Here's another perfectly legit Martini with a "V.R." stamp but a post-Vicki date (this one is not mine). There are more of them out there than you might think. Having said that, they should be approached with ultra-caution because of the Khyber Pass possibility.
Getting back to rcbloom2's original question .... here is the War Department "List of Changes" entry which is the reason why rods are so seldom encountered with any .303 rifle or carbine, whether it be Martini-Metford, Martini-Enfield, Lee-Metford or Lee-Enfield ....
I was going to add that I've got an MLE Mk I* with a VR Cypher and a 1901 date.
Victoria died 22/01/1901, so any rifle made either A) Before she died that year or B) After she died but before they got around to changing the stamps to read ER (for Edward VII) is going to have a VR cypher, so It's quite possible for a 1901 (or even slightly later) rifle to legitimately have a VR cypher on it.
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