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Thread: Martini cadet 32-20

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Martini cadet 32-20

    I am going to post pics of my single shot rifles in the next few weeks. This will give all of you fellow casters who are snow bound up there in frozen toes, Montana or wherever, something to kibits about. First up, a Martini Cadet rifle, used by the Natl. Guard of New South Wales. Thats located in the land down under in case you didn't know. I am not sure they have a Natl. Guard but the name will suffice here. I have owned several of these fine rifles over the years but alas, I let them get away. I had one that had been rebarreled to .218 Bee. That is my favorite cartridge for this rifle. The .222 Rem. rimmed would be nice also. That cartridge was developed in Australia just to use in the cadet rifle. I have never seen the cartridge or rifle so chambered. I bought this one from a friend several years ago with idea of making it a .218 Bee, but as time goes bye I am reluctant to tear it apart for the action. I was given some small cast bullits that miked .318 and weighed about 120grns. I loaded several in some 32.20 cases, took it to the range and fired this group. I don't remember the powder I used. It was at 50 yds. I don't shoot open sights well so the rifle in the right hands might shoot an even better group. I have not fired the rifle since.Stay tuned to this station for more exciting pics and even sadder stories.
    Last edited by GOPHER SLAYER; 04-10-2010 at 08:54 PM.
    A GUN THAT'S COCKED AND UNLOADED AIN'T GOOD FOR NUTHIN'........... ROOSTER COGBURN

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    VERY nice ! I look forward to future photos !

    Jerry
    S&W .38/44 Outdoorsman Accumulator

  3. #3
    Boolit Master The Double D's Avatar
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    What makes you think your Martini was used by the National Guard or Home guard of NSW. It might have been used by Home Guard in WW II to stand off invading Japanese Imperial Forces. but you don't show us anything to suggest that.

    More likely it was used by a School Cadet.

    But it could have been used by both.

    .222 Rimmed was never a cadet cartridge, the original cartridge for the Cadet was the .310 Cadet. Try some 120 grain .321 heele bullets and you will be pleasantly surprised at how well the gun shoots...you will have to shorten the 32/30 cases a bit to make it work.

    For the Record those of use who live in Montana are never snow bound or get frozen toes...we are little broker than our southern cousin as we have to have two sets of toys, those for winter sports and those for summer sports; seadoo, skidoo, water ski's , snow ski's, summer camo, winter camo...well you get the idea...never feel sorry for us, as we are having twice the fun!
    Douglas, Ret.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    GS, if the Cadet has CMF (Civilian Military Forces, the old army reserves), then that is who had it. They were issued during WWII to Home Guard as a last line of defence kind of thing (they even had to make jaketed bullets cause you can't shoot the enemy with lead bullets). The .222 Rimmed is an old Cadet conversion, but brass is now getting hard to find and often it is rubbish (too long, too short, not concentric, prone to crackin and separating). 32/20 is a good conversion, lots of good brass, easy to reload (no damned heal based boolits to start with) and a good shooter (target and small game). Yours looks like a BSA manufacture, is it?
    WHEN IN DOUBT, USE MORE CLOUT!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Son View Post
    GS, if the Cadet has CMF (Civilian Military Forces, the old army reserves), then that is who had it. They were issued during WWII to Home Guard as a last line of defence kind of thing (they even had to make jaketed bullets cause you can't shoot the enemy with lead bullets). The .222 Rimmed is an old Cadet conversion, but brass is now getting hard to find and often it is rubbish (too long, too short, not concentric, prone to crackin and separating). 32/20 is a good conversion, lots of good brass, easy to reload (no damned heal based boolits to start with) and a good shooter (target and small game). Yours looks like a BSA manufacture, is it?
    Rules for war, what a joke. If they were invading my home land I would use what ever was available. Besides IIRC the Japanese never signed the Geneva convention and they did have designs on Australia. The fly in the ointment was that they didn't get the aircraft carriers at Pearl and misjudged how fast the US could gear up for war.

    Bob
    GUNFIRE! The sound of Freedom!

  6. #6
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    More martini cadet rifle

    Well, it appears I have stepped on some Montana toes, frozen or not. To answer the questions/doubts about my post on the Martini Cadet RIFLE. As I stated in my 1st post, I simply used the name, Natl. Grd. to indicate that the rifle was not the Army's number one rifle. For all I know the gun could have been carried by The Womens Cristhian Temperance Union, although I doubt it. I would like to say at this point, I don't really care. To me,it is just a very nice rifle and a great action for small cartridges. Point number two, I know full well that the rifle was never chambered for the .222 rimmed. I thought I made that clear in my original post. I brlieve the only cartridges the small Martini was ever chambered for by the factory was the .310 and the .22 rim fire. I could be wrong but there again, I don't really care. It is simply not important to me. My rifle was made by BSA by the way, however I have owned some made by Greener. I appreciate the suggestions as to bullits and powder but I have little interest in shooting the rifle again. I have others that I enjoy shooting much more, and then mainly in matches. I will post there pictures in the near future. Now to deal with winter sports. The troible with winter sports is, they have to be played outside in the winter. I was born and raised in Southeast Mo. and we didn't get much snow, just cold. We were only twenty miles from the Mississippi River and the humidity made the wind chill something fearfull. I remember walking home from the movies at night in the winter with scarves tied around our faces, holding hands , first one leading, then another. No thanks. When we did get snow there were the inevitable snowball fights and always some sadist who love to put snow down the back of your neck. I rank those people right up there with terrorist and people that like to have pillow fights in the morning. Water boarding is too good for them. I have never been in the lovely state of Montana but I did get close. We were visiting my nephew in Wyoming and he drove us up to Devils Tower. He had lived in Billings, Montana for several years and worked as a carpenter. He said he wore electric socks and kept hand wormers in his pockets for a little relief. He told me at times they simply had to go home because the temperature dropped so far below zero. I would like to conclude by saying, if you like were you live, stay there. I love the weather in sunny California but I must confess it doesn't have much else going for it.I have a cabinet full of beautiful guns and it is becoming more difficult to find a place to shoot them. Buckshot and I are driving close to ninty miles round trip to a range in the mountains. It isn't just the drive but you never know how the weather is going to be at that elevation. It can be seventy degrees in Redlands and you go up the hill and it drops to fifty five and a hard ,cold wind blowing. I think I have said enough and if I offended anyone I am sorry, except for those who put snow down your neck. I am not a bad sort. To know me is to love me. Also, have a very healthy, prosperous and Happy New Year.
    A GUN THAT'S COCKED AND UNLOADED AIN'T GOOD FOR NUTHIN'........... ROOSTER COGBURN

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by GOPHER SLAYER View Post
    ..I brlieve the only cartridges the small Martini was ever chambered for by the factory was the .310 and the .22 rim fire. ....
    I had a small action Martini cadet rifle that was chambered for .297/.230 Morris.
    I Don't recall if it was British (probably) or Austrailian.

    Jack

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    Boolit Master TCLouis's Avatar
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    My cadet/Francotte (I don't know enough to know the difference) is chambered in what I call 30-357 Max long neck trimmed. It came from a deceased crusty ol gunsmith (aren't most of em) who shot matches with it. Finally found that it was barreled with his worn out 308 Match barrel (that explains all of the tapped holes) that he had set back several times as the chamber/throat deteriorated in his bolt gun.

    Let me say if that had I not received a couple of pieces of brass with it I don't know if I would have ever figured out how to make brass.

    During all of my searches, I ended up with a set of 30X357 dies from Jim Rock and that looks to be a great cartridge that I never hear anything about.

    Saga finally settles on simple run through 300X221 dies and trim to length.

    The last batch of 357 Max brass I formed (10)developed longitudinal splits when I fireformed them and since it is a tight chamber I was concerned about bad brass. I have not shot any of that bag in the Max either.

    I need to get back to shooting that gun with some nice heavy plain base cast. Wish I had the right plain base mold to cast for such a gun.

    Sooner or later I am going to have to break into it and increase sear engagement. Yes increse, hard to believe, but it is a mite sensitive . . . much too sensitive for my tastes.
    Last edited by TCLouis; 04-02-2013 at 11:05 PM. Reason: additional details
    When one must, one can

  9. #9
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    [Well, it appears I have stepped on some Montana toes, frozen or not.]

    Cold weather/Northern climes = Thin skin.

    I like your Cadet just fine .

    I've always wanted one of those to play with, but have never ran across one - even in going to gun shows since 1968.

    .

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    GS
    You will be missing a whole lot of fun if'n you don't gear up to use it at every opportunity. I have 10 in standard 'as issued' condition as well as a 32/20 conversion and several 22 rimfires.

    Sporting rifles include chamberings in 17Ackley Hornet, 17/222Rimmed, 218Mashburn Bee, 222Rimmed and this little gem in 25/35

    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    I think Paco Kelly when he was writing for The Fouling Shot described his experience with the 30x357 . If I found a Martini chambered for such , I think I would be incluned to make cases for it and try it out . Of course , if I found one in 32-20 I'd already have ammo waiting for it .

    Jack

  12. #12
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    32-20

    I bought a used silhouette barrel in 32-20, one of my best shooters. Does 100 meters well with lead. I'd hang onto that one (you can send it to me, I'll take especially good care of it).
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    In all, the .41 Magnum would be one of my top choices for an all-around handgun if I were allowed to have only one. - Bart Skelton

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  13. #13
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    I would about give my left....leg for one of those. Have a .22 Martini and will never give it up. One of those centerfire cadets would be perfect--a big reloadable version of a .22. Nice cast bullet rifle and it uses itty bitty amounts of lead and powder.

  14. #14
    Boolit Man bearmn56's Avatar
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    Martini Cadet in .25-20 WCF

    Gopher Slayer,
    Here is one Montanan that is a Cadet Martini lover. I purchased one about 5 years ago. All original but a crappy bore. I had my gunsmith reline it to .25-20. Great little shooter. I saw a British Rook rifle and decided to make mine similar. I am attaching some pics. The rear sight is a standard Cadet with the ears milled off. Front is a standard steel ramp. The rifle is only 36" long with a 21" barrel. I have only shot cast boolits thru it. Never had a jacketed bullet out of it. My favorite load for these pesky little red squirrels is 2.2gr Bullseye, a Winchester small magnum pistol primer behind a 85gr plain based bullet with a quite wide flat nose. Muzzle velocity is 1000fps.
    My rifle, for what it's worth, is marked "Commonwealth of Australia" and "Vic" on the right receiver wall. The left side is marked "MADE BY THE BIRMINGHAM SMALL ARMS Co Ltd" then below this is the three stacked rifles bracketed by "Trade Mark" with BSA under the three stacked rifles.
    In any case, in whatever configuration that these rifles are found in, they have a certain simple elegance!!!
    Bearmn56
    Montana Territory
    PS: Yes, the winters can get plumb ornery here.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boz330 View Post
    Rules for war, what a joke. If they were invading my home land I would use what ever was available. Besides IIRC the Japanese never signed the Geneva convention and they did have designs on Australia. The fly in the ointment was that they didn't get the aircraft carriers at Pearl and misjudged how fast the US could gear up for war.

    Bob
    I've read that the jacketed bullet cartridges issued for guard use were loaded to very near .30 Carbine balistics, which would of course require a Jacketed bullet in any case.
    The actions are certainly far stronger than they need to be to handle the .310 Cadet cartridge.
    The qualities of the barrel steel would determine how well these rifles held up to use of jacketed bullets. It was common to use a fairly soft steel for target grade barrels when the standard cartridge wasn't very hot.

    A potential problem one should keep an eye out for would be if the shooters had not used suitable copper solvents when cleaning after firing jacketed bullet. If they were used to cleaning up leading only they might not recognize the need to remove copper or cupro-nickel to be certain of getting all corrosive primer salts out of the pits and fissures.
    A Krag Carbine I once owned had suffered just such a fate. The previous owner having fired many hundreds of rounds of old dirty surplus .30-40 ammo then cleaned only as he would when shooting modern ammo and mistaking the bright shiny surface of a heavy coat of Cupro-Nickel fouling for a clean bright bore.
    By the time I picked it up as a wall hanger the corrosive primer salts had completely eaten away the bore and the cupro nickel was peeling away from the rusted surface like chrome from a rusty bumper.
    Wish I'd known more about bore lapping at the time, if I had then I'd have never traded it off. No Krag repro replacement barrels became available till a short specialty runback in the 90's and no gunsmith I contacted could cut the type of thread used by the Krag.

    PS
    The Martini Henry is a improved decendent of the American Peabody rifles.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Bearmn56, I wish those photos were bigger, that rifle looks like a real work of art.

    Bad *** Wallace, that's a sweet looking little rifle. I have a friend that is a full time gunsmith, he rebarreled one to 25/35 for a fellow. I have since heard that he only loads it with light loads, not because of strength issues, but because it beats him up every time he fires it. I will be sending my Cadet to the gunsmith some time soon to get some work done. My Cadet won't chamber a case made from a 32/20 case unless the rim has beeen thinned significantly. I want him to cut the recess for the rim deeper so I can make my .310 brass from 32/20 cases without having to cut rims.
    WHEN IN DOUBT, USE MORE CLOUT!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Son View Post
    Bearmn56, I wish those photos were bigger, that rifle looks like a real work of art.

    Bad *** Wallace, that's a sweet looking little rifle. I have a friend that is a full time gunsmith, he rebarreled one to 25/35 for a fellow. I have since heard that he only loads it with light loads, not because of strength issues, but because it beats him up every time he fires it. I will be sending my Cadet to the gunsmith some time soon to get some work done. My Cadet won't chamber a case made from a 32/20 case unless the rim has beeen thinned significantly. I want him to cut the recess for the rim deeper so I can make my .310 brass from 32/20 cases without having to cut rims.
    Yes it is but someone put the cheek piece on the wrong side.

    Bob
    GUNFIRE! The sound of Freedom!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master The Double D's Avatar
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    You sure didn't step on my toes, I was just wondering how you came up wiyh New South Wales National Guard.

    I have lived in Vista and I have lived in Redding...Redding area had some great Grey Digger and Rock Chuck shooting...I'll take Montana in the winter over Redding in the summer anyday.

    I went back to my home state of Oregon last week, were I first shot a cadet and see it is now the northern most county in California, so have no good reason to go back there either.
    Douglas, Ret.

  19. #19
    Boolit Man bearmn56's Avatar
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    Southern Son,
    Thanks for the compliments. The wood on this rifle is the original Cadet wood. I steamed out what I could and just left the rest. Then applied a good oil finish. The blueing is regular blueing. My gunsmith bead blasts the metal parts with glass beads at modest pressure. He then uses a carding wheel (very fine steel brush wheel) to give the bead blasted metal a soft lustre and puts the metal in his regular bluing solution. I have several rifles that he has done this way and they all look like a premium rust blue.
    With most boolit loads this rifle will shoot one ragged hole at 25yds from a rest. I have a 257312GC load that is 12.0 gr of AA2015 for about 1600fps. I have literally shot a couple dozen of the local pesky red squirrels and about a month ago a very nice red fox as well as some other pests that are best not mentioned....
    Bearmn56
    Montana Territory

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    More on cadet rifles

    I agree with all the good things you men have said abot these fine little rifles. I must tell you B.A. Wallace, If you didn't live so far away I would be sorely tempted to to come over to your place, wait untill you went to sleep and purloin that little gem. Joking of course but I must say, I share your taste in rifle design. If I had it I would sleep with it under the bed. In the early 1960s these rifles were common and very cheap. I saw two of them sell at auction one night at our gun club for thirty seven dollars and one of them was a commercial model. Again, these were silver backed dollars, not this monopaly money we have today. I thought when the price for one climbed to twenty five bucks that they had been priced off the market. Just goes to show what an astute invester I am. If I did spend the money to rebarrel mine to a varmint cartridge, I can't shoot any of the varmints that live on my place, and believe me, Wallace you could burn out the barrel on your rifle just shooting ground sqirrels on this place. About the only place we can shoot in this state, other than a range is the desert, and there are few varmints out there. I have a heavy barrel BSA in .22 cal. I will be posting pics of it later. I have to keep borrowing my daughters digital camera to take my pictures and thats a drag. I am shopping for my own camera but the choices are very confusing. I have ben using film cameras for over fifty years and old habits die hard,
    A GUN THAT'S COCKED AND UNLOADED AIN'T GOOD FOR NUTHIN'........... ROOSTER COGBURN

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