Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   THE MARTINI HENRY. (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=16123)

trenchwarfare 30th April 2014 03:39 PM

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The above mentioned pistol, reminded of the one I have. While most of these are in .303 caliber, this one is in a .25 caliber "Rook" round. It turns out, that the British military used a modified rook cartridge as an indoor gallery/practice round. I think this one was specially commissioned as a target pistol. The rear sight I added, to replace the plastic pistol scope it was sporting when I got it.

I think this is an older model, as the fake British markings are quite crude. The guns being made today, have markings, that are spot-on. What's sad is, they take original Royal Afghan Arsenal made rifles, remove the Afghan markings, and replace them with British ones. I guess the GIs prefer British guns.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 1st May 2014 03:09 PM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by trenchwarfare
The above mentioned pistol, reminded of the one I have. While most of these are in .303 caliber, this one is in a .25 caliber "Rook" round. It turns out, that the British military used a modified rook cartridge as an indoor gallery/practice round. I think this one was specially commissioned as a target pistol. The rear sight I added, to replace the plastic pistol scope it was sporting when I got it.

I think this is an older model, as the fake British markings are quite crude. The guns being made today, have markings, that are spot-on. What's sad is, they take original Royal Afghan Arsenal made rifles, remove the Afghan markings, and replace them with British ones. I guess the GIs prefer British guns.


Salaams trenchwarfare..Amazing weapon. Here are a few I found on the web. It seems these were also made up the Khyber....as were many of the rifles.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi

trenchwarfare 1st May 2014 11:03 PM

Yes, these are very interesting pistols. Wish I hadn't let the other one I had, get away. Rule number one at a gun show: If you don't wanna sell it, leave it at the house!

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 11th May 2014 09:21 AM

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Salaams All ~ I have to record the following detail en masse~ since it is vital for our records~ from the newspaper The Muscat Daily, by M. Najmuz Zafar,
October 15, 2012.

Quote".At the end of the 19th century tribes across the Middle East region - even as far away as Afghanistan - were labelled by the firearm they preferred, ie, a Snider tribe, or a Martini tribe. With Muscat being the small arms centre or entrepôt for the whole region and beyond, and its special preference for Martini Henrys, it was perhaps a Martini tribe..

One Belgian offer in 1907 alone was for 50,000 absolutely new military Martini Henrys along with 8mn cartridges. In 1908 in Muscat there were 5,000 Martinis marked ‘Martini Masqat’, probably of German origin but priced at only R40 (290bz; in those days Indian rupee was the local currency in Oman) with 100 rounds, while those with the Enfield Factory roundel still visible on the butt commanded R70 (508bz).

Presenting these facts and more at the recently concluded annual conference of the International Committee for Museums of Arms and Military History (ICOMAM) in the wilayat of Nizwa, Dr Christopher Roads threw light on historic arms like the abu futilla and the somma (Martini Henry), which are part and parcel of a cultural heritage unique to Oman, but surprisingly little is known about their origin.

Dr Roads for the last 15 years researched and restored thousands of historic firearms and artillery in the sultanate, and is the managing director of Historic Arms, Exhibitions and Forts.

From 1996 to 2002, he covered most of the country in search for historic ordnance and small arms. “One of the messages that came over clearly almost everywhere was that ‘these are our arms and they have always been here’. It is therefore reasonable to presume that the arms that we eventually gathered in for maintenance or restoration reflected past local circumstances.

"That they were, in effect, the arms that the arms trade, centred around Muscat, had provided. Obviously there would have been some dilution, some exchange with neighbours but, by and large, they reflected earlier preferences,” he said.

Going into the history of small firearms, Dr Roads said that no flintlock guns of any description seem to have been found in Oman. Documentary sources endorse the view that most tribes went from matchlock muskets (abu futilla) straight to breechloading rifled arms, usually the Martini Henry, though in some cases it may have been a quantum leap from matchlock to the .303 Lee Enfield.

“No pistols have been recorded except the Mauser (C96) 7.63 at the Bait al Zubair Museum and which belonged to the father of H E Mohammed al Zubair, although many were offered for sale in Muscat.

"For example the Mauser C96 was on sale for R74 (537bz) with 400 rounds thrown in - there were no fewer than 500 of these for sale. Personal armament was the musket or rifle plus sword and khanjar. Distribution of types today reflects, as one might expect, trading routes and trading ports and a strong conservatism.”

Turning to the matchlock abu futilla, he said it is hard to pinpoint the origin of these deeply fluted barrels with prominent poinçons (proofmarks). “Our quest for Portuguese examples of these early matchlocks has failed both in specimens and illustrations. So the legend that their very distinctive fluted barrels demonstrate a Portuguese origin remains exactly that.”

However, he added that the most striking fact is that these matchlocks with side plates resemble quite markedly some matchlocks from the Scinde, (the British spelling for the province of Sindh when they ruled it during 1850s). “With the Sea of Oman connections to Gwadar going back many centuries, it seems more likely that Scinde designs would be found on the Omani coast.”

Coming back to Martinis, Dr Roads said that the greatest density of Martini Henrys were in the area around Muscat and the lowest around Salalah. “Ex-French military arms are far more frequent at Mirbat, Sadah and Taqah castles near Salalah than anywhere else in the country.”

On his exploration drives around the sultanate in various castles, Dr Roads found Martini Henrys in large numbers. In Ras al Hadd castle, there were 34 arms. All, save one, were Martini Henrys and the odd one was a .303 Martini Enfield.

In another isolated castle in Mintirib, where alongside 20 Martini Henrys nestled five serious matchlocks, three percussion trade guns, one Gras and, strangely, one Snider.

“Sniders are rare in the sultanate’s castles, but not in the country. All those encountered are of BSA 1875 make and believed to have been originally intended for Portuguese-occupied West Africa. A large number, perhaps exceeding 1,000 were in one of the royal armouries and today they are common on the walls of officers’ messes.”

In the relatively isolated castle of Sunay Silah on the coast near Sur, 26 Martinis and one Gras were found. But one of the Martini Henrys was a Mark IV long lever - the first to that date encountered in the sultanate and still there are very few indeed. Perhaps more interesting was another Martini Henry, Serial number 8282, which still had its full military forend and original cleaning rod inside it.

Also on the coast is Quriyat. It shares with Sunay Silah the presence of a complete British military Martini Henry made by the NA & A Co Ltd in 1880. “From the superb quality of its silver work this must have been the prized possession of a sheikh who had imported it privately.”

In Quriyat only 13 guns were found, ten being Martini Henrys. In Jaalan Bani bu Hassan castle, out of 51 guns, all are Martinis, save five Gras and four trade guns from an earlier era.

At Nakhal castle there were 43 guns which interestingly included a number of Belgian Francotte arms, including their superb Martini look-alikes, but with the entire mechanism immediately detachable within a frame (CA059). All the arms here were Martini types and a strong reminder of the immense extent of Belgian sales.

At Rustaq, not far away but buried rather more deeply in the mountains, there were about 78 arms, predominantly Martinis, but with five matchlocks and a very interesting percussion ultra-small bore birding gun.

And at Jabrin, far away on the other side of the mountains and therefore very isolated, all the guns were also Martinis except for one Gras, one Werndl, one Mauser 1898 and one Winchester 1866 (CA49). The Winchester bears no marks to elucidate its journey there. Perhaps it has come via Saudi Arabia from Turkey.

At Nizwa and in its region over 120 arms were noted. Again Martinis were dominant but 23 were jezails and a Mauser 1898, two Lee Enfields, two Werndls and a Gras rounded off an impressive selection." Unquote.

For interest I have added below The Muscat Arms Seller artwork that could be as late as the early 20th C..and which I found as part of the modern portfolio of literature at Barka Fort last week.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Norman McCormick 11th May 2014 06:56 PM

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Hi,
Muscat Martini cal .303., reputedly for the Sultan of Muscat's Camel Corps.
Regards,
Norman.


Photos, Highwood Classic Arms.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 13th May 2014 11:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi,
Muscat Martini cal .303., reputedly for the Sultan of Muscat's Camel Corps.
Regards,
Norman.


Photos, Highwood Classic Arms.



Salaams Norman... Thats a fine bit of kit... my Martini 303s look like they went in to bat against Boudicea... Yours is in pristine condition and has superb woodwork.
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 14th May 2014 04:22 PM

See http://www.klm-mra.be/icomam/downloads/issue07.pdf for general background on Martini Henry in Oman etc :shrug:

Pieje 15th May 2014 04:26 PM

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Hi all, I accidentally came by an interesting 15 pages long article “Les Martini-Henrys de Mascate. Le commerce des armes à Oman 1900-1914”…in French, but translated from Wilsey, R. Martinis from Muscat. The Arms Trade in Oman 1900-1914 published in Classic Arms and Militaria (n°XIX, fasc. 4 & 5). Here some images I scanned…

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 15th May 2014 04:59 PM

Salaams Pieje, Great pictures !!! Westley Richards... I handled one once... It has that peculiar second switch at the left ...I think for safety...can't remember...Bayt Rudaydah has the small arms museum in it...I will visit there. The Turkish, Lee Enfield, Peabody and other marks are very nice to see... :shrug: Thanks for showing those...More !!!! :)

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 16th May 2014 03:04 PM

In another report from the same source as #34 there are interesting notes on abu futtila and Martini Henry as well as on cannon (which I have recorded on the Omani Cannon thread) viz;


By M Najmuz Zafar
January 22, 2013
Muscat - Bayt Rudaydah Birkat al Mooz..

Quote''The centre houses 24 of the most treasured matchlocks of the Royal Armouries of the UK, which are on loan to Oman, apart from small arms like abu futilla (matchlock muskets) and the somma (Martini Henry) from around the Sultanate.

The entire collection of small arms at the centre was showcased to the delegates who had come from around the world at the conference of the International Committee for Museums of Arms and Military History (ICOMAM) held in Nizwa in October 2012. The delegates vouched for the collection’s uniqueness and variety, said Christopher Roads, who manages the centre at Bait ar Rudaydah.

“Oman's position is unmatched in terms of its vast reservoir of historical military arms,” said Roads, who has been in the country for the last 15 years and has contributed in restoring thousands of small arms, cannons and carriages that form the pride of Oman’s forts and castles. Roads said the conference helped shed new light on Omani firearms. “Till now it was believed that Omani matchlocks found around the coast had Portuguese origin, but that theory could not be verified directly.

However, after visiting Bait ar Rudaydah, one of the experts at the conference suggested that the matchlocks from the coasts could have European-German origin. This could be an interesting feature for a new research.” The matchlock which constitutes the vital link will be on show in the proposed limited viewings. According to Roads, another leading world expert who attended the conference said that one of the rarest cannons of British origin is present in Oman.

“The cannon belongs to the English Commonwealth era, which was from 1649 to 1660. After Charles II came back to power in 1660, he ordered defacing of all arms and cannons which had the conjoined shields of England and Scotland from the Commonwealth era. The cannon in Oman could be one of the only two known to exist from the period.

But this needs to be verified through tests before making a final judgement.” Roads believes that Oman has an amazing collection of muzzle-loading cannons and carriages from more than ten countries. “There are 27 different carriages at Barka Castle and Al Hazm Fort and there are plans to add another six. With Iberian cannon and carriages, the variety in Al Hazm far exceeds those existing in Spain and Portugal combined together.”

Roads said there is immense tourism potential in the sector. “There are about 2mn European and American travellers interested in military history, and if we want them to come to Oman we should preserve the military heritage in its original form.”Unquote.

Norman McCormick 16th May 2014 07:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
... my Martini 303s look like they went in to bat against Boudicea...



Scary lady, a bit like my wife, possibly a bigger calibre needed, perhaps something from your Forts of Oman. :eek: :eek: :eek: :D
My Regards,
Norman

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 18th May 2014 07:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Scary lady, a bit like my wife, possibly a bigger calibre needed, perhaps something from your Forts of Oman. :eek: :eek: :eek: :D
My Regards,
Norman


Salaams Norman,
Or like Mons Meg the great old cannon from your castle in Edinburgh !!
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi. :)

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 8th June 2014 05:09 PM

The details at http://www.martinihenry.com/faq.htm are interesting...particularly on the Khyber version...etc.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi. :shrug:

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 6th June 2016 11:17 AM

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As a general addition of text to a picture I posted a while ago and an excuse to fire the Martini Henry back into discussions~ For those not familiar with the weapon please see http://www.martinihenry.com/



A RARE EUROPEAN GOLD AND SILVER WIRE-INLAID SPORTING RIFLE FOR THE OTTOMAN MARKET, 19TH CENTURY

The Martini-Henry rifle with slender barrel of cast steel and wooden sighting plate with gold wire-inlaid floral motifs, the wood stock and butt plate with silver wire-inlaid ornamentation, wood butt plate also comprises carving of military devices.

Martini rifles were supplied to the Ottoman forces in large numbers. Following the victory of the Prussians in Europe in 1866, the Ottomans instituted major military reforms inaugurated by Hussein Avni Pasha in 1869. As a result, in the war against Russia in 1877-8, Ottoman troops
were armed with Martini Henry and Snider rifles as well as the new metal cartridge which the Russians did not yet possess.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 7th June 2016 10:59 PM

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:) Below Henry+11th+Hussars+Gordon+Relief+Expedition in the black and white photo.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 4th January 2017 09:39 PM

For a fascinating paper on how the flow of guns developed in Arabia in the late 19thC. with some emphasis on Martini Henrys but involving politics and intrigue at the time and a distilled appreciation of the bigger regional picture ...

see http://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/c...pen_access_etds

The author suggests collusion in using the slave trade to mask the ever growing arms trade used to import huge amounts of rifles through Arabia for Afghanistan among other recipients... :shrug:

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 6th January 2017 01:13 PM

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Sketch of Arms being unloaded at Muscat. :shrug:

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 15th July 2017 03:42 PM

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Picture of the business end... :shrug: Amazingly cutting the woodwork back and sawing several inches off the barrel and thereby losing the bayonet lug...this weapon lost hardly any accuracy and to my knowledge represents one of the lightest and most powerful combat rifles ever made !

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 17th July 2017 02:35 PM

The best reference on Martini Henry is still I believe http://www.martinihenry.com/ and with a very good Bibliography. :shrug:

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi. :shrug:

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 29th September 2017 04:21 PM

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This is about as ornate as they come second only to the gold inlaid weapon on this thread earlier.....The Martini Henry. :shrug:

Jon MB 9th October 2017 09:05 AM

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I have a Belgian export Martini Henry, with Omani-type decoration, but in the meantime here are two pics from Nizwa: A man strolling in the street with a Martini, maybe to have repaired or to sell, and then some merchants, with the son tackling the rusted breech of a Lee Enfield No.4 MK1 with a pocket knife.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 10th October 2017 10:32 PM

Great pictures and typical of a scene in a gun shop in Oman with several hundred years of technology all clashing together !!! :shrug:

A. G. Maisey 10th October 2017 11:31 PM

This is probably off topic, but I love the Martini action, and I just couldn't resist throwing this comment into the pool.

There is a small version of the Martini action that is known as the Martini Cadet, in Australia it was used to train school cadets in use of the rifle, which at that time was considered to be essential for the defence of our country, the idea was that every man in Australia should be able to handle a rifle with competence.

In about 1958 the Australian defence forces sold these Cadet Martinis and they became available to the general public through firearms retailers. When they first hit the market they sold for ten shillings each. After a few months the price went up to twenty shillings (one pound) and it bounced around at that level for a long time.

As soon as they hit the market I bought 6 or 8 of these Martinis, I had a Sydney gunsmith named Don Black do conversions on them to various calibres --- .218Bee, .219 Zipper, and in the early 1960's to a rimmed version of the .222 Remington, plus a few others. One of these Remington conversions was done by a precision gunsmith named Bill Marden, it used a sleeved barrel and for a short time held a benchrest record for its weight class. I made the wood for all these conversions, used each one for a short time, then sold it.

Over the years I did perhaps as many as 20 or so Martini conversions. I've still got three, a couple of .218 Bees and a .22 rimfire.

I love Martinis, they are a purely beautiful action.

Apart from the Martini Cadets, I've also owned a couple of Hammerli Free Pistols, again, beautiful machines.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 11th October 2017 12:37 AM

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Here are 3 I dug up off https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/bri...dets-t9246.html on the web....

A. G. Maisey 11th October 2017 01:31 AM

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Martini Cadet conversion, circa 1961, metal work Don Black, Lithgow barrel, chambered for .218K Bee (similar to Mashburn Bee), Pecar 4X scope, I did the stock.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 16th October 2017 03:53 PM

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The Battle of Maiwand.

War: Second Afghan War

Date of the Battle of Maiwand: 27th July 1880.

Place of the Battle of Maiwand: West of Kandahar in Southern Afghanistan.

kahnjar1 16th October 2017 06:48 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
This is about as ornate as they come second only to the gold inlaid weapon on this thread earlier.....The Martini Henry. :shrug:

Interesting stock shape on this one.......It strongly resembles the Albanian Rasak stock.
Was there a caption with this pic and if so what did it say?
Stu

grendolino 16th October 2017 07:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Interesting stock shape on this one.......It strongly resembles the Albanian Rasak stock.
Was there a caption with this pic and if so what did it say?
Stu


It is Rasak. Or rather Kariophili. The letters along the barrel are greek.

eftihis 16th October 2017 07:45 PM

It has a Greek inscription in Niello mentionimg the maker (decorator)

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 17th October 2017 01:04 PM

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Yes it looks like a Greek Version of the Martini Henry...Meanwhile here is a weapon from up the Khyber. :shrug:


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