View Full Version : Wonderful Gift--need help

Dave R
December 20, 2002, 12:08 AM
I lost one of my best friends on Thanksgiving day. To cancer. He had been fighting a long time, with some success, but went downhill fast and was gone before any of us was ready for it. I spoke at his funeral.

We were shooting buddies. I learned a lot from him. He did not own a rifle in a commercial caliber. He had seven children, and all are shooters to one extent or another.

To make a long story short, his widow just brought me over one of his pet rifles. I can't believe none of his kids wanted it. But the wife says they were unanimous that I should have it. I'm touched.

Now what is it? It shoots a .357mag (pistol) case necked down to .17. A REAL short & fat magnum. I know there's a name for that cartridge. Anyone know what it is?

It was re-barreled and re-chambered, obviously. The action is, I believe, a Martini or a clone thereof? Drop a lever behind the trigger guard and the action opens from the top. Drop is a bit past a point of resistance, and an extractor pops the spent out.

Markings are as follows.

Left side of receiver:
-Trade [illustration] Marks
-The illustration is 3 rifles arranges like a teepee.
-Below that, either B.S.A or P.S.A with bar above and below.

Right Side of receiver, by buttstock:
-W.A.Co. or W.4.Co
-Ri?? N.J. (Ridge, N.J.?)

Top of receiver:
-A tiny cartouche that looks lik a stylized W with a crown above it. By barrel on right side. Another identical one on top left by buttstock.

I could not find a serial number


-Any idea who made the receiver and when? Blueing is good but metal is worn.

-Any idea where I could get a ballistics table and load data for the cartridge?

-If I can't locate dies in his reloading stuff, any idea where I could get a set? I assume the set that necks the .357mag brass goes through quite a few steps...

I'll have to get into reloading now. I guess that's part of the gift. Now if I can only shoot the thing without tearing up...

Art Eatman
December 21, 2002, 11:31 PM

If no luck, ask Harley.

:), Art

Dave R
December 22, 2002, 12:11 AM
Thanks, Art. I'm getting some traction in Harley's forum, and the reloading forum. This is going to be an adventure!

December 24, 2002, 11:54 AM
Sound like you may have a Martini-Henry, a falling-block type action.
Some of the markings indicate an "Indian" arsenal as manufacturer.
Best I can do

December 25, 2002, 12:08 PM
If possible some detail pictures would/could be helpful.
Looking through an older copy of The Official Guide to Gunmarks; The Ultimate Gun Identification Guide! by David Byron. It shows three Ws under a crown; Dutch military mark on rifles, East German choked barrel mark and German choked barrel proof c. 1891-1939. There are some other markings that may be construed as a stylized W if the impression is slightly obliterated or otherwise feint. The English definitive proof (Birmingham) c. 1888-1925 could easily be thought of as a stylized W (It is three letters stylized in a cursive script that resembles a W). Also there are a couple of English inspection marks that have crossed sabres under a crown. These could be misinterpreted as a stylized W if the impression is feint or partly occluded.
This directory does not show any drawings of three rifles in a tepee configuration though.
Perhaps a book on English misitary rifles would show what you're looking for, if indeed it is a Martini. BTW Martinis have a distinctive lever on the right side of the action. That would be a giveaway that it is indeed a Martini.

December 25, 2002, 05:59 PM
That's a BSA Martini Cadet action. The BSA is Birmingham Small Arms of England. The w over crown is a proof mark.
The W.A. Co..N.J is probably the importer that brought it into the US.
IIRC, the BSA actions were made from about 1910 into the late 30's. Maybe later.

Can't help with that wildcat, I'm at the grandkids in Jawja instead of home with all my books.