Martini Henry

I am currently on holiday in Oman, staying in a town called Nizwa. My wife wanted to visit the local Souk to buy some gifts. I was not altogether happy about this until, in the first gift shop we went into, I saw the belts shown in the following pictures. The rounds in the belts are mostly Martini Henry and 303, but there were a few other types. I checked the 303 first, hoping to find one marked R^L C III ( I only know of 1 in existance but you never know) but there was nothing unusual although the headstamp dates ranged from 1918 to 1950. At this point my wife was trying to get me move on but I was thouroughly enjoying myself. I then started on the Martini Henry most of the headstamps were familiar, mainly Kynoch, Eley and SFM. However, I did not recognise the four shown in the pictures which are selling for about £2.00 each. As I do not have my reference books to hand can anyone help id them please.

BCE * * * = Baijot Comptoir Europeen ( Baijot & Cie ), Djibouti
P&L * P * = Parent & Leroy (Successors to David, Vouzelle & Francou), Paris
FTC{eagle} = Turquie !
C/450/R.B/577 = Cartoucherie Russo-Belges, Liège

Mine come from Muscat.


Thank you very much for the information.

Nice selection of headstamps there. Are you able to bring any of these back? They look to be mostly live rounds.

Am I correct that I also see a belt of 7.62 Nato there on the bowl of loose rounds?

Also, were they selling the rifles or just the cartridges?

I hope to get the rounds inserted by a friend I have out here. If that is not possible then clearly they will stay in Oman. Yes there were some 7.62 x 51mm in the belts, a few 7.92mm, 5.56mm, 7.62x54mm and assorted sporting ammunition. Sadly my wife moved me on before i had time to look at everything, may trade her in for a camel! ( she does not read this I hope). There was also a wonderful gun market where the local men turned up and traded rifles without a care in the world. As I understand it you can own a bolt action rifle without a licence, but not pistols or automatic rifles.

If you could get hold of some original ammunition packaging, could you bring them out live in your luggage in a biscuit tin?

Nice rounds… Hope you can take them away from where they are now…

By the way, the FTC eagle Martini-Henry is not Turkish. It comes from somewhere in the Balkans, and probably was made, in or for (contract) the small kingdom of Montenegro. This country is known to have established an ammo factory in the town of Cetinje in the last years of XIXth century, but the few revolver rounds from there had cyrillic hstps.

Years ago, I found the same Martini cartridge, and another one with a different hstp (the intertwined letters in a small shield at 12 hrs, same eagle at 6 hrs) but in .577 Snider calibre, in the reserves of the SFM factory (Issy-les-Moulineaux) and a curious point is that the metric data fits a "Chinese Snider " round (which is listed in their 1903 Catalogue…!).

The corresponding SFM drawing is well known, but doesn’t say a word about any possible order. The company used to obtain foreign specimens of cartridges (any calibre), to be examined, all mesurements take, then to have their 'tracé" made and numbered.

It seems that those rounds were manufactured between the 20 last years of the XIXth Century, and the 10 first ones of XX th.

Turkey never used twin-headed eagles for anything… and their FCT mark, for Fabrikalar Turkye Cumhuriet , i.e. made in the Turkish Repuiblic was only adopted, together with latin alphabe, in the 20ies, afte the huge reforms from Mustpha Kemal Atatürk, the famous “Father of Turks” as he was moderstly known…

It must be also noted that the FCTI logo is found mostly, as a mark of the Turkish Powder and Ammunition Monopoly, on imported contract ammunition… The added I letter was for the first local ammo factory, in the town of Iskanderun (Alexandrette) on the southern mediterranean coast of the country, just north of the Syrian border, to day a well known summer resort and fruit growing contry.

So the question is still pending, and I am afaid it will stay, but for some kind of miracle…!




Thank you for the additional comments. Have been unable to access email for the last few days hence delay in replying.