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I have a similar smoothbored Martini, although this one came out of the Nepal cache from AC/IMA. It was originally a BSA MKII rifle, made in 1887. From the markings, it looks like it was converted to smoothbore at the Bombay Arsenal in India, either in 1894 or 1908 (the two additional dates stamped on it, just not sure which is the conversion).

They used these with the 450/577 shot cartridge, usually issued to native police or guards units. A number of rifles were converted this way, from all the Marks I-IV.

From what I understand, back during those times when the night was lit with mostly gas lamps, or torches, a shotgun was considered to give the user a better chance at a hit.
 
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