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Markings on Stock Disk Martini Metford Rifle 2 years 7 months ago #68739

  • sup3rm00
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Good day all, I recently acquired a deactivated MM AC Mk111 Ist Class rifle with a brass disk on the stock with letters 2 BN1RB and the number 53 separately.
The rifle was sold out of service and has many armoury markings all over it. It must have had an active life.
It is the short barrel rifle with the attachment for a pattern '88 bayonet under the muzzle.
The breech-block has been welded solid, and it has two holes drilled in the barrel.
I am mostly interested in the markings on the brass disk on the stock. I think this rifle saw service in Natal, perhaps related to the Siege of Ladysmith, and understand part of the disk marking to be 2nd Battalion, but what is the "1 RB"?
The AC associated with the MM implies an Artillery Carbine. I can't find reference to an artillery regiment or battalion with initials RB.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks very much!
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Markings on Stock Disk Martini Metford Rifle 2 years 7 months ago #68740

  • ResearchRescue
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Hello

2nd Battalion 1st Rifle Brigade

Regards

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Markings on Stock Disk Martini Metford Rifle 2 years 7 months ago #68754

  • LinneyI
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sup3mm00
There was no "1st Rifle Brigade"; The Rifle Brigade was then comprised of several Battalions; 1st Bn., 2nd Bn., and 4th Bn's, saw service in South Africa From what I have seen, butt markings for those Battalions were "1/R.B." , "2/R.B." and (probably "3/R.B"). From what you have posted, it is clear that the de-act was a Martini-Metford Artillery Carbine Mk.III. As the RB was Line Infantry, the issue shoulder arm for early arrivals was the Lee-Metford Mk.1* rifle and later the Lee-Enfield. There is a mis-match there.
Looking at the pic of the butt disc on your MM ACIII, I note there are a couple of long vertical scratches on its RHS face - and the scratches do not over-run onto the surrounding woodwork as you might expect. It is possible that the butt disc is not original to the Carbine. Are there any other markings on the butt that may assist ID?
Regards
IL.

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Markings on Stock Disk Martini Metford Rifle 2 years 7 months ago #68775

  • sup3rm00
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Thank you for your summation, LinneyL This weapon certainly is a mixture of creations.
I have taken some more photographs of the RHS and LHS of the receiver, as well as the sold-out-of-service markings and all the armoury markings cancelled on the breech.
I'll post them below here for you to see.
There is one very faint stamp/marking on the butt, very near the disk, that seems to say 190? and Enfield, but I'm sure that wasn't the first occasion it was issued, based on the 1879 stamp, and the 1894 modification. As you say a MM AC Mark 111 1st Class originally, until it was butchered by the persons who deactivated it.
By the way, although it has the fitting for the 88 bayonet on the stock, the muzzle ring on a normal pattern 88 won't fit on the barrel. I think the barrel has "bulged" at its tip, and is now too large for the muzzle ring on the bayonet, I actually have an 88 bayonet missing its muzzle ring (I know not why) that fits the stump on the stock!
Your further thoughts? Thanks very much. I hope the pictures enlarge satisfactorily...

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Markings on Stock Disk Martini Metford Rifle 2 years 7 months ago #68786

  • LinneyI
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sup3rm00
Thanks for posting that series of pics. A well travelled Martini-Metford, if I might say. There are a few comments able to be made; when the original MH Mk.III .45" (made 1879) was converted to MM AC Mk.III (.303"), the butt may well have been replaced for some reason - or the original markings removed. Clearly, Enfield had a hand in some conversion/renovation around 1900. From my experience, official .303" conversions of the MH featured a breech block with a smaller scoop in the top; the .303" round's rim and case being a smaller diameter than the .45". Your pic shows a breech block with a large scoop - as in the MH.
Unfortunately, the "sold-out-of-service" stamp (inwards pointing crow's feet) do not assist in any dating.
The markings on the action top (i.e., "D P" with the Union of SA stamp) indicate that at some time after 1910 your MM AC Mk.III became "Drill Purpose" only. At that time, possibly some parts got mixed.
I do recall reading that School Cadets in SA in the 1950's were issued with deactivated Martini rifles (carbines?).
I am sorry that I cannot be more definite in answering your original query. Perhaps it might be best to simply regard the rifle as a MM AC III with a chequered career; more recently officially converted for Drill Purposes - and leave it at that.
Best regards
IL.

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Markings on Stock Disk Martini Metford Rifle 2 years 7 months ago #68798

  • Brett Hendey
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IL
I can confirm that in the 1950's South African School Cadets used deactivated rifles dating back to the Boer War. At the high school I attended platoons with younger and smaller boys were issued with Martini-Metford carbines, and the big boys with Lee-Metford carbines.
Regards
Brett
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