Original Nepalese P-1878 Martini Francotte Experimental Pattern with Side Lever
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is perhaps the only rifle of its kind on earth. It is an experimental design built by the Gurkha master gun makers of Nepal and deviates from the standard Nepalese 1878 pattern Francotte martini rifle in that it has a side lever, as opposed to a drop down lever, mounted on the side of the action. We believe this was an attempt to improve on both the standard Francotte system and the British Martini-Henry.
Not only does this side lever make loading easier and faster the lever does not penetrate into the action like a cocking indicator does on a British Martini-Henry. The standard Francotte system allowed the entire action to drop out the receiver for cleaning and repair but it lacked a cocking indicator that made it difficult for soldiers to tell if their gun was loaded and ready to fire. As a safety precaution the British added a cocking indicator to their design but this didn’t allow for the action to withdraw from the receiver in one piece. By adding a cocking indicator, that does not penetrate the rest of the action, to this experimental Francotte the Nepalese improved on both designs, yes, they were very accomplished gun makers. This rifle is perhaps the only surviving example on earth of this unique improvement, making it extremely rare and important.
History of the Francotte rifle:
In 1878 the Francotte patent Martini System was granted utilizing a detachable mechanism fitted without the Cocking Indicator. Revolutionary at the time by compartmentalizing the mechanism for quick disassembly, it only lasted 10 years as the latest technology. It was replaced in 1888 by the .303 cal Lee Metford bolt action Rifle's introduction into the British Military System. Although the British never embraced this European improvement, these "Improved System Rifles" saw much service on frontiers all over the World.
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