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Thread: BSA Martini 12

  1. #1
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    Default BSA Martini 12

    I'm hopeful one of you fine gents will permit a question regarding a mid-thirties BSA Martini Model 12. Though not a Henry, it is certainly a "Martini", so hope I'm in the right forum. Chambered for .22 magnum and re-rifled "AGP Parkerifled", the bore, rifling and action are excellent with very few rounds passed through. All numbers/stampings match. I'm looking for 100 – 150 yard tests using the .22 mag. rounds. They are well documented in the .22 LR calibre, but not the magnum. Anxious to hear from you in the know.

  2. #2
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    Haven't any experience with the .22 Mag in the Martini. 150 is approaching if not just beyond maximum effective range for the cartridge,

    What are you going to shoot that far out with that round?
    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

  3. #3
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    I don't know if Parker-Hale used to line rifles for the .22 Magnum, or if there are any indications that this was the chambering with which it left the factory. They did it for the .22 Hornet on occasion, though this isn't nearly as common as the .22LR. The trouble is that the Magnum ought to have a slightly bigger groove diameter.

    The difference isn't great - about .001 to .002 if I remember rightly, and I don't believe this should be dangerous in a sound Martini, although it is an argument against some of the conversions of much weaker firearms that are sometimes seen. It might possibly have some effect on accuracy. I'd expect accuracy to be similar to standard grade or high velocity .22LR, but not as good as match grade. Use for the Hornet suggests that at least late Parkerrifling tubes were of a metal that resists erosion well.

    The .22 Magnum in a heavy rifle like this could be used for rabbits etc. at the ranges you mention, with some advantage over the .22 LR if circumstances prevent you from getting closer. Against that, you'd pay quite a bit more for ammunition, in relation to the fairly slight benefit. If you had to hunt animals two or three times the size of a rabbit, the increase in power might be useful. But not many animals are, and it is pretty marginal for foxes etc., as well as destructive of meat or fur.
    Last edited by Calgacus; 11-11-2008 at 06:57 AM.

  4. #4
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    Checking with a dealer with fifty years experience of BSA Martinis of all models, and who has was also a .22 rifle coach for the national team for over thirty years, he has never heard of a factory-built .22WMR BSA Martini on record. The round is not now, and never has been, very popular here in UK - the price [almost the same as .22 Hornet] being the main anti. It did not appear until around 1960 - long after this little rifle was made.

    I've been around BSAs all my shooting life - and that goes back to around 1955 with a little Walther belonging to my dad and BSA 12/15 - and from my own part I've never heard of one either.

    My guess is that it's a gunsmith job - the firm of A.G. PARKER is well-known as a target sight manufacturer as well as a small-scale gunsmithing factory. The date of the proof for the different calibre can be found in the date-code numbers on each side of the crossed sceptre stamp - this weapon would have had to have been re-proofed in the new calibre to be legal.

    tac

  5. #5
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    At one time, the "cheap" way to make a .22 WMR was to take a .22LR chambered bolt or single-shot rifle and just re-chamber for .22 WMR. Early .22 LR ammo had a corrosive primer mix and tended to errode the chamber throat. Re-cambering to .22 WMR removed minor to moderate errosion leaving a very clean looking chamber, throat and first section of rifling. The bore is a little tight but not enough to really matter. The biggest question was the rifling twist. The 1 in 16 rate is a little slow for the .22 WMR, it should have a 1 in 14 for the best accuracy.

    You will also see cases where a Martini .22 LR was re-timed to centerfire and simply re-chambered to .22 Hornet or .218 Bee. While they function, the 1 in 16 twist is just plain wrong for the velocity involved. The .221 bore is also tight enough that a standard .224 centerfire bullet is deformed enough, with the extra jacket and core material extruding to the bullet base leaving several small tails, to reduce accuracy even further.

    What you most likely have is an after market re-furbishing of a standard rifle possibly with the bore lapped to clean it up. While not that common, they are not exceptionally rare either. Depending on the barrel profile, it was more common to either replace the barrel while re-furbishing, or to set the barrel back by one to four threads and re-chamber back to .22 LR.

    Engineer 179

  6. #6
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    Yes, this BSA Martini 12 .22WMR has been AGP PARKERIFLED. Stampings on barrel next to Crossed Arms read: Crown stamp, 22LR; Crown BV, Crown BP .22.610" 16660 Cannon stamp NP.22" MAGNUM 1.05" Crown stamp 7.4 GRS 40 GRS Crown R.

    Would love to know what these mean. Only doing comparative bench shooting with this "Famous Twelve." Thank you, Mr.Foley.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by openarms View Post
    Yes, this BSA Martini 12 .22WMR has been AGP PARKERIFLED. Stampings on barrel next to Crossed Arms read: Crown stamp, 22LR; Crown BV, Crown BP .22.610" 16660 Cannon stamp NP.22" MAGNUM 1.05" Crown stamp 7.4 GRS 40 GRS Crown R.

    Would love to know what these mean. Only doing comparative bench shooting with this "Famous Twelve." Thank you, Mr.Foley.
    Crown stamp, 22LR; = .22 Long Rifle

    Crown BV, Crown BP = Inspectors' marks and Birmingham Proof House mark, and .22 Long Rifle - 610" = chamber length in inches.

    NP = nitro Proof - means it has been nitro-proofed.

    .22 Magnum = British Proof House shorthand for .22WRM

    1.05" = length of chamber in inches

    7.4gr = weight of propellant charge

    40grs = weight of projectile

    Crown R = inspector's stamp/acceptance stamp.

    The crossed arms are actually sceptres, and will have very small numbers between them. These are date codes.

    tac
    Last edited by TFoley; 11-11-2008 at 05:02 PM.

  8. #8
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    The question, until your proofmarks eliminated the possibility, was whether Parker-Hale converted it into .22 WMR. In fact it seems to have been an amateur conversion, most likely done in the USA.

    That isn't to say that it is necessarily a bad rifle, although only a few fairly specific uses will result in your getting good value for the more expensive ammunition, which may be hard to find in some areas. The difference in bore diameter isn't great, and might well give acceptable accuracy, while I doubt if the pressure difference would be critical in the Martini.

    The conversion with a purpose-build centrefire barrel to .22 centrefire is also a good one, and the .223in. diameter Hornet bullets might give acceptable results in the Parker-Hale .22 LR barrel. Whether there would be harmful "finning" at the rear of the lands depends on various things, including how much of a radius there is at the rear of the bullet. For the centrefire reloader, there are two dodges to minimise this effect. One is to use bullets (although I don't believe anybody makes these under .224in.), and the other is to use a hard cardboard wad behind the bullet, to stop the gas escaping unevenly in the tiny fraction of a second as the bullet exits.

    The 16in. rifling should be satisfactory for bullets up to about 50gr., but not the heavier ones.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calgacus View Post
    The question, until your proofmarks eliminated the possibility, was whether Parker-Hale converted it into .22 WMR. In fact it seems to have been an amateur conversion, most likely done in the USA.
    The British [Birmingham] .22 Magnum proof marks - including the charge weight, chamber length and bullet weight - say it was done in the UK.

    If I am given the correct details of the numbers around the sceptres, I can tell you when it was done, as well.

    tac

  10. #10
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    Yes, I probably misread the magnum markings. Assuming that they are associated with the proofmarks, it would have been proved in the UK for the .22 Magnum. We are left with the question of whether Parker-Hale intended the liner as such, or it was done later, to a .22LR Parkerrifled rifle. I think it was probably the former, and the .22LR proofmarks apply to the original bore. The only thing that really casts doubt, is that it is commoner for the cartridge to be identified as .220 on BSA 12s.

    I doubt if the barrel was set back by any threads, especially if it is a direct original rifle to magnum Parkerrifling conversion. Relining disposes of any erosion, and it is unlikely to have been fired any thing like as much since, as a .22LR target rifle. I don't believe there was any kind of organised target shooting for .22 WRF rifles in the UK.

  11. #11
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    Another point, and one on which I don't have any real information, is that I don't know when or whether the name on the muzzle changed from AGP to to something else, such as PH. This might help date the conversion, and either coincide with or contradict the date letters.

    Alfred G Parker were in business before the Parker-Hale amalgamation, and his son Alfred J. somehow became detached quite early on. They marketed their own sights etc. until quite recently, when Parker-Hale became predominantly importers and retailers.

    http://www.rifleman.org.uk/A.G._and_...rker-Hale.html

  12. #12
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    Default A G Parker did all sorts of .22 relining

    Thier advert is attached. They did many calibres in rimfire and centrefire. They offered this service from before WW1 for many decades

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calgacus View Post
    Yes, I probably misread the magnum markings. Assuming that they are associated with the proofmarks, it would have been proved in the UK for the .22 Magnum. We are left with the question of whether Parker-Hale intended the liner as such, or it was done later, to a .22LR Parkerrifled rifle. I think it was probably the former, and the .22LR proofmarks apply to the original bore. The only thing that really casts doubt, is that it is commoner for the cartridge to be identified as .220 on BSA 12s.

    I doubt if the barrel was set back by any threads, especially if it is a direct original rifle to magnum Parkerrifling conversion. Relining disposes of any erosion, and it is unlikely to have been fired any thing like as much since, as a .22LR target rifle. I don't believe there was any kind of organised target shooting for .22 WRF rifles in the UK.
    Good points, Sir. and i can categorically tell you that there is NO kind of target shooting for .22WRF rifles in the UK - as with all the rest of the UIT, we use .22LR and nothing else.

    tac

  14. #14
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    Thank you, all, for your input. It appears my Martini 12 might be a bit of an amalgamation. This is my first purchase of a BSA Martini of any series. My "12" has a beavertail 3/4 forestock (16-3/4"), a beautiful brass Parker-Hale sight insert container mounted afore the action, but no "crossed scepters" from which to determine manuf. dates. All stampings assure me it was UK re-rifled re: AGP PARKERIFLED, Birmingham.

    I meant no disrespect to any purists with reference to .220 LR vs. similar rounds. This is a .220 WMR, it's what I bought, and I'm anxious to bench it against former .220 LR accuracy to see what results. Have enjoyed .22LR bench shooting since 1956. NRA member off and on since 1954 as Boy Scout. Cheers.

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