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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Northern Virginia
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    411

    Default What about Martini Henry shotguns?

    Fellows;
    I've taken a notion that a MH shotgun might be some fun. But I don't see much useful information on the web. Was there a military issued 12, 20, or 16 ga. made?
    What does the man mean by " it uses a 10/12 gauge special brass shell"?
    I'm not really thinking of something someone made up, but I prefer an 'issued' kind of gun.
    Can you point me to where I can learn more about these guns?
    Thanks,
    "If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five
    years there’d be a shortage of sand.” ~ Milton Friedman

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    1,467

    Default

    The ones I have seen used a 'necked down' shotshell with a special base to accept three prongs around the primer. The idea being it could not be used with common shot shells if captured by natives.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    Under the big sky, in the shadow of the Sweetgrass Hills
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    Default

    There are some smoothbore Martini Henry guard guns. Basically they are 45 cal guns that have the rifling reamed out of them.

    Greener made a series of shot guns on their version of the Martini action. There was a series of full stock guns for military application and standard shotgun style guns. These are not Martini Henry's.

    Never heard of the 10/12 guage. But there is a 12/13. it is a necked down brass 12 gauge to 13 guage shell. The was made so a standard 12 gauge shell would not chamber in the gun. The gun it also had a three prong striker. The striker would only work with a special shell that had an annular recessed ring in the head of the shell.
    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
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    South Texas
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    Default

    You just might consider one of the IAC/ Chinese-made copies of the John Moses Browning designed Winchester M1887/ M1901 lever-action shotgun? Or perhaps even an original?

    When the shotgun is loaded with just a single shell, it is mighty Martini-Henry like in operation, albeit with a much longer throw of the lever... Not a serious shotgun, but lots of fun and pretty darn neat... Just a thought.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    Back Creek Valley, WV
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    Default

    What is being described is the larger action Greener shotguns that were made for both civilian and police use. There are a number of different chamberings, but the one most often encountered are ex Egyptian police shotguns that take a 12 gauge case necked to 14 gauge, with the shotshell base having a ring that accommodates a pronged firing pin. This made ammo darn near impossible to get if the gun was stolen by rebels or others out of favor with the police. Of course this is the same situation you'll find yourself in if you want to shoot one. RMC makes brass for $68 per ten for the self help crowd ( http://www.rockymountaincartridge.com/Price_List.pdf ). Some of these have been converted to straight 12 gauge, but most haven't. In general, the police shotguns are a curiosity more than a practical arm. Even converted to regular 12 gauge ammo they are a cumbersome shotgun for self defense or hunting. However they of course have a large "gee whiz" factor that makes them fun to shoot in public.

    The civilian Greeners are a bit of a different story. Greener (and others) made some fine shotguns on this action that would be at home either in the field or shooting clays. Some of these exhibit a high degree of finish and can hold their own with the best of the singleshot shotguns. For someone wishing to drop a chunk of change on a conversion, the police action would be an excellent basis for building up a custom shotgun to rival the originals.....not economical of course given the relatively low price of counterpart modern offerings, but most of us just blow by the economic issue when doing something we want anyway.

    Technically neither of these are "Martini-Henry" arms, since that designation refers to the smaller frame military rifle (not shotgun) with a Martini action and Henry rifling. Some of these military guns were indeed converted to smoothbore (shotgun) for police/guard duty, but take a special 577/450 shotshell loaded with buckshot that really isn't practical for any use I can think of today. As a necked case, the cartridge has its limitations for smaller shot.....or for the amount of buckshot for that matter. I'm sure at very close range they would still blow an impressive hole through a threat, but the lack of a shotcup, and confined bore makes for highly distorted pellets that wouldn't hold much of a pattern at any distance. No collection is complete without at least one of these, but I dare say I'm one of the few that have ever shot one....and that was just for test of theory and not an attempt to do anything with it beyond make holes in my target backer.

    Like the larger police actions, the smaller MH action would of course be converted to a shotgun. The basic case is of course 24 gauge, which is really the upper limit on case size. Length of case is also an issue. A practical conversion would be to 28 gauge or .410. Again, not a very economic exercise in custom shotgun construction, but if that is something that appeals to you, so what?
    Rich in West Virginia, savoring life one cartridge at a time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Northern Virginia
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    Default

    Hmmm, hmmm. You know, I'm quickly giving up this notion....
    Thanks guys, great input!
    Kweeks.
    "If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five
    years there’d be a shortage of sand.” ~ Milton Friedman

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    Under the big sky, in the shadow of the Sweetgrass Hills
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kweeksdraw View Post
    Hmmm, hmmm. You know, I'm quickly giving up this notion....
    Thanks guys, great input!
    Kweeks.
    Why?
    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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