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 The Martini Henry Rifle

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Posts : 704
Join date : 2012-05-05

PostSubject: The Martini Henry Rifle   Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:56 pm

"The falling block, self-cocking, lever operated, single-shot action designed by Friedrich von Martini (

The barrel used the Henry Rifling System, designed by Alexander Henry Peabody."

Has it not always been, that the rifle was credited to Peabody? If that's the case why is it named after Friedrich Von Martini?
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Join date : 2014-11-07

PostSubject: Re: The Martini Henry Rifle   Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:15 pm

The Martini-Henry Rifle is a weapon of Empire. Unlike the Snider-Enfield it replaced, it was England's first service rifle designed from the ground up as a breechloading metallic cartridge firearm. It protected and served the British Empire and her colonies for over 30 years. This robust weapon utilized a falling block, self-cocking, lever operated, single-shot action designed by Friedrich von Martini of Switzerland. The barrel used the Henry Rifling System, designed by Alexander Henry. Henry Peabody, an American, was actually the father of the Martini action. His design utilized an external hammer to strike a firing pin for cartridge ignition. Mr. Martini's refinement of the design basically consisted of conversion to an internal coiled spring activated striker. Martini's improved design flourished and Mr. Peabody's is nearly forgotten.
Hope this helps
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PostSubject: The MH Rifle    Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:08 am

Hi Ray
I suggest you look on the Member list , find Neil Aspinshaw and click on his '' posts '' all you need to know will be there . Or alternatively you could type ' Martini Henry ' in the search box on the left hand side , but you may get to many listings that way . Anyway , you will find what you want as I know it's been posted at least once , if your lucky Neil may see your post and comment .
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Neil Aspinshaw


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PostSubject: Re: The Martini Henry Rifle   Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:34 pm

Here is the background from my website

But to elaborate, whilst peabody did indeed patent the falling block mechanism, his device used an external hammer, whilst Martini used an integral coil spring and striker, that in itself partly crossed the self cocking patents of Westley Richards. In 1872 it all came to a climax with the legal wrangles between, Peabody, Westley Richard, Frederick Martini and the war office, who ended up paying off Peabody, telling Westley Richards to stuff it, and Martini changing his mind on the initial prize money and opting for royalties on rifles made instead.

That wasn't the end of it. Westley Richards became Martinis UK agent and patentee, setting up the National Arms and Ammunition Co, to make Martinis and Alexander Henry's (the rifling patentee) involvement with the Henry Rifled Barrel company, also to vie for Government contracts. Both were not asked to tender when contracts were awarded for 38,000 rifles in 1872, incensed they sued the Government for lost royalties, as the Birmingham Small Arms, and, the London Small Arms companies had been told by the Government that they were exempt from paying patentee royalties. After three years they actually succeeded in their case, and were awarded huge back payment in royalties, initially the government appealed, it went to Lords and they lost, having to pay out huge figures £10,000 for lost royalties.  (Enfield was exempt, as it was not a private maker). Whilst it was morally correct, it was business suicide as the companies were completely overlooked until the early 1880's.

Last edited by Neil Aspinshaw on Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Martini Henry Rifle   Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:07 pm

Thanks Neil. Now I understand.
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