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what period?
oldcontemtible


Joined: 26 Jun 2008
Posts: 46
Location: Fortress Antwerp, Belgium
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Hello all,

last month I picked up the Martini-Henry rifle show on the picture at a antique weapons market.



At closer examination, I found no markings whatsoever on the lockplate.
It is completely void of anything.



From its condition I thought it is an old rifle anyway, and at first glance has all the details of a mk I. Though the chamber and barrel have been demilitarised (it can't chamber anymore) it does look to have been the original caliber.
I then spotted on the bottom of the stock following: Joseph Bourne & son



I did find on the net that this company/weapon maker was in Birmingham, but could not find anything to place this rifle in time. I approached the seller and he wanted 200 euro for it, which I thought was not bad. I knew I did not have one of those Indian/pakistani made rifles in my hand, so I decided to buy it anyway.
If someone can date this rifle, that would be nice,
thanks,
Guy
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Alan
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1326
Location: Wales
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200 euro?
Cheap, but where was this?

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oldcontemtible


Joined: 26 Jun 2008
Posts: 46
Location: Fortress Antwerp, Belgium
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Alan wrote:
200 euro?
Cheap, but where was this?


Alan,
this was in Antwerp.

Guy
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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The size of the cocking indicator, the location of the lower sling swivel and what appears to be the lack of a thumb rest suggest a MK II to me. Is the butt plate smooth or checkered? The Mk II also has a distinctive cleaning rod tip, but I can't tell from the pics.

My (limited) experience is that the MK II's are the most common pattern of non-service Martinis and they continued to be manufactured for the trade for years after they had been replaced in front line service by the MK III-- I believe well into the late 1880's. I don't imagine you simply missed it, but the trigger guards on these things occasionally have a date stamped in a rather hidden location-- it's easy to miss.

"Joseph Bourne and Son" isn't of much help as the company was in business under that name from 1867 or thereabouts until something like the 1960's. My understanding is that any firearm marked "nitro proofed" postdates 1904, but the lack of this stamp obviously doesn't mean the arm is pre-1904. And I imagine you would have mentioned the presence of this stamp if your rifle had it.

For what it's worth, Guy, I have a similarly unmarked 'teenie that is clearly dated "1881" and I'd guess yours to be in the same ball park in the absence of further info.

And I concur with Alan, ya done good-- cheap.
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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Perhaps too much information, but according to Temple and Skennerton's "Treatise on the British Military Martini" Vol 1, "J. Bourne" was involved with Martini-Henrys pretty much from the get go. He and his company were one of the several original gun manufacturers invited by letter to develop the successor to the Snider in 1865.
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oldcontemtible


Joined: 26 Jun 2008
Posts: 46
Location: Fortress Antwerp, Belgium
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Well I checked the triggerguard under a magnifier and nothing there either.

I did forget to mention the cleaning rod is missing, but still.
Anyway, its cleaned up now, and got a repro sling for it.

Guy
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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I'll bet it looks pretty good too! That was a good buy for certain! If you're in the market anytime for a proper cleaning rod for it, they are about. I've seen them on ebay lately what with buyers "parting out" Martini's from the Nepal Cache. Seems as though some of those rifles are worth a good deal more if sold piecemeal than they are as complete albeit "relic" condition firearms. Complete working receivers are often for sale as well if you are ever able and interested in restoring it fully.
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A question for Adrian or Neil methinks.

They might also be able to assist with sources for any parts required.

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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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For anyone interested, there are a bunch of people offering MH parts right now (3-24-12 or March 24 for you Europeans) on Ebay. Some of the sellers have an "elevated" sense of their value and the need for them, but there are some buys out there as well.
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oldcontemtible


Joined: 26 Jun 2008
Posts: 46
Location: Fortress Antwerp, Belgium
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Thanks for the leads on a cleaning rod. Right now I do not intend to restore it as probably it would become a fire arm due to a recent change in the law here. just overnight and without warning collecting old weapons has been banned here, and you need a permit for every weapon, even in demil condition (which is only legaly done by the national weapons factory at liege (FN) at 95 euro per weapon !)
Right now I'm faced with a dilema of having my 7 lee-enfield Mk1 no 4 rifles sold or demilitarised. They are all dated between 1915 and 1918.
All this because albanian mob have AK47's in there car trunks,or religious fanatics start shooting people in downtown Liege!
governments Twisted Evil

Guy
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Neil Aspinshaw


Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 289
Location: Loughborough
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The MH looks is a commercial rifle in the Mk2 military style, dating it can be done via two distinctive parts
1) the trigger assembly is a post 1877 Mk2 style,
2) Short cocking indicator is a post 1878 short pattern, which first appeared on the IC1 Carbine and the MKIII rifle of 1879.

The proof marks are the giveaway.

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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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Neil, you wrote that "the proof marks are the giveaway". Are you saying that cross referencing them in a source like "The Broad Arrow" (which I have tucked away somewhere) would give us the date (at least a range of dates) or is there something about their locations that would be useful as well?

As an aside, the site for Atlanta Cutlery also offers many Martini parts and the prices seem reasonable. That company is somehow involved with IMA's marketing of the Nepal find, but "Treasure is Where You Find It" never mentions them nor have I ever read or heard elsewhere what precisely the relationship between the two companies is.
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Neil Aspinshaw


Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 289
Location: Loughborough
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Sawubona

The Rifle is a commercial pattern, made in the military style, most of which were made from parts supplied by BSA or LSA who then "retailed" them in component form for the trade to assemble. Commonly Thos Turner was the "wholesale" house who then marked them for the retailers own branding.

The proof marks to find out more, normally are Birmingham (BNP) or London, which then assists in the location of where the gun was made. It does have complication. I have a Jeffery, Queen Victoria St. London Martini, Mk4 style, BNP proofed, however the sales receipt gives it away Thos Turner was the "wholesaler", so a Birmingham trade gun.

I was in Atlanta last weekend, their association with IMA was formed to bring out the guns from Nepal, IMA had the gun knowledge and ACC's main company is based in India, which gave them the chance to logistically get the lot out, 30 shipping containers overland.

The parts on ebay are actually mine, (aspie31) I did smile a bit at your comments re-cost, the parts I have are :$ straight conversion, bare in mind shipping costs and duty... they are actually cheaper than buying direct, the problem with fleabay is the costs, I can tell you if you've got a teenie, thats missing a part, you'll pay anything to get it, and therein was the issue, do I set them "OK" prices or leave to auction, which in many cases go mad and far more than you'd normally pay. If you look at Peter Dysons, be sitting down LOL. I am running ebay shop down and my new web site will be lauched in June, it will be THE resource, and "shop", the book will be possibly mid- end July.

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oldcontemtible


Joined: 26 Jun 2008
Posts: 46
Location: Fortress Antwerp, Belgium
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Thanks for this info Neil. I'm glad I got it, albeit not a military issue, but that is okay, given the price I paid for it.

Guy
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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Neil, perhaps I owe you an apology if you thought I was "dissing" (disrespecting) you and your Ebay endeavors. Me Mum (bless her heart at 87) has been selling on "Fleabay" for something like 11 years, so I know something about the costs (hidden and otherwise) and how much real work it can be. I've bought from Dyson-- as a matter of fact, one of my commercial Martinis (my first teenie at that!) came from him/them. We have a fellow here in New Hampshire who's got some really, really nice stuff, but he makes Dyson look like a philanthropist. Still, as you said about that needed part, when that "needed" gun is offered and its condition is right...

Get that shop going! I need a cleaning rod for a MKIII Snider Carbine! And money is NO object Wink
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what period?
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