Original Nepalese 1878 Francotte Martini Rifle With Cocking Indicator
Original Item: Only one available. The Kingdom of Nepal in the Himalayas, a State under British "influence" since 1816, was constantly in need of the latest Military Equipment with which to discourage their neighbors. However, the British were reluctant to give them the latest technology. When the British adopted the Martini Henry in 1871, this was not an item Britain was ready to share, but the Nepalese found a Belgian "improved Martini," the Francotte pattern, in 1878 and promptly put it into production.
It "improved" off the British 1871 version in that the action was removable as one unit and not only as parts, as with the British version of the rifle. However by so doing the Francotte was not fitted with a cocking indicator, which turned out to be a serious drawback in practice. The Nepalese/Gurkhas manufactured the Francotte until they adopted the Martini Gahendra in 1885, but they did experiment with equipping the Francotte with a cocking indicator as well.
Only a few of these were ever made, of which this is an example. The theory behind it is that the indicator is positioned at the bottom of the action, so it indexes into a slot at the bottom edge of the Martini Receiver right side plate. In this way, it slides out with the action when the rifle is disassembled, retaining the "improvement" of the Francotte pattern.
This was a great innovation, however it was developed too late to become standard issue, having been replaced by the Gahendra Martini Rifle. All Martini manufacturing then stopped abruptly in 1894 when Great Britain relented and allowed the release of thousands of British Martini Henry Short Levers into Nepal. Long Lever Martini Henry Rifles followed in 1904 and 1908, and by 1912 Britain had gifted Nepal 2,000 of the most current P-1907 S.M.L.E. Rifles in time for the State Visit of King George Vi during that year.
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