Original British Martini-Metford .303 A.C.III Artillery Carbine by L.S.A. Co. dated 1881 Converted in 1895 - Deactivated Barrel

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The Martini-Metford was effectively a Martini-Henry Mk III rebarrelled to .303 and with a new extractor installed. These conversions started in 1889, and used Metford rifled barrels, which were more than suitable for the first .303 cartridges, which used black powder as a propellant. However, the Metford rifling wore out very quickly when fired with cordite/nitrocellulose cartridges (introduced in 1895) and so in 1895 the Enfield rifled barrel was introduced, which was much more satisfactory and suitable for use with "modern" (smokeless) ammunition.

Only produced for a limited time, these were essentially only service from 1889 to 1895, and were quickly supplanted by the Martini-Enfield for colonial forces. They are quite hard to find, and this is one of the very few examples we have ever had.

Please note that it is marked in several places with D.P., for "Drill Purpose", often stamped worn Rifles and Carbines that despite still being serviceable, were written off a Regiment's Inventory and a new example supplied from Central Stores. However that is definitely not the case in this example, as there has been a hole drilled into the side of the barrel directly in from of the action, which has been welded shut and a screw plug installed.

On these converted examples, the original manufacturer information would be stamped onto the right side of the action, while the left side would have information regarding the conversion. This example is marked on the right action with original maker information, which has had the Royal Cypher wear away, while the rest is still legible:

(Lock Viewer Mark)


The left side is marked with the conversion information:

(Lock Viewer Mark)
M.M. '303

This started life in England as a .577/.450 Martini MARK III in 1881, made by government contractor London Small Arms Co, just in time for the Egyptian campaign and the Battle of Tel-el-Kabir in 1884. In 1895, again at L.S.A.Co. in England, it was reconfigured into a Carbine and was converted to .303 caliber as a Martini-Metford A.C. III Artillery Carbine.

It bears a brass marking disc on the right hand side of the butt stamped with date 5. 15. over unit designation NR.C.T / 487. We unfortunately have not been able to identify this unit marking, which could be a training division where this was used during the early WWI Period. We looked, and the carbine shows NO EVIDENCE of ever leaving England's shores. A Scarce Carbine to find today.

When company director Christian Cranmer was a boy in the 1950's, England appeared to be awash with these Martini Carbines, but at that time Napoleonic Flintlocks were plentiful too. How things have changed!

This example cycles correctly and dry fires, and does have clear rifling in the barrel, however as noted previously it has been drilled into and should definitely NOT BE USED. This item is being sold as a historical piece only, and it definitely has had quite an interesting life.

A wonderful piece of British and Firearms history! An antique, already over 135 years old and ready to research and display!

The Martini action, adopted by the British in 1871 was one of the strongest ever developed and saw military service in England and the Empire, in one form or another for almost seventy years. The most famous action of course being the defense of Rorke's Drift in Natal, South Africa in the 1879 Zulu War. They saw extensive use all over the British Empire.


Year of Manufacture: 1881 - converted 1895
Caliber:  .303 British
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Overall Length: 21 Inches

Overall Length: 37 Inches
Action type: Falling-Block
Feed System: Single Shot

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