GOTM Dec

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Woftam
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GOTM Dec

Postby Woftam » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:06 am

GOTM this month is a Martini Enfield .303. These come in two versions. The MkI, which is usually a Martini Henry MkIII that has been converted to .303 by rebarrelling and fitting a new extractor and the MkII which were manufactured as .303 although converted MkII’s are known to exist.
Like most British arms they are the result of evolution not revolution. Original conversions used the Metford barrels (the Martini Metford) but issues with wear from cordite cartridges resulted in the use of Enfield rifled barrels from 1895.
The Martini-Enfield were officially in service 1895 to1903. However they just didn’t fade away but were used as reserve arms particularly in the further reaches of the Commonwealth up until World War 2.. They also saw use in various conflicts well past their use as frontline weapons. One of the more common stories has them used by Lawrence’s Arab troops in the 1916 – 1918 revolt.
They were manufactured/converted by most of the major british arms factories (Enfield, BSA, LSA etc).
First the traditional left side/right side overall views. First noticeable item is the lack of a handguard. Many MkI and MkII’s have them but many don’t. The fore-end is not relieved for the spring clips so the assumption is this one was made without one.


Next the factory markings. The conversions (MkI’s) are marked on the left as the original markings are on the right and the new built (MkII’s) are also on the left. Presumably this is because they are “conversions” of an existing firearm. The right side of the action is bare.


Also on the left side is the second proof mark. I’m not overly familiar with proofing requirements of this era but apparently there was requirement for a first and second proofs. Also visible is an inspectors marking.

Slightly lower on the receiver is the sold out of service marking.

Next shot (left side Knox form) shows the first and second proof marks as well as a couple of inspectors markings, the broad arrow and a sold out of service mark.

The underside of the barrel is profusely stamped. To be honest I recognize the occasional date and inspectors markings but the rest are unknown to me.





The right side of the Knox form has the serial number, an inspectors marking and 0.145. A measurement ? The top of the Knox form has the E for Enfield rifling.



The front of the action carries the serial number as is standard practice. Format was one (or two) letters and a maximum four digits.

A couple of inspectors markings on the trigger guard and lever, which also has the War Department marking. Back of the lever is also marked but I’m unsure of the meanings.



The loading ramp and thumb rest area.


Rear sight is the standard military sight graduated to five hundred yards laying flat and to eighteen hundred yards raised. There is a faint 54 marked on the sight but it is not serialled to the rifle. Possibly a replacement ? My understanding is the sights were usually numbered to the rifle.




The ubiquitous rifling photograph.

Woodwork is in fair condition with two repairs. One to the heel and the other where the butt enters the socket of the action.


Rifle carries a brass disc, NSW marked, but I’m not sure the positioning is standard.

Rear sling swivel is the standard single screw design of the times. I believe this was later carried over to MLM/MLE’s.

Some more obscure markings this time on the butt, the fore-end and in the barrel channel.



The barrel band (with retaining pin) and sling swivel.

The nosecap I’m told indicates the rifle will take the later mark of the Pattern 1887 bayonet. It also takes the Pattern 1895 bayonet and many P1876 bayonets were converted to fit the .303 Martinis. These bayonets hung below the barrel rather than to the side as previous bayonets had. Unfortunately I am yet to procure any bayonet for this rifle as they sell out here in the antipodes for as much as the rifle cost me.

The front “piling” swivel is interesting. More than likely made up by some previous owner who just had to have one. First two piece piling swivel I’ve seen. Note the front wood appears to be cut for a clearing rod. I say appears as the cavity goes only half an inch past the step in the woodwork near the barrel band. As the clearing rod was declared obsolete in 1899 (before the rifle was manufactured) I find this a little confusing. Maybe the woodwork was already configured this way, awaiting final finishing, and it was decided to use it anyway ?

Lastly the very basic front sight.

So there we have it. Not the prettiest rifle I own but a good solid example. Mind you I still lust after Joe's Martini. Maybe one day I'll upgrade. Would really like a Martini Henry to keep it and the Cadets company but that's just a dream for the moment.
The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it.
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DuncaninFrance
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Re: GOTM Dec

Postby DuncaninFrance » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:43 am

As always, an excellent presentation Graeme. I saw a MkIV recently at an arms fair - 700€ :roll: I can still dream though!
Duncan

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Re: GOTM Dec

Postby Niner Delta » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:46 am

A very interesting rifle and a great post.
This is a single-shot lever action, correct? What is the tear drop shaped lever on the side, a safety?
The rear sight has a standup setting for 1800 yards, that's over a mile! Why would they put such a setting on there, I can't believe that it is possible to hit anything (or even see it) at that range with that rifle. What do you think is the reasoning behind a setting like that on the sights? Am I missing the obvious?
As you can tell, I know nothing about this rifle, but I sure wish I had one. :mrgreen:

Vern.
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Re: GOTM Dec

Postby Woftam » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:22 pm

The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it.
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Re: GOTM Dec

Postby Niner » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:58 pm

Another great post Woftam.

Anybody thought about buying any of these....just because they are feeling lucky?

http://www.atlantacutlery.com/c-162-gun ... uched.aspx

If you want a little better odds and willing to pay more money.

http://www.atlantacutlery.com/c-101-guns-rifles.aspx
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Re: GOTM Dec

Postby DuncaninFrance » Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:29 am

Duncan

What contemptible scoundrel has stolen the cork to my lunch? -- W.C. Fields
"Many of those who enjoy freedom know little of its price."
You can't fix Stupid, but you can occasionally head it off before it hurts something.

http://www.twgpp.org
http://www.andrewsinfrance.co.uk
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Re: GOTM Dec

Postby Niner » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:03 pm

I ordered one of the "untouched" $150 examples just to see what I get under the grime and rust accumulated over a hundred plus years of neglect and abuse. I don't expect much. Just the idea of the story behind it makes it worth the gamble that it can be salvaged to some extent.
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Re: GOTM Dec

Postby joseyclosey » Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:16 pm

Excellent post Graeme, theres lots of history in your M E, and as sweet as my Volunteer is i would love to have your rifle in my gun cabinet. :D

As regards the long range sight, it was to be used to bring falling fire on a massed enemy at extreme range and possibly behind cover, hills etc.
Trials were carried out at Jubbelpore, India with the M H by two companies of the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots. A report by Major C. K. Chatfield, DAAG for Musketry concluded....
"The result proves that the reverse slope of a hill, about 100ft high having a gradient of 1ft in 12, can be swept by Martini fire at 1,900yds, and that troops placed under cover of such ground would be unsafe, even in extended order lying down, at a distance of 2,oooyds."
If anyone is interested i can PM you a copy of this report.

And for The Saturday Review, 16th February 1884. The New Martini-Enfield Rifle.

Try this link.....


Enjoy,

Joe
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Woftam
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Re: GOTM Dec

Postby Woftam » Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:36 pm

I echo what Duncan said about envy.
Would make a great GOTM when you get it. Hint, hint.
The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it.
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Re: GOTM Dec

Postby DuncaninFrance » Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:30 am

That is an interesting review Joe. I would like a copy of the Chatfield report when you have time, Thanks.
Duncan

What contemptible scoundrel has stolen the cork to my lunch? -- W.C. Fields
"Many of those who enjoy freedom know little of its price."
You can't fix Stupid, but you can occasionally head it off before it hurts something.

http://www.twgpp.org
http://www.andrewsinfrance.co.uk

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