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Dave

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PostSubject: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptySun Jul 29, 2012 10:56 am

HANSARD 1803–2005 → 1870s → 1871 → April 1871 → 28 April 1871 → Commons Sitting
ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.


http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1871/apr/28/motion-for-a-select-committee
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barry

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PostSubject: The Martini-Henry   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptySun Jul 29, 2012 2:04 pm

Hi Dave,

Thanks, a good one.
So,....... the mighty MH,..... an unreliable dinosaur at birth?

regards,

barry
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptySun Jul 29, 2012 5:21 pm

Thanks Dave. It certainly looks like that Barry. Salute
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyMon Jul 30, 2012 9:42 am

Dave and all

Surfing the net for titbits will barely scratch the surface, indeed The Hansard reports are the tip of the iceberg. If you think they had trouble accepting the M-H, you should see the issues they had with the Lee Metford, oh, and didn't that design basis last for another eighty years?, with the same two piece stocking this report so desperately tried to belittle?. It's called "the shock of the new",

If you think the MP's were worried, you should see the amount of fear in the military, most of which had knew nothing but the Enfield Rifle, they disliked initially the Snider, the Martini was beyond their imagination. This report was reviewing the trials of 1869-70, there was another THREE years of variations before it was adopted, interestingly They replaced Dixon: the superintendent of the Royal Small Arms factory in 1871.





you won't find on the net:

Proceeds of the committee assembled at the War Office 20th March 1871

The report of Brig Gen John Adye Director of Artillery 13th march 1872

Papers prepared for the Consideration of the Conference & war department 19th Dec 1874



FWIW, before everyone accuses me of being MH biased, was it the best rifle?, no it wasn't, but it was as good as the technology of 1870 could produce, and the rifle finally approved in Oct 1873 was wholly different to the trial this report alluded to, different calibre, different action, stronger lever, improved sighting, better breech block, improved knocks form and breeching, improved method of block attachment and a stronger firing pin.
What was overlooked was the extractor, which a decade later was to prove near fatal....but thats for another time.


If you ever get the chance to handle and evaluate the actions of the Soper, the Albini Breandalin, the Joslyn, the Improved Snider and the other trials rifles the best in gun designers and technology could offer in the last years of the 1860's at the national Firearms centre in Leeds History, you'll see what I mean. Two rifles I have not mentioned, one which never made the trial was the Carter and Edwards, then there was Burtons Bolt action rifle, both could have been upgraded to magazine action, something not lost on Paul Mauser, who's Pattern 71 is a mirror of the Burton of six years before! and became the Pattern 71/84 with the tubular magazine, a missed opportunity..you bet.

The research for my book had opened up far too many cans' of worms than Hansard ever will, but thats for another time. A footnote to all this, James Parish Lee offered his rifle mechanism in mid 1873, it was not until fifteen years later that it became arguably the best military bolt action rifle of the last century and a quarter.





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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyMon Jul 30, 2012 8:25 pm

Neill, I don't think we are saying the rifle was completely useless. But the ammuntion was, especially when in battle conditions.
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyMon Jul 30, 2012 10:18 pm

Has there ever been a firearm that has found immediate acceptance?
Having only fired SA80s on ranges over the years - OK, had the very rare opportunity to fire a GPMG a few times - I have seen the SA80 grow from being a, shall we say, not very well liked weapon, I think it used to be referred to affectionately as the "civil servant", to the highly thought of and slick piece of kit that it is today.
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyMon Jul 30, 2012 11:22 pm

Littlehand.

But cherry picking a bit of info, which in reality was part of the evaluation of the system, three years before its adoption is part of the process of any firearm, (or a tasker rightly says, any other weapon system before and after the Martini,) It is not relevant to the discussion re-ammuntion issues eight years later so thats why I try and correct some of issues raised in postings and put it in the right context.

why is this not really relevant? because the ammunition in this report is NOT the adopted ammunition, it was Long Chamber .450", it was replaced in 1871 by the Mk1 short chamber, and subsequently by the MkIII, so it has little or no relevance to the Anglo Zulu wars discussion.

report that is not named is based upon the following official report which can be found in the condensed form

"Abstract of Reports on the Experimental Martini Henry Arms Issued for Trial in 1869," HMSO 1870, Capt and Lt-Col H C Fletcher presiding.

Worth noting that by December 1874 23,000,000 cartridges had been made, and manufacture by 1877 was 500,000 per week at Woolwich, indeed, some of these will jam, add in third party elements, sand, verdigris and damage and cartridges jam, whatever the rifle. But as I emphasise, until 1885, official reports acting upon verbal or written evidence from officers in the field are hard to find.... believe me I have been looking for them, but I am a bit bored at seeing it keep being dragged out of the cupboard every five minutes with the same argument. The facts are, there are little to back it positively.




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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyTue Jul 31, 2012 12:53 am

Did the MH rifles in the Zulu war, have the spiral spring & falling block as part of the mechanism, because there were some concerns shown in the report above. With regards to the ammuntion, was it the same type as used in the Sudan reports.
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyTue Jul 31, 2012 7:31 am

OH2, in basic design feature yes, however, The block of 1871, was renowned for weak springs and broken firing pins, the main criticism in the 1870 report.

All service Martinis had the pattern '74 block, which remained constant for the next 30 years into the .303" age. designed in 1873 (the 1874 production year), new block face, spring and strengthened striker. Marked "S.B" on the axis when a P71 block had been converted, otherwise block is marked '74.

Yes the MkIII boxer ammo remained the constant ammuntion, into the Sudan and beyond, The causes of jamming here was compounded by two outside and three completely avoidable errors. It's in the Official report of 1886, but I am holding this close to my chest for the book, its a revelation! and quite damning to the army of the time . Only one possibly two of the same conditions would have been met in the AZW, both with easy resolutions.
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barry

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PostSubject: The developement of the Martini-Henry   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyTue Jul 31, 2012 8:46 am



Hi Neil,
Thanks for all those bits of information about the developement of this weapon. Make no mistake very few weapons end their days as originally designed . It is just a pity that this one was a let down at a crtical time. I can identify with your relationship with it as I have a similar respect for an 1868 Army and Navy 12gg db shotgun which is still in use today, with light loadings. This is the best bird gun I ever used.
When do you plan on publishing?

Now for some technical questions:
1) the WO introduced a leather handguard. What was the motivation for this and where/when was it used?
2) the Colonials introduced a mod which entailed releaving the the breach.Do you know about this and what motivated that?
3) Is there on record that the MH ever printed sub-calibre?. If so what where the details, ie range, powder/ head masses and type.
4) What were the mean deviations around the MPI for this weapon in the hands of the average trooper? Was MOA ever possible, if so what were the deatils.

regards

barry
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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyTue Jul 31, 2012 10:16 am

" its a revelation! and quite damning to the army of the time"............some things still haven't changed!

I am not exactly into guns, not my field, but Neil makes it very interesting. Keep us up to date with the progress of the book, Neil.
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyTue Jul 31, 2012 10:47 am

Barry

quick answers as I am at work at the moment.

1) Leather shieild trailled in 1873, and appears in minute No5 report 23rd Sept 1873, and various patterns were tested, however no "official pattern" existed until 1883
2) I have seen colonial mods, with a section taken away of the receiver, a local attempt to give a side feed rather than a top feed of the cartridge. It does appear to have been tested with the Enfield spool loader of 1888.
3) Apart from .303" no other, military calibre. the .402" was extensively trialled between 1881-1887, and resulted in the failed Enfield Martini project. Various Commerically made Martinis in No2 Musket, and 11.4mm (Mauser), sherwood and rook I have seen plus many others. The most common sub calibre is the "Morris Tube' in .297/.230" sub calibre,(accepted 14th Feb 1884 & used in large numbers, but this was a sub calibre tube designed to retrofit into the .450 (and later.303) rifles.

4) the main issue was the suspected undersighting at ranges of 500 & 700 yards, it was tested and reported in 16th April 1875 by Frederick Close of the RSAF. I cover it in the book, but in a nutshell it wasn't undersighted, it was the firer dropping the muzzle.

I do have the comparison charts for POI, velocity and trajectory information (from the original table), I even know the name of the chronograph used to test velocity, I'll be including this in the detailed info section of the book.


Expect it to be by end of year.
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90th

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PostSubject: Army - Martini Henry Rifle    ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyTue Jul 31, 2012 12:37 pm

Hi Neil .
Excellent stuff as usual and best of British with the book . I'm sure it will be much sought after . Shocked
Cheers 90th. :lol:
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PostSubject: The Martini -Henry   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyTue Jul 31, 2012 12:47 pm

Hi Neil,
Thanks for reply. I see from the reply that my question 3 was not understood, my apologies. In laymans terms what I meant to ask was . Could this weapon ever shoot accurately enough for the bullets to punch out intersecting concentric circles on the target. This would appear to the oberver, at a distance, to be one hole for a number of shots. Here in SA the slang for this sought after phenomenon in shooting precision , in the vernacular is "slang oe", ie snakes eyes, in English. Thus two intersecting holes for two shots.

regards

barry
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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyTue Jul 31, 2012 1:56 pm

Of course there is a big difference in testing these rifles in conditioned settings, than in combat.
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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyTue Jul 31, 2012 2:36 pm

"It does appear that the cartridges were assembled by the orphaned children of British Soldiers they were relatively cheap to produce. They were found to be vulnerable to being easily damaged, and produced inferior muzzle
velocities."

Wasn't exactly skilled labour.
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyTue Jul 31, 2012 5:30 pm

Barry

I"ve done it, and done many overlapping holes. I fire without rests, just prone or free standing, Original mean average was expected to be approx 2.3" fired from a fixed rest at 100 yards., unless it was a rifle which attained to only 2nd class, in which case the mean average was tested in a mechanical rest and fired at 500 yards and that was < 36" at that range.

https://i.servimg.com/u/f41/14/61/42/17/result10.jpg note the three in the 6/7 overlapping.

This shows mean accuracy, One of my Martinis, 100 yards, shot off-hand, it's slightly over sighted, at 100 by approx 5" as the results show, this is a PL7 target, ring spacings are 25mm.

John
Children were indeed employed at Woolwich, but most production was mechanised, as I mentioned output was 500,000 per week. cost per Million in 1873 was £3695.
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Chard1879

Chard1879


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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyTue Jul 31, 2012 7:27 pm

Here's another house of commons debate. A bit near the Zulu War1879

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lords/1876/feb/22/question-observations#S3V0227P0_18760222_HOL_5
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impi

impi


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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyTue Jul 31, 2012 10:51 pm

There's seems to be a lot of discreadit before and after the Zulu War of the MH rifle. Wonder why that is... scratch
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Neil Aspinshaw

Neil Aspinshaw


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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyTue Jul 31, 2012 11:35 pm

The only report from the AZW was from Thesiger report number 7669/4248 and Buller, I have copies of both, neither will be found by surfing the net. Neither mention jamming, Buller mentions cartridge malformation in his. This info is public domain, why is this scratch not mentioned.

There is no doubt the tendency to jam in certain circumstances, as steps were taken place to resolve it, likewise there was totally avoidable reasons to a) prevent it b) resolve it. However as I mention many times, historically there is scant information, apart from verbal reports, to back it up until the desert campaigns.

"What I wanted to get was a report about the Jamming made by captain Crabbe, so far as I can trace this department has never had any such sent to it. Your report from the Cape (the only one I can trace) does not allude to jamming.

It is perhaps not much of a moment now, but I wish to place on record that we were not aware of any general complaints on jamming. I may mention that no such, complaints were made by Sir D Lysons committee".


H J Alderson Director of Artillery to the Deputy Adjutant General (Redvers Buller). 11th March 1886.
part of a thick plot methinks:

So draw your conclusions, but ensure the complete facts are to hand, the Jamming chapter in my book is at present 8970 words. for and against. The bibliography will list the source information not web snippets.
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Dave

Dave


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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyWed Aug 01, 2012 7:06 am

With refrence to the ammmuntion. I know this has been posted before. Woods would have seen this first hand.

"Colonel Redvers Buller VC wrote a memo after the Zulu War in which he was heavily critical of the Boxer cartridge compared with the Snider; “My men carried their service ammunition in bandolier belts. This did very well for the Sniders, but the Martini-Henry ammunition is more delicate. It becomes unserviceable far more rapidly than the Snider -
i.   By becoming bent in the front of the swell.
ii.  By getting bruised more easily.
iii. The bullet is far more apt to drop out.
iv. It is far more liable to get damp.

This I consider very important.
I found that Snider cartridges hardly ever became unserviceable from this cause, but a good shower of rain would spoil at least one-third of the ammunition (Martini-Henry) exposed to it. I could not account for this to my satisfaction, though I made many experiments. The result was always the same; Snider remained good, Martini-Henry carried in the same bandolier became damp.” 
Maj. Gen. Newdigate also wrote to the War Office, "Numerous complaints were made about the ball-bags; the weight of the cartridges makes the bags open, and when the men double the cartridges fall out". 
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Neil Aspinshaw

Neil Aspinshaw


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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyWed Aug 01, 2012 9:02 am

Dave

One of my original posting I believe, this Is Bullers report I mentioned in previous post. He doesn't as Brigadier General Alderson rightly points out mention jamming here, neither does Thesiger, both were on the terra firma of Zululand, both senior officers.

There in is the basis of my initial argument, which various contributors are not grasping, its easy to find snippets of the jamming issues on the web, and what previous authors have alluded to, but in most cases the posters have not got the context of the wider implications to the quotes or statements that are being posted. but factually, apart from Hooks comments in the Royal Magazine of 1905, there is scant primary sources to the AZW that proport to Jamming, there were newspaper correspondents on the ground, who like Burleigh, ( with the Camel Corps) would be quick to latch onto anything like this, it sells papers.

As I wrote, and I am not going to contribute anything else on this topic as its being a bit done to death, there was a problem with jamming boxer cartridges, believe me I have got a file an inch thick on it for and against. To give you an idea, my study on the subject is nearly half the TOTAL words in the osprey book due out shortly, it's partly to do with the rifle, partly to do with the cartridge, ALOT to do with climatic and geographical influence, and some completely avoidable cock ups in the armouries, most of which come together in the Sudan in a big way.

Zululand is not the Sudan, its's not ether the steaming sub tropics of the Malay peninsula, (Perak), and this is why It's important to look at the context what is being posted, and what relevance it has to the AZW, before its posted. In respect to the weapon system, is it sensation or just the evolution nearly every rifle as gone through from the MH to the M16 or SA80.

Littlehand jokingly said I should be a politician..........







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Dave

Dave


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PostSubject: Re: ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.   ARMY—MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE. EmptyWed Aug 01, 2012 9:06 am

Quote :
Quote :
As I wrote, and I am not going to contribute anything else on this topic as its being a bit done to death

Littlehand jokingly said I should be a politician..........
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