Author Topic: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!  (Read 1932 times)

Offline Snake Oil

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A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« on: December 18, 2023, 08:32:28 PM »

At least it isn't the dog house, but only because we don't have a dog house!

So I acquired an artillery carbine Martini-Henry. It is in the cheaper 303 British, which brings mixed emotions. I would have liked to try the black powder round, but expense wise I'm a little excited. The biggest draw back is that I may need to shy away from the border guard uniform that started this little excursion. But on a positive note, I've seen a lot of kilts with Martini-Henry rifles... I've always wanted a kilt… this might be an opportunity. I have ancestors in clan Lyons. 

So the first issue I need help with is to identify a uniform.  There appears to be a wide array to choose from. Artillery wouldn't be too bad, but I'm looking for something fun and/or unique. So if anyone has come across some unique stories of Artillery units, please share what you have!

Second, revolver wise, I believe a Webley is in order, does the mark matter?  VI seems to be the easiest to acquire, but IV seem available for a significant increase. I-IV are closest to the original build time of the carbine, but with the recalibering does that change the pistol time line?... I don’t have room for error on this... I get one more purchase...  what am I needing to look for, oh thou wiser sages?

p.s. If I could use a pistol I already have that qualifies, I might not get cooked with the Christmas ham!

(1873 Uberti and friends, Schofield, 1899 or 1902 Smith and Wesson, or even a 1917 Smith and Wesson are already in the inventory)
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Offline RoyceP

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2023, 07:02:15 AM »
The rifle you bought is WWI era so the revolver would need to be a 455 Webley. I think you want the earlier versions.

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2023, 12:25:12 PM »
If it is chambered in .303, your carbine is not a “Martini-Henry”, because its designation was changed along with the change in caliber to either Martini-Metford or Martini-Enfield, depending on the rifling pattern.  The markings ought to make it clear which it is.  Can you provide some photos … particularly of the receiver markings?

Actually, the fact you ended up with the .303 chambering is perhaps a blessing in disguise, since it bridges both the GAF Main Match and Era of Expansion time periods.  RoyceP is a little off the mark: the .303 cartridge was introduced into British service in 1888 with the Magazine Lee-Metford, but almost immediately Martini-action weapons were also being re-barreled to .303, and some were even made from scratch in that chambering.

With a bit more information along the lines outlined above, I can likely offer more in the way of suggestions regarding suitable sidearms and uniforms.  For a British impression, a .455 Webley (or even one of the “shaved” ones more readily available in the US, although you would ideally load .45AutoRim to .455 specs) would be ideal, but there are other options if you would consider, say, a Canadian impression, since Canada’s primary issue military handguns were always American designs during the entire GAF timeframe: .45 Model 1878 Colt DA (1885 and onward), Colt New Service (old model) in both .45 and .455 from 1900, .45 ACP Colt Government Model starting in 1914, plus .455 S&W Hand Ejector starting in 1915.

Alternatively, an impression from elsewhere in the British Empire … India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. … might be a possibility.
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
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Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #3 on: Today at 12:57:24 AM »

Offline Major 2

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2023, 02:59:46 PM »
I can offer the 303 label, and should you choose the Webley that label as well.

I have also worked up a Trailboss load I use for my Enfield Mk3* you might try as a starting point
skirmish load.   


btw... the 3 box figure is for the date:   day /  month / year of manufacture handwritten in
when planets align...do the deal !

Offline Niederlander

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2023, 03:44:13 PM »
I personally use 13.0 grains of Trail Boss under a 200 grain round nose bullet sized one thousandth over your bore size.  I think mine are sized to .311, but I'd have to check for sure.  I also use gas checks.  Sounds like a fun carbine!  How's the bore?

I also use the Lee neck sizing die.  Saves a lot of wear and tear on the brass.
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Offline Snake Oil

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2023, 07:21:21 PM »
It should be arriving tomorrow so I can get personal pictures tomorrow... I'm a little nervous about the "fair" bore... but the markings looked good in the listing https://www.gunbroker.com/item/1023360828 (link edited for the Martini-Enfield... the Norwegian Krag is the other reason I'm in trouble.)
I am sorry to whoever I beat for it... especially if it was someone in our group.

I am open to impersonation suggestions...I would love to aim more at main match competition, so a little on the older side would be nice. I thought I read (https://www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/artifacts/arms-and-ordnance/small-arms/long-arms0/martini-enfield-rifle.html#:~:text=In%201889%2C%20the%20Martini%2DHenry,to%20smokeless%20powder%20in%201895 ) that the Martini-Henry Enfield conversions started in 1889 or there abouts...

Oh and brass...I've been stockpiling 303 for a while for my 30-40 conversions... (I even got crazy and filed a 30-40 seating die so now I get great crimps on them!) So I have a few that aren't shortened in the neck yet, but yes a neck sizing die may be in the future!

More pictures tomorrow...
A day shooting is good for what ails ya!

Offline Hair Trigger Jim

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2023, 08:12:55 PM »
You linked to a Norwegian Krag-Jorgensen...it looks like this is the one you bought: https://www.gunbroker.com/item/1023360828

And no, I didn't bid on it.    :)

Offline Professor Marvel

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2023, 09:52:57 PM »

plus .455 S&W Hand Ejector starting in 1915.

Alternatively, an impression from elsewhere in the British Empire … India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. … might be a possibility.

I myself snagged a A S&W hand ejector .455 “rebored to .45 autorim” that dates back to 1904, so that is an earlier possibility….

If persona is in a former colonial area, I believe .455 Colt SAA were in use?

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Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2023, 10:30:47 PM »
As for labels for cartridges in a military application, prior to 1907 (when charger-loading was introduced with the SMLE - i.e. "Rifle, Short. Magazine Lee-Enfield") all British military rifle cartridges were distributed in bundles of ten (… quite literally "brown paper packages tied up with string" … which descriptiom is in keeping, perhaps, with the Christmas theme.)  I'm not sure what era the label posted by Major2 relates to, but suspect it is from well into the 20th century. Back in the late 1800's and very early 20th century, a fairly standardized description of the contents of the ten-round packet was printed on the outer wrapper, as shown on these 1896 (British, Royal Laboratory) and 1897 (Dominion of Canada) packets -


Earlier British cartridge packet labelling was always just printed in black ink, and various symbols had long been used in conjunction with the written description of the contents … in the case of the .303 rifle cartridge, the symbol was the rectangular outline divided in half horizontally, as seen on both packets above.  Beginning in 1888, .303 cartridges were loaded with highly compressed black powder and then, when the composition of cordite smokeless propellant was finalized and officially adopted (in 1892) that became the primary propellant for military cartridges, so it was necessary to adopt a corresponding symbol to distinguish between black powder and cordite propellant cartridges:


Very shortly thereafter, colour-coding was introduced into the small arms ammunition labelling, with red ink being specified for labels for cartridges loaded with cordite propellant … which is why the printing on the packets in the above composite photo is red.  Here, on the other hand, is a printable example of the early British .303 cartridge packet label for black powder loads, which would have been printed onthe wrapper in black ink,since this was before the introduction of cordite loads and prior to the colour coding … i.e. the type of labelling from about 1888 to 1892 -


The .455 cartridge label posted by Major2 is an American commercial box label, very different from the packaging of British military service revolver cartridges.  Back in the GAF Main Match era, they were also issued in a paper-wrapped, string-tied bundle (usually containing twelve cartridges) … I'll have to see what I can come up with for images.
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2023, 12:36:07 AM »
Snake Oil … I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but now that the correct link to the auction has been posted and I have examined the markings, I regret to advise that they are fake … rather typical of the "Khyber Pass Specials" individually handmade mostly in the Darra region of Pakistan. 

Although they often look the part … and sometimes may even incorporate some original parts … such guns are pretty much entirely handmade of questionable materials and specifications and, in addition to not being the genuine article for an overly high price, are generally considered to be unsafe to fire. Sometimes the markings are quite laughable (e.g. obvious things like mis-spelling "Enfield", stamping backwards letters, and so on) but some of these makers do a better job than others of duplicating original markings … with this carbine being in the latter category.

However, concentrating just on the receiver markings, if you compare the markings on the carbine you have bought (top) with the original markings on a genuine I.C.1. carbine (bottom) the differences are obvious -
 


Note, among other things:
- the crown, although a lot better rendition than on most Khyber Pass Specials, is not correct
- the letter font of the V.R cypher and the word 'ENFIELD' is better than on many of the fakes, but still not right
- the slight misalingnment of the letters in 'ENFIELD' … not as bad as many examples, but it is still evident that the letters were stamped individually … whereas on an original gun the name 'ENFIELD' was applied with a single stamp.
- the period is missing after "ENFIELD'
- the number font of the date is wrong, and the period is missing
- the "crown over broad arrow" ownership mark is incorrect
- the correct designation at the bottom is "I.C.1" (uppercase I, uppercase C, arabic numeral 1, each followed by a period - denoting Interchangeable Carbine, first pattern) but is one thing these chaps always seem to mess up the worst when faking a carbine: they tend to stamp ICI (or 1C1) in a very incorrect font and without the periods
- also, note the difference in the size of the markings in comparison with the cocking indicator, and poor positioning relative to the cocking indicator.  (The size differential may mean that the maker replicated the very large cocking indicator which was only used on the earliest Mark I Martini-Henry rifles … i.e. very early 1870's … but definitely was not used on the much later I.C.1. carbines.

Perhaps you will be lucky and be dealing with a reputable seller who will agree to abort the sale and return your money … with the added bonus that you might not have to stay on the couch
 
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2023, 01:19:38 AM »
If persona is in a former colonial area, I believe .455 Colt SAA were in use?

Although some Colt SAA revolvers were chambered for .455, I sm unaware of any part of the British Empire where the SAA, whether in that caliber or any other, was military issue. Britain had been using double-action revolvers since the 1850's ...

Canada used the Colt Model 1878 Double Action in .45 Colt and the Colt New Service in both .45 Colt and .455 ...



(Although all of the M'1878 revolvers purchased by Canada in 1885 from Hartley & Graham were nickel plated, a fair number of them show up in the Colt records as having been blued when shipped to the outfitter, so they were obviously nickel plated to fill the order.  H&G had purchased quite a large number of M'78 revolvers in 1883, but bought none in 1884, and then had to scramble in early 1885 to fill the Canadian order for plated revolvers.  All such blued revolvers which were subsequently plated came from the 1883 shipments to the outfitter, who obviously used unsold revolvers from their 1883 stock to complete the order. My example is one of these.)



(Lewis Brothers and Co. were Colt distributors in Canada, Captain Benoit was the Department of Militia & Defence purchasing agent.)
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

Offline Snake Oil

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2023, 04:27:59 AM »
Snake Oil … I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but now that the correct link to the auction has been posted and I have examined the markings, I regret to advise that they are fake … rather typical of the "Khyber Pass Specials" individually handmade mostly in the Darra region of Pakistan...

Perhaps you will be lucky and be dealing with a reputable seller who will agree to abort the sale and return your money … with the added bonus that you might not have to stay on the couch
 


Well that is wholly disheartening!! Now I may want to stay on the couch and pout!!
A day shooting is good for what ails ya!

Offline Major 2

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2023, 06:52:07 AM »
" I'm not sure what era the label posted by Major2 relates to, but suspect it is from well into the 20th century"

Grant is the man... the date on that label (before I copied it, and photo chopped the date) (photo)

was 4 / 1 / 19 handwritten in black ink, so post WW 1 era... Grant is spot on.  :)

I use the label on my handloaded 303's range ammo for my SMLE  Mk 3*
 

 
when planets align...do the deal !

Offline Snake Oil

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2023, 11:14:08 AM »
Well... if it is shootable... does a Kyber pass, pass as a Gaf gun?
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Offline Major 2

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2023, 11:56:07 AM »
I feel for you Sir,  :( 
A very good friend bid and won a original Schofield on GB, he paid via Credit Union Money Order.
All seemed to be in order, Seller had many Kudos and a preferred GB rating.
 Issued arose when the gun did not arrive @ friend's FFL. the Tracking number turned out bogus.
Background on the seller, proved to be in CHINA !   
GB claimed innocence and would not intervene even though GB's high rating. 
The Seller, responded but would do nothing, claimed the carrier was at fault (that Bogus carrier that is)

For that reason alone, I will never again deal with GB, and their new account rules you must agree to absolve them from any litigation or fraudulent claims.

  Fortunately, my friend's Credit Union found in his favor, and he received a refund some 6 weeks later.
 
when planets align...do the deal !

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2023, 11:58:06 AM »
Well... if it is shootable... does a Kyber pass, pass as a Gaf gun?
I think that it would equate to the various other reproductions we are allowed to use …
 
Just be very cautious in getting it checked if you go that route.
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

Offline Snake Oil

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2023, 03:28:47 PM »
Upon arrival, it is very obvious a Kyber, which is not as listed... the fair bore is in impact poor... I can't find rifling in it. And worst of all (but maybe salvation) the stock is cracked... two nice chips out of it... so maybe a shipping claim, but really a poor listing!  Guess I am back on the hunt, albeit much slower to save myself from the couch... and have to wait for a refund or something from this one... the last time this happened did not end too well in my favor (out $100, but better than the $1000 I paid). I think I might be done with gunbroker...
A day shooting is good for what ails ya!

Offline Niederlander

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2023, 08:03:10 PM »
I've always thought it would be cool to convert a Martini Henry to .45-70 to make it a bit less expensive to shoot.  Are you stuck on getting a carbine?  If you want a rifle I'd try IMA.
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Offline RoyceP

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2023, 08:49:04 PM »
Upon arrival, it is very obvious a Kyber, which is not as listed... the fair bore is in impact poor... I can't find rifling in it. And worst of all (but maybe salvation) the stock is cracked... two nice chips out of it... so maybe a shipping claim, but really a poor listing!  Guess I am back on the hunt, albeit much slower to save myself from the couch... and have to wait for a refund or something from this one... the last time this happened did not end too well in my favor (out $100, but better than the $1000 I paid). I think I might be done with gunbroker...

For sure it sounds like a return. GB is not the problem it is the dishonest seller.

Offline Niederlander

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Re: A very merry Christmas to me... as I sleep on the couch!!
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2023, 09:24:00 PM »
Sometimes not even dishonest, just clueless.
"There go those Nebraskans, and all hell couldn't stop them!"

 

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