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WWII Usage as Home Guard Weapon[edit]

I have heard more than one British veteran say that a few .303 Martini Enfields were issued to Home Guard Units during WWII. This is evidenced (but not proven) by WWII style inspection stamps I've seen on a few actions. It is also just as likely that a few were refurbished "just in case" but never actually issued. 13:25, 11 April 2007 (UTC)


It should be mentioned that the Martini action is still in use by some club small-bore (.22) target rifles. Whether any are still being made I'm not sure.

SAF Lithgow in Australia were still making them well into the 1950s. I'm not aware of anyone making modern reproductions, but original Martini action rifles are very easy to come by in Australia and New Zealand. --Commander Zulu 06:12, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

The Martini-Henry rifle has been found throughout the world where the British Empire had influences. There can be caches found in Nepal, so it is feasible the rifle is still used in some places. The British was still using it in many places of the British Empire during the First World War including the British East Africa. The Martini-Henri Mark I is the most rare, since many were changed to a Mark II, but the other types are more often available.

The Martini Henry is still being used in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and some of the more remote parts of India.

I once saw a shotgun version of the martini henry, with almost an identical mechanism, although the cocking indicator had been replaced by a safety catch, and obviously the breech was designed to accept shotgun shells. I don't feel this is enough to base an edit on, however, as it could have been a one-off custom or modification, and I didn't think to ask at the time - if anyone else knows more about this, perhaps it would be worth adding to the page proper.

- These are Greener GP Shotguns, made by W.W. Greener in Birmingham. Initially they were converted Mk IV Martini-Henrys, and were issued to the Egyptian Police. They fired a different shaped shotgun shell (not commercially available) to stop them falling into the wrong hands, but the civilian versions fire a standard 12ga shotgun shell. They're still being made, IIRC. --Commander Zulu 06:12, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

NOT CALLED .577/.450!!![edit]

The service ammunition for the Martini-Henry is not called ".577/.450". This is a civilianized moniker attached to this cartridge in later years. The correct designation is the ".450 Martini-Henry", or also, "Short-Chamber Boxer-Henry .450". the preceding unsigned comment is by (talk • contribs)

You need to provide a reference. Cartridges of the World, 9th Edition, for example, doesn't mention either designation you provide. -- Mike Wilson 23:57, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

The "Short-Chamber Boxer-Henry .450" moniker may stem from Zulu, where Subaltern John Chard says that, if the survival of the Mission was a miracle, it was "a Short-Chamber Boxer-Henry .45 caliber miracle". However, it is corroborated by MJSchofield 17:49, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Ian Skennerton refers to the round as being ".450/577", as does the headstamp on Bertram Brass cartridges, and indeed this is the designation I have gone with in my edit- the .450 is the bullet diameter, whilst the .577 is the case diameter.--Commander Zulu 06:11, 17 May 2006 (UTC)


It appears the Snider-Enfield link is the same as Snider Rifle but I'll let someone who knows make the edit. -- Mike Wilson 00:06, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

The section beginning "The lock and breech are held to the stock by a metal bolt (A). The breech is closed by the block (B) etc" doesn't work; the picture is too small for easy reference, and the use of (A) and (B) and the excessive detail make the text impenetrable for the non-committed reader.

Correct Cartridge designation...[edit]

Nowhere in the British L.o.C. does "577/450" appear as a description for the Martini-Henry's ammuntion. As mentioned above, this was indeed a civilian name hung onto the cartridge. The proper designation, while a trifle long, is: "Cartridge, Small Arm, Boxer-Henry .45 inch, Martini-Henry Rifle...". The pattern, or "Mark" of the particular cartridge would have been at the end. For reference, please see pages 85-95 of "The Boxer Cartridge in the British Service" by noted British Arms expert Barry A. Temple, ISBN 0 9596677 0 9

Shootin' safari[edit]

Didn't Martini also build cars? Trekphiler 08:35, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Martini isn't a brand, it's the action. There's no such company as "Martini Small Arms". The name "Martini-Henry" refers to "Martini Action, Henry Rifling". --Commander Zulu 08:40, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Still think so? Trekphiler 13:20, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I do. The car company was founded by the son of the guy who invented the Martini rifle action, and has nothing to do with making firearms. I probably should have been clearer in my previous comment, I was referring to Martini not being a brand of firearm (such as Colt, Winchester, Mauser, et al). I'm aware there are other "Martini" products (including Vermouth), and the car brand, they're not related to the gun. For the record, the only manufacturers of Martini-Henry rifles were RSAF Enfield, BSA, London Small Arms, Henry Rifle Barrel Co, Blenheim Engineering, and National Arms & Ammunition. (According to Ian Skennerton's text Small Arms Identification Series No. 15: .450 & 303 Martini Rifles and Carbines) The Nepalese also made some licence-built versions as well, IIRC, and they were (and still are, apparently) popular guns for Khyber Pass gunsmiths to make as well. But there is not, to the best of my knowledge, never has been a "Martini Small Arms" company, or any other "Martini"-brand company devoted to the manufacture of the Martini-Henry or Martini-Enfield rifle.--Commander Zulu 05:34, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Will someone please supply info about the Westley Richards contract for Martini's made for the Boer's. Soon after the Boer's used the Martini against the British. I came across this when i saw a really beautiful engraved and carved Martini. The store owner, very knowledgeable, said it was an Afgan copy of the Westley Richards made Martini for the Boer's.

Westley Richards guns are now new at prices of houses. It would be good bragging rights to own a Westley Richards. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:05, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

WikiProject Military history/Assessment/Tag & Assess 2008[edit]

Article reassessed and graded as start class. --dashiellx (talk) 18:06, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Breech action[edit]

This article states that the action of this rifle is falling block. However I think it fits in the category of tilting block, as is clearly visible from the schema (although even the mentioned article puts it in the wrong category). J. Lugs in Ruční palné zbraně (czech) also puts it in the tilting block category ("kývavý blokový závěr klouzavý"). Am I overlooking something? MarK (talk) 16:15, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

I came here to ask the same question, but someone beat me to it. An anon edited British military rifles stating the rifle was a tilting block not a falling block. I thought it was dubious, but it seems to be correct. I am not an expert, so I'll invite comment here until I am sure.--Dmol (talk) 10:31, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree with the above. Look at any (there were several, last time I looked) Youtube vid of a M.H being loaded and fired. It precisly fits the tilting block mode of operation. Irondome (talk) 01:44, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Rifle blamed for defeat at Islandhwana sentence removed.[edit]

Took the uncited sentence out about the M/H being partly responsible for the defeat at Islandhwana. It worked perfectly well at Rorke's Drift 24 hrs later. The rifles kept up sustained fire for over 12 hrs. There was gross overheating and ammunition cook off, and issues with the cartridge base tearing off when ejecting, but the weapons were still usable. if they hadnt have been, the station would have been overrun, especially during the night action. By that point the M/Hs had been firing for hours, and continuously. Islandhwana was a tactics/logistics (ammo supply to firing line) failure. Not at all the M/H. I think the author is getting mixed up with the Westley Richards carbine, which was issued to Col.Anthony Durnfords Natal Native Contingent. That falling - block weapon definitely had major issues during the battle. In fact the rate of Jamming was such that the N.N.C lost cohesion and were broken through by the Zulu left (?) horn, precipatating the Zulus rapid advance to the main British line. See The Washing Of The Spears- Donald R. Morris, for a good description of the N.N.C's plight. Irondome (talk) 01:22, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

The Cartridge[edit]

The Overview section has a huge and quite frankly boring as hell chunk of text that goes into minute detail about the ballistic performance of the .577/450 Martini-Henry cartridge. This would fit better in the article about the cartridge, and it would be great if someone could chop it out and transpose it. Cheers! (talk) 18:10, 18 March 2013 (UTC)