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  1. #1
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    Default Gehendra vs. Standard Martini-Henry

    Hello all! I am considering the purchase of a Martini-Henry and was wondering if there are any real differences in the quality and shoot-ability of the Gehendras as compared to the standard British Martini-Henrys. I have heard that the Gehendra's actions are generally weaker and that it is recommended not to shoot them as frequently as the standard Martini-Henrys. I've also heard they are of poorer quality. Is this true or rumor? I really would like a historic Martini-Henry rifle variant that won't be damaged by shooting! Thanks all!

  2. #2
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    Since I don't own a Gahendra I can't say for sure but that seems to be the general consensus here. Lighter loads with 75 grains of 1F BP is considered about top end for these rifles because of the lap welded barrels. HTH

  3. #3
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    The Martini Henry is the better quality weapon especially if you are looking for a shooter. The Gahendra is not the same quality, but can be shot with careful loading paying particular attention to match bullet to bore diameter. If you shoot it regular you need to watch it closely for signs of headspace developing.

    If your barrel is mandrel welded and it's going to let go you will get no warning. Although the barrels of the Gahendra are supposed to be mandrel welded, some of the later model guns have barrels that do not appear to be lap welded. I not sure about that, but that is the way it appears to me.

    I need to make friends with a DR. with an x-ray machine in his garage.
    Douglas

    "And don't forget. That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it, and pass it on with pride. It deserves it." Malcolm Cobb, The Martini Henry Note-book
    *********
    To find things Martini go to: WWW.MartiniHenry.com

  4. #4
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    texasrifleman

    (IMHO )this is the way I would rate the Nepal cache for getting a shooter


    MK IV British made best chance
    MK II British made good chance
    MK I ,II British made good chance
    Gehendra Henry Nepal made more than fare chance
    Francotte Henry Nepal made slim chance

    all these rifles need to have to have there bores and throats slugged before shooting, and the Nepal's I would not put over 75 grns of 1F powder in them, because the Nepal powder was not up to par with British powder

    NORM

  5. #5
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    Apparently there are 3 different Gahendra barrels:
    Mandrel welded twist, or laminated - the simplest form of damascus. Strong if done properly but quality control and rusting in the welds is a problem.
    Lap welded - prone to breaking along the weld line, especially if hit on the outside of the barrel. Remington dropped this type of barrel in the early 1850's after a substantial investment in the process.
    Drawn and bored - modern type of construction, seamless.
    Fortunately mine is the last, and the only type I consider safe to shoot.
    I swear by Jupiter Optimus Maximus .... in the army of the consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus and for 10 miles around it I will not steal anything worth more than a sestertius in any one day.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the insight! Sounds like I will be looking for a Standard Mark IV or III...perhaps a Gehendra a bit later on. On the topic of reloading for the Mark IV/III I have heard that reloading data for a 45/70, though on the light side of course, would provide safe and effective results. Is this true? Thanks again!

  7. #7
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    The 45/70 load is 70 grains of BP, the 577/450 is 85 grains of BP.

    In order to use 45/70 loads you are going to have to use fillers. Not realy a big deal, just another step loading and a small learning curve.

    I haven't had much sucess under 70 grains.

    I am going to agree and disagree with with Norm. There is a good chance of getting a shooter good with either a MkIV or MKII, but you will have to slug the bore of the MkIV since there are two different barrel configurations. You don't really need to slug the MkII, just use .468 bullets.
    Douglas

    "And don't forget. That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it, and pass it on with pride. It deserves it." Malcolm Cobb, The Martini Henry Note-book
    *********
    To find things Martini go to: WWW.MartiniHenry.com

  8. #8
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    What is reason for the difference in the prices of MkII rifles and MkIV rifles? Mk II rifles are more expensive; is it due to the standardized barrel dimensions?

  9. #9
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    Most likely Market driven and this was the case before IMA brought these guns in.

    The MK II's were first line British Military rifles and may even be traceable to historic events depending on if marks on the rifle can be deciphered. The Mk IV were considered weapons for Colonial Troops. They are just a steeped in history as the MkII but not regularly used by British Troops.

    Because of age and deterioration and modification there are fewer MK II's surviving.

    There is a greater demand for slope backs of the Mk I-III's than the humback of the MK IV.
    Douglas

    "And don't forget. That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it, and pass it on with pride. It deserves it." Malcolm Cobb, The Martini Henry Note-book
    *********
    To find things Martini go to: WWW.MartiniHenry.com

  10. #10
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    For a regular shooter, you should stick to the Brit made rifles. The best of the lot are the MK IV, BUT and this is a big BUT for some, they are not the classic MH that saw all the noted actions. The MK II or MK I converted to MK II cost more because of their market demand for rifles of the Zulu war period. Which is also why the 1880s dated MK II rifles are less than the earlier ones. In point of fact, they aren't as good of shooters in general because they've received more wear and the pinned forearms are often soft and prone to breakage.....especially if one shoots a MK II from a rest, a shooting position never envisioned in their creation and one that puts undue stress on the pinned area of the forearm. Of course this is a generalization and the fact that all of these passed the century mark years ago, makes individual condition all important.

    The Gahendras can be a joy to own and shoot and I now have 5 of them. However as noted the barrels are their primary issue, which is why they were retired with the introduction of Brit surplus ammo as military aid. A burst barrel can ruin your whole day. That said, shooting correctly sized bullets with light loads, I've never had any problems with them. But I wouldn't use them as a regular shooter for a number of reasons, starting with they are handmade and parts don't interchange. Of course is you are a trained machinist and love the challenge of making one of a kind replacement parts, this is less an issue.
    Rich in West Virginia, savoring life one cartridge at a time.

  11. #11
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    I would have to say the best M-H to shoot is the Mk.III. Has the improved forearm, but not the ugly, long lever of the Mk. IV.

  12. #12
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    I recently purchased a Gahendra and have been told to slug the bore using a .50 cal round ball(soft lead) to check bore diameter. Also to use 70 to 75 grains of powder for the reloads. havent shot the rifle yet but am planning to soon. As far as powder loads go, I only want a low load due to the age of the rifle. I havent heard of any "weaker actions" as of yet.

  13. #13
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    Has anybody here had a barrel burst on a gahendra , seems like we all are aware of this problem barrel but has anybody had a problem or better yet has IMA or atlanta seen a burst barrel from this group of weapons . They had a bunch of parts guns with broken stocks lets get a couple and strap them down and blow them up then we will have a better idea of these guns capabilities

  14. #14
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    Have I seen one burst before my eyes? No. Have I seen barrels with lap weld separations? Yes, in the Atlanta Cutlery parts rifles piles. They have also been reported on the Web over the years, although I don't have first hand knowledge of what the loads were that led to them and given the range of weird loading info you can find, who knows. It is important to note that Gahendra barrels come in three forms. Lap welded in a spiral pattern, linear lap welded barrels and mono tubes. I suspect that relative strength probably follows the order listed in, with the mono tubes being best….but only as a generalization that may or may not apply to any given barrel.

    The fact that they were retired for this problem is simply history and noted in the books on the Nepal cache. Since they are individually hand made barrels by individual craftsmen, you have the problem that no two are alike, so the performance of one has little bearing on the performance of another. Lap welded barrels were widely used until the early 19th century and indeed most of the long rifles of fame were lap welded barrels....although mainly linear and not spiral like the most common form found in the Gahendra. Either way hand forged lap welded barrels under primitive conditions (whether on the American frontier or in Nepalese villages where the Gahendra blanks were made) are going to have inconsistencies. As such, blowing up one tells you little about any other barrel, particularly since major bore diameter is inconsistent as well.
    Rich in West Virginia, savoring life one cartridge at a time.

  15. #15
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    A peculiarity about lap welding and the reason Remington dropped it is that it may pass proof testing and be perfectly strong when shooting but if the barrel gets a sharp whack at just the right point the lap weld will break. And of course the next shot you fire will probably blow it wide open. This problem apparently doesn't exist with the barrels welded up on a mandrel from spirals of smaller strips or wire as I've seen plenty of Damascus and laminated barrels with bad dents and no breaks. But in the Gahendra they still have the problems of potentialy poor workmanship and corrosion from long storage in bad conditions.
    I swear by Jupiter Optimus Maximus .... in the army of the consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus and for 10 miles around it I will not steal anything worth more than a sestertius in any one day.

  16. #16
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    The amount of black powder has a less of an effect on pressure than you think really what causes higher pressure in the barrel is bullet seat in the bore and bullet weight . The amount of powder in the barrel don't cause more pressure because black powder burns relatively slow and the bullet exits the barrel before the charge is fully burned , at some point more powder = more smoke and little if any gain in velocity or pressure I suspect there were defective barrels but the real cause of barrel failure was bad bullets or a very dirty barrel that caused pressure spikes .

  17. #17
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    It isn't the pressure by itself that breaks the barrels, it's the construction method...welding seams, no matter what kind of welding is used have a history of failure in gun barrels, usually after many years. Not all welded barrels will fail, some may never fail, you just have to guess which one will fail.
    Douglas

    "And don't forget. That isn't your Martini you have. It belonged to others before you and will belong to others after you are gone. Look after it, and pass it on with pride. It deserves it." Malcolm Cobb, The Martini Henry Note-book
    *********
    To find things Martini go to: WWW.MartiniHenry.com

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