Shooting the Martini Henry Sportster .450/.577 and Mauser 1871 single shot black powder rifle

HWL

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HWL, something very interesting there are available three Swiss rifles , the Swiss K31 7.5 Swiss Schmidt Rubin rifles in the Gun shop...what knowledge do you have about this type of rifle ..it really are in beautiful condition...any member on the forum knows more about this rifle?? These Swiss rifles in the gun shop is for sale and really I have never seen vintage rifles in this brilliant condition for sure,,

View attachment 380275
Buy it, you can't go wrong.... the swiss watch of straight pull rifles....

HWL
 

HWL

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HWL. then what do I do with it??? I already have too many rifles
It is said, this rifle is as accurate as the Boer Mauser....or even better.

With this rifle, you can teach your friends marksmanship at the range....

:cool:

HWL
 

Gert Odendaal

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HWL, I first have to teach myself marksmanship..before trying to teach it to other people ..as pointed out previously I am relatively good with a big bore rifle at 30 meters..there after I do not gurantee any positive results at all..this is why I rather spend a lot of time on learning how to walk and stalk to get at least within twenty meters of the game I am hunting..there is then still ten meters left out to 30 meters to get another shot if the first one at 20 meters did not find it`s mark:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: I am at a stage of my life where it seems the best part of hunting for me is behind the bush camp cooking pots and better to leave the hunting to the young or better hunters ...
 

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DSC04816.JPG
11,15x60R aka .43 Mauser prepared for the 2021 black powder hunt.

370 gr lead flat nose, 81 gr BP

HWL
 

Gert Odendaal

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View attachment 38087211,15x60R aka .43 Mauser prepared for the 2021 black powder hunt.

370 gr lead flat nose, 81 gr BP

HWL
HWL, it is just beautiful...my children did shoot a lot of rounds when visited the shooting range ...so I now have a few cases to re-load with Johan Greyling`s newest ZAR black powder ..I am sure I will be getting a few meter per second faster results from my Mauser 71 single shot rifle ..HWL, this Mauser 71 rifle shoots just beautifully and it is a much enjoyable black powder rifle to shoot..so fortunately it will be my primary hunting rifle for next year `s 1885 era black powder hunt...the Martini sport rifle will be my secondary hunting rifle ..the .50 Cal side x side Muzzle loader will be designated to you...the two 1871/88 Mauser black powder rifles will be standing in the camp for anyone who wants to use it for hunting..if you are able to get hold of more Mauser 43/ 1871/84 brass casing please be so kind as to bring them along, they will be used extensively for hunting with the Mause rblack powder rifles ...All the black powder, ZAR will be sponsored by Johan Greyling..so you can reload and shoot as much as you want....

Next year I will be toting along a few chickens to be spit roasted over the coals ..if you manage to shoot a few fowl like francolins or partridges they all will be stuffed and spit roasted over the hot burning coals of the Camel Thorn tree wood fire ..
 
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It has been a great day today, I took my family to the Shooting range today . Took the following rifles to shoot with, Martini Henry Sportster .450/577, Mauser 1871 Single shot 11.15 x60 black powder rifle , 12ga W.W Greener side x side shot gun , a Spain made 12 ga side x side shot gun with nice engraving as well as a 16ga side by side shot gun and to top it of a 9mm Short /.380ACP...It really was a lot of fun to see my family members enjoys the shooting almost as much as I did . We did take some nice videos and photos , will upload it as soon as possible ..I am sure the Black Powder hunters will like to see these old vintage rifles shoot ...
@Gert Odendaal
I remember reading about one well known writer loading up the 450/577 martini with a healthy dose of black powder. It almost cures him of black powder shooting as he found the c.f. recoil to be the most horrendous he had ever experienced.
Would have liked to see the look on his face when he touched it off.
Bob
 

Gert Odendaal

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Bob, I was smiling at my children when they began to cough after taking the shot with the Martini Henry and the 71 Mauser..:ROFLMAO: The best load I think in using in drawn brass cases of the Martini Henry is 75gn of FF black powder...if you use the correct leaning into shooting technique the MH is not a heavy recoil rifle at all..but it can become one if you do not use the correct stance
 

HWL

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.......if you manage to shoot a few fowl like francolins or partridges they all will be stuffed and spit roasted over the hot burning coals of the Camel Thorn tree wood fire ..
There will be enough 12 and 16 ga black powder shotgun ammunition.......

....including reloading them in the field.


I am looking forward....

HWL

DSC04819.JPG
 
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Bob, I was smiling at my children when they began to cough after taking the shot with the Martini Henry and the 71 Mauser..:ROFLMAO: The best load I think in using in drawn brass cases of the Martini Henry is 75gn of FF black powder...if you use the correct leaning into shooting technique the MH is not a heavy recoil rifle at all..but it can become one if you do not use the correct stance
@Gert Odendaal
The gent in question was using the same cases as you but put in over 100 grains of powder to see how it would go in the Henry
Bob
 

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HWL, something very interesting there are available three Swiss rifles , the Swiss K31 7.5 Swiss Schmidt Rubin rifles in the Gun shop...what knowledge do you have about this type of rifle ..it really are in beautiful condition...any member on the forum knows more about this rifle?? These Swiss rifles in the gun shop is for sale and really I have never seen vintage rifles in this brilliant condition for sure,,

View attachment 380275
Those are exquisite target rifles - not the usual ex-military issue rifle usually encountered here in this country. They will have specially chosen barrels to go with those amazing sights. Ballistically, the 7.5 Swiss is essentially a .308 or .300 Savage (150 gr bullet at 2800 fps). The rifles have a well deserved reputation for exceptional accuracy.
 

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Those are exquisite target rifles - not the usual ex-military issue rifle usually encountered here in this country. They will have specially chosen barrels to go with those amazing sights. Ballistically, the 7.5 Swiss is essentially a .308 or .300 Savage (150 gr bullet at 2800 fps). The rifles have a well deserved reputation for exceptional accuracy.
Red Leg, definitely, just by looking at the condition of these rifles when I took it out of their bags amazed me..it looked like the rifles just came out of the manufacturing process ...it looks brand new, not a scratch or mark on it..it is my first time I was such high grade vintage military rifles ...I will see if there is an opportunity to re-load a few rounds for shooting them..I want to see if an average shot like me can shoot it accurate at 100 meters ..
 

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@Gert Odendaal
The gent in question was using the same cases as you but put in over 100 grains of powder to see how it would go in the Henry
Bob
I am a hunter who like to experiment with rifles, but not yet brave enough to see how much powder I can ram into a brass case to shoot it ..it is something a fool do...
 

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I've always thought the 577/450 M-H was a problematic design from the get-go. Keeping the basic body diameter of the 577 rifle musket and necking it down to 45 cal then designing a massive single shot to handle the size :) ... all within the blackpowder era. Since BP cartridges (and muzzleloaders for that matter) have always been loaded to 100% load density to prevent the BP/barrel obstruction phenomenon, the 577/450 has to be loaded with a massive amount of BP or some form of suitable filler wad has to be added to the bottleneck case to reduce the charge. I know that experienced 577/450 shooters regular reduce their BP charges down to around 75 gr and use wool or kapok as filler and seem to get away with it. I am still nagged by the thought of the basic, general rule with BP- using a hard/stiff filler like a fiber wad to take up airspace between charge and bullet is OK. However, using a compressible, soft filler like Dacron, wool or kapok is a no-no because of the BP bore obstruction issue where the powder, with only soft filler on top still "thinks" the bullet is a bore obstruction.

Conversely, and for a change perhaps, I think the US (military) got it right during the BP musket transition to cartridge by designing and adopting the 45-70 straight wall BP cartridge. The 100% load density of 70 grains of BP under the 45 cal bullet seemed about right ballistically and it was small enough to fit into both lever repeaters and reasonably sized single shots like the trapdoor and rolling block.

Question Gert, have you experimented any with fillers to reduce the BP charge in modern type drawn, large volume 577/450 cases? I have done so to reduce the charge in the straight wall 577 Snider by using stiff shotgun fiber wads. But it seems like the bottleneck design of the 577/450 would prevent the use of stiff filler wads ???

I know there are other, novel, ways to reduce the BP charge in the big bottleneck case, just curious about any experimenting you have done. Thanks
 

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Old BP originals for perspective, L-R:

577 Snider with separate base, wrapped foil body covered by cardboard roll (made somewhat like a shotshell)

577/450 with paper patched bullet.

45-70 with cast bullet.

Just a tiny side note of history involving the 577/450 and the Snider. Prior to one of his safaris, WDM Bell acquired several 577 Snider rifles to arm his askaris, but could only find an adequate supply of 577/450 ammo. He deduced the 577/450 would fire OK in the Snider but with the bullet ricocheting down the bore side to side. He thought at least they would make a lot of fire and noise. But also discovered the hopelessly inaccurate combination must have "perfectly" fit the shooting style of his guys :):) because he said they killed several night marauders around his camps shooting the 45 caliber 577/450 ammo in the 577 Sniders!

Snider, M-H, 45-70 .JPG
 

Gert Odendaal

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fourfive8, thank you kindly for your input ....it is much appreciated. The Martini Henry .577/450 caliber is an interesting black powder cartridge to re-load for all together for sure. Some hunters/owners swear by it other swear at it and the rest just keep away from it..... :ROFLMAO:

We are fortunate to have access to two types of brass casings, the drawn brass and lathe turn brass( rolled foil brass not included). The latter being prefer by most MH shooters/hunters. It is a more solid casing and can hold the 70 gn 2FF ZAR black powder that is perceive as the best load for the Martini Henry rifle .Challenges in regards to the lathe turn brass is it is designated to only a single camber of a specific MH rifle when fire formed for that specific rifle and chances are extremely slim of being use in another MH since the brass casing walls are rather thick and will not conform to another chamber( my experience only).

The drawn brass casings ( Hansie Minnaar -Stewart`s core-bonded bullets owner ) are really extremely high quality MH brass casings . Hansie makes an effort to draw brass with thicker walls to ensure quality control. This brass casing can be filled up with 85gn of 2FF ZAR black powder and more if you deem it necessary..( I do not)

I noticed not a difference in accuracy when shooting a MH loaded with 85gn ZAR 2FF black powder or loaded with 70gn 2FF ZAR black powder....( my personal take on it)

There are many variations in regards to paper patching, use of fillers , type of fillers , procedures to re-load /arrangement of different fillers . Hansie Minnaar is a extremely knowledge-able re-loader when it concerns the MH .577/450 caliber rifle.

There is no other rifle barrel diameter that confuses so many "want to shoot/re-loading Martini Henry rifle " owners as the MH. I perceive the correct barrel /groove diameter as the most critical component to get the MH to shoot as an accurate rifle . There is not a .458 diameter in any MH rifle at all in the Henry`s designed rifling (polygonal rifling) .Even swaging a .458 " bullet through the MH barrel will give you incorrect diameter specifications and measurements. ( own experience learned the hard way and tedious wasted bullets and black powder)

This is being the first major challenge a novice/wanna shoot a MH shooter /hunter needs to understand ..it really took me a drum full of black powder and different cast bullets/paper patched bullets without any success to achieved accurate groupings at fifty meters ...an endless search on internet forums , discussions and reading/research could not solve the riddle : the quest to get a MH rifle to shoot accurate all the time. " To achieve and complete this quest you need to consult and visit a person who already solved all these challenges , Hansie Minnaar , hunter/owner /bullet/brass maker par excellence...second to none ....
 

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fourfive8, thank you kindly for your input ....it is much appreciated. The Martini Henry .577/450 caliber is an interesting black powder cartridge to re-load for all together for sure. Some hunters/owners swear by it other swear at it and the rest just keep away from it..... :ROFLMAO:

We are fortunate to have access to two types of brass casings, the drawn brass and lathe turn brass( rolled foil brass not included). The latter being prefer by most MH shooters/hunters. It is a more solid casing and can hold the 70 gn 2FF ZAR black powder that is perceive as the best load for the Martini Henry rifle .Challenges in regards to the lathe turn brass is it is designated to only a single camber of a specific MH rifle when fire formed for that specific rifle and chances are extremely slim of being use in another MH since the brass casing walls are rather thick and will not conform to another chamber( my experience only).

The drawn brass casings ( Hansie Minnaar -Stewart`s core-bonded bullets owner ) are really extremely high quality MH brass casings . Hansie makes an effort to draw brass with thicker walls to ensure quality control. This brass casing can be filled up with 85gn of 2FF ZAR black powder and more if you deem it necessary..( I do not)

I noticed not a difference in accuracy when shooting a MH loaded with 85gn ZAR 2FF black powder or loaded with 70gn 2FF ZAR black powder....( my personal take on it)

There are many variations in regards to paper patching, use of fillers , type of fillers , procedures to re-load /arrangement of different fillers . Hansie Minnaar is a extremely knowledge-able re-loader when it concerns the MH .577/450 caliber rifle.

There is no other rifle barrel diameter that confuses so many "want to shoot/re-loading Martini Henry rifle " owners as the MH. I perceive the correct barrel /groove diameter as the most critical component to get the MH to shoot as an accurate rifle . There is not a .458 diameter in any MH rifle at all in the Henry`s designed rifling (polygonal rifling) .Even swaging a .458 " bullet through the MH barrel will give you incorrect diameter specifications and measurements. ( own experience learned the hard way and tedious wasted bullets and black powder)

This is being the first major challenge a novice/wanna shoot a MH shooter /hunter needs to understand ..it really took me a drum full of black powder and different cast bullets/paper patched bullets without any success to achieved accurate groupings at fifty meters ...an endless search on internet forums , discussions and reading/research could not solve the riddle : the quest to get a MH rifle to shoot accurate all the time. " To achieve and complete this quest you need to consult and visit a person who already solved all these challenges , Hansie Minnaar , hunter/owner /bullet/brass maker par excellence...second to none ....
Conclusion to my Quest :
'"
Update:
Members, after numerous research, experiments with different bullets, size, weight and really a huge amount of time spend shooting from 50 meters ....I did not managed to get my MH to shoot accurate enough to hunt with it this coming 1882 era black powder hunt next week.

It really is a great disappointment to me. I then phone Hansie Minnaar in this regards. Hansie invited me to visit him after the hunt so he can assist me to get the MH to shoot accurately with black powder .

The bright side to this is that I am shooting a small grouping when using S335, 36gn smokeless powder. Unfortunately this hunt prohibit me to use smokeless powder.

I will give a full update regarding my endeavor to visit Hansie Minnaar where he will assist me to get the MH to shoot accurately...""

Smokeless power use in a Martini Henry rifle( Pierre van der Walt - African Dangerous Game Cartridges' " Pierre van der Walt really is an expert on this subject ,,he even dedicated one complete chapter on the Martini Henry re-loading and history ....if possible please get hold of " African Dangerous Game Cartridges by Pierre van der Walt ...it is a book second to none discussing all the Dangerous game cartridges used in Africa ..
 

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