Say you could get them both in good condition... which would you choose if they were priced in the same ballpark?
I understand the MKIV just has a longer lever for more leverage to help with extraction?
MK II hands down....and I doubt you'd find anyone to say differently. However economics and condition are such that finding two examples in similar condition and price isn't all that likely. The preference expressed here and elsewhere for the MK IV is because it is relatively easy to get one in VG or better condition at a reasonable price. Much less so for the MK II rifles in circulation.
The MK II is the classic rifle of the Zulu war and was the standard issue front line arm for about 2 decades. Lots of history there and one that dates to the Zulu war is just that much more desirable.....and most often costly. With limited exceptions, the MK IV was not a front line rifle, being issued to colonial troops and such. It was essentially obsolete before the first one was made.....which is one reason they are so much more easily found in VG plus condition. As for the longer lever of the MK IV, this was adopted to provide more leverage for extraction of stuck cases.....a problem particularly with the composite cases. Since no one is using composite cases anymore, I'm not sure there is much of an advantage to the long lever these days.
Now personally I normally shoot one of my MK IV rifles owing to their condition.....and for MH rifles with soft wood in the forearms (a problem from indifferent storage in the 3rd world), the forearm hanger of the MK IV is a more robust method of attachment than the pin of the MK I/MK II rifles. While not a real problem for MK II rifles with hard solid forearms, this again gets back to condition and the availability/affordability of MK II rifles in such condition.
Yep ,if you want the Martini your great grandpa carried when he marched with the Qld army to sort out the striking shearers ,you need a Mk2 or a Mk3.Actually,it didnt go well,turned back by flooded creeks,they reached the mining town of Gympie,where the locals screamed abuse and spat on them.The empire wasnt all glory.I prefer the Mk4 for shooting,because the lever is flat under you fingers and doesnt cramp your grip,and the hump back is a lot easier on arthritic thumbs.Regards John.
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