Upcoming Martini Project

We haven’t done much (anything, actually) in the way of gunsmithing here on the site, and I think that should change. We’re always going to focus on spreading knowledge about interesting and unusual firearms, but a lot of the older and more interesting guns could really use some cleaning up by the time they get into a collector’s hands. So we’re going to do some occasional coverage of repair and restoration work. To that end, I’m picking up a Nepalese Gahendra Martini from IMA to fix up. If all goes well, I would like to do some work on the trigger as well and see if I can’t make it into a decent shooter (but that will depend on how the barrel looks). They start out pretty grungy looking, but that will make the end product look all the better.

Gahendra "Martini" (image from IMA)
Gahendra "Martini" (image from IMA)

On a side note, I should mention that these particular Nepalese rifles are not actually Martinis, but an indigenous Nepalese design much more akin to a Peabody or Westley-Richards rifle. I pulled a couple books out of our reference library to educate myself on the Imperial falling-block designs, with a thought to doing some reviews on them:

Martini rifle books

Well, it turned out that they are all either unavailable or unreasonably expensive – Skennerton’s there starts for $285, used. Ack! If anyone knows of a good used military book dealer with an online presence, please point them here! We would really like to have a sponsor in the book business so we can point folks to a good source for some of these specialty works. If you think you know one that would be a good fit here, please suggest it to them.

Anything else you would like to see us post about or add to the site? Post a comment and let us know !


  1. You can get the Ian Skennerton book directly from the author at http://www.skennerton.com in three volumes for $65 per volume plus shipping, though volume three is sold out. Otherwise, I like http://www.abebooks.com for used books, you can set up an automatic search that will notify you when the book you want is available at the price you are willing to pay. I enjoy your site very much, keep up the good work. Cheers, Matthew

    • Went to the range today with my Gahendra rebuild. I decided against reloading 577-450 because my common denominator with old guns is 45-70 variants. Trapdoor in 45-70, Sharps in 45-60. So I cast the Gahendra chamber, and made a chamber insert from cold rolled steel. The 45-70 case cut down to 1.34″. The barrel slugged to 0.457″, and the rifling looked brand new. I lucked out. The Lee 405 grain .459 Hollow base bullet based on the original Springfield Arsenal would be fine. Federal large rifle primers, 1.9cc 3f Goex powder, and lubed with the recipe from the Sharps Rifle Company manual reprint from 1874. Outside temperature around 90° F.
      Reports of unacceptable accuracy from chamber inserts are due to the wrong bullet. The rifling wants a long heavy bullet, not the 45LC bullet that the bulletin board gurus say to use.
      I’m not going to win any medals at Bisley, but I’m still pretty pleased with it.
      If I could post photos and movie clips, I would.
      The Gahendra has become my favourite low recoil big bore plinking gun.

  2. I own 4 and only 2 are presentable. No offense to IMA though, they are honest about what they offer. Buy two, restore one and keep the second this dirty. Shooting one of them seems very courageous to me!

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