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Today's Moment of Collector Zen...

 Brought by the Big Brown Truck of Joy and Happiness last week - a .303 Martini-Henry cavalry carbine, built for an Afghan contract.  Complete with bring-back papers from Afghanistan.  It measures out correctly, I don't think it's a "Khyber" rifle, but if I choose to shoot it, it will be custom-loaded light loads.  Most .303 out there is MkVII ball, loaded for machineguns, and not really what this rifle was built to take.  I just noticed it is missing the screws that would hold the leather sight cover in place.



Can anyone read the receiver markings?  If the bring-back paperwork is to be believed, this rifle was manufactured in 1300.  I rather suspect they *meant* 1800 (even that is 80 or so years off).


7 Comments

Could the 1300 refer to the year in the Islamic calender, which would make the year 1910 or so? Still probably a little off, but not impossibly so for an approximation.
 
That's been suggested to (over on Facebook, where I also posted the pics).  Most sources say 1901 was the last production of military M-H-style weapons, but that probably also means Brit military.  I'm still looking for information regarding contract lots. 

And it is still possible this is a "Khyber Pass" rifle, but if so, it's an outlier for quality, i.e., better than average.

The marking on the receiver is the Afghan crest, I'm still hoping someone can get a handle on the verbiage.
 
Arrrrgh I hate you! That's rifle is so on my list to buy!
 
I posted this over on FB as well, but the lower row (4 characters) looks like numerals in Persian/East Arabic script.  Either 1227 or 1327.  The second is difficult to make out, and their 2 and 3 are very similar.

The Persian calendar changes years o/a 31 March by our calendar, so to convert from Persian to Gregorian, add 622 during the first quarter, or 621 for the rest of the year.

1227+621=1848, which is too early for a M-H
1327+621=1948, which is way late
 
Although it was no longer military issue, the Martini-Henry was still available for civilian purchase in 1910 - if not later.  

Harrods (the big department store in Knightsbridge, London) sold dozens of them before WW1 and they ended up in some bizarre places.  For instance, the Earl of Lanesborough donated nearly 200 to the Ulster Volunteer Force.  



 
To further complicate matters - that crest was used by Afghanistan from 1919-1931.

 
Even better - while not doing much for value, this would appear to be a genuine Royal Kabul Arsenal-built carbine - a unique and rare variant of the Martini-Enfield.

Made more rare by the fact that the bazaar sellers in Afghanistan will scrub these guns and put fake brit marks on them... because the US troops would buy Brit-marked, but not Afghan Arsenal marked.