Martini Henry Rifle MkIV Pattern B & C
Martini Henry Rifle MkIV Pattern B & C Martini Henry Rifle MkIV Pattern B & C Martini Henry Rifle MkIV Pattern B & C Martini Henry Rifle MkIV Pattern B & C Martini Henry Rifle MkIV Pattern B & C Martini Henry Rifle MkIV Pattern B & C

Martini Henry Rifle MkIV Pattern B & C

Weapon Specification
Calibre 577/450”
Date of Approval 15th September 1887
Length 4’1” (L) 4’0” (s)
Weight 8lb 15oz
Weapon Overview

With the decision to make general issue of the Martini Henry MKII & MkIII to the militia and Volunteers in January 1885 and the impending new .303” calibre and the suspension and ultimate cancellation of the .402” bore Enfield Martini in June 1887, it was decided as a short term measure to convert those 65000 .402” Enfield Martinis already made into a useable .577/450” arm. The new rifle was to be designated the Martini Henry Mk1V at a cost to convert those arms was expected to be 6s 6d per piece.

The success of enhanced extraction of the longer lever of the Enfield Martini Pattern B rifle was readily adopted for all Mk1V patterns, those existing Enfield –Martini A pattern walnut stocks required the brass stock cup re-siting to correspond with the long levers’ tip. The process required a fresh recess hole to be drilled and the cup re-set. A purpose made wooden plug was glued into the hole completing the process. As the stocks were all removed there is no consistency as which stock was fitted to A or B pattern, so they will be found on any pattern. Wherever possible the old components were re-used, and the “E-M” designation originally marked on many of the parts betrays today it’s original pedigree often scored through thus: E-M . The A pattern trigger assembly, designed to accept the E-M’s safety was reamed to remove the original configuration, whilst Receivers and butt stocks of the old pattern had an extra Roman numeral “V” stamped alongside the original “I”, whilst newly made but un-used components have a distinctive “IV” classification. A new pattern clearing rod, designed to spring into place and to be suitable with use of the new steel jag was installed and the nosecap was redesigned, however it was decided to retain to old pattern Barleycorn on Block foresight on the pattern “A”.

Martini Henry MkIV pattern B & C

The Enfields’ records throw into confusion as to what happened to the 49,902 Pattern B .402” arms manufactured, these rifles required less conversion, the obvious re-bore to .577/450 calibre, and apart from sighting alteration and re-tooling of the extractor it was a far easier task to convert. These existing Pattern B rifles after barrel conversion to the new .577/450 were designated as the Martini Henry Mk1V Pattern ‘C”, or “conversions”, whilst those rifles made as new pieces, from new components which were rifled to .577/.450” were known as Martini Henry Pattern ‘B”, 

The author begs to be controversial and also doubts conventional thinking on the issue, In my collection I have a Martini Henry pattern B, with a “B” designation to the serial number, several B markings on the knocks form, and B on the receiver, I have inspected 15 other examples and found the same, all proof marks are single line, not a twin line of proofs clearly, a discrepancy, or maybe proof indeed of the original nomenclature, however to confuse matters, the official List of change No 5603, announcing the issue of the MH Mk1V clearly states the knocks form of pattern A & B are 1/8th inch shorter than the pattern C, which ever, the new sealed patterns were offered for adoption and accepted on the same date 15th Sept 1887

In 1895 BSA & M Co was contracted to refurbish 5000 Martini Henry Mk1V, it is to be noted these rifles carry the BSA & M Co logo, however these rifles have Enfield made barrels, and therefore are not BSA original pieces.