A new specimen in the collection

Today I received a Rifle in the mail, I’ve wanted one of these for a long time. It’s an 1887 Enfield Mk IV Martini Henry in .577/.450 caliber. Sent to Nepal with Queen Victoria’s Troops, and later transferred to the Nepalese for their use. It was received by the Madras Arsenal. While it’s no Prom Queen, it is very serviceable, and I am presently making Ammunition for it.
Next week, I’ll receive a 1916 BSA No.1 Mk. III* SMLE from the friendly local Dealer, (already have ammunition made for it. ) Fun in the Summer time.




Looks cool. Kind of an odd calibre, .577, haven’t heard of that before.

It’s .450 really, but uses a necked down .577 Snider Enfield case. Hence the hyphenate 577/450
(a predecessor to the Martini IIRC) Also can make from 24 ga. all brass shot shells. The necks are so long because the bullets were long, and took up most of the length of the neck.(not unlike the modern .300 Blackout cartridge which uses a bullet that is longer than the case it’s put into) I’m starting off small, using 400 grain lead bullets, and 70 grains of FFG black powder Can go up to 525 grain slug and 100 gr. of black powder. After some time, the advent of the .303 British cartridge, many of these were re-barreled to use it. Initially, the 303 was black powder as well, but this changed in 1889 to one of three propellants, Ballistite, Cordite, and Rifleite.

.577 Snider, and ammo.


Oh, yeah, I see what you mean now looking at one of your first photos.

military gun but also a Elephant gun, too bad we arent in 1910s, I will join you in the safari.

Heyo P.K. ! good to see you again! The Martini Henry is a long, and weighty Rifle, near to 12 Lbs. I’m still working out loading ammunition for it, the original load was complex for its time, 85 grains of Black Powder held down by some wadding, then a cardboard disk and a grease cookie, Mix of beeswax, and fat layered to maybe 1/8 in. thick. this lubed the barrel, and kept the powder residue soft to ease cleaning. top that off with two more card disks, and then the paper patched 480 gr. lead Bullet. No reason it couldn’t fell a rogue Elephant , but it’s tricky finding ammo, or components to make your own, what new stuff there is costs mightily New Australian Brass is $7 + each, so I’m going the reform 24 ga. brass shot shells. (of course one needs a not cheap set of forming dies to do that. ) I’ll content myself for now using some older Brass meant for the Rifle.
My 1916 SMLE is ready to go, already have ammo made for it. With this rifle I would be right at home next to The Old Shekkary, H.A. Leveson out on the Veldt.

I admire the work you guys in the USA wich are fans of handloading and testing several charges and so… I bought sometime ago the equipment to handload 9mm to save some pesos…and I ended up selling the whole stuff, never had enough patiente for that.

Patience is a good thing to have if you want to make good handloads, :slight_smile: And it’s not just saving money that makes it worthwhile, the quality of well made loads are obvious once you get to the range. groups tighten up, in some cases so much that a Cloverleaf comes to be expected. A group for factory ammo may give you a 2.5 cm 5 shot group, and loads you tune for your rifle will be 10 or 12mm across at 100 meters. All rifles are different, so tuning the load will only be best in that rifle. This is where factory ammo falls short, it’s made to an average, so it will give adequate performance in most rifles.
The attached Targets are a load test for my .338 Lapua. you can see the difference a small difference in powder charge makes. the wider group has only 3/10ths of a troy grain more powder than the second.(each group is 3 shots) In a “Ladder” test, a number of different charges are used to determine which is best for a particular rifle. Where the groups print on the target is unimportant, just the group size matters.



Pretty neat, TankG, pretty neat. :wink:

I also picked this up recently PK, an 1895 7x57 Mauser built by Fabrica De Armas 1927, shoots well, but it being the dead of Winter here, no chance to take it to the range.

M 1895 MAUSER 003.JPG

Was that a Spanish military arm, TK?

Yes, Fabrica De Armas is/was located in Oviedo, and La Caruna, Spain. They produced Mauser designs under license. IIRC, they produced for a number of Nations via Contract. According to some folks, these 1895 Rifles were used by Spain in the Spanish-American War, and their effectiveness against the(less easily loaded) Krag Rifle of the U.S. inspired the change to the Remington 1903 Rifle . The Office of Civilian Marksmanship later sold the Krags for about $2.50 to the citizenry. This practice continues today as the Civilian Marksmanship Program, and Citizens can purchase 1903/1903-A3, as well as Garand Rifles if they are in the program. (cost a bit more than $2.50 though) :wink:

I began to form Brass cases for the 577/450 Martini Henry Rifle, using 24 Ga. brass shot shells. After annealing the Brass to make it more compliant to the form Die, each piece is progressively formed a bit at a time, to establish a shoulder, and move it to the right spot. Shown are the raw case at left, then the progression of forming to the finished 577/450 case at right. After forming, they are length trimmed to 2.290 inches, and checked for fit in the chamber of the rifle. If the action locks up properly, all is well, otherwise moving the shoulder down a bit, or trimming the length a bit more is needed.
Once these have been fired, only the case neck will need resizing to hold another Bullet as long as it will be fired from the same Rifle.


We had a day of warmish weather 40 F , so went to the range to try the Enfield No.1 Mk. III* The usual drill is to make up several rounds at each of several powder charges, and see which works best with a particular rifle. After finishing up the test, I chose the middle load of powder 38.4 troy grains with a 150 grain bullet. The target revealed the groups of each step in the ladder. The rifle worked perfectly, not bad at all for a 100 yr.old piece. And naturally pics.


Very nice groups, and even more impressive over open sights. And even more so at your age which ain’t that different to mine, except that these days I’m struggling to see your paper target, never mind see the bull let alone hit anything near it at 100 yards.

I’ve put you on my list of people not to piss off if they’re hunting me with a rifle. :wink: :mrgreen:

What’s the orange thingy hanging out of the chamber? Some sort of range safety issue to show the chamber is empty?

Morning! Thank you for the kind words, if I squint just right, I can see the sights well enough to shoot like that. :wink: The target is for 200 yds, so i’m cheating a bit, the Bull is the size of a serving platter. :smiley: I was surprised (though I shouldn’t be) that it shoots so well. British Battle rifles are very popular here in Yankland, there being nearly no end to the Boards, and web pages devoted to them. My particular rifle may have come from your Country, it was put to Factory through repair by Lithgow / Slazenger at one point. Anyway, it’s been around in its 100 yrs. Someday, I will visit your country, if I come hunting you, it’ll be with a Bottle of Spirits.
The orange thing is a chamber flag, as you said, to insure safe unloaded conditions on the line. This range requires them, but many only ask for an open action, and the magazine to be removed. They are not as strict as a military range, but run along the same lines.

We certainly made lots of them from before WWI to well after WWII. http://www.lithgowsafmuseum.org.au/history.html , but that was a long time ago before we exported our manufacturing and associated jobs to China etc.

And, bizarre as this will seem to people nowadays, when I was a kid in the 1950s -1960s it was common to see army cadets from various schools carrying the re-bored .22 version to and from school in their army cadet uniforms on public transport. Do it now and there’d be a state wide terrorist alert!

I’d be considerably less alarmed if you inserted “with” after “hunting”. :wink: :mrgreen:

As for hunting me with a bottle of spirits, you’ll fail. I’m a beer man. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eH3GH7Pn_eA (Carlton Draught is a pretty ordinary beer, but it has a good ad.)

Better readily available beer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA1h9h7-_Z4

HA! That’s a good-un’ I wouldn’t insult yours, or Australia’s palate with any of our domestic commercial Beers, though some of the local Micro-Brews are very good. Sadly, in the U.S. they know only about Fosters, and that just from the commercials. https://youtu.be/f3RYHKWXIwI As for Spirits, they probably wouldn’t let me in the Country if I had a Jug of English Mountain’s finest Poitin… :slight_smile:

Finished making Traditional (sort of) ammunition for my Enfield Martini-Henry Mk.IV.
First, form the cases from brass shot gun shells. then get all the bits together, then weigh out 75 grains of FFG Black Powder (the more “F”'s the finer the powder) Funnel it into the case, and to off with some cotton wool to hold it in place (it’s a large case) top that with a glazed card stock disk, (I stamp these out of milk cartons) Normally, here is where the wax cookie goes in for a bullet lube, but my Bullets are ready lubed, so it’s not needed. Bullet is placed,Traditional bullets are paper patched, paper is rolled onto the bullet the base being folded over this was normal in those days, and was helpful in keeping the bore cleaned out a bit from the Black powder residue) and seated to proper depth in the press, then on the finished pile it goes. I did one with the paper just to show. (It’s more work than it sounds though…) I will have some pics of it all at the range once the weather is more congenial.