Original Martini-Henry Afghanistan Kabul Arsenal Type 4 Carbine

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. At first look this is a highly desirable Martini Henry cavalry carbine dated 1883 and stamped as manufactured by Enfield in North London.

However, thanks to the Vern (a member of the British Militaria forums) we know it's a beautifully made copy, made by British Engineers stationed in the Kabul Armory in Afghanistan in the 1890s.

This is one of the best examples we’ve ever seen of a copied British cavalry carbine out of Afghanistan. For a Martini collector seeking the odd and unusual, this is the one. The fit, finish, and condition are excellent and unlike the soft metal Khyber Pass rifles of the past, the Kabul Arsenal carbine used to make it is considered by most Martini collectors as a real Martini and potentially safe shooter in its own right.

During the period of the Great Game between Russia and Great Britain, the Brits were concerned about Russian encroachment upon their colonial territories in India and Pakistan. Afghanistan was looked upon as a strategic buffer. With a newly established relationship and funding from the U.K., the Afghanistan Amir, Abdul Rahman, sought to expand his industrial and manufacturing base by modernizing the Mashin Kana or Machine Shops for textile, leather, metal goods, minting, and armaments production.

With British consent, he persuaded Salter Pyne, an Englishman with gun industry experience, to transfer from his station in India to become the Emir’s lead engineer in charge of the Mashin Kana and specifically, the manufacture of arms and munitions. By the 1890s, with western machinery in place, the arsenal began turning out its first Martinis patterned off British War Department arms of the day. They were quick to evolve into production-line manufacturing of Martinis with standardized, machined, and interchangeable parts, favorably comparable to many of the arms coming out of the contemporary Belgian and Birmingham industries.

This fine example is fully functional and complete. While the markings on the receiver face are typical and representative of those being touted on other sites, the comparison stops there. The crown is full and balanced, the letters of Enfield are bold, readable, and aligned, the other features are equally as clear. The bluing is even in tone and application, and the overall condition of the metalwork and stock show a matching combination of even, but not excessive, wear expected of a century old workhorse.

This is a lovely example of what it is and actually dates to the 1890s and was produced "on site" for political as well as economic reasons.

Not to be confused with the low end crude Kyber Pass Martinis, this was professionally manufactured by British trained gunsmiths in the Kabul Armory.

A fine example of an interesting Martini variant, however, as with any antique gun please be sure to have a trained gunsmith inspect it before attempted firing.

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