Original Rare British P-1871 Martini-Henry MkI to MkII Conversion Rifle with Trigger Safety - 1874 LSA & Co

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. We just found this in our shipment from Kathmandu, Nepal. This is a standard British Martini Henry rifle complete with markings on the receiver that read:

L.S.A. & Co.



The odd thing about this rifle is that mounted on the receiver's right side is a lever pivoting at the center that clearly was part of a "safety system". We know the first Martini Henry rifles produced in 1873 known as the "MARK I" had a safety that was obsoleted in 1876 and officially removed thereafter the rifle being referred to as the "Martini Henry MARK II". Early dated Martinis Henry rifles have the "II" offset indicating that the second "I" was added once this modification was carried out, as is the case with this example. However, this safety is different from the typical MkI version.

We’ve seen safety catch additions like this before but are not aware of its origin, it prevents the trigger from being depressed, Enfield did some experiments in 1883 with a button safety catch that pivoted from the bottom of the trigger assembly in a similar fashion to this example which is incomplete.

What’s of particular interest on this piece is that the trigger assembly is Enfield, but you can see the slot in the side where the sliding safety catch of the 2nd Pattern Mk1 rifle was (omitted in September 1873).

We have never seen any safety mechanism like this we have found on this. The safety is not complete in that the linkage from the bottom end of the side lever to the trigger is absent but clearly this use was the original intention.

Not having seen this before coupled with the knowledge that the MkI had a safety mechanism later removed in 1876 convinces us that this is an exceedingly rare example of an early British Martini Henry rifle with a prototype safety mechanism.

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