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 THE MARTIN I-HENRY RIFLE. Pall Mall Gazette Volume XIII, Issue 568, 5 November 1870, Page 2

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littlehand

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PostSubject: THE MARTIN I-HENRY RIFLE. Pall Mall Gazette Volume XIII, Issue 568, 5 November 1870, Page 2   Fri May 20, 2016 1:07 pm

THE MARTIN I-HENRY RIFLE. Pall Mall Gazette  Volume XIII, Issue 568, 5 November 1870, Page 2

"The performances of the Government Martini-Henry 'rifle at Wimbledon were such, as must have, given, satisfaction to: every' One' accept' the' inventors of rival weapons. In a year to exceptionally fine and remarkable breech-loading" shooting, the 'Martini- Henry has held a high, if not the highest place. Perhaps taken all round the rifle did better than any other. The extraordinary shooting of Mr; Furqnharson, which is quite without a parallel in the history of breech-loaders, gave the Henry rifle a better position in the particular trial in which extreme rapidity combined with accuracy, came into play and at a very short rang the Soper-Henry, an amazingly quick rifle, held second place. At 500 yards the Martini-Henry was 2nd, 3rd, and 4th; at 800 yards it took the whole of' the prizes given at that range, including the Duke of Cambridge's Cup. In the squad competition, in which four men fired  three minutes for accuracy and rapidity,, the Martini-Henry fired three more shots than any other rifle although its total points—owing- to the inaccurate shooting of one of the competitor were less than those obtained with the Henry.. These results show that as far as rapidity and accuracy go the rifle is all that can be desired. A military arm, however, must be possessed of other qualities, and on these points the Wimbledon trials afford us little or no information. But we know from other trials that the Martini-Henry is capable of satisfying: the exigencies of military service, while of some of the other rifles tried at Wimbledon we have no such assurance, and judging from appearance- we should be inclined to doubt the efficiency for military use of several of the arms which are able easily to satisfy the Wimbledon tests; All the events the Martini-Henri rifle has now been subjected to a continuous course of experimenting for the last two years or more. It has acquitted itself exceedingly well and when it is taken down to Wimbledon it holds its own on the two special points of rapidity and accuracy against everything that is brought against it. We trust that before long; the decision will be come to as it the adoption to this arm. We know not how' very soon we may need the best arms which the country can provide. In another issue the same journal publishes the results of the trial made to Woolwich last year between the Chassepot and the Martini-Henri rifle. It says the accuracy of the Martini-Henry far excelled the Chassepot. We may also add that the accuracy of the Chassepot, as hero exhibited, was far inferior to that of the snider rifle. Height of trajectory at 500 yards: Chassepot, 10 feet, at highest point; Martini-Henry, 8 feet 2 inches at highest point. In simplicity of manipulation the latter arm is also superior. Twenty rounds were fired for rapidity with the following results: Chassepot. 1 minute 42 seconds; Martini-Henry, 48 seconds. The only advantage m favour of the Chassepot as compared with the Martini-Henry is m the lightness of its ammunition; mainly to the bullet weighing 380 against 480 grains. This is much more than counterbalanced by the following points, which are in favour of the Martini-Henry arm: — Increased strength and safety of ammunition, greater accuracy, longer range, flatter trajectory, higher penetrative power, greater safety, simplicity of construction and strength, increased rapidity of fire. As compared with the needle gun the Chassepot, although by no means a satisfactory type of military arm is superior. It is rather more rapid. Its accuracy at moderate and long ranges is inferior. It has a higher velocity, a flatter trajectory, and greater penetration. Both guns, as is well known, are on the bolt system; both use a needle and 6piral spring; both fire a "consuming" cartridge. The Chassepot cartridge is silk-covered. That of the needle-gun is of paper."
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PostSubject: Re: THE MARTIN I-HENRY RIFLE. Pall Mall Gazette Volume XIII, Issue 568, 5 November 1870, Page 2   Fri May 20, 2016 1:16 pm

Four Years Later!!

THE MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. The Times Issue 1198, 14 November 1874, Page 3

"The complaints which have reached us of the Martini-Henry rifle are of too grave a character to be permitted to remain unexamined. It is asserted, with whatever truth, that this weapon, which has lately been adopted for both branches of our service, is subject to a recoil so violent that the men are afraid to fire it. They find their shoulders bruised severely by its force ; they receive hard blows on the nose or face, sufficient for the time to disable them ; and they protest, accordingly, against the use of an instrument which, however fatal it may be to a distant enemy, is far more certain to do a mischief at close quarters to those who are compelled to handle it. Now, this, if true, is nothing less than a disqualifying objecting to the new weapon. There have been other attacks made upon the Martini-Henry rifle besides the one to which we have called attention, but we do not apprehend that they will be found of much force. On most points the committee by whose report the choice was determined may be trusted absolutely; but the point in question is one which scarcely stands in need of skilled evidence, and can be settled best by a wider and more comprehensive verdict. The Martini- Henry rifle has been fired many millions of times and by many thousand holders, and the evidence thus furnished must surely be sufficient for a guide. If it is not sufficient, and if further experiments are thought necessary, it will be an easy matter to have them made. The process need not be either long or expensive, nor will it require any great skill to determine their precise value. All that is wanted is that a hundred men, good and bad shots together, should fire a hundred rounds each with the Martini-Henry rifle and Boxer cartridge, and should tell us their experience in doing so. It will not do to have the matter investigated by none but first-rate marksmen, who are, of course, presumably the most handy with their weapon. We want an arm which will be suitable, not only for a corps d'elite, bis for our average line regiments  and the trial we speak of can therefore be best conducted by the average soldiers or by volunteers. If the suggested experiment is fairly made, it will be quite enough to set the question at rest in one way or another — The Times."
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PostSubject: Re: THE MARTIN I-HENRY RIFLE. Pall Mall Gazette Volume XIII, Issue 568, 5 November 1870, Page 2   Fri May 20, 2016 11:45 pm

Was the experiment ever carried out?
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PostSubject: Re: THE MARTIN I-HENRY RIFLE. Pall Mall Gazette Volume XIII, Issue 568, 5 November 1870, Page 2   Sun May 22, 2016 10:24 pm

First report is interesting as it is quite complementary, however it is three years and three major internal changes from its finished form. This was the first test with the .577/450 boxer cartridges and 12 rifles that had been especially made for the Wimbledon competition. The tests were overseen by Captains Aylmer and Chapman of the Special Committee on Small Arms.

The Times article is to be taken with a large dose of salt.
For saying the Times report is November 14th 1874, and the order was only promulgated on the 12th October 1874 to actually issue the arm to all services, with the first Regiment to receive it (The Rifle Brigade) on the 24th, October 1874. Doesn't give much time to test the service arm and soldiers to complain does it?, 24th Did not get theirs until March 1875.

It neglects to mention the approved arm had the stocks lengthened from 13.5" to 14.5" to reduce recoil, and that the "test" had actually been carried out at Hythe,with Sgts Davis and Mc Bride, 1st and third class Instructors of Musketry asked to voice their opinions, and McBride had fired in excess of 1000 rounds.Both reported the recoil less that the Snider, and so did 42 out of 47 other opinions. It also neglected to mention experiments carried out with the experimantal MkIV boxer ammunition with a 410 grain bullet and 80 grains of RFG2, (subsequently discontinued 29th September 1874) in further experiments to reduce the recoil, but deemed ineffective.
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PostSubject: Re: THE MARTIN I-HENRY RIFLE. Pall Mall Gazette Volume XIII, Issue 568, 5 November 1870, Page 2   Tue May 24, 2016 8:13 am

I expect similar complaints were raised when the 303 was brought in to service.

Neil you speak highly of the MH. If you could have made any improvements / modification to the MH as it was in 1879 what would they have been, or was the MH at it peak with no improvements needed.
Disregard the ammuntion, this question is just aimed at the rifle itself.
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PostSubject: Re: THE MARTIN I-HENRY RIFLE. Pall Mall Gazette Volume XIII, Issue 568, 5 November 1870, Page 2   Tue May 24, 2016 9:29 am

Sas, no, irrespective at the time it was considered one of the top three military firearms in the world, only its too easy to look back and be critical, pick up on press reports and try and find angles that were there, all rifles have issues, (the M16 was a nightmare in its first form) but not to the extent it changes battles, and it keeps recurring over and over on forums like this, that it did and I get a bit bored of it.

From the mid 1870-s to probably 1883, Only the Gras and the Veritelli got anywhere near it in velocity, and the penetrative power & accuracy was second to none...for the time. Was there better arms around at the time?, most certainly, even at the trials the Soper, Two of Westley Richards designs and the superb Carter and Edwards were potentially better, and don't forget, the 1868-9 trials competition was NOT just for British Gunmakers, Martini was Swiss and there was initially 104 rifles viewed in the first assesment alone. Certainly Whitworth and Metford rifling was better than Henry, but thats not in the hands of someone in a ditch it Helmand, or a swamp of Perak, then all those fancy twiddly springs and levers which a) are far more numerous b) stick and go wrong more become an issue. These "superior" arms mean nowt if its clogged up or broken.

In the cold light of day, the Martini Henry was becoming outclassed by 1880, such is world technology leaps, and arms races! Paul Mausers designs were far better, the Mauser 71/84 outclassed the Martini in being bolt action which readily accepted a tubular magazine, but that was only in breech design, the new Enfield Martini design of 1885 .402 outdid everything in velocity and range. But by 1886 Enfield had paired the .402" Enfield Martini 7 groove reverse ratchet rifling onto the new bolt action and magazine of James Parish Lee.

Even the evolution to the Lee rifle took five years, as the .402 calibre was the desired bore, Even then, after insistance from Major General Philip Smith, the Enfield Ratchet was dropped in favour of Metford segmental rifling as the accuracy and self cleaning properties was better than sharp angle rifling as the ratchet or the Henry.

Ever heard of the Lee-Burton?, well we very nearly got that, the Burton Hopper was a pivoting hopper on the side of the action, rather than underneath as the Lee-Enfield, lucky we didin't..

What was interesting is the single rifle, made at Enfield in 1887, listed as Rifle Martini-Rubin. It was a single trial Martini rifle made at the RSAF in .298" Swiss Rubin Caliblre, it was the death blow for the .402" Lee as it outdid it in every way, we went for .303" instead, thank goodness, and the Rifle Magazine Pattern 1888 was born,

Its all going to be in the book which is going for proof in the next week or so.
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PostSubject: Re: THE MARTIN I-HENRY RIFLE. Pall Mall Gazette Volume XIII, Issue 568, 5 November 1870, Page 2   Wed May 25, 2016 7:48 pm

Thanks Neil!
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PostSubject: Re: THE MARTIN I-HENRY RIFLE. Pall Mall Gazette Volume XIII, Issue 568, 5 November 1870, Page 2   Wed May 25, 2016 9:24 pm

it was a very interesting time in firearm development the martini henry was a much better design than the trapdoor springfield adopted by the USA. this site has a bit of info on different designs of the time. http://militaryrifles.com/MAINIndx.htm
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PostSubject: Re: THE MARTIN I-HENRY RIFLE. Pall Mall Gazette Volume XIII, Issue 568, 5 November 1870, Page 2   Wed May 25, 2016 9:25 pm

Neil Aspinshaw wrote:
Sas, no, irrespective at the time it was considered one of the top three military firearms in the world, only its too easy to look back and be critical, pick up on press reports and try and find angles that were there, all rifles have issues, (the M16 was a nightmare in its first form) but not to the extent it changes battles, and it keeps recurring over and over on forums like this, that it did and I get a bit bored of it.

From the mid 1870-s to probably 1883, Only the Gras and the Veritelli got anywhere near it in velocity, and the penetrative power & accuracy was second to none...for the time. Was there better arms around at the time?, most certainly, even at the trials the Soper, Two of Westley Richards designs and the superb Carter and Edwards were potentially better, and don't forget, the 1868-9 trials competition was NOT just for British Gunmakers, Martini was Swiss and there was initially 104 rifles viewed in the first assesment alone.  Certainly Whitworth and Metford rifling was better than Henry, but thats not in the hands of someone in a ditch it Helmand, or a swamp of Perak, then all those fancy twiddly springs and levers  which a) are far more numerous b) stick and go wrong more become an issue. These "superior" arms mean nowt if its clogged up or broken.

In the cold light of day, the Martini Henry was becoming outclassed by 1880, such is world technology leaps, and arms races! Paul Mausers designs were far better, the Mauser 71/84 outclassed the Martini in being bolt action which readily accepted a tubular magazine, but that was only in breech design, the new Enfield Martini design of 1885 .402 outdid everything in velocity and range. But by 1886 Enfield had paired the .402" Enfield Martini 7 groove reverse ratchet rifling onto the new bolt action and magazine of James Parish Lee.

Even the evolution to the  Lee rifle took five years, as the .402 calibre was the desired bore, Even then, after insistance from Major General Philip Smith, the Enfield Ratchet was dropped in favour of Metford segmental rifling as the accuracy and self cleaning properties was better than sharp angle rifling as the ratchet or the Henry.

Ever heard of the Lee-Burton?, well we very nearly got that, the Burton Hopper was a pivoting hopper on the side of the action, rather than underneath as the Lee-Enfield, lucky we didin't..

What was interesting is the single rifle, made at Enfield in 1887, listed as Rifle Martini-Rubin. It was a single trial Martini rifle made at the RSAF in .298" Swiss Rubin Caliblre, it was the death blow for the .402" Lee as it outdid it in every way, we went for .303" instead, thank goodness, and the Rifle Magazine Pattern 1888 was born,

Its all going to be in the book which is going for proof in the next week or so.



NEIL will you be selling autographed copies of your book?
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PostSubject: The Martini Henry Rifle ; Pall Mall Gazette 5th Nov 1870   Thu May 26, 2016 1:12 am

I hope so to Neil ! Salute
90th Very Happy
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