Original Rare Nepalese P-1878 Martini-Henry Francotte Patent Short Lever Infantry Rifle

Item Description

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, as with many of the areas in the Empire,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 in 1878 and promptly put it into production. It "improved" the British 1871 version in that the "action" was removable as one unit and, not only as parts as the British Rifle. However by so doing the Francotte was not fitted with a "Cocking Indicator" which turned out to be a serious drawback.

The Nepalese/Gurkhas manufactured the Francotte until they adopted the Martini-Gahendra in 1885. They also did experiment with the Francotte cocking indicator project but was a short lived venture. A great innovation however developed too late to become standard issue having been replaced by the Gahendra Martini Rifle.

All Martini manufacture stopped abruptly in 1894 when Great Britain relented, and allowed the release of thousands of British Martini Henry Short Levers into Nepal, followed by Long Lever Martini Henry Rifles in 1904 and 1908. 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 V during that year.

This nice example is one of the very few that we received that were able to be restored to complete condition. It has been fully restored, and is actually in quite nice shape for its age and what it has been through. It cycles, cocks, and dry fires with a hard trigger pull. The barrel still shows clear Henry style rifling, though the last few inches closest to the muzzle show significant oxidation.

A rare Francotte Martini circa 1885 in cleaned and restored condition, ready to display!

More on the Francotte Martini 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.


Years of Manufacture: circa 1885
Caliber: .577/450 Martini–Henry
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 33 Inches

Overall Length: 49 3/4 Inches
Action type: Lever Action Falling Block
Feed System: Single Shot

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