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Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build (Read 9104 times)
alemonkey
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Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Apr 7th, 2009 at 11:32pm
 
Hi guys,

I've lurked on here a long time but haven't posted much.  For a long time I've been wanting to build a custom rifle based on a Martini action.  A member on another forum gave me a heads up on a killer deal on a large frame Martini-Henry 577-450 action, complete, except for extractor.  It should be arriving in the mail any day now, so here we go......

I know pretty much exactly how I want it to look.  I'm thinking a maple pistol grip stock with a medium high comb/cheekpiece and schnable forend.  I want to bend the loading lever to match the curve of the pistol grip, extending a little below with a knob on the end.  For a scope I'm planning on saving my pennies for a vintage external adjustment Unertl or Lyman.  I know this won't be cheap, so this is going to be a very long term project.  

From what I gather Vic Samuel does really nice work, and he lives about an hour's drive away from me.  I'm not sure if he works on large frames or just on the smaller Cadets, but I figure once the project is closer to getting started I'll give him a call and find out.  It would be nice to deal with someone local.

I'm looking for some suggestions on a good caliber.  This will be mostly used just for punching paper, with occasional varmint hunting duty.  To keep things simple and reliable I'd like to stay with a rimmed cartridge.  The first thing that came to mind was the .22 Hornet, but since this will be a once in a lifetime rifle for me I'd kind of like something a little more exotic.  I'm not opposed to going the wildcat route, as long as the reamers are readily available.  On the other hand, if the cases are formed down from ridiculously expense parent brass and it only fires unobtanium bullets I'm not interested.

I posted this on another forum and got some good suggestions, but I'd like your input.  .256 Win Mag intrigues me, assuming the action can handle that pressure.  Any suggestions?
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38_Cal
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #1 - Apr 8th, 2009 at 12:06am
 
I'm building a pistol grip, octagon barrel, 32-40 on a large commercial action right now.  Ebony forend tip & grip cap, steel checkered buttplate,   English walnut.  High enough comb to use with a Unertl scope, but a straight comb, no cheekpiece.  It will look very British when done. 

If you want a cartridge that could be used on varmint or deer, take a look at the 25-35, with a 10" or 12" twist so that you could use a longer bullet if wanted. 

The shop's operational for pre-1898 work right now, so let me know if you're interested in my doing it for you.

David Kaiser
Montezuma, IA
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David Kaiser
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MartiniBelgian
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #2 - Apr 8th, 2009 at 4:27am
 
For a large-frame action, try and find a cartridge that won't 'disappear' when loading.  For something like 22 Honet, the small actions are much better.  Something 30-30 based would already be better...
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Brozbows
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #3 - Apr 8th, 2009 at 7:06am
 
Great advice so far. I'd also suggest you base your caliber decision on what you want to shoot as far as bullets go... ie. cast bullets only, jacketed only... or both.

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alemonkey
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #4 - Apr 8th, 2009 at 9:25am
 
Thanks guys, I hadn't thought about difficulties with a small round in the large action.  I can see how that would complicate things.  That's why I'm asking the experts.  

The main reason I'm attracted to the 256 win mag is because it seems like a very efficient cartridge, driving a decent sized bullet at good velocities with moderate powder charges.  A combination like that really intrigues me.  When the action shows up I'll have to scrape up some .357 mag brass and see how it handles and looks with the action.

I'm primarily looking to use this for target and varmint shooting, with jacketed bullets.  Something I could use on deer also would be handy, though, and I had thought about the 25-35 for that reason.

I've also toyed with the idea of going completely the other direction and chambering it in something like 38-55 for cast bullets, but I already have a Pedersoli Sharps in 45-70 so that niche is filled.  To be honest, though, whether I build it in a BPCR, varmint or conventional deer caliber I'll end up duplicating something I already have.  This gun is really just going to be built for the sheer joy of having a beautiful rifle unlike any other out there.

David- thanks for the offer on the building services.  I already have another custom project I'm working on, so between that, medical bills, and the generally crummy economy I'm probably a couple years out from actually starting work on this thing.  I wouldn't want to tie up a slot in your schedule yet, but I'll keep you in mind when I'm getting closer to starting.  I live in Lincoln, NE so we're fairly close.  I make it to the Des Moines area for work every now and then.
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DoubleD
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #5 - Apr 8th, 2009 at 9:37am
 
Right now is the time to contact Vic Samuel's or Dave Kaiser for disscussionon what you are planning and what they can do for you. They may be able to help you know acquire what you need.

Dave, no FFL yet?  Me either. It's been 6 months. Wrote my very ProGun Senator a letter last week.
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alemonkey
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #6 - Apr 8th, 2009 at 12:41pm
 
Well, that's probably a good point.  Dave, what's your waiting list like right now?  If you're looking at a pretty long waiting list maybe it would be good to get on the list now.
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38_Cal
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #7 - Apr 8th, 2009 at 1:15pm
 
To expand on Double D's comments, if you're looking for anything with relatively high pressure (.219 Zipper) find a breechblock and firing pin for the .303 Martini Enfield conversion, or plan on having your breechblock converted to use a small firing pin tip diameter.  I've run across some .303 pins that, even though they were intact, still needed to have a new tip done on them...like my own 32-40 this morning!   Cry  PITA to have to do, but better now than at a match or dog town! 

PM me and I'll be happy to discuss time and other recommendations with you.

David Kaiser
Montezuma, IA
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Brozbows
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #8 - Apr 8th, 2009 at 11:49pm
 
If sticking to jacketed bullets then something like a 7mm Waters would be great for target, varmints and deer. Cast bullets would be alright in that caliber too.
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Singleshotlover
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #9 - Apr 9th, 2009 at 12:56am
 
Hello alemonkey, glad to see you made it over here. You and had some interesting conversations via PM,s on the surplusrifle site. Over there I'm known as Frank46. Course you could have a rifle made up in 30-40 krag and shoot both cast and jacketed bullets. Good folks over here, plenty of good information as well. Frank
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alemonkey
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #10 - Apr 9th, 2009 at 9:18am
 
Hi Frank,

Thanks for the help on the other site, too.  I've also talked to some guys on the british militaria forum too, like you suggested.

The more I think about this, I'm thinking a traditional black powder cartridge like 38-55 would be neat.  It has a small enough case volume that I could use smokeless powder and jacketed bullets if I wanted, but these old cartridges shoot so well with BP and cast bullets that I'd probably go the old school route.
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marlinguy
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #11 - Apr 9th, 2009 at 7:45pm
 
I think .40-65 WIn. would make a nice cartridge for a custom built Martini large frame, with a full or half octagon barrel.
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Singleshotlover
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #12 - Apr 10th, 2009 at 1:28am
 
Old school sounds just fine to me. You can cast a lot of bullets and use either black powder or smokeless either way a lot of fun can be had. What about sights??. Tang sights, receiver sights or optics?. you might want to check on the proper twist of rifling depending on how heavy a bullet you plan on shooting in that 38-55, this IS the place to get that kind of information. Also check out the CPA website as they (I think) offer stocks and forends for the martini rifles. And considering today's economy decent prices. I've a winchester hi-wall action that I'm pretty sure came off a winder musket us 639 stamped on the side of the upper tang, has dst and schtuzen lever. Bought it just before my 1st daughter was born 26 years ago. Think its about time I did something with it. Triggers work as well as the day they were installed. I haven't touched the adjustment screw since I bought the action. Then there is the bsa 12/15 thick walled martini I keep threatening to get rebarreled to the 30-20 cartridge, or the low wall about getting the barrel relined to 32-20 Still have the origional wood for this one. So many projects so little money. Any way have at it my friend. Frank
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alemonkey
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #13 - Apr 10th, 2009 at 9:34am
 
For sights I'm thinking I'd like some kind of externally adjustable scope, like an old Unertl or Lyman.

I see Green Mountain's 38-55 barrel comes in a 1/14 twist.  I'm not sure how heavy of a bullet that can stabilize.  The local range I shoot at only goes out to 300 meters, so I probably don't need a super heavy bullet for long range shooting.  It would be nice to have the capability though in case I get the chance.  I know a lot of guys use the 38-55 for BPCR silhouette, so it should be able to reach out there a ways.  

I looked at CPA's site, but it looks like they only do stocks for the small frame Martini's.  Too bad, because they do have some nice wood at very good prices.  One of the guys who shoots at our range restocked an old Stevens Favorite with CPA wood and it's absolutely gorgeous.

Having a new gun to play with is kind of like having a new girlfriend....it's exciting but you end up spending a lot of money on her.  I guess I'd better not let the wife know  Grin
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Singleshotlover
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Re: Suggestions needed for Martini-Henry custom build
Reply #14 - Apr 11th, 2009 at 12:06am
 
Actually to make up a martini buttstock isn't all that hard. Not much difference than the #1MKIII lee enfield buttstocks. The bugaboo is drilling the stock bolt hole. And you probably could use a good #1MKIII forend to make up a snappy forend. You'll have to open the barrel channel as its inletted for the skinny #1 barrel. Cut off the stock at the first barrel band and use acra-glass and a dowel in the stock and a mateing hole in a block of ebony clamp the whole piece end to end, let it sit for a day or so and you should get a decent fairly nice looking forend. If you get a drill purpose forend from springfield sporters it most likely will have the "ishy screw"' remove the screw and make up two walnut plugs the same size open up the two holes with a foster bit and glue in the plugs. Let sit for a day or so. Dress down with a file. Then sand away using different grits of silicon carbide paper. Start at around 320,400,600 use steel wool to break up and standing wood fibers and a few coats or more of your finish of choice. And there you are. You will have to drill at least one hole for a screw to hold the forend to the barrel and a nice little brass escutchon
for the screw looks really nice. Frank
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