech 24ga, although relatively cheap, have poor brass life when used with even full power black powder loads or the equivalent. This might be curable with some sort of metal, plastic or fiber base cup, inserted before necking down. I would be wary of this for the Snider round, since it would be a dangerous bore obstruction if one came out and lodged in the bore. But it couldn't get out through the .577/.450 neck.

    A final possibility is that TJ's make a chrome-moly liner, in any length, for the .30 Luger. It has .303 bore, .311 grooves, 10in. twist and ½in. OD. That is just right for converting a .450 rifle to .303.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boz330 View Post
    BA, my birthday is the end of this month. Do you want me to PM you my address.
    If only you lived a bit closer neighbour!
    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Give me a ping. Might be able to help.
    Bill

  18. #18
    Boolit Man



    Mustangpalmer1911's Avatar
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    I have several from IMA, all are good shooters. They say the MKIV are the best deal and change to get a shooter.
    PaGunBuilder. Learning to build the guns that shaped our country.

    "Stand your ground! Don't fire unless fired upon! But if they want to have a war, let it begin here!"

  19. #19
    I don't think there is much difference in shooting of the different marks - unless you can get one in the original .402 cartridge for which it was designed, and then there is plenty. But you won't, as all except a few museum specimens were converted to .577/.450. In the Nepalese cache the conditions of storage count for more than a decade or two difference in length of storage, if indeed there was.

    Where the MkIV wins is in extraction, twice over. It has the long lever, and a longer toe to the extractor to give more leverage. But with drawn brass cases instead of the rolled foil of the original .577/.450, and a barrel which isn't grossly overheated, extraction isn't that bad a problem. Also for the person who wants to restock a suitably dilapidated Martini with a pistol grip (somebody has to do it!), I think the pre-MKIV receiver shape looks better.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I've bought 3 Martini Henry rifles over the years from the 'Nepal cache'....two Mk.II rifles and a Mk.IV rifle. Both MkII rifles are BSA 1889 and the Mk.IV is an Enfield.

    Owning a Martini can be as simple as shopping Atlanta Cutlery or International Military Antiques online...then a few days later you come home for lunch and find one on your front porch.....

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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
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check