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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
G'day folks,

I usually post over at the Lee-Enfield forum, as I'm a Lee man first and foremost. I've built up a bit of a collection of Lees, and I got the chance to go earlier. I've picked up an interesting Martini, and I might throw it open for suggestions or comments. It has different details on each side of the receiver. My thought is that it was built as a Mark II, converted to .303 and de-converted in later years by a collector.

I'm not complaining, as it cost me under $200 AUD.

In the deal came in interesting curio, this example of the most sought-after and valuable firearms to be found! Yes, I am kidding, I couldn't resist a Khyber receiver which was thrown in. As someone said on the Lee-Enfield forum, if I build up a sporter from this action, I'd better chamber it for elastic bands!

What ammo options are there in Australia?

Any comments, advice, suggestions or thoughts are most welcome.

Cheers,
Matt
 

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Well interesting. First impression is that it's a bitsa...

1879 date for a Mk III is interesting.

Last time commented on dates I got taken to the woodshed...
 

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A bitsa indeed - .303 receiver Mk III, 577-450 barrel, and Mk II forend apparently (I presume that is the pin hole...) Maybe the internals are also bitsa - better check headspace...
 

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Reminds me of the carbine I bought at a gunshow
Looked like the standard 577-450, everything correct.
However when I got it home, and looked again, the left side showed a Bonehill conversion to .22! So obviously it started out as a .45, was converted to 22 , and then Re-converted! All this done a LOOOOONG time ago.

The only other thing I could think of was that the Bonehill marking was done first, and work stopped at that point in time.
 

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10 Oct. 2007
5pm

Matt,

The 1879 date of origination on the legit Martini is fine. Production commenced in “production year” 1880, whiuch ran from Apr. 1879 to Mar. 1880. In calendar terms, I believe production started in autumn 1879. I’ve got an 1879 MHR mk. III myself, so have no concern on the date front. The 1895 conversion date is fine too, of course.

Having said that, the thing is bitser city. The foreend is wrong, as the fellows have pointed out. I expect that whoever put a .45 barrel back on the thing had a mk. II-style barrel and so needed a foreend with a pin hole. Anyway, hell, for AUD200, who cares?

Cheers,

Coggansfield
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks gents. I figured as much, but around here the prices for untouched originals are...well, I've never seen one for sale. For a hundred and eighty bucks, I get a rifle that illustrates part of our military history and lets me occasionally experience the shooting experience of the day.

So, am I correct in saying that the receiver was manufactured in 1879 then upgraded in 1895, resulting in two lots of information on the receiver sides? I suppose there would have been no point in scrubbing the original data.

I'm still open to comments of course.

I also have a Martini-Enfield put aside for me.

Cheers,
Matt
 

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10 Oct. 2007
9:55pm

"So, am I correct in saying that the receiver was manufactured in 1879 then upgraded in 1895, resulting in two lots of information on the receiver sides? I suppose there would have been no point in scrubbing the original data."

Matt, this is exactly right. The War Dept. did not "scrub" original info — it would have taken time and money to do so. The only execption to the rule is the Ishapore rifle factory in India, which reused parts so often that old info had to be buffed off to make room for new info. Once in a blue moon, the British factories did this too, but hardly ever.

All the best,

Coggansfield
 

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10 Oct. 2007
9:55pm

"The War Dept. did not "scrub" original info — it would have taken time and money to do so. The only execption to the rule is the Ishapore rifle factory in India, which reused parts so often that old info had to be buffed off to make room for new info. Once in a blue moon, the British factories did this too, but hardly ever."

Also Citadel arsenal in Cairo. I couldn't convince a dealer that the .303 long gun he was offering started life as a MKII... even when he could see the traces of the Queen's cypher.

Victor

"Always carry a firearm east of Aldgate, Watson."
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks gents,

Coming from a Lee-Enfield background, I was aware of the Indian practice of scrubbing rifles of information as they went through FTR. Other than the Indonesians in the 1950s, I'd never heard of anyone else doing so, thanks Victor for the clarification.

It makes sense really. Why bother scrubbing information on what would be a second-line weapon? All part of the history of the rifle.

So my $180 AUD/79 GBP bitser has an interesting history. I'm looking forward to seeing how it shoots.

Thanks for your help, gentlemen. Suggestions are always welcome.

Cheers,
Matt
 
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