Original British Martini-Henry Afghanistan Contract Carbine by Braendlin Armoury with Faux Enfield Markings

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. We received this as part of a large old-time British arms collection, and it really is a very nice piece. Martini-Henry Carbines are quite hard to find, especially in the original .577/.450 chambering, as many were converted to .303 British. The markings on the carbine show that it definitely has had a somewhat interesting history, and came out of Afghanistan before it was added to the collection.

In 1839 the British invaded Afghanistan with over 3,000 troops, attempting to expand the empire. In 1841 just one survivor emerged, a Military Surgeon, while the remaining all had perished. In 1878 a Second British Invasion was attempted and by 1880 it appeared that Afghanistan was firmly under British Control. Masses of men and material were poured in including Military Armorers and local production on British machinery by British workers started making small arms for use of the British Authorities in Afghanistan. This also allowed the Emir of Afghanistan to order from Non-Military sources based in Great Britain.

One of the most well-known private producers at the time was Braendlin Armory, which was owned by one of the major players in the Birmingham Small Arms Co, William Tranter. The company produced many Martini-Henry action rifles, and according to some sources made parts under contract to RSAF Enfield. The quality of manufacture was very high, about the same level as the government factories. They also made many sporting rifles, and also rifles for foreign contracts.

One of these was for the Emir of Afghanistan, and was placed in the 1880s for various weapons, including Martini-Henry Cavalry carbines, which is how this carbine ended up in the country. The left side of the receiver is marked THE BRAENDLIN ARMOURY Co., and the top of the barrel knoxform has the Braendlin Armory logo. The barrel also bears the correct Birmingham proofs on the left side, so this is definitely a British produced carbine.

However, at some point after that, probably while still in Afghanistan, effort was made to make the rifle look more like a British Military issue rifle, so the markings on the right side of a receiver were copied from another carbine. These are still quite legible, however they are definitely fake, and were added at a later time, as Braendlin marked arms should have a blank right receiver:

C I C o

The markings are quite well executed, but close examination and comparison with the real thing shows that they are not quite right. However, it still is a high quality British carbine, in spite of these added markings.The barrel is still the correct 21.3 inches, and the front sight is intact, with the "wings" still present. It also retains the correct short original ladder back sight.

The bore in very good shape, with clear lands and grooves, and some oxidation in areas. No finish remains to the metalwork, but many proof marks are still apparent, as well as additional arsenal numbers. This is definitely a carbine wit a long service history. There are no sling swivels presently, but there is a hole drilled through the stock, and the trigger guard could accommodate a sling swivel. The original ramrod is included, but it looks to be a repaired replacement.

In very nice service worn condition, ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1880s
Caliber: .577/.450
Ammunition Type: .577/.450 Martini-Henry
Barrel Length: 21 inches 
Overall Length: 37 1/2 inches

Action: Falling Block Lever Action
Feed System: Single Shot

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