British Martini-Henry P-1871 Short Lever Mk II Rifle, Zulu War Era

$1,095.00

SKU: FR1598 Category:

Description

The P-1871 Martini-Henry rifle first entered service in June of 1871 with the introduction of
the Mk I. It fired the new .577/450 bottleneck black powder cartridge which was an
improvement over the existing .577 Snider-Enfield cartridge. In 1877 the MkI was
replaced by the MK II which incorporated several design improvements learned from the
MK I. Both receiver and 33″ barrel are profusely marked with inspection and proof marks
(see photos), with additional markings on the loading lever, trigger guard, cleaning rod,
and barrel bands. Receiver dated 1878 and marked “ENFIELD” for the Royal Small Arms
Factory located in the London borough of Enfield. Fixed front sight and adjustable folding
rear ladder sight. Bayonet lug on the right side of the front barrel band for mounting the
standard socket-type spike bayonet (either converted from the 20.4″ P-1853 bayonet or
the newer 25″ P-1876 bayonet), or a sword bayonet for NCO’s. Walnut full stock showing
typical wear from field use and no visible markings. Overall length of the rifle is 49″. Rifle
in overall very good condition as field used with light scattered pitting to the steel parts and
some dings and scratches to the wood. Markings generally clear and crisp, with some
wear to the crown on the receiver.

The Martini-Henry P-1871 Mk II short lever rifle is best known for its use in the Zulu War at
the Battle of Rorke’s Drift on January 22nd, 1879, where a small force of British and
colonial troops defeated a much larger attacking Zulu force. A total of 11 Victoria Crosses
were awarded that day, most to the 2nd/24th Foot. Earlier in the day another force of
about 20,000 Zulus attacked a British column at Isandlwana consisting of about 1800
British and colonial troops as well as several hundred civilians, killing over 1300. These
famous battles were immortalized in the movies “Zulu” (1964) and “Zulu Dawn” (1979)