Martini-Henry Mark I (1871-1876)
  • Large cocking indicator
  • Checkered iron buttplate
  • Roman numeral "I" stamped on right side of receiver, and on the buttstock near the manufacturer's roundel
  • Crown with "V.R." (Victoria Regina) and an arrow indicating military acceptance/military property on right side of receiver
  • Safety (rarely seen on surviving Mark Is)
  • Most Mark Is were converted to Mark II Pattern, and are rather rare nowadays
  • Top of breechblock was polished. It is believed the breechblock was polished so it reflected light down the bore of the weapon for inspection purposes. Unfortunately, the unprotected metal was prone to rusting, despite the preventative maintenance of armorers and soldiers. When the tops of the breechblocks were browned (starting with the Mark II) reflectors, or bore inspection mirrors, were issued at the rate of 1 reflector to 20 rifles. These were produced until about 1880. Total production of the reflectors was in excess of 500,000.
  • There were three Patterns of the Mark I with minor variations between them
  • Bronze breechblock axis pin on early patterns, steel pin on later (#3) Patterns
  • Made by RSAF Enfield, BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) and LSA (London Small Arms)

Martini-Henry Mark II (1877-1881)
  • Revised trigger assembly, to address shortcomings found in the Mark I's trigger assembly
  • Safety omitted from newly produced Mark IIs, and removed from weapons upgraded from Mark I Pattern. Sometimes this is evidenced by a slot remaining on the underside of the trigger slot.
  • Checkered buttplate replaced with a smooth buttplate
  • Roman numeral "II" on right side of receiver and on the buttstock with manufacturer's roundel
  • Revised rear sights (deepened range notches)
  • Top of breechblock was blued (actually referred to as "browned")
  • New cleaning rod (tulip head, approved in 1876)
  • Made by RSAF Enfield, BSA (Birmingham Small Arms), LSA (London Small Arms) and NAA (National Arms and Ammunition Co)
  • The Mark II was manufactured under contract until the year 1889. Many of these rifles were sent to India. A large number of the rifles being sold by IMA and Atlanta Cutlery from the "Nepalese Cache" are late dated Mark IIs.

Martini-Henry Mark III (1879-1888)
  • Pattern approved in August of 1879, introduced into service March of 1882 in LoC Paragraph 3998
  • Small cocking indicator taken from the Carbine models
  • Forend no longer attached by a pin going through the wood. Mark IIIs utilize a hook arrangement that hooks into the front of the receiver
  • Roman numeral "III" on right side of receiver, below that, the Arabic numeral "1". Same configuration on the buttstock with the manufacturer's roundel
  • New, wider breechblock to reduce movement when the block is opened/closed
  • Firing pin hole diameter increased .002"
  • Stronger, wider (.002") firing pin
  • Improved rear sight. Rear sight was mounted slightly off center to the left to correct rifling deflection issues
  • Made by RSAF Enfield, BSA (Birmingham Small Arms), LSA (London Small Arms), NAA (National Arms and Ammunition Co) and HRB (Henry Rifled Barrel Company)

Martini-Henry Mark IV (1888-1889)
  • The vast majority of Mark IV Martini-Henry Rifles started life as Enfield-Martini .402 caliber rifles. The British came to the realization in the mid 1880s that a higher velocity, smaller caliber projectile had many advantages over a slow moving, but massive .450" bullet. The Royal Arsenal developed a cartridge with a .402" bullet, and the engineers and armorers at RSAF Enfield designed a new Martini to fire this new cartridge. These rifles were known as the Enfield-Martini Mark I. There were two patterns of E-M Mark Is. The first pattern had a standard, short operating lever, while the Second Pattern E-M Mark I incorporated the long lever to aid cartridge extraction, and a few other minor changes. These new Martinis were intended to incorporate other advanced features to make them more effective, such as a side mounted "quick loader", improved sights, volley sights, a half cock, and a safety toggle. Unfortunately, at about the time production of the new Enfield-Martini .402 Rifle peaked, the revolutionary and vastly superior .303 caliber Magazine Lee-Metford Rifle (a.k.a. MLM) was coming onto the scene. The British had already instituted a logistics nightmare by introducing in the .402 E-M yet another caliber of ammunition which must be supplied to troops (they had to supply all patterns of .450 Martini-Henry ammo, all patterns of Gatling Gun ammo, .402 Enfield-Martini, .303 British for the new MLM, certain pistol cartridges, and .577 Snider for levies and volunteers!) In view of the forthcoming widespread acceptance of the new MLM Rifle, a decision was made to convert all .402" arms back to .450 Martini-Henry for issuance to non frontline troops, and to fill a large gap for sorely needed weapons in far flung colonies. This is why nowadays, so many Mark IVs come from India, Nepal and Pakistan.

    So...the 64,634 .402" arms manufactured up to that point were then converted to Martini-Henry Mark IVs. It seems wasteful, but remember, these conversions were deemed necessary to fill large demands for service rifles prior to the widespread issue of the Lee-Metford. The converted E-M Mark Is are referred to as "A" and "B" pattern Martini-Henry Mark IVs. The "C" pattern Mark IV was made from mostly new parts, and some interchangeable parts from the Enfield-Martini .402. Disassembly of a Mark IV will often reveal stampings on the metal parts indicating the use of parts from the E-M Mark I. The most commonly seen indicator of this are the letters "E-M", sometimes with a cross or slash through them (referred to in period documentation as a "strikethrough"). The E-M featured a short operating lever, as in the M-H Mark I - III and most carbines. When converted to "A" and "B" pattern Mark IVs, the short lever was removed, the operating lever retaining cup hole was plugged with wood, and a long lever was installed. Thus, "A" and "B" pattern Mark IVs are easily identifiable by a wood plug on the underside of the buttstock (assuming the stock is original to the weapon). Also, "A" and "B" patterns will typically have the "V" character stamped off center, to the right of the "I" character on the Sovereign's Cypher (as E-M Mark I's, they bore a single "I" designating the Mark. When converted to Mark IV, the "V" was added to the existing "I").

  • Operating lever lengthened 3 inches to resolve cartridge extraction issues that came to light during campaigns in Sudan
  • Roman numeral "IV" with Arabic numeral "1" on the right side of the action body and on the buttstock with the manufacturer's roundel
  • New humped shape integrated into the action body. The design improved the shooter's grip on the weapon
  • New buttstock design
  • New cleaning rod design
  • New buttplate design, attached with brass screws to prevent the screws from "welding" to the buttplate as a result of corrosion. A thin brass liner was also placed between the stock and the buttplate to prevent corrosion
  • New extractor design to improve cartridge extraction
  • Most Mark IV operating lever retaining cups were made of brass rather than steel for corrosion resistance
  • Two varieties of front sights used. Barleycorn on a block, and Barleycorn on a ramp ("B" and "C" patterns)
  • Mark IVs were made at RSAF Enfield, however, some examples from the recent IMA "Nepalese Cache" have been observed with BSA & M Co. maker's codes!!!
  • Although the Mark IV was produced from 1888 to 1889, some examples are seen with 1886 and 1887 dates. The reason for the early dates is that these weapons were converted from early Enfield-Martini Mark Is. This can be sometimes be evidenced by a "Mark of Arm" marking which is off-center compared to the lock viewer's mark directly above.
  • "DIKPOL" often seen stamped or carved into the buttstock wood. The widely held belief is that this stands for "Pakistan District Police".
  • Buttstocks of Mark IV's commonly marked with non-British arsenal roundels such as Allahabad, Rawalpindi and Madras. Often times with Arabic or Sanskrit characters accompanying.

Please note, the dates listed refer to the approximate service dates in the British Army, not the manufacture dates of the weapons.

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Last Modified: 08/19/10