I have a Nepalese MH rifle too.
Hi, I too have a Francotte modified, Nepalese Martini Henry style rifle, that I purchased from IMA. I too was amazed how dirty it was but it has come up quite nice. I am in the middle of rubbing down the stock and fore grip. The action comes out in one go, not the same as my Mk1 converted to Mk2 MH, but it is a tidy little package nonetheless, all I had to do was under the front action screw, then gently prise it out - I had given the whole action a jolly good soaking in spray de-greasant. It has all cleaned up well, though the bore is very worn, slight crack in te barrel near the muzzle on the underside and extensive pitting along the fore stock line as mentioned by others. I am sure that it will make a nice display piece which is why I bought it. I believe that these we built by Nepali arms manufacturers who copied the MH and that it is not one of the infamous Kyber pass copies as it does not have any identifying (false) marking and alll the components are well made.
It is covered in some Nepali markings - I am currently an Infantry Training Company Commander at the UK's Infantry Training Centre - my local Gurhka soldiers have had a look at the script, but they say some of the characters are not used anymore. This in my opinion corroborates the authenticity of it's life in the Royal Palaces - rather than a recent copy. The Gurhka soldiers are keen to know my rifles lineage, so they have agreed to consut their friends, families and elders to try to decipher the script - I think it is just the weapon serial numbers and initial thoughts from the boys appear to support this.
My Nepalese MH had a stuck stock bolt and I did the make your own screw driver and use a t handle approach - it worked and it has been removed, which is making the rstoration of the stock easier. I will upload phots once complete - I wish I had taken some pics before I started!!! I am using wire wool and white spirits to remove the grime and cr*p that has acumulated on the wood. I have cleaned the metal with a de-greasing spray and it looks ok. same detail for the bore.
I have two other original MH rifles: one is a Mk1/ Mk2 converted, obtained from IMA - it is a beautiful rifle, in full working order and on my firearms licence (I am a UK resident) and I have a MH Carbine, which I picked up in Afghanistan (Helmand) on my last operational tour there. It is being renovated by a friendly military armourer, as the blueing is completed gone, but otherwise it is a shooter. He has researched the original blueing/ browning cocktail recipe and has made and prepared baths for the purpose, so it should look great once it is done. He also has a Snider converted .577 breech loader of mine, which is also being restored- cant wait to get them back.
So glad I found this forum to chat to like minded folks! I go back to the 'stan next year - looking forward to recovering a bunch more rifles!!!
07-18-2009 05:15 PM
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geo1427, how did the restoration turn out. I am curious to see the pictures you have especially a before and after restoration. Please keep us informed with your progress.
Martini Henry Francotte
I sent for the Francotte version and it came from IMA with a split stock but they also threw in another stock. I may be able to make one from the two.
A split can be completely separated and when cleaned it can be glued together again under presure to give a strong stock. IMA do have the replacement woodwork for the Martini Mk1and II but they are 250 dollars if you need them.
I prefer the original stocks they just need a bit of repair , if carefully done they look ok.
Same problem in one of my rifles (less the crack). I pulled the action and found the inside end of the screw had been peened over, probably because it was loose from being removed. I used a small chisel to cut the peened parts off, a Dremel would probably work as well. Using a tire iron ground to fit the slot it then came out easily. I also found the screw had been cracked and crudely welded at one time and I replaced it with an SAE bolt with a slot cut in the head. As I recall a 5/16 standard thread fits but you better check.
Originally Posted by Bob - The Beagle Master
Another trick to loosening bolts is to add Acetone to penetrating oil like Kroil or PB Blaster. About 1/3 volume. It is very thin and carries the thicker oil into every crack. Most penetrants don't include it because it evaporates too fast and softens plastic, so if you soak parts with an acetone mix be sure the container is metal and cover it with aluminum foil, tightly. I used the acetone mix on my last batch of Francottes and they all came apart much easier.
Often cracks are caused by the swelling from rust. Best to remove the parts first then fill with an epoxy/wood putty.
I would try not to fill cracks with putty.
Why you may ask?
I worked some years ago with an old carpenter who had been in the Royal Navy for most of his life. Amazing old chap who could turn his hand to anything which required fine craftsmanhip and copied my manager a butt stock for an old SXS that had cracked clean through.
His view was that wood was a living thing, even hundreds of years after being cut down the wood continued to swell, shrink and move. if you understood how this worked with the grain and the cell structure you could correct cracks by reversing the movement.
If you have an open crack, and I mean one you can see into, it may have been caused by rusting of the stock bolt but you can get the wood to relax back to the original shape once you have removed the bolt. If you felt you needed mechanical surety you could then pin it and a thin smear of traditional wood glue would restore the cellular links across the crack.
The best way of doing this is with heat and moisture. I would try aggressive steaming of the wood until it softens and then clamping it in a vice or similair to close the crack. Let it dry for a few days and you may find it a relatively minor cosmetic problem to overcome. Steaming is used in boatbuilding as it gives temporary flexibility of timber by softening the fibres.
The acteone tip sounds good.
Francotte Martini Butt Plate
First of all - great project! I just recently picked up a Francotte Martini and the buttplate is missing. I am an amateur mold maker/casting hobbyist. I could take an imprint of the butt and try to make my mold based on that imprint, but this would be a little bit of a gamble. I would prefer to have access to an original butt plate to make my mold and match the correct brass type. Does anyone have a butt plate they could allow me to borrow and then send back to you? I know this sounds like a strange request and alot of trust to put into a stranger. I am willing to put a deposit down as well as pay shipping both ways. If the mold specs out, I could produce butt plates for others who are missing it.
RE: Francotte Martini Henry Buttplates
Don't know if you ever found a buttplate to copy, but original MH ones are available from IMA: Original British Martini-Henry Rifle Butt Plate MkII- Smooth ima-usa.com
The Martini-Henry Mks I-III, Gehendra, and Francotte rifles all have virtually the same buttplate, just with different inspection marks.