Q: We have had an old ex-military Martini Henry .577/450 in our home ever since I can remember. My dad told me that his father brought it back from the Boer War and used to shoot it on the local rifle range back in the early 1900s. Can you tell me when this single-shot rifle was adopted for military use? What were the original ballistics? There's also a number of once fired brass cases with the head stamp "GK" ver a "B". Can you tell me who made them?
A: The Martini-Henry falling-block single-shot rifle was adopted by the British Army in 1871 chambered for
the .577/450 black powder cartridge. Military loads fired a 480gn paper-patched, lead bullet at 1350fps. Originally, a rolled-type cartridge case, it was later changed to a drawn case like the ones you have. The headstamp "GK" opposite "B" is an early style marking of George Kynoch & Company, Birmingham, England. I fired one of those Martinis years ago and it kicked like a mule.