Original British P-1871 Martini-Henry MkI/II Short Lever Rifle marked Enfield 1873 - No Colonial Markings

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The Martini-Henry MkII rifle is best known for its use in the Zulu War at the Battle of Rorke's Drift on 22nd January 1879. This battle was the iconic defense of the mission station by a small force of British and colonial troops; which saw a record award of Victoria Crosses and restored the faith of Victorian Britain in the Army.

The Martini-Henry is probably the most famous military rifle of the Victorian era incorporating the early short lever with 33" barrel in the new .45 caliber. This was the first manufactured breech loader to be adopted for general issue by the British Army. Internationally known for its role in the movies "Zulu" and "Zulu Dawn" it should be noted that at the Battle of Isandhlnana in January 1879 where the British lost its entire command of 1300 men, the Zulu's suffered in excess of 2000 casualties. Followed by the memorable action at Rorke's Drift, the Martini Henry Rifle more than any other represents British Colonial rule during the Victorian era.

This fine example came to us from a private collect, and unlike other Martini-Henry rifles we have sold, this is British Home issue. It has no Colonial, foreign, or other markings aside from the British proofs, which are all over the barrel and receiver. It was made in 1873, so it started life as a Mark I martini, and it still has the checkered butt plate and the small plug on the underside of the butt stock where the stock swivel was removed. The "Mark of Arm" marking is off center as well, indicating that it was originally just "I", with the second roman numeral struck to the right.

The receiver is marked:

(Viewed Proof)
   I I

It also still has a clear stock rondel on the right side of the butt stock.

(Broad Arrow)


This rifle really is in great shape, with beautiful honey-colored woodwork, with a very nice patina. Years of cleaning have removed the original browned finish, leaving a very nice faded look. Markings are clear and easy to see, and it functions well. Bore shows clear lands and grooves, with a bit of oxidation in the grooves.

We have had very few Martini-Henry rifles that were not out of Nepal, and virtually all on the market today came from the Nepalese cache. This is one of the few available that is not from that collection, and it is a great one.

Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1873
Caliber: .577/450 Martini-Henry
Barrel Length: 33 Inches
Overall Length: 49 Inches
Action type: Lever Action Falling Block
Feed System: Single Shot

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