Greener MkIII Police in a 2-Gun Shotgun Match (Video)

Every few years, there is a special 2-Gun match at my local club, using shotgun and pistol instead of rifle and pistol. The rules of this match are a bit different than most multigun competition that uses shotgun, in an attempt to make the competition more practical and realistic, and less of simple a speedloading contest. The stages are intended to be shot with buckshot and slugs (although birdshot is allowable on some stages), and the competitors must begin with their shotgun loaded to full capacity. Once the shotgun is run empty, the shooter has the option to either reload it or transition to handgun.

This is an attempt to reflect the practical reality that in a gunfight, one would not abandon a very effective weapon like a shotgun for a much less effective one like a handgun without good reason. In fact, there is no strict requirement to even use a handgun in this match – as you will see below, Karl shot the whole thing with just his shotgun, and I only used my pistol (an Inglis High Power) once.

Because it seemed like a fun and interesting thing to do, I opted to use a MkIII Greener Police Gun for this competition. This a single-shot weapon based on the Martini falling block action. It was introduced in 1921, well after the Martini-Henry rifles were obsolete, primarily for use by colonial police forces. It was a very robust and durable gun, equally useful as a hand-to-hand weapon as a firearm. The ammunition was designed to make the guns useless is taken from the police; a three-pringed firing pin require the cartridge case to have a recessed ring in the case head or else the center prong of the pin would be held up away form the shell’s primer. In addition, the case itself was a non-standard 14 1/2 ga size, too small to fit a 12ga shell. However, a revised and improved version (the Mark III) was introduced shortly afterwards chambered for either this specialty ammunition or for standard 12ga. The example I am using in the match is a standard 12ga.

For this match, we decided to film each of the four stages separately, so that we could take more time to discuss the intent of each stage design, and how they went for us. Let me know what you think of that format in the comments below!

Introduction and Stage 1:

Stage 2:

Stage 3:

Stage 4:

38 Comments

    • I picked it up at a Sportsman’s Warehouse, actually. I didn’t particularly buy it for the pattern, I just liked the material and the pocket layout.

  1. I really enjoyed this video and I really like the 2Gun match set-up you folks shoot. Ian, a bit of advise. Get a cartridge belt for your shotgun ammo. I have used one for Cowboy shoots and 3Gun matches. Not as fast as the shell caddies all the competitive shooters use in 3Gun but more practical for “real world ” use.

    • Yes indeed! Excellent to see Ian competing with his Greener in an open event.

      When I used to shoot in ‘blighty, one of my friends also owned of these Greener Martini actioned shot guns. I think he held it in high regard, not necessarily for its potential rate of fire, but from its reputation for being robust and strong, i.e. well able to cope with powerful slug loads etc. My friend later acquired a .450/577 Martini Henry rifle.

      I started my smallbore rifle shooting career using a Martini actioned .22 BSA 12/15 (but eventually changed to something more modern and bolt actioned). Whilst Martini actioned BSAs .22 target rifles used to be very common in the UK, I also enjoyed encountering examples made by Vickers.

      • “Martini actioned BSAs .22 target rifles used to be very common in the UK”
        History of BSA .22 rifles derived from Martini Cadet:
        http://www.rifleman.org.uk/BSA_Model_4.html
        Last of rifle from this family were developed after end of WW2 – Martini International, for me impressive – action developed in 1860s/1870s (Martini–Henry), still used after 80 years in newly manufactured weapon not being replica.

  2. I wonder if the Greener used a full brass case with a shorter than 2 3/4 in 12 Ga. Even if it was 12 Ga loads with card board over the shot instead of folded plastic case, it would have ejected/extracted easier. Just a thought. 1921 12 Ga. vs Rio stuff.

    • Police 14 bore (actually 14 1/2) 12 bore and Greener 12/14 bore cartridges were all brass ones with a star crimp over the buckshot.

  3. “The ammunition was designed to make the guns useless is taken from the police; a three-pringed firing pin require the cartridge case to have a recessed ring in the case head or else the center prong of the pin would be held up away form the shell’s primer. In addition, the case itself was a non-standard 14 1/2 ga size, too small to fit a 12ga shell.”
    See examples here:
    http://www.municion.org/greener/12-14Police.htm
    Known labels are: with AAA shot, with No.4 shot, wit BB shot.
    Were other variants produced? Which one was in most widespread use?

  4. Liked the format and the increased discussion. For those of us who can’t do that it was very instructive. Also appreciated that you did different advertisement before each video.

  5. Ian & Karl
    I think the 4 video format was a good way to go. I enjoy watching Ian’s shooting videos as he always uses an interesting weapon and he as well as Karl are up front about any difficulties they have. Contrasting the performance differences between the two shotguns was much more interesting than watching people using the same or very similar weapons. These videos gave good information that could be transferred to real life situations. Especially the importance of knowing and always using reliable ammo.

  6. I’ve also noticed that Rio in general is somewhat subpar shotgun ammunition, in general. Rio Buckshot patterns much wider than any other buckshot that I’ve tested. For shotgun matches, in my experience, my shotguns are much more reliable when running high quality ammo. I save the federal bulk pack for casual clay busting. For matches? I’m bringing Winchester Heavy/Handicap AA’s. I’ll eat the extra recoil for a stronger hit on target, and I’ll eat the doubled price for rock-solid operation under the timer.

  7. Looked like a lot of fun. I’ve done action pistol and IDPA and have never used a shotgun other than Trap & Skeet so this would be a hoot to try. Judging from the sunburn on both of you after stage 4, it must have been hot there.

  8. That Martini shotgun is a nice piece, I guess I’ll have to add that to the lotto list.

    Also one vote for the single (split screen as needed) video format.

  9. Proprietary ammunition for a shotgun is a much better security choice than an electronic ID lock. At least you won’t rely on batteries to get your gun into action. Last time somebody stole a Greener and tried the old “duct-tape the breech shut” approach on firing ammunition that wouldn’t chamber in normal conditions, the gun EXPLODED and blew off his face… or am I wrong?

    • I suspect that you are indeed wrong

      in order to get the striker in line to hit the primer (remember, the striker is housed in the block and the front of the block rotates in an arc)

      AND

      the cocking projection (that moves in conjunction with the lever between the split undercut gear tooth that rotate the block) sufficeintly far forward for the striker to be able to travel far enough to contact the primer,

      That split flat topped gear tooth will be locking the block up and closed.

      • You’re right. I checked later.

        Before the three pronged firing pin was introduced, the British believed that all they needed to do was chamber the Greener shotgun for unusual ammunition. At the time, the Mark One variant was chambered for 14 gauge shotgun shells. But some crafty Egyptian thieves stole some guns and stuffed paper wrapped 16 gauge shells into the breech (paper wadding would keep the shell from dislocating). But I think the British found out the practice upon discovering a dead crook whose stolen Greener had backfired… (yet again, I still could be wrong).

        • I am told that Egyptian police used to ‘rent’ their guns to criminals until a failed murder attempt left the perpetrator injured from blow by from the ruptured paper wrapped 16 bore cartridge of aged cheap French manufacture. The criminals had to use 16 bore as Egyptian policemen had to return all rounds drawn even if fired and report why they had fired any so they would not include a police 14 bore cartridge in their illicit deals. One reason for the caution was to discourage policemen from resorting to firing as a first resort. Most were used as expensive but heavy clubs.

  10. Greener’s patent for conversion of the military Martini action to 12 guage is covered by British patent 203,412, applied for June 10th 1922 and granted in September 1923.

    The conversion involves altering the locking geometry by boring out the barrel socket in the receiver at a slight angle to the original

    this brings the continuation of the centre line of the bore through the axis pin of the breech block, rather than the bore axis line passing below the axis pin, as it does in the original.

    This allowed the original military block to be used without any additional metal being removed from its top surface to allow a 12guage case to be chambered and ejected.

    The change also allows the bore to be inspected from the rear.

    Westley Richards produced (or at least sold – they may have been made elsewhere, eg by Francotte in Liege) full sized .577/.450 MH rifles built with the Francotte style action, that allowed the action to be removed as a single unit, attached to the trigger guard, in the same manner as the small BSA martinis.

  11. Ian… Did you have the lever pushed forward on that unload with the Greener? I have one of these and I find you can sometimes jam a case if you release the the pressure on the lever during the reload.. the block rises a fraction and catches the case…! The rising block action is useful on a load as it holds the round in the breech until it is fully closed, but can be a problem on the unload if the case does not fully eject..!

  12. I remember a full-page ad in either Gun Digest or Shooter’s Bible (those phone-book-sized lumps of advetorialist “reviews” and catalog sections that were essential references in the pre-Internet age) back in the early 70s of an importer offering 12-ga. Martini-action sporting-clay versions (engraved and inlaid actions, fancy walnut stocks, 30″ full-choke barrels with vent ribs) that fell somewhere between limited-manufacturer and custom, at least in the price range. I recall being amazed by the idea of a single-shot shotgun that cost as much or more than a Super Pigeon Model 12 Winchester, don’t remember if I was aware that they were built on 50 (or more) year old military actions.

  13. I lost a comment last night.

    I’ve got something of a love affair with Martini actions, although I don’t have either a martini shotgun or a .577/.450

    I had a bad experience trying to buy two very sorry ex Afrikaans Westley Richards .577/.450 s [long bitter rant about heathens].

    Warren Page in “The Accurate Rifle” says that the one non bolt action rifle that he knew of that regularly used to win in bench rest competitions, was a Martini

    But that was back in the days of external adjustment scopes, .22 Zippers and possibly into the era of .222s.

    The little BSA martini actions had a good reputation for converting to hornet and .357 mag based wildcats. Though now, it would only be worth it if you did the work yourself as a hobby.

    Robert Snapp (I hope the gentleman is still with us, and keeping well!) used to make rimless extractors, allowing the use of .222 headsize rimless cases, which could be loaded up to full pressure (65k PSI for .223) in the thick walled receivers (so long as the firing pin was bushed and all other work was done correctly). Using the 5.6 x 50 RWS case as parent, some of the wildcats had similar capacity and performance to .22-.250 Remington.

    So long as factory load pressures were not exceeded, because of the small size of the barrel shank; the BSA actions could safely take up to .30-30 size cases, and Robert Snapp could certainly turn them into beautiful custom rifles.

      • Yeah, new brass is available for .222 rimmed from ozzy brass drawer, Bertram.

        You can also mess about with wildcatting .357 max brass and 5.6 x 50R RWS. There’s also one of the old .38 cases that’s longer than the .357 max. I can’t remember what it’s called. It was used as a basis for early development of the max, and IIRC, it is available from companies like Bertram

        Mike Bellm (P O Ackley’s son-in-law) chambers TC contender barrels for a rimmed variant of the .30 .221 fireball that is formed from .357 max cases. Bellm calls it the .300 Whisp-R improved (I gather that the name “Whisper” is trademarked)

        So, there is certainly no shortage of options for rimmed cases for people who are willing to source small batches of brass, or to form their own.

        What the Snapp rimless extractors did was to allow the chambering for and use of commonly available factory and surplus ammunition.

        • name “Whisper” is trademarked
          Wait, it is possible to trademark single existing word?
          I would except that is possible to trademark logo containing word, but existing word itself?
          As always I am confused about U.S. law.

          • Where positive (posited) laws are concerned, logic does not apply.
            Listening to the news at lunchtime, one of the stories was that Marvel comics have dropped a case against an author who had published a book with the word Superhero in the title
            Marvel has trademarked the word

            SSK industries has trademarked the name “Whisper”

            patents for inventions and trade names, was a way that the Stuart monarchs were able to wriggle around the English parliament’s ban on them selling monopoly rights
            unfortunately we still have that idiot idea of “intellectual property” foisted on us

          • Most absurd U.S.Patent i met is US 5443036 A titled Method of exercising a cat from 1995, abstract:
            A method for inducing cats to exercise consists of directing a beam of invisible light produced by a hand-held laser apparatus onto the floor or wall or other opaque surface in the vicinity of the cat, then moving the laser so as to cause the bright pattern of light to move in an irregular way fascinating to cats, and to any other animal with a chase instinct.
            How it proceed via U.S.Patent Office I don’t know.

            “Marvel has trademarked the word”
            Also X-men are not humans, because import tax for toys resembling humans are higher than those that do not.

          • I can sympathize with the X men being “not human”

            IMO any and all means are fair when you’re defending yourself against the depredations of the tax man – because he certainly isn’t going to play fair.

            In Britain, VAT (it’s about 21% now) is not levied on basic foodstuff such as cakes but is on luxuries, such as biscuits.
            There was a lovely and successful argument by a maker of jaffa cakes that although they were biscuit size, they were infact cakes and so could be sold without the price hike of VAT being charged on them.

            Going back to the 18th century, there was a tax on malt. There had been a fire at a maltings in london and some of the un malted barley had got scorched.

            that was sold cheap and someone had managed to brew beer with it, it wasn’t very good, but it was cheap and proved popular with the porters at the Smithfield meat market.
            A young entrepreneur took note, and experimented to come up with a good beer that could be made without falling foul of the malt tax; Arthur Guinness.

  14. If I remember right, this was first time Ian and Karl competed in shotguns.
    Have a question, if heard it right (trying to force myself to pay attention); what was distance to targets? Twenty to 40 yards?

    Must say you are super athletes!

  15. I did enjoy the video and its 4 part format. Very cool that you would try a unique shotgun as greener for this competition. Suprisingly it does quite well except the spinner part. You could greatly improve your score by loading with your left hand and holding the fore end with your right. Seems that you are doing sort of tactical reload like modern gun but both hands have to move and that takes more time. I have a martini Henry in original 577/450. Very fun to shoot and a shotgun would be great. As for Rio ammo… well its not that great. I wont trust it in a competition again and I have used it in the past since it’s reasonably priced.

  16. Explaining the rules of the match and the purpose of the different stages makes it more interesting to watch.

    The discussion after each stage is almost the best part of the whole thing.

    You have a nice dynamic going on between you and I like it when you do things together like the review of the M1 Carbine.

    It would be fun to have more gun reviews or other kinds of discussions of e.g. guns, ammo, tactics etc.

    Regards from Sweden! =)

  17. Good format using one video per stage. Your additional remarks on how the gun performed and what you had to do (e.g. making sure the shell was pushed all the way into the chamber before trying to close the action) explain these weapons in a way that no book can. Great stuff guys !

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