The Martini-Henry is one of the most distinctive weapons of the British army. The rifle marks the first step the British took to fielding a fully metallic cartridge firing rifle, marking a true end to the days of the muzzleloader. The British were very slow to move into repeating cartridge firing rifles and initially converted their existing Enfield muzzle-loading rifles into breach loading Sniders. The Snider was only a stopgap and a purpose-built breech-loading rifle, the action designed by Swiss designer Fredrich Von Martini and the barrel rifling designed by Scottish designer Alexander Henry was adopted in 1871. The Martini went through many alterations and improvement and marks, the most famous and recognisable of which is the MkIII, the MkIV variant is more commonly seen on today’s market thanks to several arsenals being discovered recently stockpiling these arms. The Mk IV bears alterations in the design such as a longer loading lever to aid extraction and altered receiver profile to better accommodate the shooter's thumb and prevent injury to the nose upon recoil!
Martini-Henry rifles are usually chambered in .577/450 making them obsolete calibre and ideal for collectors. Towards the end of the 19th century, with the British Army adopting the .303 cartridge, many Martini’s were rechambered in .303 calibre making them excellent choices for modern-day licenced target shooters. The obsolete calibre Martini-Henry rifles are legal to own without a licence in the UK under Section 58 (2) of the firearms act. Because of this, there is a strong demand for these rifles amongst collectors and we always find they sell well with us at auction. Should you have a Martini-Henry or any other antique or modern firearms, weapons or Militaria you wish to sell we would be delighted to talk to you about entering it into one of our specialist auctions.
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