.450-.577 ammunition for Martini Henry rifles

Martini .577/450


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Martini Henry British Service Rifle: image Wikipedia
Martini Henry British Service Rifle: image Wikipedia

Q: We have had an old ex-military Martini Henry .577/450 in our home ever since I can remember. My dad told me that his father brought it back from the Boer War and used to shoot it on the local rifle range back in the early 1900s. Can you tell me when this single-shot rifle was adopted for military use? What were the original ballistics? There’s also a number of once fired brass cases with the head stamp “GK” ver a “B”. Can you tell me who made them?
Malcolm(Bing) Crosby

A: The Martini-Henry falling-block single-shot rifle was adopted by the British Army in 1871 chambered for

.450-.577 ammunition for Martini Henry rifles
.450-.577 ammunition for Martini Henry rifles

the .577/450 black powder cartridge. Military loads fired a 480gn paper-patched, lead bullet at 1350fps. Originally, a rolled-type cartridge case, it was later changed to a drawn case like the ones you have. The headstamp “GK” opposite “B” is an early style marking of George Kynoch & Company, Birmingham, England. I fired one of those Martinis years ago and it kicked like a mule.


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Nick Harvey

Nick Harvey is one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He has been writing about firearms and hunting for more than 65 years, has published many books and uncounted articles, and has travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject is unmatched. He has been Sporting Shooter's Gun Editor for longer than anyone can remember. Nick lives in rural NSW, Australia.

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