• 140 year old Nepalese Martini-Henry rifle
    26 replies, posted
The rifle I mentioned in my Skyrim helmet thread arrived today, and it's actually in a LOT better condition than I thought. Rusty and dirty for sure, but very little actual pitting, even more surprising is there was very little rust pitting under the barrel. Another nice surprise is the action was already free, I was able to open and close the breech without any problems though it was a little sticky and was able to pull the trigger as well, though the trigger weight was more than a little extreme so we'll see if that's because of the dirt or if the rifle really has that stiff a trigger. Unfortunately I forgot to check my camera's resolution setting and it was taking 640x480 images. Oh well, I'll remember to bump it up when I take more pictures, you'll still get the idea. Here is the rifle as I got it: [Img]http://i.imgur.com/pVXw7.jpg[/Img] [Img]http://i.imgur.com/LeHCx.jpg[/Img] [Img]http://i.imgur.com/BTfUH.jpg[/Img] [Img]http://i.imgur.com/GeA7i.jpg[/Img] [Img]http://i.imgur.com/3firQ.jpg[/Img] Looks terrible doesn't it? Well, yes and no, most of the grime you see is basically 100+ year old packing grease which has turned into a combination of dirt, dust, oil and grease which shall hereafter be referred to as "Grud", under all of that caked on garbage is some pretty good looking metal. Some steel wool should make short work of the worst of the caked on grud that a soapy bath doesn't get. First thing I did was take off the front barrel band, this was just held in place with a pin, grud and friction and slid right off after I tapped out the pin. [Img]http://i.imgur.com/6eDD1.jpg[/Img] [Img]http://i.imgur.com/H9LRy.jpg[/Img] Next I removed the rear barrel band, this was the only screw on the gun that gave me any real trouble. This one was frozen solid by rust so I added a drop of Hoppe's #9 oil and put some muscle behind it. Took about 10 minutes of turning the screw back and forth to work the oil down into the threads before I was finally able to get it out. [Img]http://i.imgur.com/UgFKe.jpg[/Img] [Img]http://i.imgur.com/fOX6v.jpg[/Img] This looks bad, but after closer inspection the underside of the barrel turned out to be perfectly smooth and shiny, not a trace of rust. The only rust I did find was on the sides of the barrel and this was fairly minor, I'll snap a better picture of the rust damage tomorrow. [Img]http://i.imgur.com/Q0KWM.jpg[/Img] The rest of the gun came apart nicely, some of the screws had little more than shallow V shaped notches cut into them, something few if any modern screwdrivers fit into, but with some careful persuading I was able to get those out and the action came apart nicely. [Img]http://i.imgur.com/ehch9.jpg[/Img] [Img]http://i.imgur.com/jGZ8x.jpg[/Img] Tomorrow I'll wash all the parts in some hot, soapy water and get the rest of the grud off after I make a trip down to the hardware store for some pipe cleaners and steel wool. I'll also clean the bore and see what kind of a state that's in, from what I can see though it's not too bad, at least on the lands. The other thing I noticed with the bore is the rifling has a REALLY fast twist, it looks more like a screw and less like rifling! I've never seen rifling like that so it'll be interesting to see how that performs when I can put some lead down the barrel.
My name is raptor and I live in Idaho.
Raptor could you please stop being such an interesting person, it's getting hard to keep up with your life.
What do you plan to do with the rifle once you get it all cleaned up?
Fire it once I can make some cartridges for it. They stopped making .577/450 about 60 years ago so I'll have to either pay out the ass for custom made brass or take 24 gauge shotgun shells and neck them down to .450 with a die.
[QUOTE=RR_Raptor65;34648756]Fire it once I can make some cartridges for it. They stopped making .577/450 about 60 years ago so I'll have to either pay out the ass for custom made brass or take 24 gauge shotgun shells and neck them down to .450 with a die.[/QUOTE] In my opinion, for something that old, I would not fire it, or at least be as careful as fuck when firing it. Of course you can do whatever, just saying. I found an old BB gun from the 1930's and when I tried firing it, it broke. Of course I managed to fix it, but like I said, be careful.
The good thing about Black Powder guns is if they're made right and still in good condition, they'll fire as well as if they were brand new. If this were loaded with smokeless powder though then there would be something to worry about. Black powder has a lower pressure which is slower to build than smokeless powder, making it much safer to use and black powder will work in just about any gun.
Are you going to try to resell it at a higher value or keep it? Would be a nice gun to add to a collection.
Yeah, I'm gonna be hanging on to it. After lots of soapy water and scrubbing until the bristles on my brush all fell off I finally got the crap cleaned off the metal, still haven't washed the stock though. [URL=http://i.imgur.com/UVkep.jpg][IMG]http://i.imgur.com/UVkepl.jpg[/IMG][/URL] [URL=http://i.imgur.com/NHAFX.jpg][IMG]http://i.imgur.com/NHAFXl.jpg[/IMG][/URL] [URL=http://i.imgur.com/DMh30.jpg][IMG]http://i.imgur.com/DMh30l.jpg[/IMG][/URL] [URL=http://i.imgur.com/wilfc.jpg][IMG]http://i.imgur.com/wilfcl.jpg[/IMG][/URL] [URL=http://i.imgur.com/Brdhf.jpg][IMG]http://i.imgur.com/Brdhfl.jpg[/IMG][/URL] [URL=http://i.imgur.com/WI11K.jpg][IMG]http://i.imgur.com/WI11Kl.jpg[/IMG][/URL] The picture doesn't do it justice, the bore is actually quite good, but you can definitely see that insanely fast twist in there. Other than the finish looking like ass, it works perfectly. I may strip it down to the bare metal and hot blue it.
Where did you find this? Its already looking awesome!
Got it from IMA: [url]http://www.ima-usa.com/militaria/antique-guns/untouched-guns.html[/url] Just avoid the 'parts guns', they're pretty much guaranteed to be complete junk. There are some horror stories behind the Gahendras like the one I got too, I just got lucky and got a really nice one with with no damaged or missing parts. The Snider is supposed to be nice if you can afford it over the Gahendra, a guy on another forum I go to got a Snider and was able to get it firing again. But the one problem most of them seem to have is the trigger, the bloody thing has about a 20 pound trigger pull! And when you do manage to finally pull the trigger it actually hurts, like swinging a metal baseball bat against a metal pole. So I'm going to have to find a way to reduce that trigger pull. I suspect the problem might be that the front of the trigger which locks the hammer is too short, so when you pull the trigger you're fighting against the mainspring, which is this huge obviously hand forged leaf spring that looks like it belongs on a Wheellock. From what I understand there are two types of Gahendra, the improved model with a heavy barrel for improved reliability and a lighter trigger mechanism because apparently even the Ghurkas 140 years ago didn't like it when their trigger fingers stung all day from firing their rifles. Mine seems to be a combination of the two, a heavy barrel and the old model trigger mechanism. And I don't know if the barrel was forged or turned, but it has this twisted pattern on it which reminds me of damascus, but it may have just been wrapped in paper at one point before being installed in the receiver. Those lines may also have been straight at one time, one method of creating rifling is to cut the grooves straight, heat the barrel red hot and then twist the entire thing to create the twist in the rifling. First I think I'll try polishing the surfaces of the trigger and hammer, see if that doesn't make it easier to slip the trigger off the hammer. Then I'll try shimming up the mainspring to reduce it's strength because that thing could just about chuck a spear through a Rhino's ass. If that doesn't work I'll forge a new mainspring based on the original, with a gentler temper this time. Last resort is to actually change the angle of the contact surfaces between the trigger and hammer in case they meet at a slightly steeper angle, if the problem really is that the trigger is fighting against the mainspring then that will reduce the pull weight by a lot. The problem is this is dangerous, a lot can go wrong and if it's not PERFECT then the gun can end up with a trigger that won't hold, which is bad when you put a round in the chamber and close the gun, then it goes off when you don't want it too because the trigger slipped off the hammer. Course if that happens I'll just go and forge a new trigger entirely, which probably isn't a bad idea anyway because the trigger has this knurling on it which is more like someone took a chisel and just went to town on it with a sledgehammer because those lines are deep, and somewhat sharp. But overall, the metal on this gun is really really good, even the smallest screws are made of some really high quality metal, I went and took a hacksaw to some of the screws with shallow slots and it took awhile to cut anything. They really don't make them like they used to.
couldn't you dip it in acid to remove all the tarnish/oxidation/grease whatever? hcl is very cheap
That or Diesel. But Dish soap did the trick.
nice. would be fun to restore something like that but i'd get my door booted in at 5am. good luck
I'm tempted to get one. Not sure what the laws are like here though.
[QUOTE=joe588;34663663]nice. would be fun to restore something like that but i'd get my door booted in at 5am. good luck[/QUOTE] Antique guns don't have the same laws, I think you would be perfectly legal for you to get one, I'm not completely sure though.
[QUOTE=RR_Raptor65;34663544]Got it from IMA: [url]http://www.ima-usa.com/militaria/antique-guns/untouched-guns.html[/url] Just avoid the 'parts guns', they're pretty much guaranteed to be complete junk. There are some horror stories behind the Gahendras like the one I got too, I just got lucky and got a really nice one with with no damaged or missing parts. The Snider is supposed to be nice if you can afford it over the Gahendra, a guy on another forum I go to got a Snider and was able to get it firing again. But the one problem most of them seem to have is the trigger, the bloody thing has about a 20 pound trigger pull! And when you do manage to finally pull the trigger it actually hurts, like swinging a metal baseball bat against a metal pole. So I'm going to have to find a way to reduce that trigger pull. I suspect the problem might be that the front of the trigger which locks the hammer is too short, so when you pull the trigger you're fighting against the mainspring, which is this huge obviously hand forged leaf spring that looks like it belongs on a Wheellock. From what I understand there are two types of Gahendra, the improved model with a heavy barrel for improved reliability and a lighter trigger mechanism because apparently even the Ghurkas 140 years ago didn't like it when their trigger fingers stung all day from firing their rifles. Mine seems to be a combination of the two, a heavy barrel and the old model trigger mechanism. And I don't know if the barrel was forged or turned, but it has this twisted pattern on it which reminds me of damascus, but it may have just been wrapped in paper at one point before being installed in the receiver. Those lines may also have been straight at one time, one method of creating rifling is to cut the grooves straight, heat the barrel red hot and then twist the entire thing to create the twist in the rifling. [/QUOTE] I have never heard of a rifle barrel being made with straight cuts then twisted. Of course it makes sense but you would have to have near perfect heat across a lengthy barrel with no variation in temperature. Otherwise it twists faster where its hotter. You could attempt to put it in vinegar and pickle it. I have heard it removes rust and scale but I haven't tried it myself too see how harsh it is.
You may want to try naval jelly, that shit is crazy potent: [img]http://heavymetalpressco.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/navalJelly.jpg[/img] [img]http://www.supermotors.org/getfile/189145/fullsize/SideBySide3.jpg[/img]
Not needed anymore, the only rust left is of the inactive kind. If I decide to strip it though I'll just use my wire wheel, that will pre-polish the surface as well, and it's fast. I went and used the wire wheel on the cleaning rod before I hammered it straight, if the rest if the gun were to clean up as nice as that cleaning rod it'd be one beautiful thing. I found a setup someone made using a camping stove, some steel tubs and drain cleaner, got some amazing results out of it too. I'll just have to find or make some steel tubs. But I'm in no hurry, got 25 days left before I'll pretty much loose interest for awhile.
I love trapdoor style rifles of the late 19th century. I just happen to have this great artwork on my hard drive showing British(?) soldiers using Martini Henry rifles, I don't know the story behind it but I thought I'd post it. [img]http://i.cubeupload.com/MUvcHj.jpg[/img] I can't believe how beautiful that thing still is though. It reminds me of a story of some people who dug up an AK during some construction in Vietnam and they found that the action could still be cycled.
Be careful with cleaning it, you may damage it more than its original condition. I recommend looking around for proper cleaning instructions.
[QUOTE=nox;34697713]I love trapdoor style rifles of the late 19th century. I just happen to have this great artwork on my hard drive showing British(?) soldiers using Martini Henry rifles, I don't know the story behind it but I thought I'd post it. [img]http://i.cubeupload.com/MUvcHj.jpg[/img] I can't believe how beautiful that thing still is though. It reminds me of a story of some people who dug up an AK during some construction in Vietnam and they found that the action could still be cycled.[/QUOTE] I've always wanted a Sharps myself, one of these days I'll save up and get a Shiloh Sharps, if it ever hit it rich that is. Those are some fine rifles, be hard pressed to find some better made rifles these days. Old single shot breechloaders like these are really something else though.
Looks amazing!
Just so happens I own one in working order: [IMG]http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh55/111CC111/IMG_0768.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh55/111CC111/IMG_0772.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh55/111CC111/IMG_0777.jpg[/IMG] Good luck fixing her up, its a beauty of a rifle.
For how old it is, the condition is amazing. I know of newer guns/equipment that have come off in worse shape due to age.
[QUOTE=Tinn;34697794]Be careful with cleaning it, you may damage it more than its original condition. I recommend looking around for proper cleaning instructions.[/QUOTE] I think rr raptor can handle it.
Man, I love projects like this, but it doesn't help that this is possibly the slowest goddamned sub-forum on Facepunch.
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