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DateOriginal Topic
13th May 2003Martini Henry
By Joseph
I have a question for those who are enlightened concerning the firearms of the Anglo Zulu War. I know there has been discussion concerning the MH MkI and Mk II jamming. I have heard the problem was dealt with specifically on the MkIV with the longer lever. Does anyone know why this would correct any jamming issues? Is it simply a matter of physics and applying more pressure to a spent casing with a longer lever? Or are there some other internal changes as well?
DateReplies
13th May 2003Barry Iacoppi NZ
Joseph.

I think that the main reason for the early Martinis jamming was the poor (cheap) ammunition issued with them. The more expensive drawn brass cases did not have as many extraction problems as the wrapped foil ones. The longer lever on the MKIV does aid extraction but would be no help at all when foiled cases stuck in the chamber and pressure on the lever only separated the iron base from the case. By the time the MKIV came on the scene foiled cases were no longer general issue but no doubt surplus foiled cased ammunition was sent to the colonies along with the MKIVs. I donít think that the long lever MKIV was ever issued to regular British troops. If it was it was in very limited numbers.
There is no doubt that the MKIV was the most refined Martini Henry ever issued and the result of several upgrades since the first M.H. came into service. Had it been issued as intended in .402 calibre I think it would have been one of if not the best single shot military breech loaders ever made. In collector circles the long lever MKIV despite being the technically superior of the Martini Henries is the least sought after. This is reflected in the price one would expect to pay for them. This may be because they lack the romance of the earlier MKs as they were not carried by Tommy Atkins. Yet Martini shooters like me have a soft spot for them.
13th May 2003Joseph
Thanks Barry!
13th May 2003Joseph
I have a MH MkI in unaltered, original issue condition from out of Canada. I enjoy shooting it.
15th May 2003Barry Iacoppi N.Z.
I own a few Martinis and shoot them all. Iíd love to own a MKI. Something very special about them. I am told that the MKIIIs saw more action but they have a fraction less magic then the MKIs. The price of Martini Henrys has rocketed here in recent years and while the odd MKI does come up for sale from time to time the price is just a bit too rich for my pocket. Still a man can dream.
16th May 2003Joseph
How true Barry how True. Thanks for your answer to my question as well.