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 Martini Henry mark 2 1878

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PostSubject: Martini Henry mark 2 1878   Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:36 am

I have just acquired a mark 2 Martini Henry dated 1878 . Could this in theory have been used during the war or would it have been too late an issue to have reached the army for 1879?
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry mark 2 1878   Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:14 am

OKko
The answer is unlikely, but not impossible.

Assuming it is an Enfield Martini Henry dated 1878 would have been made between March 1877-March 1878, which was the Enfield Production year. Production of Mk2 in that production year was very low, only 15000, as Enfield were grearing up for conversion on the 450,000 Mk1's, and factory alteration for IC1 Carbines. The report of the Inspector at the RSAF Enfield dated 16.1.1878 states "During the past nine months, the manufacture of new arms at Enfield has been chiefly confined to the Martini Henry carbine for cavalry and this work to the end of the financial year when about 25,000 will have been made".

If you remove the forend wood, the actual proofed date will be stamped between the lug hole and the receiver such as 9/'77.

1878 calendar year though was a bad year for Small Arms manufacturers, BSA nearly went to the wall as no orders were placed, in fact the Stores at Weedon were brim full, and many were sold off. Testimony to this is the amount of 1878 dated examples that ended up in the Indian Sub-continent. The glut of rifles did mean that the conversion to Mk2 standard would take precident over issue of new arms.Given the time that these guns went from Manfr to Weedon to the regiments it probably would have been to late to equip, certainly for the 24th, 90th, 13th, 80th and the Buffs who were already in SA or heading that way from Indian stations.


By 1880's orders were coming in from across the empire as the costs for each arm had dropped dramitically, new barrels, made from solid bar, ensured a consistentency. In 1874 a Martini cost £3.4s.6d to make, by 1880 this was down to £2.6s.6d, orders from Canada, Australia, India and Egypt restored production to 1875-77 levels.
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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry mark 2 1878   Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:29 am

Quote :
If you remove the forend wood, the actual proofed date will be stamped between the lug hole and the receiver such as 9/'77.

Then send it to Neil for re-assemble.

S.D
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry mark 2 1878   Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:36 pm

Saul
I like that thought, if my shed is bad enough at the moment,one more..bring .em on.. I have twelve martinis going through the deep clean, repairs for people and all manner of maladies and tubs of degreasant all over the place, its like the Enfield workshop!. Hell heres a a picture....its Martini Heaven!.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]


No actually its a doddle.
1) Remove clearing rod, turning to the flat spot and slide clear.
2) Tap out cotter pin in bayonet band, slide off band.
3) Undo screw in middle band, open up slightly with screwdriver to clear cross pin and slide off.
4) Carefully drift out forend pin.
5) With woof drift, tap forend away from barrel and there you have it.... easy lemon squeezy.

To put bach together do it in reverse order...., I always put a little vaseline on the pin to make sure it slides into the forend and lug hole easy.
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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry mark 2 1878   Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:02 am

Wow thanks for that very informative info- so I would not be wrong by saying "this could have been there " in talks- I guess at the end of the day when I am using it in demonstrations it is the type used and not a later long lever and with the date on the gun it should enthuse and engage the public.
I think it might be a little too obsessive for me to get a mark 1 conversion as well !!!- I need to buy other kit before that !!
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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry mark 2 1878   Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:08 pm

Neil. Its that a shed. Or an armoury. How long doe's it take to strip down and clean a MH. And its easy to get hold of spare parts.
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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry mark 2 1878   Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:06 pm

John
To actually take one completly to bits is about 5 minutes. Thats eveything apart from the barrel off the reciever.

The action is strippable in about thirty seconds, for a clean, however the bore is that which needs attention after firing as black powder residue absorbs moisture readily, a bit like instant coffee if you leave the lid off, so that requires a boil out, and thorough scrub and oil.

Spares are incrersingly hard to get, I look to buy wrecks for the parts, its the tumblers, finring pins, extractors which are prone to brakage which are the hardest to aqquire. I hav ebuilt up a fai stock of parts over the years, in reality my box of bits is worth more than a rifle!
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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry mark 2 1878   Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:20 am

So if we came across a site selling off spare parts for the MH it would be worth us sending you the link, after all it would be keeping the history of the MH alive.
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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry mark 2 1878   Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:56 pm

JOHN

Peter dysons are a spares stockist, but his prices reflect the rarity, IMA over in the states have them but at $50.00 + postage and then duty its not viable.

It is cheaper to buy wrecks and strip, ebay can produce some good parts but its a lottery on prices.

Regards
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PostSubject: Martini-Henry Rifle Sales   Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:43 pm

International Military Antiques has acquired a quanity of P-1871 Mark II Short Lever rifles and P-1876 Socket Bayonets from Nepal.

Web site is: www.ima-usa.com

Any comment of these items? worth the investiment?
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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry mark 2 1878   Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:24 pm

GONER. Thanks for the link.
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PostSubject: what is a.....   Fri May 21, 2010 8:17 pm

Neil,
I have to ask, what is a "woof drift"?. If it should say "wood drift", than what is that?. I have an 1874 Mk.I/II with the front wood stuck on...so maybe I need one of these to get it off. Had no luck with hand pressure & I am afraid of breaking the wood.

Peter (in Canada)

Neil Aspinshaw wrote:


No actually its a doddle.
1) Remove clearing rod, turning to the flat spot and slide clear.
2) Tap out cotter pin in bayonet band, slide off band.
3) Undo screw in middle band, open up slightly with screwdriver to clear cross pin and slide off.
4) Carefully drift out forend pin.
5) With woof drift, tap forend away from barrel and there you have it.... easy lemon squeezy.

To put bach together do it in reverse order...., I always put a little vaseline on the pin to make sure it slides into the forend and lug hole easy.
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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry mark 2 1878   Fri May 21, 2010 10:02 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry mark 2 1878   Sat May 22, 2010 8:26 am

Peter

Often the forends of Mk2 rifles become semi "glued" on by the action of shrikange and preservative grease. It will come off however with a bit of work.

Firstly, remove both the bands (pin on bayonet bar and screw on middle band,), use a punch to drive out the cotter pin (2" from reciever), making sure it is not splitting the area around it due to rusting.

Next job get 12" peice of 2" x 1" hardwood, lie it directly lenghways on the flat top of the forend wood next the barrel at the receiver end and tap with a mallet or hammer carefully. Work at both sides and eventually the forend will ease off, DO NOT try to pull it from the nosecap as the forend is fixed with a lug hole under the barrel in a mortice slot, it could split.

It will come away nicely.

Under the barrel is a goldmine of info on your rifle, the actual date of production, such as 4/'74, the serial number (which should match the receiver), all the proofs and armourers mark. oh by the way, if is is a H from IMA or ACC, do be prepared for some fairly extensive pitting. If you do remove, clean away the gunge, treat the rust pitting if it is red, but leave if it is clean. Your serial number will start with either 1 or 2 Letters followed by four numbers. The earlier the date will start from A+ Numbers, moving to such as A+C+numbers as the number combinatin got to 9999 and then started on the next letter code.

Production on Mk1 rilfes, (most of which wre upgraded C1877-1881) was 450,000.


The stripping of your Martini will bring it to life, it'll tell you alot about itself.
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