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DoubleD
Moderator


South Africa
1829 Posts
Posted - 08/26/2006 : 11:02:17 PM
Fellow Martiniholics, I must confess to a weak moment. I nearly fell off the Martini wagon. A coworker told me that he has an old rifle that he wants to get rid of. He was concerned that he would have problems with the new Gun laws in South Africa and didn't want to hand it in.

He described it as a single shot Westley Richards and picked this picture out of the book as the rifle.



Well Gents as you can see it is not a Martini. It is a Westley Richards 1872 Falling Block. The fellow said this rifle is chambered in 450 Carbine 1 1/2 inch. Winfer confirms the 72 FB was avaialble in that caliber.

The redeeming factor here is the 72 FB has the same lower assembly as the WR Improved Martini, so this rifle has Martini roots. Not realy a Martini but....

I asked the fellow to bring the rifle over and I took some pictures.





Cranked lever



The action is marked NA&A Co. LTD. Westley Richards Front company National Arms and Ammunition Company.



Now fellows I haven't bought a rifle other than a Martini since 2001. But the price was right on this rifle and it is to good a deal to pass up. So I made my my offer and it is now time to do the paper work on it, and see if I can get it changed over to my possession.

Besides, it turns out this isn't a 1872 Falling Block, it's an 1871 Improved Martini! It's a Martini!!! I am saved!!!








DD

That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it an pass it on with pride. It deserves it....Malcolm Cobb The Martini-Henry Note-Book.


Barryeye
Gunboards Member


New Zealand
85 Posts
Posted - 08/27/2006 : 06:26:22 AM

You are forgiven Douglas. Nice looking rifle. In your shoes I would have bought it. Keeper or not I suspect it is a good investment.

John Wallace
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member


3488 Posts
Posted - 08/27/2006 : 09:01:33 AM

And with useful pictures, which will be handy when the job of restocking mine gets to the front of the backlog - although mine is a pistol-grip sporter. I can see no feature whatever of this rifle which von Martini added to the ancestral Peabody. But it really is a most excellent action. Observe how the engagement of sear and hammer is actually visible, through that little notch on the right front of the trigger-guard? By lifting the lever slightly, you can feel a cocking indicator, actually the toe of the hammer, in the front of the trigger-guard, and the safety is quite silent. All this is handy when it is all pitchy-black in the jungle and you feel the horrid halitosis of the maneater on your ankles.

It is certainly a far rarer rifle than a conventional Martini. I think the sliding-block one from the drawing, and later cheaper conventional Martinis, would have supplanted it in Westley Richards production, and later the Farquharson at the upper end of the single-shot market.'I know what war means. I have been with the armies of all the belligerents except one, and I have seen men die, and go mad, and lie in hospitals suffering hell; but there is a worse thing than that. War means an ugly mob madness, crucifying the truth tellers, choking the artists, sidetracking reforms, revolutions and the working of social forces'.

John Reed

DoubleD
Moderator


South Africa
1829 Posts
Posted - 08/27/2006 : 10:27:19 AM

John,

Given the opportunity I will most gladly take picures of the stock work to help you with restocking. It may be a while because I fear this rifle will have to be shipped to the states and I will not be able to take possession here in RSA.








In the mean time here is the description from Wal Winfers British Single Shot Rifles, Volume 4 Westley Richards
quote: Stock Fastenings & Bushes

Butt stock fastening of the Westley Richards Improved Martinis were by screws in the upper and lower tangs, however, as there are no parts between the tangs, a very strong tenon must be made on the stock to give as much strength as possible with this design. A very clever innovation was introduced at this time. The hole for the tang screw was bushed, with either a brass or steel ferrule, with the bush closely fitted into the wrist of the stock. The tang screw was also very closely fitted to the hollow bush; and the stock thus benefited from a much stronger system than could have been had with a thin screw alone.
DD

That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it an pass it on with pride. It deserves it....Malcolm Cobb The Martini-Henry Note-Book.


BillOregon
Gunboards Premium Member


USA
198 Posts
Posted - 08/27/2006 : 10:43:35 AM

Douglas: I have a very nice Webley-built Greener GP 12-gauge that I will swap you for the WR in that pipsqueak caliber ...

DoubleD
Moderator


South Africa
1829 Posts
Posted - 08/27/2006 : 11:49:11 AM

Yes, Bill I am sure you would, you want me to cover shipping also?DD

That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it an pass it on with pride. It deserves it....Malcolm Cobb The Martini-Henry Note-Book.


BillOregon
Gunboards Premium Member


USA
198 Posts
Posted - 08/27/2006 : 12:09:59 PM

Douglas: That would be most gracious. I will even throw in a copy of the Guns and Ammo Surplus arms magazine. ;-)

Joel Black
Gunboards.Com Silver Star Member


USA
798 Posts
Posted - 08/27/2006 : 11:32:17 PM

Bill,
I just got a copy of that magazine. I don't know how accurate Garry James' other article are, but his Handguns of the British Empire was awful. I have never seen so many factual errors in a article written for collectors.

DoubleD
Moderator


South Africa
1829 Posts
Posted - 08/28/2006 : 12:02:32 AM
That's alright Joel, because Bill ain't getting it!! Most likely the rifle is headed to my vault deep under ground at an undiuclosed location in Idaho where I will have cases and powder and bullets waiting my trip home next spring on R&R.DD

That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it an pass it on with pride. It deserves it....Malcolm Cobb The Martini-Henry Note-Book.


AkMike1
Gunboards Member


USA
53 Posts
Posted - 08/28/2006 : 02:22:56 AM

LOL< That is the cartridge that we had the discussion about. That is a beautiful rifle,Douglas. Congratulations! If you need an address to ship it to for safe keeping I'll be happy to let you use mine!!!!
When you get ready to try it out , 50-70 brass will form easily.
Edited by - AkMike1 on 08/28/2006 02:25:33 AM

RobD
Gunboards Premium Member


United Kingdom
102 Posts
Posted - 08/28/2006 : 4:46:59 PM

DD, these rifles were (along with the Monkeytail) the main guns used by the commandos in the 1st Boer War, and are known widely as "Majuba Martinis". Does your rifle have any initials carved on it, or any provenenace?
It is an excellent and very historic find - well done! What did you pay, by the way?
Rob"Look to your front. Mark the target when it comes."

B1acksmith
Gunboards Member


USA
99 Posts
Posted - 10/19/2006 : 4:14:13 PM

Douglas, You made me jealous, so I had to go find one too. Ambling through Cabela's gun room in Austin, I spied this hiding behind a beat up Comblain. I pulled out my credit card so fast, I almost wiped the numbers off.
I Hollis 1869 Westley Richards Sporting Rifle in nr 2 Musket.
It has the later kicking extractor and screw-in firing pin nose.
Needs stock work on the handguard, the wiping rod is a replacement and I need a cleaning rod to put in those three holes, but overall very nice bore, engraving, and action.

Now I need to figure out how to take it apart.



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"The problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." Albert Einstein


DoubleD
Moderator


South Africa
1829 Posts
Posted - 10/19/2006 : 11:50:28 PM

Ross that's the 1869 Patent. Do you have Wal Winfer's Volume 4 British Single shot Rifles. It is on the Westley Richard and has a great deal on the these rifles.

Ross forgot to add my condolences on the fact the reciever is so badly scratched up!!! Angle grinder will take those out. What jealously?

You also need to get with RichardWV about brass. He will tell you how to make it. Rich lived about 2 miles from where I lived the time you visited me.
DD

That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it an pass it on with pride. It deserves it....Malcolm Cobb The Martini-Henry Note-Book.
Edited by - DoubleD on 10/20/2006 12:12:03 AM

B1acksmith
Gunboards Member


USA
99 Posts
Posted - 10/20/2006 : 10:27:57 AM

Didn't know if you were monitoring BM board, but answered you there too. Got the book. I will drop Richard a line about the brass.

Yeah, angle grinder. Think I will cut it down into a carbine too and mount a scope. You one funny guy. when you get back, we will have to introduce our two WRs to each other.Ross

"The problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." Albert Einstein


DoubleD
Moderator


South Africa
1829 Posts
Posted - 10/20/2006 : 1:12:32 PM

I guess we will have to have a Majuba Match. 5 Steel knock down Pith Helmets at 100 yards!! You will be coming to my playday on Montana won't you?

DD

That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it an pass it on with pride. It deserves it....Malcolm Cobb The Martini-Henry Note-Book.


B1acksmith
Gunboards Member


USA
99 Posts
Posted - 10/20/2006 : 2:50:53 PM

If I can talk Marylin into moving to Arizona I will.Ross

"The problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." Albert Einstein
DoubleD
Moderator


South Africa
1829 Posts
Posted - 10/20/2006 : 9:00:59 PM

Have you taken her to Arizona in January or February yet? Some good places to hold Martini playdays in Arizona in January and February. Katherine and I have been talking about Snowbirding from Montana to Arizona in January and February. When she said what about her mother, I said somethng about a shovel and out back...she didn't think I was very funny.DD

That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it an pass it on with pride. It deserves it....Malcolm Cobb The Martini-Henry Note-Book.


John Wallace
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member


3488 Posts
Posted - 10/21/2006 : 04:04:59 AM

There is an interesting bit of developmental history here - or perhaps just the individual history of my own derelict barrelled action. B1acksmith's rifle appears to have dispensed with the forward mounting point for the trigger and hammer housing. Perhaps it is secured by the lever axis pin instead. I've only seen this once before. But in mine extra pieces of metal, to form just the sort of lugs found in the other type of frame, have been dovetailed and brazed, very neatly indeed, to permit reverting to what I think is the earlier system. Either the other system didn't work well (though I can't see how it wouldn't), or someone altered it to accept parts cannibalised from another rifle.


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Even the information about the kicking extractor is useful. Mine has the slot and small screw-hole to mount a leafspring in the left side of the trigger guard, which isn't shown in the patents. Clearly this was meant to act on the extractor. Mine shown here is made by me but unfinished, because I didn't know in which direction the spring acted. It could have been to make the extractor rise back into place, or to kick the fired case out once adhesion in the chamber was broken. Now I know it is the latter, I am a bit closer to having it grow again, like an amputated lobster, if the backlog of projects ever diminshes a little.

Farquharson patented what was probably a better system, and certainly an easier one. A spring steel extractor was simply slit all the way to the pivot hole, in what would be about the 10 o'clock position as seen from the left. As long as the extractor meets resistance from the case rim, that slit is partly closed. But when the case dislodges, it is pushed by the extractor reverting to its free shape. If it comes to that, there is probably a useful amount of springiness in any Martini extractor, especially the long extractor models.'I know what war means. I have been with the armies of all the belligerents except one, and I have seen men die, and go mad, and lie in hospitals suffering hell; but there is a worse thing than that. War means an ugly mob madness, crucifying the truth tellers, choking the artists, sidetracking reforms, revolutions and the working of social forces'.

John ReedEdited by - John Wallace on 10/21/2006 04:08:37 AM

DoubleD
Moderator


South Africa
1829 Posts
Posted - 10/21/2006 : 12:41:24 PM

John do you have any better pictures of your action. It's very difficult to see the details to identify your action.DD

That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it an pass it on with pride. It deserves it....Malcolm Cobb The Martini-Henry Note-Book.


DoubleD
Moderator


South Africa
1829 Posts
Posted - 10/22/2006 : 02:25:08 AM

John your gun appears to be a 1871 Patent, like mine. Ross' is an 1869 Patent with some of the 1870 patent feature and may even be a 1870 patent. Careful study would need to be made to determine for sure.

DD

That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it an pass it on with pride. It deserves it....Malcolm Cobb The Martini-Henry Note-Book.


B1acksmith
Gunboards Member


USA
99 Posts
Posted - 10/24/2006 : 10:23:07 AM

Douglas, We always went to Phoenix during end of May timeframe (that was when I did my yearly security audit for a client). Last time we were there, it was 112 in Phoenix with snow on the ground in the mountains around Flagstaff. Marylin is in love with Sedona and the Tucson Saguaro National Park. We are having trouble deciding on retirement locations - Arizona or NC.

John, I will do some detailed pictures of the inside of my WR this weekend.

Here they are. You can see the 1870 patent kicking extractor and hammer sticking out of the cocked main spring picture. Also the 1870/71 replaceable hammer nose.


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"The problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." Albert Einstein
Edited by - B1acksmith on 10/31/2006 10:18:16 AM

DoubleD
Moderator


South Africa
1829 Posts
Posted - 10/31/2006 : 12:06:51 PM

It's going to be a while before I see that view of mine. So comparing to Winfer what do you have? Looking at my Winfer I see an 1869 with a different shaped mainspring and hammer. Mainspring under barrel is 1869. 1870 on had the mainspring internal. Hammer with a replaceable hammer nose is 1871. These things are so interesting.

Are you going to send in to WR and see what their records say?DD

That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it an pass it on with pride. It deserves it....Malcolm Cobb The Martini-Henry Note-Book.


B1acksmith
Gunboards Member


USA
99 Posts
Posted - 10/31/2006 : 1:22:11 PM

es, interesting. The kicking extractor could be explained as a 69 made after the 70 patent. The replaceable hammer nose is really strange. It does not seem to be an after market replacement, since everything fits like a glove inside. Winfer said that WR liked to use up old parts in new rifles, so maybe this is a 69 frame with 71 parts. John's 71 hammer and extractor are shaped differently though.Ross

"The problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." Albert Einstein
DoubleD
Moderator


South Africa
1829 Posts
Posted - 10/31/2006 : 11:13:11 PM

I believe John made his extractor. John's trigger guard unit looks very 1871. John, the kicking extractor gets first mentioned in Provisional Patent of 1869 no. 3461. Later Patent 144 of 1870 incorporated the kicking extractor with safety improvements and hammer placement.

I only have line drawings of the 1871 Hammer and John's picture is pixilated so can't tell much about it.

I think you could round all these patents drawings up, lay them out on a table and match parts and still not have one one that matched a single drawing.

Ross it is pretty clear WR was mixing and matching parts. Your hammer and trigger guard though point out that even within a patent that there design mods that aren't recorded.

Here are two 1869's from Winfer that show very clearly--2 different triggers. Ross does your rifle have either of these two designs?




This is exciting stuff!!!The evolution of a firearm before your very eyes! This is a lot more interesting than fantasy football.DD

That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it an pass it on with pride. It deserves it....Malcolm Cobb The Martini-Henry Note-Book.


B1acksmith
Gunboards Member


USA
99 Posts
Posted - 11/01/2006 : 09:35:41 AM

It has the bottom type. The whole rifle is very close to that one in Winfer, except no screw in the trigger guard. If I get some time this weekend, I will take it apart again and look for serial numbers and marks.Ross

"The problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." Albert Einstein


B1acksmith
Gunboards Member


USA
99 Posts
Posted - 11/03/2006 : 11:31:34 AM

These things are falling out of the trees. This months ASSRA journal has an article on a 69 that the author bought (was sleeved to 45/70). Skimpy on details, but some outside pics.Ross

"The problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." Albert Einstein


oubleD
Moderator


South Africa
1829 Posts
Posted - 11/03/2006 : 10:35:03 PM

The Market is getting flooded. Next thing you know Pedersoli will be offering them!DD

That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it an pass it on with pride. It deserves it....Malcolm Cobb The Martini-Henry Note-Book.


RobD
Gunboards Premium Member


United Kingdom
102 Posts
Posted - 11/05/2006 : 6:02:54 PM

Douglas, here is a picture of Komdt Gen Hendrik Johannes Schoeman with a "Majuba martini" like yours. The bullets look shorter than .577/.450.
I don't know if he fought in 1881, but this picture looks like it is from that era - he was born in 1840. Schoeman was the Boer general facing General John French in 1899 at Norvalspont. He surrendered on 5 June 1900 to General French, two days after the fall of Pretoria.
He was seen as a 'hands-upper' which seems unfair, since he was by then 60 yrs old. Later he and some friends were blown to smithereens
when a lyddite shell, which he had brought back from Colesberg and which graced his parlour, exploded when it was used as an ashtray - an occurrence which pious Boers saw as the 'finger of God on a traitor'



Download Attachment:
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John Wallace
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member


3488 Posts
Posted - 11/16/2006 : 12:25:55 AM

Here is the opinion, from the following interesting website, of WE Metford on the merits of the Westley Richards and Martini:

"In 1870 he prepared for Mr. M. T. Bass, M.P., an exhaustive memorandum on the comparative merits of the Westley Richards and Martini breech actions, in which be dwelt forcibly on the weakness of the latter in leverage for extracting the cartridge. One can but feel, after reading this memorandum that the jamming of our soldiers' rifles in Egypt, a dozen years later was due to some fatal shortsightedness."

There is surely a market niche for either Pedersoli or someone else to remanufacture the Martini.

http://www.lrml.org/historical/metford/memoir08.htm
http://www.lrml.org/historical/index.htm
http://www.lrml.org/historical/halford/1893interview.htm
 
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