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THE MARTINI-HENRY ACTION

ALSO USED IN THE MARTINI-METFORD & MARTINI-ENFIELD RIFLES

MANY OF WHICH WERE SUBSEQUENTLY CONVERTED TO "MINIATURE" CALIBRES

BY GUNSMITHS SUCH AS C.G. BONEHILL & W.W. GREENER


please also visit the W.W.Greener Martini Target Rifles page

and the Parker-Hale CMT (Converted Martini Target) rifles page

and the in-build C.G. Bonehill Converted Martini rifles page

Shown below is a partly disassembled large-frame Martini-Henry action used by C.G. Bonehill for their conversion of the .577/450 centrefire service rifle to .22 rimfire, and marketed by the Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs. There follow on this page an exploded diagram of the action, brief details of its origin, the patent application and drawings, and an extract from the 1897 "Instructions for Armourers" detailing action disassembly, reassembly and adjustment.

 

 

The "falling-block" breech-block and its axis split-pin are to be seen at the top of the image.

This block contains the striker and spring in within a separate component.

 

 

 

 

The first design of this type of falling-block action is credited to the American Henry Peabody,

but, for British service, the improvements initially patented by Freidrich von Martini in 1868 were

taken up in a rifle utilising a design close to that of his 1871 Patent shown below.

That was the year in December of which the Martini-Henry rifle, in .577/.450 calibre, was

brought into service, fitted with a barrel rifled with the 'ratchet' cross-section grooves

introduced by Alexander Henry.

 


Patent No. 2925. Prioleau, C.K., [Martini, F. von]. Oct 31st. 1871

Breech actions, hinged breech-block. – Relates to the class of small-arms described in Specifications No. 2305, A.D. 1868 and No. 1144, A.D. 1871. The breech-block c, Fig. 6, carries the firing-pin d, which is engaged by the tumbler g fulcrumed at h. The short arm g' of the tumbler rests upon a tumbler rest i, pivoted at k. The short arm m' of the trigger m is notched to receive the nose i' of the tumbler rest when the arm is cocked. When the
rest i is released by pulling the trigger the pressure of the tumbler g causes it to turn upon its axis so as to allow the tumbler to pass. In re-cocking the arm, the hand-lever n comes in contact with a sliding pin o and causes it to rotate the rest i upon its axis under the arm of the tumbler until the
trigger spring forces the arm m' into engagement therewith. The firing-mechanism is locked in
position by means of a bolt arranged to slide along the trigger plate q and actuated by a suitable face on the lever n, a projection on the bolt takes under a projection or lug on the trigger thereby locking the trigger. The trigger is unlocked by withdrawing the bolt by means of a thumb-piece attached thereto. By pushing forward the bolt the locking mechanism may be put out of action. In another arrangement of the breech action, the tumbler rest is recessed to receive the end of a spring which, when the tumbler is in the cocked position, tends to force the rest into a notch formed in the short arm of the tumbler. Fig. 11 shows a cartridge extractor arranged in connection with a breech action. The extractor lever r, fulcrumed at t, is split at r' so as to form a powerful spring. The extractor is actuated by a bar r3, which slides in the trigger plate q and is operated by a face n2 on the hand-lever n when the lever is depressed.

In extracting the cartridge case, the slit r' is closed by the pressure exerted until the case is loosened, and then the upper ends of the extractor spring forwards and expel the case. In one modification, the extractor lever is made solid and the bar r3 is curved and formed with a slit so as to cause the bar to act as a spring. In another arrangement, the extractor levers, provided with slits, are made separate and are mounted upon the same pin. The long arm of a lever, pivoted upon the above pin, is operated by the breech-block so as to cause the short arm of the lever to come into contact with the extractor levers and cause them to extract the cartridge case. The Provisional Specification states that the arrangements for locking the firing-mechanism and for extracting the cartridge cases may be applied to other breech actions than those referred to.


Taken from the "INSTRUCTIONS FOR ARMOURERS - 1897"

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CARE, REPAIR, &c., OF
MARTINI-ENFIELD AND MARTINI-METFORD ARMS.

1. All parts connected with the breech action will be kept perfectly clean.
2. Rangoon oil only will be used for this purpose; the use of cutting substances, such as emery, sand-paper, &c., or of the buff stick being strictly forbidden.
3. Care must be taken not to injure the face, of the block in cleaning, especially the striker hole, or to enlarge the chamber by cleaning, the stick cleaning chamber with wire gauze or an oiled rag. only should be used for this purpose (a bright chamber not to be insisted upon).
4. See instructions for cleaning magazine arms.
5. Rangoon oil should be applied to the following parts of the action occasionally :
Knuckle and knuckle seat of block.
Axis pin of block.
Lever ends and seat in block.
Lever and tumbler axis.
Trigger axis.
Trigger nose and spring.
Extractor axis.
Main spring, striker.
Stop nut and tumbler.


DIRECTIONS FOR STRIPPING THE ACTION.
RIFLE AND CARBINES.


1. Close the action.
2. Knock out the block axis pin by placing a drift on the slit-head of the pin, first removing any dirt there may be in the slit.
3. Depress lever, and hold down front end of block with left thumb, close the lever, and the block will spring uut.
4. Take out block, turn the curve in keeper screw fair with the curve in the stop nut, unscrew the stop nut; the striker and main spring will then fall out.
5. Turn the keeper screw head of lever axis fair with axis hole, press out axis pin, and take out the tumbler.
6. Turn out extractor axis screw, and remove extractor, trigger guard and lever.
7. Turn out the screw holding the trigger spring, and take out the spring.
8. Turn out axis screw of trigger, take out trigger.


DIRECTIONS FOR STRIPPING FURNITURE, BARREL, AND STOCK.
RIFLE, M,-E., MARK I.

1. Draw clearing rod, first unscrewing the rod to the left. The rod will then draw straight out.
2. Remove upper band pin
3. Partly unturn band screws and take off bands. 'The lower band stop pin should not be removed.
*4. Pull off stock, &c.
5. Take off butt plate.
6. Turn out stock bolt, and take off butt of stock.

CARBINES (ARTILLERY, M.-M., MARK II and MARK III, M.-E., MARK I).

1. Draw clearing rod, first unscrewing the rod to to the left.
2, Remove nosecap screw, drive nosecap off fore-end, and turn so that the fore-sight can pass through the slot in nosecap.
3. Remove barrel stud pin in A.C.M.-M., Mark II, and drive the stock fore-end off the barrel stud at the breech end with the wood drift.
4. Pull off stock from muzzle of barrel, and the hook will disengage from the end of the body in A.C.M.-M., Mark III, and M.-E., Mark I.
5. As directed for the rifle.
6. .............. " ...................

* For M.-E, Mark I rifle, see (4) for carbines.


DIRECTIONS FOR ASSEMBLING ACTION, BARREL,
STOCK, AND FURNITURE.

RIFLE, M.-E., MARK I.



1. Replace butt of stock, observing that the stock bolt washer is in its place in the stock butt, screw up stock bolt.
2. Screw on butt plate.
† 3. Place the hook fore-end &c.
4. REplace bands and turn home band screws.
5. Replace upper band pin.
6. Replace clearing rod in groove.
7. Place trigger in guard, and screw up axis screw.
8. Replace trigger spring, taking care that the nose of the trigger spring is under the trigger; screw in the- trigger spring screw.
9. Place lever and tumbler in trigger guard, slide guard with lever and tumbler into the body, and replace axis pin with indicator pointing upwards in the direction of the block axis pin, and screw round keeper screw head to its proper bedding.
10. Replace extractor and turn in axis screw.
11. Place striker in block and drop in main spring, screw home stop nut, and turn keeper screw head into its bedding.
12. Turn striker round until the wider side of slot is downwards.
13. Place the block in body with the front end lowest; hold the lever with right hand, the thumb pressing the indicator forward, the trigger being pressed back by the forefinger; press hard on the knuckle of block with the heel of the left hand to force it into its seat; at the same time depress and work the lever to get the tumbler into the slot in the striker.
14. Compress the sides of the block axis pin, preparatory to placing it in the body. Place it in the body.

For M.-E., Mark I rifle, see (3) for carbines.

CARBINES (ARTILLERY).


1 & 2 As directed for the rifle.
3. Place the hook fore-end in the body so as to engage inside recess, pressing the stock up to the barrel at muzzle.
4. Replace nosecap, and turn home nosecap screw.
5.6.7.8.9.10.11.12.13.14.-As directed for the rifle

REPLACING COMPONENTS.
RIFLES AND CARBINES.


Adjustment in Loading Position.


1. If the block be too high, the bearing surface at A (fig. 1) of the lever may be depressed by means of a punch to the breadth of the corresponding surface on the tumbler. If an adjustment of more than '01 of an inch is required, a new lever should be fitted.



2. Should the block be too low, an amount not to exceed .01-in. may be added to the bearing surface at A by carefully drawing out the metal at that point ; but should more than .01-in. be required (which will rarely, if ever, be the case), a new lever should be fitted.

Adjustment in Firing Position

1. When the block is in the firing position, should the striker strike the cap too high, an amount not exceeding .01-in. taken off the bearing surface of the lever horns at B will be sufficient to rectify the error.
2. Should the striker strike the cap too low the horns of the lever may be drawn out between the lines indicated at D not to exceed .01-in., care being taken not to spread the horns or set them out of position at C.



Extractor.— When the block is at the loading position the point A (fig. 2) should be just free from the under side of the block.
When the block is depressed to the lowest position it should bear on point B, holding the extractor firm ; and should the lever at E touch the guard so as to prevent the block doing this, the guard may be filed to allow the lever to be clear.
The point D should be on the guard when the extractor is at its lowest position ; if it will not bed down, the fault must be looked for on the head of the trigger spring screw ; if this stands too high, it should be filed flat.
Trigger.-- In replacing a trigger, the nose must not be touched in making the pull-off, but the adjustment made by Altering the angle of tumbler bent by scraping the face.
Trigger spring.— ln replacing a trigger spring, care must be taken that the head of the screw beds well down on the spring, and that the point does not bear on the guard swivel screw.
Guard.— In replacing guard, it should be placed in the body and the indicator fixed in position—notice that the guard drops freely into the body without side pressure ; if the extractor axis hole is not fair in both guard and body file the nib resting on front of body, if required, tun tap to regulate the hole, and put in axis screw: See that the indicator is perfectly free to revolve.
Tumbler.-- In replacing a tumbler, it should- pass firmty on to, but not be driven, hard upon the squares of the indicator ; it should also work freely between the horns of the lever
Indicator.—Remarks same as upon tumbler.



Lever.-- In replacing a lever, the bearings at point A (fig. 3) should be free when the lever is depressed, otherwise it prevents the block from having its full fall.
The end of the lever must be set to drop freely into the lever catch block; care must also be taken that the lever beds on its seat
at the under side of socket end of body.
The levers issued with the spare parts are for long butts — they will require setting for short butts — a slight blow with a mallet is all that is required to make them drop freely into the lever catch block; the levers for long butts are issued in preference to levers for short butts, as the adjustment required by the former to fit them to short butts is more simple than to adjust a lever for a short butt to a long butt.
Striker.—When replacing, care must be taken the the larger part of the slot is downwards, and that the striker is correct to gauge for length and radius of point.
Examination of Strikers.—For this purpose the .064-in. gauge cartridge dummy will be used with the hole filled with soap or was level with the base disc.
To test the condition of the point of the striker :— Load the rifle with the gauge cartridge dummy and fire. On withdrawing the dummy an impression of the point of the striker will be found in the soap should the striker be perfect. Should the striker make no impression in the soap when the rifle is fired, the point of striker must be broken.
Stock. —To replace a stock-butt the butt plate must be removed, the stock bolt unscrewed, and washer removed. Should the new stock not be drawn firmly home when the bolt is screwed up, a second washer must be put on. Should the print of the stock bolt protrude on the inside of the, body, it will interfere with the full play of the block when extracting ; additional washers may require to be added in soft sap stock to prevent this.
In replacing the fore-end of the rifle, M.-E., Mark I, and carbines, A.C.M-M., Mark III,and M.-E., Mark I, care must be taken, that the stock does not spring from the muzzle, but drops fair home, or it will affect the shooting of the barrel.
Easing springs. — The action being open, place the thumb on the thumb seat, and the forefinger on the trigger, the remaining fingers under the guard, press the trigger firmly without touching the lever, and when the lever is closed * secure it in the catch by clasping the bow of the lever and small of the butt with the right hand.
N.B.—"Springs must, never be eased when a cartridge is in the chamber."
To adjust "pull-off."— Assemble the guard with tumbler, lever, and assembled block in action - regulate the " pull-off" by the bent,
from 2 to 2½ lb., without the trigger spring. Insert trigger spring bring the "pull-off " to the regulation weight (6 to 8-lb.) by filing the underside of spring if too heavy, or putting in a stronger spring if too light, particular care being taken to see that the spring is screwed hard and firmly down by the screw.
(ln replacing a trigger spring, the "pull-off" must be adinsted in the manner above described.)
Gauge, action.— The "gauge, action is issued to armourer- serjeants and others solely for the purpose of testing the component or components of any rifle which may appear to be defective in its action. For this purpose the component parts of the action of the ' rifle may be assembled in the " gauge, action," when the working can be clearly seen and the defective part (if any) noticed.
Should there be any doubt as to which component is in fault, it can be set at rest by substituting for the suspected component that corresponding one, from the "gauge, action," which, being of correct form, should work well if the other components are in good order.
Great care should be taken in using the 'gauge, action' or any of its components not to strain or distort them.
Axmourer-serjeants are strictly cautioned not to grip any carbine in the vice without protecting the back-sight and bed by means of a leather-covered clam.
Spare parts.—When a spare part which bears a date of manucfacture is placed in a rifle or carbine, the date on which this spare part is so used is to be placed by the armourer near the S, which will be found on the spare part.
* If the lever should fail to close on pulling the trigger, this indicates that the action is not in good order, and the lever must be then pressed home by the right hand.


. SEE ALSO THE MARTINI and LEE-ENFIELD ACTION TRIGGER PULLS

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