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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This thread was originally posted on the old board as The Apocalypse is coming.

It started out as a discussion on Khyber Pass Specials and whether any one had actually seen one fail. Lo and behold right in the middle of the discussion it happened.

It is probably on of the most important post we have had on this forum. It only seem equally important that we bring it to the new board.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
MAusC70
Gunboards Member


USA
16 Posts
Posted - 06/03/2007 : 11:15:23 PM
By now, most of us are well aware of the markings and characteristics of the sundry Khyber Pass copies flooding into the U.S. So why this post?

Well, these copies are no longer restricted to the large importers like SOG or the Internet. They're appearing at gunshows and in smaller shops, at least here in new York.

The one pictured here has an interesting and frightening story. I took my son to the range for the first time in, well, forever. We were having a good time when a man walked up into the adjacent booth and started shooting a variety of surplus weapons: a Turk, a Nagant pistol, etc. Given my love of surplus rifles, I just had to strike up a conversation. He showed me his Martinis. One was from the Nepal cache. He had gotton the other one at a gun show a couple weekends ago.

Unsurprisinaly, this rifle had been sold to him as the genuine article. The dealer supposedly had a KP special and a British Martini disassembled on his table to show that the rifles he was selling were different than the one displayed and, therefore, not copies. For the rifle this guy purchased, the dealer disassembled the rifle and showed him the official looking stamps on all the individual parts and convinced this poor guy that they were British made. Looking at the rifle, I began to think that maybe it was a parts gun or a recently refinished rifle. I told him that I was no expert, but I thought it was a KP and told him about all I read here. The guy was not convinced. He was planning on shooting some WWII .303 British he had picked up. I kindly asked if he would wait to shoot it until my son and I left, but I guess he was determined to see how quickly he could blow his own head off.

Now, I love Martini rifles and am trying to put together a collection from every country that used them. In fact, Double D helped me identify an Afghan the other day. Anyway, since I did not own a KP, I offered him $50 more than he paid on the condition he did not shoot it. He agreed and I was out $325, but my son and I enjoyed the rest of the day.

When I got home, I took this thing apart. He was right about one thing. It does have an awful lot of official looking stamps. The barrel is almost as hard as my Mark IV from the Nepal cache. The receiver is harder than some BP antique rifles and might, might handle a .303, but I wouldn't shoot it on a bet. Regardless, the point of this is that these rifles are getting harder and harder to identify (especially to the non-expert - like me), while simultaneously multiplying in number. Seems like they're showing up everywhere. Take a look at the pictures. Unless you're an expert like many of the gentleman here, it could be easy to get the wrong impression from a cursory glance. Officially, I have done my good deed for the year, added an interesting piece to my collection, and can help others identify these things before someone really does blow themselves up.

Also, take a good look at what the guy next to you at the range is shooting next time you go! He might just be armed with his own handheld IED.

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mikew
Gunboards Premium Member


USA
110 Posts
Posted - 06/04/2007 : 12:48:06 AM

I hope those more expert than I will weigh in (which is basically everyone -- I'm only beginning to learn about things Martini) but the one thing that stood out to me was the receiver stampings. It appeared several letters and numbers were slightly out of line in "Enfield" and the date, indicating they were stamped one letter/digit at a time, rather than in one block. Is that a telltale indicator of a KP rifle?

Dalko110
Gunboards Member


USA
76 Posts
Posted - 06/04/2007 : 02:05:02 AM

"Is that a telltale indicator of a KP rifle?"

I'm not sure, but I can tell you this...the British did NOT stamp one letter/number at a time. If I had to guess, it's a Khyber. One other interesting thing I've seen with a lot of the ones in the local gunshops is the finish. They have a distinctive blued finish that was never applied to any original Martini-Henry, Martini-Metford, or Martini-Enfield. Very dark, shiny finish...almost looks like the finish Remington applied to the 870 Wingmaster up until the 1980's (best comparison I can think of). From your photos, it *LOOKS* like that was the finish applied. For a good example of that finish, check this Khyber Pass copy out...



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Hope this helps! Also note that contrary to popular belief, not ALL KP Martinis have the word "Enfield" misspelled or have a backwords "N."

EDIT: Well, hey, I just realized what's missing from your Martini's receiver...the Mark number. It should be designated a Mk. I, Mk. II, Mk. III, whatever...but yours has no number.-JWEdited by - Dalko110 on 06/04/2007 02:08:37 AM

Dalko110
Gunboards Member


USA
76 Posts


Posted - 06/04/2007 : 02:10:36 AM
quote: Originally posted by Dalko110


"Is that a telltale indicator of a KP rifle?"

I'm not sure, but I can tell you this...the British did NOT stamp one letter/number at a time. If I had to guess, it's a Khyber. One other interesting thing I've seen with a lot of the ones in the local gunshops is the finish. They have a distinctive blued finish that was never applied to any original Martini-Henry, Martini-Metford, or Martini-Enfield. Very dark, shiny finish...almost looks like the finish Remington applied to the 870 Wingmaster up until the 1980's (best comparison I can think of). From your photos, it *LOOKS* like that was the finish applied. For a good example of that finish, check this Khyber Pass copy out...



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Hope this helps! Also note that contrary to popular belief, not ALL KP Martinis have the word "Enfield" misspelled or have a backwords "N."

EDIT: Well, hey, I just realized what's missing from your Martini's receiver...the Mark number. It should be designated a I, II, III, whatever...but yours has no number.
-JW


cadet
Gunboards Member


Australia
13 Posts
Posted - 06/04/2007 : 06:29:30 AM
Yep,
Dodgy.
And it does appear that an apocalypse of sorts is coming.
Genuine KP knock offs (an oxymoron, I know) were - however crudely - built as working shooters, and tribal retribution should an arm fail was its own quality control.
All bets are off with the current crop. They appear to be newly minted for ornamental purposes only.
There can't be that many 'souvenirs' returning. Someone fairly big is engaging in potentially deadly fraud.
Funny that most seem to be in .303
RG

MAusC70
Gunboards Member


USA
16 Posts
Posted - 06/04/2007 : 10:40:54 AM

Thanks for the input...

'Well, hey, I just realized what's missing from your Martini's receiver...the Mark number. It should be designated a I, II, III, whatever...but yours has no number.'

Had not even noticed. That should have been a dead giveaway.


'Someone fairly big is engaging in potentially deadly fraud.'

Yep. But, the way the world works, it will be an innocent bystander that pays the price, not the fool pulling the trigger. This experience has made me a little more critical of every British rifle I purchase. But, thanks to this board and a couple others (and helpful experts, like Double D, so willing to donate their time and effort to complete strangers), I would probably never have purchased this rifle outside of these particular circumstances. I am entirely addicted to Martinis, so this is going to be a problem that I have to live with if I'm going to collect them. IMHO there's someone besides SOG involved in all of this. It seems like there's just too many for only one importer.


'Funny that most seem to be in .303'

Has anyone posted pictures of one in the original .450/577 caliber? I would like to purchase one and tear it apart just like I did this one for posting here. Being out a couple hundred bucks to save even one life is worth it in my opinion. Just for curiosity's sake I am going to use the facilities that I have available to see what it takes to blow this .303 version up. Please do not try this at home. I have access to a ballistics lab and a bunker for testing. It's what I do for a living anyway.

Does anyone know if the SOG .450/577 ones are KP for sure? I've been hearing kinda mixed reviews. I have heard that a lot of them are parts guns with some local parts. I want a 'genuine' 100% confirmed KP one to fool around with. The receiver and barrel from the one pictured above seem to have some hardness to them, but I do not have access to a penetrator that will tell me if it's more than surface hardness. If anybody spots a KP .450/577 for sure on one of the auction sites for a couple hundred or less, please let me know. My collection of Martini rifles from all over the world would probably not be complete without at least one, anyway. Well, that's my justification, I guess. In my opinion, purchasing one will just encourage others to sell, but being an engineer, I probably won't leave the subject alone until I have torn one apart for myself.

Finally, does anyone know the BATF stance on these arms? As modern reproductions shouldn't they require an FFL for transfer? It is a requirement for the transfer of other reproduction rifles, such as the Sharps and Trapdoors.


Dalko110
Gunboards Member


USA
76 Posts
Posted - 06/04/2007 : 1:03:45 PM

"Has anyone posted pictures of one in the original .450/577 caliber?"

I did. The rifle pics I posted were a .577/450. But the [expletive deleted by user] selling it, who took his business name from a pair of great old folks who were known for good prices, wants $1,050 for it. You can do a google search on it. Just google "Martini Kohat Garrison." Normally I'd keep it at that. But I agree that lives are at risk here, and a human life is worth more than a damaged reputation or a dustup. To expose this greedy moron's chicanery, I'll give out his website...

www.19thcenturyweapons.com

Until he removes that Khyber, or (to be fair), stops advertising it as a British rifle, I suggest we (as sensible Martini buyers) boycott him. I've already got that reason and then some.

The dealer I regularly do business with, however, should be a role model as to what to do when you get a Khyber. He has a .303 caliber carbine on the gun rack, and written on the tag is "Afghanistan Martini, Wallhanger Only, DO NOT FIRE! $350." Okay, so he's overcharging for it, but that's not the point. He had initially put it out as a British rifle, but when informed otherwise and shown comparisons with a genuine British volunteer pattern carbine he had, he swallowed his pride, realized he'd been gipped by his distributor, and marked it hazardous to shoot.

"Does anyone know if the SOG .450/577 ones are KP for sure?"

Yep. All of 'em. Is SOG the only importer? I dunno. Century, for one, is not importing them. However, some have shown up with AIM Surplus (a favorite company of mine), and I am greatly disappointed with this.

"Finally, does anyone know the BATF stance on these arms?"

According to the ATF, they're antiques...

Anyway, if you want a genuine Khyber that wasn't imported by SOG...look on gunbroker. There's one fairly obvious one in .577/450 where, if you want a direct link to it, just shoot me an email.-JWEdited by - Dalko110 on 06/04/2007 1:04:56 PM

MAusC70
Gunboards Member


USA
16 Posts
Posted - 06/04/2007 : 1:29:28 PM

'Assembled from a combination of Indian made receiver and many British made parts' ????

Heck the one I posted has at least one British part. I think one of the Phillips head screws holding the buttplate on is UK. Maybe...

I'm in on the boycott. Shame, he has some fine looking pieces.


'Anyway, if you want a genuine Khyber that wasn't imported by SOG...look on gunbroker. There's one fairly obvious one in .577/450 where, if you want a direct link to it, just shoot me an email.'

Found it. Should be interesting. I will post pictures and the hardness values. I hope I will the only idiot bidding on it.


'According to the ATF, they're antiques...'

Let the letter writing campaign begin!


MAusC70
Gunboards Member


USA
16 Posts
Posted - 06/24/2007 : 3:10:04 PM

Test Summary:
Well, this darn thing stood up to 100 rounds of British post-WWII surplus ammo (Pakistan manufacture)in the bunker under very controlled conditions. The high speed camera did not reveal any unusual behavoir during operation. I must admit that I am quite surprised by this result, as I expected a lot of shrapnel within a couple rounds.

Despite these results, I would still NOT ADVISE SHOOTING THESE THINGS under any conditions. Why?

Some observations:
First, the finish did not hold up well at all. Second, the moving parts show considerable wear already, much more than expected for only 100 rounds. The once tight feel of the rifle is gone. The buttstock and forend can be wiggled quite easily and tightening has not helped. Contrast this to my British ME that has fired 10-12 times as many rounds and is still as tight as the day it was made. Reciever hardness is no longer uniform, the forward end of the reciever rose 5+ points on the F Rockwell scale. I suspect continued firing could cause increased brittleness. The block face shows pronounced heat discoloration, something I have never seen on any British made Martini (or any other rifle). The breech block pin was virtually impossible to remove when I diassembled the rifle for inspection and cleaning. It has warped quite noticeably for reasons beyond my understanding. Since I expected an explosion, I neglected to dimension all the parts, but it is quite evident that the parts just do not 'fit' together like they did before firing.

Moral of the Story:
I am worried that just test firing these things a couple times (i.e. tire and string test) could give the owner a false sense of security and lead to the belief that their KP rifle is safe to shoot. My post-test observations suggest that there are considerable shortcomings in the construction and materials used in KP rifles, something we all already knew.

I wouldn't pull the trigger with one of these things against my shoulder for anything short of an intentional suicide attempt. I suspect the ONLY reason this thing did not explode is the robustness of the Martini action design. That and a little luck.

fred2892
Gunboards Member


United Kingdom
52 Posts
Posted - 06/24/2007 : 3:23:46 PM

I suspect(almost guarantee) that the upper rear knuckle of the block does not fit the receiver correctly and all the pressure is being felt directly on the pin.
I am sure I have read somewhere that the genuine article can be safely fired without the pin fitted (someone jump in here if I'm wrong-hate to give out incorrect advice).
Sounds like you prevented a nasty accident, however you now have firm evidence of use to all on these forums just how bad these rifles are. Worthy of a sticky in my opinion.
FredBut the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible. T.E.Lawrence

Ben Gunn
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member


1427 Posts
Posted - 06/24/2007 : 3:51:31 PM
Does anyone know of one of these guns actually blowing up? Martini's rely on design, not materials, for strength and they were made of iron not steel. Since it comes from an area where blood feuds are serious hobbies, I suspect that an incompetent or unscrupulous maker wouldn't last long. For that matter, people in that part of the world were making steel 2 thousand years ago,of a quality unmatched by europeans until the age of smokeless powder. And they were making it in small backyard smelters, a pound or two at a time.

I visited your link and the description seems pretty reasonable to me. I'd consider buying it if I were into that sort of stuff. Your post sounds a little hysterical to me.You know something is happening but you don't know what it is...

MAusC70
Gunboards Member


USA
16 Posts
Posted - 06/24/2007 : 5:48:40 PM

Hi Ben,
If you confident in your words and in my area, join me at the range. I will bring a few cases of .303. You get the rifle above, I get the real McCoy and we shoot round for round until someone no longer trusts their rifle and quits. I guarantee that it will not be me.

I have had both in my hands and my assessment stands. I personally do not care what people do with the info here. As with anything else, there will be those willing to take chances.

For example, I saw a Ford Pinto on the highway just other day...

Ben Gunn
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member


1427 Posts
Posted - 06/25/2007 : 2:48:05 PM

I take it then, that you don't actually know of any or these guns blowing up? By the way, the rifle in question is chambered for .450 not .303.

I have no idea whether BP Martinis are suitable for conversion to smokless cartridges, that's an entirely different subject.You know something is happening but you don't know what it is...

fred2892
Gunboards Member


United Kingdom
52 Posts
Posted - 06/25/2007 : 3:18:28 PM

Having read and reread this post I can't see where the confusion arises that we are talking about a knock off KP .303 and not a .450. And it is the design that appears to have been incorrectly copied here, hence the bent pivot pin. I for one don't believe there is any hysteria involved and suggest you post your findings over on the britishmilitaria board where people who understand what you are talking about are unlikely to brush you off so lightly.
Fred.

FredBut the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible. T.E.Lawrence

Viclav
Gunboards Member


USA
36 Posts


Posted - 06/25/2007 : 3:33:34 PM
quote: Originally posted by Ben Gunn


I take it then, that you don't actually know of any or these guns blowing up? By the way, the rifle in question is chambered for .450 not .303.

I have no idea whether BP Martinis are suitable for conversion to smokless cartridges, that's an entirely different subject.

Umm... no, it's not an entirely different subject. Pretty much All British .303 Martinis in the service started life as 577/450s, and were converted by the British. They knew what they were doing. The crux of the current problem with Khyber versus genuine is just exactly that you cannot trust the new metal and engineering of the fakes compared to the old metal and production standards of the genuine (i.e. started life as a BP Victorian 577/450 Martini-Henry) Martini-Metfords, Martini-Enfields or Citadel rifles.

Victor

"Always carry a firearm east of Aldgate Watson."


John Sukey
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member


USA
9613 Posts
Posted - 06/25/2007 : 4:39:53 PM
Regardless of the strength of these rifles, I see no reason to buy one when Atlanta Cutlery and IMA are selling the real thing.RobD
Gunboards Premium Member


United Kingdom
102 Posts
Posted - 06/25/2007 : 5:28:47 PM

Ben,
I agree 100% with what Fred and the others are saying. These are fakes, and most of the recent ones are NOT "100-yr-old copies lovingly crafted over dung fires by craftsmen filing away at blocks of metal" - they are being churned out on an industrial scale in Pakistan, as we speak. Many of them have never been fired. It is anybody's guess whether they could tolerate the pressures of either .303 or.450. These have no history at all and are of no interest as examples of "traditional workmanship East of Suez". Now, there certainly are tribal firearms which have exactly that appeal, but these KP fakes are not in that category. The saddest thing of all is when someone has been ripped off and then tries to convince themselves that they are part-British, or the only British rifle in a large batch of fakes, or locally arsenal refurbished - when actually they are fakes through and through. Also sad is when some poor fellow thinks they are splendidly made and just perfect for shooting, as we all fold our arms, sit back and wait until he, or the next fellow he sells it to, shall eventually have "a big blue mark on his forehead and the back blown out of his head" (to plagiarise Rudyard K) when the breech block comes flipping back.
In my humble opinion, that is.
Rob"Look to your front. Mark the target when it comes."Edited by - RobD on 06/25/2007 5:32:50 PM

Sporky
Gunboards Super Premium Member


USA
414 Posts


Posted - 06/25/2007 : 5:41:48 PM
quote: Originally posted by John Sukey

Regardless of the strength of these rifles, I see no reason to buy one when Atlanta Cutlery and IMA are selling the real thing.
Not in .303 though, which is the attraction of these fakes.



MAusC70
Gunboards Member


USA
16 Posts
Posted - 06/25/2007 : 10:00:53 PM

I think Ben's confusion comes from the follow up posts by Dalko110 in which Dalko110 provided pics of and a link to a couple .450/577s for my reference. Just to be clear, the fake in question is the first set of pics (a poor copy of one of the finest rifles ever produced - a Martini Enfield in .303). If that is the confusion, then I apologize, as I cannot speak to the other rifles. However, after feeling the way the .303 rifle I tested loosened up in my hands, there is no way that I could be convinced to fire one of those either! The way that the breech pin warped scares the heck out me.

I do agree with one thing. Rifles built in Afghanistan fifty or hundred years ago might be a different story. I cannot answer to that claim, either. Have there been or are there KPs that are safe to shoot? Maybe a decade or more ago. From what I have been reading lately, things have changed. This new group seems to be nothing more than ornamental garbage. The one I tested was.

One last comment. To the informed shooter who willingly takes on one of these rifles and shoots, you are making a decision similar to the one many of us make concerning smoking. To those I wish the best of luck. Myself, I choose to skip this thrill. I have plenty of British and Nepal-stash Martinis to shoot. Saving a few hundred dollars just isn't worth it.

My KP .450/577 hasn't arrived, yet. I was thinking about testing with .45 ACP first. Lot cheaper and I imagine it won't last long anyway. Comments? Ideas? I am just trying help, not offend. BTW, if pics of a blown up one is all it takes to convince someone, I will find a new breech pin, reserve the bunker between our contract testing, and oblige them. I suspect it won't long and I have already built the fixture, anyway.

Cheers...

MAusC70
Gunboards Member


USA
16 Posts
Posted - 06/25/2007 : 10:12:09 PM

Fred, Rob, and others,
I am glad I did not waste my time and have a place to share the info.
Thanks, glad I could contribute in a useful way. I keep reading, looking, and studying hoping someday I will wake up knowledgeable about things Martini...
Mike

Dalko110
Gunboards Member


USA
76 Posts
Posted - 06/26/2007 : 1:51:13 PM

Rob...

Thank you, thank you, and thank you again. You're one of the first people to...not really to recognize, but to outright say that there are two kinds of Khyber Pass rifle. I'll also second Fred on all points and give it a vote for being stickied (no offense to Martinihenry.com or its owner, but the KP page hasn't updated in literally over a year).

The first kind was the one made in the 1900's all the way up to, I dunno, maybe 1960? 1980?. Because of the blood feuds, if one of these rifles exploded, the tribal chieftain would most likely have your hands cut off as punishment. Then there are the "tourist rifles." Tourist rifles are decorators not meant to be fired. The Afghanis know better than to shoot these. But THESE are the ones being imported. The earlier rifles are stronger and better-made from the several accounts I've heard.

Further, it would make sense from the Afghani business point of view: "Hey, these stupid Americans keep buying these guns I make for tourists! I'll just crank out a bunch more because the importers give me more money than the tourists, anyway!" And it's no longer Martinis. Now you see Long Lees and even SMLE's on gunbroker that are pretty obviously Khyber Pass. And with No. 4's imported by a large importer arriving from "northern Pakistan," you have to wonder if they haven't jumped on that bandwagon, too. They're NOT the good-quality POF rifles and when they got called on it, they could only say "Well, I don't think these are Khyber Pass rifles" with a certain degree of uncertainty.-JWEdited by - Dalko110 on 06/26/2007 1:59:16 PM

Ben Gunn
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member

1427 Posts


Posted - 06/26/2007 : 2:33:14 PM
quote: Originally posted by RobD


Ben,
I agree 100% with what Fred and the others are saying. These are fakes, and most of the recent ones are NOT "100-yr-old copies lovingly crafted over dung fires by craftsmen filing away at blocks of metal" - they are being churned out on an industrial scale in Pakistan, as we speak. Many of them have never been fired. It is anybody's guess whether they could tolerate the pressures of either .303 or.450. These have no history at all and are of no interest as examples of "traditional workmanship East of Suez". Now, there certainly are tribal firearms which have exactly that appeal, but these KP fakes are not in that category. The saddest thing of all is when someone has been ripped off and then tries to convince themselves that they are part-British, or the only British rifle in a large batch of fakes, or locally arsenal refurbished - when actually they are fakes through and through. Also sad is when some poor fellow thinks they are splendidly made and just perfect for shooting, as we all fold our arms, sit back and wait until he, or the next fellow he sells it to, shall eventually have "a big blue mark on his forehead and the back blown out of his head" (to plagiarise Rudyard K) when the breech block comes flipping back.
In my humble opinion, that is.
Rob

You are missing my point at least partially. My points are:1. does anyone actually know of one of these Kyber Martini's blowing up? 2.Just because an arm is made in a local machine shop in Pakistan, doesn't make it dangerous, these same shops are also turning out surviceable copies of Soviet AK's and other soviet arms for people who actually intend to use them. They know how to make guns. In that part of the world manufacturing and selling dangerous weapons would be just as hazardous to the seller as the buyer. 3.Any modern low grade steel would be equal or better than the steel that went into original Martinis, by current standards Martini's were made of iron not steel. No one even makes iron anymore. No one can( with the possible exception of a few craftsmen who get a premium price for their product); steel is made in a factory whereby iron ore, limestone and coal go in one door and steel comes out the other in a carefully controlled automated process. All other means have long since disappeared due to economics.

And finally, the gun on the website does not appear to fall into the afore mention category. Collectors are on their own. Caveat Emptor.

BG
You know something is happening but you don't know what it is...

Engineer 179
Gunboards Member


32 Posts
Posted - 06/26/2007 : 6:47:14 PM

I had sent this info earlier to Double D but I will pass it on to you as well. I spend a fair amount of time in Qatar and some in Bagram as a consultant. As part of my work performing Failure analysis I always carry a small pocket microscope and a few eyepieces giving me 40-60 and 100-150 magnification. This type of scope is often available from mail order or web store like American Science and Surplus, and as chinese copies from some of the machinery importers as inspection scopes or fabric inspection scope, often in the $50 range. I normally use it to look for fatigue patterns on fractures in the field.

Some of the Khyber copies that I have seen have had very good looking markings on the surface and under magnifying glass level examination. When I used the pocket microscope at 50-60x and looked at the bottom of the markings, I could see a smooth bottom with a swirl pattern. The only way to make this type of a mark is with a rotary engraving tool like you find at your local nameplate/trophy shop. That's right, they cut the markings on a rotary engraving machine before "aging" the piece. Several of them looked real good at lower mag and to the naked eye.

A true stamped marking will have a ridged bottom on the marking with flow marks from the bottom going out toward the surface. A hand engraved or pnuematicaly engraved with an inline type graving tool will leave a stepped appearance on the bottom of cut as the engraving tool lifts out a small sliver with each stroke.

When the piece is "aged" after marking, it tends to smooth the surface and upper part of the marking making this area harder to figure out how the piece was marked. The bottom and lower part of the marking is almost always as originally made even on 100+ year old items.

This should give you another way to look for fakes. I hope this info is of use to the group.

DoubleD
Moderator


South Africa
1829 Posts
Posted - 06/27/2007 : 12:13:06 AM

Gentlemen, I think what Rob is saying is there is a resurgance in the manufacture of these counterfeits to meet market demand, and that demand is being met using modern Machinery. To try to separate these modern made copies from the older copies as poorer quality is wrong. Both are equally of unknown character.

As far older models of these fakes being safer due to the "product liability protection of blood fued revenge", that is wishful fanciful thinking.

I have never myself personally handled a blown up Martini. I can recall seeing a long time ago details on two.

One had a shattered reciever ring and bulged sidewalls with barrel blown out. Breech block was still in the gun. The trigger guard was bulged down. I don't recall the credited cause, but suspect reloading error.

The second had bulged side walls and the seating knuckle disorted and cracks around the hinge pin hole. breech block still in gun. Cause not recalled.

Both these guns where original MH's.

In my files in a storage wharehouse some where in Maryland I have a copy of an article about a Small Martini that let go. It is busted up in many pieces.

I have pierced primers in a Martini and had case heads separate. The effect was minor to some serious stinging. If a Martini really lets go you stand good chance of serious damage to your trigger hand hand and face. The design is going to help minimize the damage, but I am not willing to bet my life on it.

Get these guns guaged and proofed before you shoot one.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.


Dalko110
Gunboards Member


USA
76 Posts
Posted - 06/27/2007 : 12:48:42 AM

'"As far older models of these fakes being safer due to the 'product liability protection of blood fued revenge', that is wishful fanciful thinking."

I was in no way saying the older guns were safer to shoot. Rather, they simply tried harder because they had some incentive to (though I doubt the results were too terribly different from a modern KP copy). I would think, however, that the older ones would be a tad more desirable than the modern ones simply because they were not made to be sold on the US market, if nothing else. I do not own a KP Martini and hopefully never will. And some serious kudos to Engineer 179 for supplying that information!-JWEdited by - Dalko110 on 06/27/2007 12:50:42 AM

RobD
Gunboards Premium Member


United Kingdom
102 Posts
Posted - 06/27/2007 : 12:29:22 PM

Not to put too much of a damper on the USA-centric view of the universe, but I am pretty certain the fakes are not exclusively being made for the US market. There are a billion Indians, with a boming economy, a rich sense of history and a great and sentimental admiration for things of the Raj, so that tiger safaris on elephants and steam train travel tours of Rajasthan are very popular - with wealthier Indians. I think the market is local, for "heirlooms" which will grace a fireplace exactly as they would have done in Surrey until fifty years ago. To give an example of this, my great friend from India makes an excellent sideline in buying up copies of the Illustrated London News and framing and selling the prints related to India. He buys them in antique dealers in London, tints them with watercolour, and sells them in India, at a considerable profit. I am not aware of Indian historical shooting clubs yet, but I live in hope that they will emerge, and will take their rightful place in blackpowder competitions alongside the Old Commonwealth countries (and Europe). Until the Indians (or Americans wanting to star in Death Wish) take the fakes to the range, their weaknesses will be concealed.
In my humble opinion, that is.
Rob"Look to your front. Mark the target when it comes."Edited by - RobD on 06/27/2007 12:30:58 PM

John Sukey
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member


USA
9613 Posts
Posted - 06/28/2007 : 7:43:40 PM

Hate to disagree with you on that. consider that the American military is in Afghanistan. Americans have money, they are on the spot. The locals know they have a somewhat captive market, and they are always ready to provide what sells. You can't bring back anything newer, such as a Lee enfield.
Case in point, A friend is over there. He asked about hooked quillion M1907 bayonets. The dealer said he could have a bunch by next week.

MAusC70
Gunboards Member


USA
16 Posts
Posted - 07/09/2007 : 2:30:58 PM

'Does anyone actually know of one of these Kyber Martini's blowing up?'

Yep. July 7, 2007, Endicott, New York.

Unable to find a replacement Khyber hinge pin, I used a reproduction from Dyson. Round 48: Cracks in the receiver around hinge pin visible. Round 54: The metal above and behind the hinge pin shattered. The breech surprisingly did not exit the receiver, but remained loose at a 45 degree angle. Probably not deadly, but certainly painful. Total of 154 rounds to failure using milsurp .303. After doing the red tape thing, will post pictures. Hinge pin tapped out of the block with little effort. The pin does not show the deformation of the original KP pin. The rifling in the barrel is just barely visible. Jacketed bullets, soft metal, or something else? I am officially done with KP .303s. My understanding of the original design is that there shouldn't be any force on that pin. Not a fun or very pleasant experience. I am not even sure I am going to take the thing apart, again, unless somebody really, really needs a paperweight. I'll store it in the company closet and let them dispose of it in 10-15 years.

On a positive note, the .450/577 KP has fired 300 rounds of .45 ACP (except cracking one of my inserts) without incident. Disassembles and resassembles with little difference in feel before and after firing. After the .303, though, the supe is a little reluctant to let me try .450/577 without a 'buddy' so will try to arrange something. This is probably one of the 'older' KP's with no bluing and a backwards N (V.R. dated 1919). See earlier post.

The saga continues...

fred2892
Gunboards Member


United Kingdom
52 Posts
Posted - 07/09/2007 : 4:47:54 PM

Congratulations Mike, I think we all knew what was coming next. The good (bad) thing is by using milsurp .303 you have produced the exact conditions in which these guns are going to be used by your average unknowing buyer.

I think the correctly made pin has transferred all the pressure to the pivot mounting holes, these holes have then given way. If you had continued with the poor quality pin I would expect the block itself to have exited rearwards rather than just the rear of the receiver. Hopefully some pics will make things clearer.

I have added a link to the KP topic over on British Militaria Forums, hope you dont mind.

http://p223.ezboard.com/fbritishmilitariaforumsfrm1.showMessage?topicID=2085.topic

FredBut the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible. T.E.Lawrence

Sporky
Gunboards Super Premium Member


USA
414 Posts
Posted - 07/09/2007 : 5:14:15 PM

Very interesting. I know I'm eagerly awaiting the pics and (hopefully?) a post-mortem, and many others are as well.

MAusC70
Gunboards Member


USA
16 Posts
Posted - 07/09/2007 : 11:32:19 PM

Will get pics as soon as I get the paperwork processed to release it and make sure the pics don't give away any company secrets (Yeah, like anyone would really want them - about as sophisticated as a rock quarry!). One of the hassles we endure for our privileges. Usually takes about 10-14 days.

Fred, I do not mind the link. I wish you could join them all! Wish I had time to gather all of the KP info on all of the boards and start a KP hating website. Now, there's a worthwhile endeavor!

Really think leaving the original pin in would have given me a more spectacular failure? Shoot, I spoiled my own fireworks. In reality, this was a little 'ho hum' as firearm failures go. Often, the entire receiver literally becomes a hand gernade or the barrel comes apart with a very satisfying kaboom.

Maybe the .450/577 will give me more satisfaction. Probably not, it seems much better built. Definitely a higher quality which kinda goes with the speculation concerning internal quality control (I think someone used a term like that) imposed under threat of retaliation.

Sporky, I can probably disassemble it tommorrow, free time permitting. I suspect I will have the same collection of useless junk I started this post with, just shaped and colored differently. Remember, like an idiot, I did not take measurements beforehand. I didn't expect it to last as long as it did, honestly.

My original opinion stands: If you are shooting one of these babies, please make sure you know the risks or take the necessary steps to reduce them. If Fred is right, and he usually is, this could have been much worse. And, from what I have been hearing, this one was cosmetically nicer than many finding their way to shows.

Shoot safe...

MAusC70
Gunboards Member


USA
16 Posts
Posted - 07/23/2007 : 11:04:38 PM

Sorry guys. We are so busy that I haven't even gone to see if it has been released.

I know everyone is anxiously waiting.

My apologies.

reiver
Gunboards.Com Silver Star Member
USA
928 Posts
Posted - 08/07/2007 : 07:57:47 AM

why the bloody hell shoot something that is not as strong as the original just to save a couple hundred dollars??? we will put several hundred rds. through these kyber pass specials in a couple of shooting sessions than an afghani during his and its lifetime.
buy one for the wallhanger it is and get another one real one to shoot.
i guess some just want the adrinalin rush and some misplaced satisfaction of being able to brag that they got an MH for less than something else did.
just a potential nominee for the Gunboards Darwin Awarddon't sweat the petty things, just pet the sweaty things
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Khyber Pass and Similar Forgeries

richardwv
MH Forum Moderator


USA
1832 Posts
Posted - 12/13/2006 : 02:21:47 AM

For over a century the Khyber Pass region has been churning out forgeries of British firearms down to phony proof marks. While the region is not the only offending source, it is the major one and all such forgeries have become broadly labeled "Khyber Pass Specials." If you want one and recognize it for what it is, fine. However too many have been discovered only after money has changed hands. This threatens the integrity of our hobby by souring newcomers through a bad and perhaps dangerous purchase….and has caught a few old hands off-guard as well.

It is highly recommended that new comers to the hobby acquaint themselves with the basics to discern all but the best of the forgeries BEFORE engaging their wallet. As a public service to us all, Jason Atkin has posted these basics on his outstanding site: http://www.martinihenry.com/khyberpage.html

While even the “experts” will argue the fine points on a given arm, 95% of the problem is addressed through a little research, such as Queen Victoria died in January 1901 and alleged Brit property marked with “V.R” after that date is as suspect as an alleged presidential letter from JFK dated 1964.
 

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MH Carbines: Real or a fake ??

ALCON, pls look at these pics and give me your assessment. I friend of mine recently purchased these 3 wpns in Afghan.
 

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Well, it is apparently possible for a block to come out under some circumstances, in a fashion most awkward for the shooter.

I offer the Rudyard Kipling short story BLACK JACK (unless my memory has failed me). One of our "soldiers three" eliminates a lad who has come to deserve it by arranging for him to take a shot with the pivot pin absent. RK usually got his details right, I think most will agree. I am NOT willing to test things to see if he did have them right (or wrong) in that story...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
update
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Pre-1898 British Enfield Martini Carbine .303 British Cal.
Martini .303 British Cal. carbines. These carbines were used by the British military forces all over the world during the latter quarter of the 19th Century. These are original British Martinis that have been arsenal refinished by the British years ago. Metal and wood are in decent shape, with a lot of markings, etc. Rifles show use, and have a good, historic look to them...dated receivers from 1903 to 1930’s, and have just been found in a long forgotten stash of British Military weapons in a secret (And it still is,...we might get some more!) place! Own a piece of history from a war long ago. These rifles were certainly used. These won’t last long, and haven’t seen daylight for 80–90 years! These carbines are relatively inexpensive...(Some might have a hairline crack, or small stock repair–Don’t expect mint rifles at this price. Barrel length may vary a little. These rifles are sold as antique, historic rifles, and are not to be shot with modern ammo. We have no testing facility, and because they were made for low-power black powder rounds, we can not assume any responsibility for their safety whatsoever. We consider them potentially dangerous to be shot.)
We’ve all seen this ad for Martini’s at a price that is too good to be true. There has been a lot talk on the Martini boards about theses guns. Some swear they are the real deal, other just swear. In visiting various gunshows, I have looked at a number of Martini’s that are obvious fakes. The source of these guns has been reported as various surplus dealers in the U.S. including SOG. Looking at the guns at the shows I can not tell where the guns came from. The distributor is not marked on these guns. Without some definitive connection I can not say that any specific dealer is selling a counterfeit rifle.

In order to determine for my self whether these rifles that were as advertised as original British Martinis” were real or counterfeit I order a rifle from the ad above. When the rifle arrived I thoroughly inspect the rifle and compared it to a known Martini Enfield Artillery Carbine III. What follows is a photo comparison of the two rifles to help identify the difference between a real Martini and a fake.

First the rifle I received from SOG.



The rifle has the visual configuration of a Martini Enfield Artillery Carbine MK I. The MEAC MKI was converted from Martini Henry Rifle MK III. A major identifier of the Mk III was the metal hanger on the bottom of the fore stock. This rifle has that feature.

This is a ME AC III. The MEAC III was converted from the MH MK II and its fore stock was cross pinned to the barrel. Overall, other than these features the ME ACI and the MEAC III should look very similar.




Right off you can see some differences. Most striking is the hooked brass butt stock of the SOG. Suffice to say no real Martini Henry ever had such a buttstock.

Both rifles have markings on their right receiver wall. Since ME's were made from the MH’s they should bear appropriate MH markings that the rifle was converted from. Often time these marking are faint and hard to read. Such is the case with this MEAC. The format for right side receiver markings is Sovereign Cypher consisting of Crown over Sovereign’s Initials-V.R for Victoria Regina. Under the Cypher is the Manufacturers code. In this case Enfield the Royal Small Arms Factory. Under this is the Year of manufacture. Under the Year is the Lock Viewers Mark. Below that is found the Mk of the rifle.




As can seen in the picture on the left from the gun in question, there is no lock viewer’s mark. Below the date is the letters AC. AC should be followed by a Roman numeral for the mark of the model of the rifle. Checking Skennerton’s production tables for Martini’s shows only 1 MK III made at RSAF Enfield in 1887. It’s unlikely this is that one rifle. If it were it should have Roman numeral III below a lock viewer mark.

Although the Cypher and manufacture code are faded out in the marking shown in the right picture from the MEAC, the remnants of the date 1878 ,the lock inspector view mark and the mark II are still visible. Skennerton reports 11053 MK II’s were made at Enfield in 1878.
When the 577/450 MH’s were converted to .303 EM’s they were remarked on the left side indicating the change. The format for the markings on the left side was almost the same. Here are the markings from the genuine MEAC.

The Lock Viewer mark no longer appears but is replaced by the Rifle designation and caliber with the MK of the rifle below that. In this case the real rifle displays M.E. 303 over A.C. III. The number 1 below the A.C. III is the weapon class.

The gun being examined has no markings on the left side. If this were a real MEAC it would have markings similar to the MEAC III displayed above.



There is little doubt based on the markings alone this rifle is a counterfeit. This rifle did not get these markings in any British arsenal.

Here are some additional items that help further identify this rifle as a counterfeit.

The butt stock has a different pitch than the real rifle. Look at the full rifle pictures above and you can see how the counterfeit buttstock pitches down more than the real gun. This is a characteristic I have seen numerous counterfeits I examined at gunshows. Of course the butt plate is a real ringer and is a dead giveaway that this is a fake. The disk and butt markings on the SOG is also wrong. Stocks disk are used for unit marking and not dates. The stock stamping on real guns are just that, stamps that incise the wood. The stamp on the sog gun is some sort of ink stamp that has bled into wood and is unreadable.



The real buttstock has a flat steel butt plate. Some real models may also have a sheet of brass under the buttplate.



This stock disk has abbreviations for the unit the rifle belonged to. The number is a rack number not a year. Notice the construction of the rear sling swivels. The bottom one is the correct construction of buttstock sling swivels found on Martini’s. The stock stamp on the lower stock is incised into the wood. The stamp is not clear enough to see that the manufacture matches the rifle, but the stock stamp Mk part is clear enough to see III which matches the type of rifle; MEACIII. This is not a total indicator of authenticity as it would not be unusual for a substitute or replacement stock to be on the rifle.

Another feature that will help identify this rifle as a fake is the nose cap. Take a look. First, look at the fake.



Now the real nose cap.



The fake nose cap has the square relief cut on an angle while the real one is square cut. This cut by the way is there so the nose cap can be slid over the front sight. Notice the sling swivel on the fake and compare the real one on the bottom. The swivel eye on the real swivel is a close fit to its fitting in the nose cap. The swivel on the counterfeit nose cap is actually a stacking swivel. The fact the fake nose cap has a clearing rod hole and the real one does not help indentify the fake. Real Nose caps were made with and without the hole.

The counterfeit rifle looks like it was abused some where in its lifetime and has become badly rust pitted. This rust pitting is fake also. Here is the side of the barrel in the Nocks for area.



A closer look at the pitting shows that it has a uniform depth and is equal dispersed on the metal. The rust pattern does not stop at the wood line. The pitting is not deep and concentrated like normally found under the wood.



The MEACIII has rust under the wood and shows the random pattern and random depth rust normally takes. It also shows how rust stops and follows the wood line. I suspect this rust on the counterfeit was purposely created with some sort of acid or possibly using a sand blaster with a very coarse sand.

I disassembled the SOG rifle completely and examined the internal parts and I cannot find any part that could could have even remotely started life as a British part. SOG calls this rifle a British rifle and claims it came out of British rebuild arsenal . This is not a true statement. Because of that the SOG Martini's can be called nothing more than a counterfeit. SOG sould mark these rifles replicas and sell them as replicas. Since they don't and they claim them as real they are perpetuating a fraud.
 

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Khyber Pass Specials

I suspect one of the reasons you are seeing lots of MEs coming in to the US is that these were not allowed out through the Brit sector in Helmand and Kandahar. Only .577/.450s were allowed to be exported as antiques according to UK rules.

Most of what came through a couple of years ago were MkI/IIs with a few originals, and quite a few KP specials. As long as they were of old manufacture, they were let through but marked as "local manufacture"..

We did see quite a few out and out fakes which we did block, mostly butchered MkIIs into carbines and "carbinised" Sniders...

There were a few good ones though! Got a good MkIII Snider and a Lebel - though how THAT got into Afganistan is a bit of a mystery...

I understand that the UK military has now stopped all exports of firearms regardless of provenace..
 

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BSA&M remarked rifles/carbines

This is an alert to a growing problem with commercially produced and sold rifles/carbines being remarked with Brit Military proofs and royal cypher. Afghanistan purchased large quantities of arms from BSA&M in the 1890s. These bear commercial proofs and just the marking "BSA&M Co" on the right side of the receiver. The forgers are now adding the royal cyper and Enfield proof marks to these weapons and selling them as Brit military and they are increasingly showing up on the market.

Some signs:

Enfield proofs on a BSA&M firearm
Lock viewer mark and/or model designation often missing
Presence of commercial proofs (which aren't on Brit military arms regardless of manufacture)
The area of the receiver markings has been cleaned more than the rest of the firearm
The age of the new markings are noticably different from the old (which have patina at the bottom of the marks, which the new are nice and clean).

These are genuine Brit commercial firearms, just not military in origin. They are as safe as any (condition matters regardless of authenticity). However since folks pay a premium for military arms.....they are grossly over priced for that of a common contract rifle or carbine.
 
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