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Discussion Starter #1
I currently shoot a Mk4 Martini Henry using black powder and paperpatch bullets. I have just done a deal for a Westley Richards 'made for ZAR' rifle and wondered if my ammo will work in the new rifle. I understand that the Mk4 has a bore that is slightly larger that the Mk 1, 2 & 3 but don't know about the Westley Richards which has 9 groove Henry rifling instead of 7 groove found in all the British Martinis - supposed to to be more accurate at longer ranges.
Does anyone have any loads and bullet data for this rifle?

My current load is 58gr Swiss 1.5, 2.5cc ground maize, lube cookie and a 480gr paper patch bullet, 0.474 Dia over patch.

I will post some pictures once I get the gun next week and I can then slug the barrel but I thought I would ask you very knowledgeable enthusiasts first.

Thanks
 

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Ammo SHOULD work OK. Slightly over-sized bullets generally swage down and work fine. But you have to try it to be sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Have now got the rifle and the bore slugs at .455" dia so the paper patch bullets I am currently using would be fine without the patch! Unfortunately it is a plain sided bullet so no grease grooves.
Looking through the moulds I have I am going to try a 500gr NEI bullet which casts around .460", a Lee 405gr hollow base and a Lee 450 gr flat base and I can size them all to .458" (I have these as I used to have a Trapdoor Springfield in 45/70). I will try each with the same load I use in my other Martini and also a load using a less powerful powder (Henry Kranks course) but filling the case - the dealer I got the gun from says he has some good results with it in Martinis and Sniders.
I shall be on the range on Sunday to try them out so will report on how they went.

Does anyone else shoot this type of rifle and have suggested loads?
 

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I will bet your ZAR does not slug to .455 but really is .459 to .460. The bore is odd number rifling- grooves. If you clamp a mike on the slug it wil read a high spot and low spot. The measure roll the slug between the loose jaws of a dial caliper and watch the needle move. Read the high number that repeats. That is your correct number.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Douglas, you could be correct, I'll check again tomorrow after work and let you know. Even if it as you say .459/.460, my cast bullets at .458 should show me which bullet shoots best - I hope so as I have loaded them now ready for Sunday!Will let you know if I have to revise the bore size
Ted
 

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Ted,

Get rid of the ground maize and up the charge - the stuff forced through the case neck when the striker hits will dramatically up pressure, and could cause case neck ruptures. FWIW, I also have a ZAR and shoot full LoC charges at 85grs of Fg behind a 530gr bullet at .468. Works fine indeed...
The target below was fired at 200m, shot for group - not score. After the 1st 3 shots, I raised the rear sight a bit to get away fro mthe edge of the target...
ZAR200mtarget.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #7
gert10 nice group, I hope to get mine shooting like that. Was your bullet bore size at .468 as my bore slugs to .456" (using DoubleD method)? What powder were you using as I have supplies of Swiss 1 & 1 1/2 as well as a low powered course German powder.
The load with the maize filler is my normal load in a M?H mk IV and I have shot hundreds of rounds of it without any issue or seperated cases.
I have tried all the loads as in my first post and the Lee 405gr hollow base seemed to perform the best behind the maize filler load although the Lee 410gr flat base wasn't far off as well. I couldn'teven get on the target with the 500 gr loads (I only had 5 of each load) I thought it would shoot low but I couldn't hit the tartget even aiming at the top - perhaps it was going high.
I will bear your advice in mind on future loads for the ZAR.
Ted
 

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FWIW, I shoot .468" diameter 480gn bullets in bothe my W-R ZAR & Thos. Turner 'Mk.III' volunteer pattern M-H with very similar results, though the ZAR has a slight advantage with a better trigger. My standard load is 85gns of KIK 1.5Fg in MagTech cases with a Winchester LP primer, no wads or fillers though am currently experimentingwith poly wads under the bullet to serve as a gas check of sorts.
100_1507.jpg 100_1508.jpg
 

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Ted, I'm using Swiss Fg and 530gr bullet. as to measurements, you fit the bullet to the throat - and the throat will be .470ish, so .468 is just about perfect. When that primer lights the powder, any bullet is going to bump up to throat diameter, and the less it bumps up, the less it will deform. I still think you .456 smallish for a ZAR - I have 4, and none measures that small...
FWIW, I think your 500gr bullet went HIGH - not low. My POA is 6 o'clock, sight at 200 for 75m.
 

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Great Forum Gents,

I read here a lot, even though I am not specifically a collector of Martini-Henry's. I do have two Peabody-Martini Turkish contract rifles and one Martini-Enfield in the WWI Collection, but that's not why I am chiming in.

I've done extensive work over the years developing double-rifle loads for myself and a variety of other friends with period English, German and a few Belgian double hunting rifles. The key in this instance is to duplicate the original barrel harmonics to match the original regulating load that ensured that both barrels fired to the same point of impact to match the sights.

In the process of this work over the years, while trying to develop both light and heavy bullet loads to shoot to the same points of impact, I discovered an interesting phenomena that has been known for a long time among rifles enthusiast of previous generations, but is lost on many folks today because of the similar high velocities of most modern cartridges, regardless of bullet weight. It seems counter intuitive to modern shooters.

I agree with Gert that your heavier 500 grain loads more than likely shot high. With longer barrels and slower velocities than those encountered with modern cartridges, heavier bullets can have a slightly longer travel time in the barrel, which if different enough, can allow more rise of the barrel due to recoil before the bullet exits the muzzle. This can cause heavier bullets to strike higher than lighter bullets fired out of the same rifle at closer ranges.

The same thing occurred when I first acquired a .454 Casull for handgun hunting. We tend to think in terms of a heavier bullet dropping more, and therefore striking lower. This isn't always the case and Martinis' have a reasonable amount of recoil relative to the weight of the rifle.

Just thought I might add this relative to the comments above. Always a pleasure Gents! Please carry on.

Warmest regards,

JPS
 

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Discussion Starter #11
JPS, thanks for your comments which I found very enlightening and obviously the result of god research.

I have now checked the fired cases and find the neck has expanded to an inside diameter of .473" so bullet of around .468 should be no problem. I don't have a mould for that size bullet but I can paper patch the .458 bullets up to around .466 with some onion skin paper I have. I also have some Lyman 457132 bullets (530gr) that are .462 so I might try them as well.
Gert, what mould does your 530 gr bullet come from?
The 500gr bullet was shot at 100yds with the rear sight at lowest setting on the ramp. In fact all the rounds shot high so I think I need to make an extension for the front sight so I can get point of aim at the lowest setting.
Ted
 

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Ted, another alternative to extending the front sight is to buy some spare sight caps (I bought mine from IMA, but I'm sure they'll be available in the U.K.). They will require a little handfitting, as the dovetail on the end of the sight ladder is a little wider on the ZAR, but they can be modified to suit any sighting changes your rifle requires without damaging the original equipment. My M-H rifles all seem to shoot high & left with the original sights, so I file the height of the cap down to bring POI down, & then cut a new off-center sight notch with a triangular file to correct the windage issues.
http://www.ima-usa.com/martini-henry-rear-sight-cap-mk-ii-undrilled-1-v.html
As the replacement caps aren't drilled for the attachment screw, & being somewhat mechanically challenged!) I just attach the cap to the ladder with epoxy so, again, the modification is easily reversible.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Podewils, that sounds like a good idea. i will contact IMA and see how much the postage will be. I have made a sight for my Snider which consists of a 3 sided clamp around the fore sight base held with a nut and bolt across the 4th side. I then drillrd and threaded a hole in the front side and fitted a round post which can be filed to length - that way the original front sight is not touched. With your load for the ZAR what bullet are you using and what powder is KIK as I have not heard of it here in the UK? Ted
 

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Ted, the bullet comes from a mold that was recently offered as a Group Buy over on British Militaria Forums, but is now a catalog item (#47-470B) at Accurate Molds http://accuratemolds.com/catalog.php?page=all. KIK powder is from Slovenia, & I find it to be about as good as Swiss (flame suit on!!).
 
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