Martini Henry carbine mark 2

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Softcentre, Jan 5, 2009.

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  1. After a session in the local pub on Saturday, one of my neighbours mentioned that he had heard that I had some involvement with the army and could I help him. Some 2 hours later in his garage I was confronted in his garage with a Martini Henry carbine ( 0.455) circa 1895 Mak 2 ( upgraded to a mark 3). Having never seen one before and given it a quick clean it appears to be in good order and could be put into working order by the addition of a few simple bits.
    Question 1 --- what is worth?
    Question 2 --- how do we make it legal ? current owner only wants it as a wall trophy.
    Question 3 --- web site 'google' suggests it was issued to Devonshire Regt in Dec 1895 and has a V Volunteers on the brass circular butt plate. However there is also an ' A' after the Dvn stamp --hardly artillery but what?
  2. Don't do anything to it, it's legal as it is!

    It's calibre is classed as being obselete, and it is therefore license free!

    Post a photo or two, I'd love to see it.

  3. My post above was a hurried one, as I was on my way out of the door. From what I hear not all police officers are aware of the law on obselete calibre weapons, and may try and force you to give it up or have it deactivated. Do not do this!!

    It's difficult to judge the value, from your description. In decent order 600-800 pounds could be a ball park figure judging by the prices I've seen them selling for.

    Photo's of the rifle and it's markings could help a lot, both with a price estimate and identifying the unit etc.
  4. Thanks for the reply Tartan, I attach some photos of the carbine which should give you an idea of its history etc. Bearing in mind that it is some 115 years old it is in god condition and is very nice to handle. Whilst a bit on the heavy side, it is a handy, well made weapon and certainly one that instills a sense of reliability and confidence. Some websites suggest that it was still a killer at 1000 yards + but I have my doubts.

    Attached Files:

  5. Very nice piece indeed. Any idea what the bore is like - still shiny? Value somewhere £450-650.


    Martini-Henrys are sect 58 "obsolete calibres" and can therefore be legally bought, sold & displayed by anyone without any sort of licence.

    (Due to the ridiculous way the firearms laws work, if you come into possession of a single round of ammunition for the M-H, it instantly becomes a section 1 firearm that requires and FAC and secure storage......)
  6. The brass butt plate suggests that it was issued in DEC 1893 to volunteer unit (V) possibly the Devonshire Regt but what does the letter A to the right of DVN stamp indicate ? Equally the number 2 on the reverse side of the butt indicates a weapon used for second line use. Do I presume then that since it is a carbine not a rifle and used in an infantry battalion then it would have been used by drivers, cooks etc ?. Does anyone know where the Devons were in 1893 onwards?
    Bore is 'grubby' but non rusty. Will try some 4x2 and oil tomorrow.
  7. A couple or three years ago I was visiting a local person back home and over our cuppa, he produced the Martini Henry Carbine he had made from plans in a 'Engineering Modelers' Magazine.
    The gent was a long retired Engineer and he had just knocked it up as a skills exercise.
    It was not proof tested but he maintained that it was to the correct Spec.
  8. Sympathetic_Reaction

    Sympathetic_Reaction LE Book Reviewer

    Just as an aside, I had the pleasure of firing one of these lovely weapons...A RE WOII had one and some other nice examples. It kicks like a mule and gives the nicest sound I've ever heard from a firearm.

    Great bit of kit.

  9. If you were in UK, that, my friend, would be wholly illegal :x

    The "licence free" status only applies to original weapons and not to reproductions..

    UK engineering modelling mags have NEVER published weapon designs, so I would suggest he has got this from a US source (and if so I very much doubt if it was an M-H design - more likely a HiWall)
  10. At the risk of appearing pedantic, Section 58(2) provides an exemption from the requirement to hold a Firearm Certificate for an "antique held as a curiosity or ornament". Calibre, obsolete or otherwise doesn't come into it in law although plod and the Home Office would like it to. See the Mick Shepherd case.

    Doubt anyone would argue much over the M-H 577-450 though.

  11. The 2 on the butt stamp indicated that the weapon had been inspected and downgraded to class two rather than "used for second line". The "double arrow" mark on the Knoxform which you illustrate in the third photo indicates that the rifle has been sold out of service use.

    MH rifles are good to 800 - 1000 yards (provided you can get the sight setting right!) Carbines on the other hand start to lose the plot over 300. They used a reduced power round with a smaller bullet.

    I have actually shot an APWT with my Martini rifle - the double snaps are hard, but otherwise not a problem... :D
  12. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Ah yes a lighter bullet, I recognise the RE WO2! Good rifles and I kick myself for turning them down at £250 each only 1994 I think, mind you I probably wouldnt be selling them on, I'm a reluctant dealer!
  13. :bore on:

    Between 1929 -1949 Model Engineer magazine had 35 articles on "armaments." Most dealt with models but included rifling of barrels and two articles:
    *Improving the Mark 2 Sten (Vol 88 Iss 2175)
    *The Sten Carbine. A Description of Britain's new Machine Carbine (Vol 88 Issue 2195)

    Vol 27 Isssue 601 includes a "practical letter" on the topic of "Rifle Barrels and Converted Martinis."

    Full index here:

    :bore off: ;)
  14. Yes, but this was in wartime - a different world my friend, and even then however no UK "build your own gun" plans were published..

    My point was that knocking up homebuilds in the garage is a serious no no these days, even if they are reproductions of antiques...

    When a mate of mine has to licence and lock up a length of plastic cable conduit as it is used for darting animals, the application of logic vis a vis the firearms acts is a non starter...