.45 inch Martini Henry Carbine Ball

The first Martini Henry carbine had been approved in 1877 but whilst this was in development a trial carbine cartridge had been made. It  had a coiled brass case like the rifle but with a 380 grain bullet and a propellant charge of 70 grains of blackpowder. Despite satisfactory results it was not adopted and trials continued until the Carbine mark I cartridge was approved

Carbine Ball Mark I

"Cartridge S.A. Ball Carbine Breech-Loading Martini Henry Mark I" was approved to design RL1770 in September 1877 and shown in LoC Paragraph 3220 dated December 1877.

The case was identical to the Rifle Ball Mark III case but did not have the tissue paper lining. Instead, to take up the space left by the smaller charge carded cotton was placed between the charge and the wads.

The bullet was a lead alloy of 12 parts lead to 1 part tin and weighed 410 frains with two cannelures  the bullet had a white paper patch lubricated below the case neck with beeswax. the bullet was secured in the case by two neck crimps into the bullet cannelures.

The charge was about 70 grains of RFG2 blackpowder.

The Carbine Ball Mark I was only issued in 1877/78 before it was replaced. It was found to be inaccurate and this was put down to the carded cotton in front of the charge.

Carbine Ball Mark II

"Cartridge S.A. Ball Carbine Breech-Loading Martini Henry Mark II"  was approved in January 1878 and shown in LoC Paragraph 3303 dated May 1878.

The case was again identical to the Rifle Ball Mark III case but instead of the carded cotton the case was lined with thick ppaer to take up the spare space.

The bullet was a lead alloy of 12 parts lead to 1 part tin and weighed 410 frains with two cannelures  the bullet had a white paper patch lubricated below the case neck with beeswax. the bullet was secured in the case by two neck crimps into the bullet cannelures.

The charge was about 70 grains of RFG2 blackpowder.

The Carbine Ball Mark I was only issued in 1878/79. It was again found to be inaccurate and this time it was thought to be caused by the paper patch not being always discarded from the bullet when fired due to the shortness of the carbine barrel.

Carbine Ball Mark III

"Cartridge S.A. Ball Carbine Breech-Loading Martini Henry Mark III"  was approved to design RL2396 in August 1879 and shown in LoC Paragraph 3606 dated October 1879. The title was later changed to "Cartridge S.A. Ball Martini Henry Carbine Rolled Case Mark III".

The case was identical to the previous mark including the thick paper lining. the base disc of british produced cartridges remained iron, but from 1898 Indian production Mark III had base discs of brass.

The bullet was similar to the Mark II and weighed the same, but the paper patch had three longitudinal slits cut in it to ensure it was discarded as the bullet left the barrel. Initial production had a white paper patch but from August 1880 this was changed to red. Actual examples show a range of colour from pink to dark maroon.

The charge was 70 grains of RFG2 blackpowder.

First issue was in 1879/80 and it contiued in service for many years. As well as Royal Laboratory, the Mark III was amde on contract by Kynoch, Eley Brothers  and Birmingham Metals and Munitions Co.


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