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Old June 29, 2014, 06:37 PM   #1
kilimanjaro
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Martini-Metford Carbine

Looking at a Martini-Metford carbine locally here. Pretty nice shape, but no markings on receiver. Barrel is proofed for 303 Nitro. I don't doubt it's authentic, meaning not some Indian copy, but anyone know if these were perhaps privately produced without the usual military Mark data and ciphers?
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Old June 29, 2014, 08:54 PM   #2
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I am not sure about carbines, but for many years in the 1900's the British had very active volunteer organizations for people who wanted to practice with military rifles, and makers provided arms that were identical to the service rifles for those shooters. Of course, they were never government property and so would not carry the normal military markings.

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Old June 29, 2014, 10:05 PM   #3
gyvel
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I had a Martini Metford .303 carbine years ago that had served as a weapon in Tasmania for their home guard. As a general rule, these weapons, along with the full length Martini .303s were issued to reserve units and other second line entities, especially in the colonies.

Bear in mind, that, although nitro proofed, the Martini .303 conversions (and in particular the Martini-Metfords) were meant to be shot with Mk VI ball, NOT Mk VII or later cartridges.

To answer your specific question, yes, some British military rifles were produced for civilian use both at home and abroad in the colonies. (African settlers come to mind.) I still have a Lee-Speed rifle (a long Lee-Enfield) made for the civilian market which has no military proofs or inspectors' marks on it. Many of these arms were used by British NRA members for competition.

Last edited by gyvel; June 29, 2014 at 10:11 PM.
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Old June 29, 2014, 10:09 PM   #4
kilimanjaro
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Good information, guys, thanks.

Won't be running MkVII ball through it, haven't even bought it, but am planning on modern Prvi or my own reloads, I can cut them down a bit.
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Old June 29, 2014, 10:13 PM   #5
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BTW: Assuming your bayonet lug is still intact, it takes the same bayonet as the Lee-Metford/Long Lee-Enfield rifles.
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Old June 29, 2014, 10:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Won't be running MkVII ball through it, haven't even bought it, but am planning on modern Prvi or my own reloads, I can cut them down a bit.
And yes, you definitely need to reduce your loads. To be honest, I would even be wary about using Prvi in it. I have not shot any Prvi*, but I assume that it is loaded to Mk VII levels.

*If Prvi is the same as PPU, then yes, I have shot it, and I definitely don't recommend it for your carbine
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Old June 29, 2014, 11:12 PM   #7
kilimanjaro
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Good advice, thanks. I'll check out the MkVI pressure and velocity and see if I can work a light load around that, and maybe some boards have already done so. The current owner says 'it shoots just fine', so I presume he's using commercial ammo.

Hopefully it hasn't had too much cordite run through it, the Metford rifling erodes quickly, hence the change to the Enfield rifling a bit later.

The bayo lug is intact, from the photos, I understand it takes the 1888 Pattern sword bayonet, which I can find.

I'll set up an inspection trip and hopefully a deal. It's out of town a bit.
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Old June 29, 2014, 11:44 PM   #8
gyvel
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Quote:
The bayo lug is intact, from the photos, I understand it takes the 1888 Pattern sword bayonet, which I can find.
Pattern 88s aren't too hard to find; I see them on eBay all the time.

Congratulations on your find; Martini .303s are not all that common. I enjoyed collecting Brit weapons over the past several decades, but as I am getting on years, I have been slowly but surely reducing my collection.

I still have a very interesting Martini in .22 made (as marked) for the (British) NRA. On the barrel is marked "Entirely British." Talk about "jingo." LOL!!

Last edited by gyvel; June 29, 2014 at 11:50 PM.
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Old June 30, 2014, 02:58 PM   #9
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I'm pretty sure that Privi ammunition is loaded to Mk VII specifications, so I wouldn't even shoot that through it.

If it has the original barrel, it has Metford rifling, which was intended for black powder cartridges, but which proved to be unsuitable for use with cordite-loaded smokless ammo.

To solve that issue, the Martini-Enfield was developed, which had deep-cut rifling as opposed to the Metford's shallow rifling.

Khyber Pass copies can generally be recognized by poorly struck markings, misspellings, odd dates, etc.
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Old June 30, 2014, 03:07 PM   #10
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Wait...

No markings at all on the receiver?

The right side of the receiver should have a BUNCH of markings, at a very minimum the manufacturer.
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Old June 30, 2014, 03:58 PM   #11
kilimanjaro
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It has some markings, I'll see it this week.

There are no military markings, though.
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Old July 7, 2014, 01:22 PM   #12
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The Birmingham gun trade made large quantities of Martini-type arms over the years for commercial sales, and some have no marks at all apart from the statuary proof marks.
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Old July 9, 2014, 04:53 PM   #13
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FWIW, in those years, the Japanese were much influenced by British arms. One of the results of that was the adoption by the Japanese of Metford rifling for their rifles, a practice that continued through WWII, long after the British had gone to Enfield rifling.

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