why would a martini henry have no date on it?

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why would a martini henry have no date on it?

Postby gwalchmai » 12 May 2016 11:11

Ive seen a martini henry Mk II that I am interested in buying. It has military marks but no date. Just wondered why no date?
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Re: why would a martini henry have no date on it?

Postby RobD » 12 May 2016 18:31

This is not how the rifle would have started life. The likely reason is that the receiver has been linished, and all the markings are gone. This usually means one of two things:
(a) It was badly pitted, and the linishing has been done by a civilian
(b) it was linished prior to re-issue in 1894 to the Kingdom of Nepal.
The clue to (b) is that it will have NEP and N.S. stamped on the barrel under the rear right base, will have Nepalese markings on the buttstcok, and may / may not have Nepalese markings on the loading lever or trigger guard.
If you can post pictures of the rifle, it will be easier to advise.
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Re: why would a martini henry have no date on it?

Postby gwalchmai » 12 May 2016 19:18

thanks Rob,

No pics as isnt mine, just wanted to check of the no date was normal. I know they didnt make them, but the supplier is Army and Navy
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Re: why would a martini henry have no date on it?

Postby gwalchmai » 12 May 2016 21:53

Oh and it does have british army markings on it
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Re: why would a martini henry have no date on it?

Postby ED, in Los Angeles » 13 May 2016 02:46

Actually, the British army markings may be only factory and proof markings. If this gun was an "Army And Navy" store supplied gun, it was a private purchase. It would not have a date and cypher on the right action body. I have held a Lee Metford or Lee Enfield some years ago that was an Army And Navy store gun and the receipt from the store was present with the gun. It was custom engraved (the gun, not the receipt) and had the name of the officer who bought the gun engraved on the action or barrel. The officers name was also on the receipt. It was absolutely a beautiful long arm. It was in a persons collection and not for sale...............A guy can dream though.
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Re: why would a martini henry have no date on it?

Postby RobD » 13 May 2016 17:28

Like Ed says, Army & Navy indicates this is a civilian rifle - identical to the military pattern but this example not supplied to the military by the govt. You won't find broad arrows or the Queen's crown on the rifle, though the inspection and proof marks will look "military" with crossed penant and crowns etc. If you do find broad arrows on barrel bands, trigger guard, etc then it is a "bitsa" to which military parts have contributed.
There are many examples of MH rifles which are like yours; it is rare for them to be dated, but you can say that was made some time after 1875 and likely before 1890. It could be officer's private purchase - though more likely is it was for a Volunteer unit, or for sale in the colonies etc.
The manufacturer was probably BSA, Webley, Westley Richards, or similar.

Army & Navy is the retailer.

I undertsand you are interested to buy it - If you can post or PM me pictures of the rifle I can hazard a guess at what would be a fair price. Have a look at International Military Antiques website to see what ex-Nepal rifles go for, and in what condition!
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Re: why would a martini henry have no date on it?

Postby Will Mathieson » 16 May 2016 02:02

Buyer beware at IM USA as some items are misidentified or outright copies sold as originals.
Martini Henrys are original but bottom of the barrel condition.
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Re: why would a martini henry have no date on it?

Postby gwalchmai » 21 May 2016 13:07

many thanks for all the info. Have decided to leave it :)
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