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I saw a Martini Henry Mk IV at a "grab me now" price, shelled over the money and ran.
On reflection, the wood is all dented and bruised (maybe sanded and refinished a long time ago), but the blueing is wonderful and the bore is superb. I also got a couple of Skennerton books, and this rifle has many of the characteristics outlined in the books...a plug in the "short lever" position (with a little drift pin!), E-M stamps, etc. The IV is centered under the view mark and the date is 1887, manufactured at Enfield. I have a whole raft of Lee Enfields, but this Martini is the first rifle I own actually made at Enfield.
My impression is that these Mark IV rifles are the most commonly encountered, but the references seem to suggest that only 60,000 - 100,000 were made. Surely I've misinterpreted it...anyone know how many were made?

Mark
 

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There were 21,755 Pattern "A" rifles, 42,902 Pattern "B" rifles and 35,344 Pattern "C" rifles made, for a total run of 100,001 production arms. Since yours has a centered "IV", it is one of the ones using a new receiver, meaning either a Pattern "A" or "C". It appears that it has the long knoxform as well, making it a Pattern "C". While initially the relocated cup for the lever would indicate an "A" or "B", which reused the EM buttstocks, yours (like the vast majority) has gone through at least one refurb where the "parts is parts" philosophy mixes up the stocks and other parts to the point that some of the distinguishing features between patterns are lost.

As to scarcity, the main issue here is that the MK IV substantially avoided any of the various official conversion programs to .303 and as such represent a fairly commonly found MH mark despite its relatively low production numbers. Also, the high hump/long lever has been largely scorned by the sporter market, meaning bubba and friends didn't chop these up with the same enthusiasm as some of the earlier and supposedly more aesthetically pleasing marks. Survival not production of course dictates what we see today. Also, since many were included in the Nepal cache brought in recently by IMA/AC (and by InterArmco in the 1960s), they are far more common than their simple production numbers would indicate.

Two really key aspects of the MK IV rifles are significant regarding why I own so many. First, pleasing or not to the eye, they are the ultimate refinement of the MH 577/450 system. Second, they historically have been much less expensive than the other marks to purchase in comparable condition. While folks are paying top dollar for Zulu War era MK II rifles, I have never paid anywhere near IMA/AC asking price for a MK IV, since they tend to languish in back corners of shops unloved and often moved at bargain prices. All the better as far as I’m concerned, since many of my "ridiculous offers" have been accepted with a grimice by owners wanting to move dusty stock. This is not to say that IMA/AC are over charging. The prices they ask are fair, but if you have the time (which I do and many don't) to go trolling you can find a few orphaned examples at deep discount. FWIW, when I’m shooting for score I shoot a MK IV Pattern “B” that as the saying goes has been there done that and keeps on delivering the goods. I’ve made a few converts in the “yuck, they’re ugly” crowd. Shoot one with proper bullets and the scores will reward. Deal with a sticky case or two and the long lever becomes a virtue as opposed to tapping it out with a rod.

Aside from aesthetics, I'm aware of only two down sides to the MK IV. First, as they came on the scene as the Empire was converting to .303 rifles, they were primarily (but not exclusively) colonial issue arms, with the majority seemingly ending up on the Indian subcontinent. History of use outside of frontline troops somehow diminishes their appeal. Second is the fact that the high hump was acheived at the expense of reducing the amount of steel backing the action's knuckle. Less steel equals less strength....or so conventional wisdom would have us believe (including me the owner of one with receiver cracks above the block pin holes). This matters not for the 577/450 and similar BP rounds, but comes into play for those converting Martinis into higher power "modern" smokeless rifles....which is a fault that becomes a virtue in helping to explain why so many remain for collectors today.
 

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Great summary on the MK IV! I had one of the Interarms MkIVs purchased in the very early 70s and then bought one of the Atlanta Cutlery MkIVs several years ago. With the help of a kind person on this very forum ;-) I got into shooting this great but underrated arm. Richard, thanks for the write up!
 

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My two MkIV purchases were separated by about 38 years or so! The first one came with a sling and sword bayonet for $125 which in today's dollars works out to $641; a lot of money for a kid in college! I sold it after I fired off the 5 Kynoch rounds I bought at a gun show. Fast forward to 2008 and I bought a MkIV. A kindly member on Gunboards sized some 24 ga brass into usable 577/450 cases for me and using .466 bullets from Western Bullet company I was in business shooting MKIV rifle#2. I am a happy shooter!
 

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There is no correct number to own. One is nice and from my personal perspective five is better. If one is to own mulitples, there are 3 patterns to chase and I can't resist an MH bargain, which can be found if one has the time to go looking. Happy collecting.
 

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And of you ever run across a Mark IV in the original .402 Enfield - grab it. Probably the rarest of British military Martinis.
 

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Since the MH MK IV is a conversion of the Enfield Martini MK I in .402, there is no such thing as a MK IV in .402.

Also, since the EM in .402 were held in stores and never issued, unless you break into the pattern room and steal theirs, any one you find would likely be a fake. All production EMs were fully accounted for in the conversions. EM production totals and rifles converted zero out. According to the math, none ever escaped Enfield as an EM MK I.
 

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Since the MH MK IV is a conversion of the Enfield Martini MK I in .402, there is no such thing as a MK IV in .402.

Also, since the EM in .402 were held in stores and never issued, unless you break into the pattern room and steal theirs, any one you find would likely be a fake. All production EMs were fully accounted for in the conversions. EM production totals and rifles converted zero out. According to the math, none ever escaped Enfield as an EM MK I.
Yes - the nomenclature i used was - inarticulate. A pity none escaped the convertor's paws. Frankly - if I encountered one that HAD been restored, I'd snatch it up in all probability, with appropriate deduction for it being a restoration.
 
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