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John Taylor on the .577-450 Martini Henry
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Guys, I was re-reading my copy of John Taylor's classic "African Rifles and Cartridges" and in his review of the .350 Rigby, he makes these tantalizing remarks (Page 155 of the Safari Press edition):
"I killed more lions with this rifle than any other, not excepting that grand little gold-inlaid short sporting Martini Henry that I was so fond of. (I have told elsewhere of how I lost this splendid little single-shot .577-450 when a cow hippo ... upset our canoe in the Zambezi, and everything we had went to the bottom of the river.)"
Does anyone here know where Taylor describes this rifle and its loss "elsewhere"? This is the only one of Taylor's books I have.


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Posts: 13065 | Location: Alamogordo, NM | Registered: 03 June 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'll keep an eye peeled for that.

In the smaller precursor volume by Taylor, BIG GAME AND BIG GAME RIFLES (1945), Safari Press edition of 1993, pg. 57,
in the chapter "Rifles for Elephant Hunting" he says:

"I killed my first elephant with a short sporting Martini-Henry (.577/.450); black powder and a lead bullet. (Banks of Uganda ... "Deaf Banks" ... tells me that, curiously enough, he also killed his first elephant with a similar weapon.) Since then I have used practically everything on the market from .275 to .600, both inclusive."

On pg. 95, chapter on "Rifles for Lion Hunting" he says:

"On another occasion, in the Lower Zambezi Valley, I had shot and killed four lions out of a troop of five, and wounded the fifth -- a lioness. She sprang into a clump of long grass, and I proceeded to follow her up. My rifle was a short, sporting, Martini-Henry which is, of course, a single-shot weapon. I came on the lioness, and the instant that she saw me she charged from a range of about 12 or 15 paces. I fired: knocked her down; but failed to kill her. She scrambled to her feet and was on me before I had completed reloading. As she reared up to grab me, I drove the muzzle of the rifle as hard as I could into her mouth as though there had been a bayonet on the end of it. She dropped to the ground, choked, then grabbed the barrel in her teeth and whisked the rifle out of my hands as though it had been a straw, shook it and tossed it to one side. But I had time, by now, to draw my old Webley, and, when she came for me again, I was able to blow her brains out from a range of about one inch just as her jaws closed on my knee. She did not even draw blood; though that was probably thanks to the fact that the long tushes at the corners of her mouth had been broken off flush with the gums."

Still looking ... coffee

Maybe he is just referring to the single sentence in caption with picture of "HIPPO" (on non-numbered page between pp. 134 & 135) preceding your pg. 155 quote from AFRICAN CARTRIDGES AND RIFLES:

"I have twice had hippo upset my canoe, which cost me a fine battery of expensive rifles each time. Accordingly, I have no particular love for the critters."

I understand. I quit hunting ducks in Alaska after a "sweeper" in the dark turned over my canoe and I lost a pack full of gear in a Knik River channel of the Knik Flats swamp, "Near Death by Hypothermia in the Long Grass."
 
Posts: 27308 | Location: KY | Registered: 09 December 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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RIP, thank you for looking that up. I was thinking maybe JT was referring to his earlier book, and found that it's hard to find an inexpensive copy.
By the way, I bought that Belgian Francotte-pattern Martini from Frank M., and will be loading for it as soon as I can order a mold. It has been too long since I was in the .577-450 business!


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Posts: 13065 | Location: Alamogordo, NM | Registered: 03 June 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Bill, I was wondering if Frank's listing sparked your interest. That should be a fun rifle. The 577-450 was truly at the turning point of the muzzleloader-to-cartridge evolution in rifles. I remember seeing a case made for one out of wrapped brass foil.
 
Posts: 17904 | Location: Very NW NJ up in the Mountains | Registered: 14 June 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Jon, I have had a few Martinis over the years (liquid and solid Cool ) but never one of the large-frame Francottes. I have sent off two boxes of Magtech 24-gauge shotshell brass to be formed and trimmed, and am looking at a proper .470 bullet mold. The bore in the Francotte is very nice. It should be an accurate rascal. Will report when I get it up and running.
The .577-450 has plenty of poop for fighting Zulu impis, but I tip my hat to Mr. Taylor for repeatedly confronting lions with a Martini.


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Posts: 13065 | Location: Alamogordo, NM | Registered: 03 June 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Bill,unless he has sold it all billatcat bought several boxes of factory 577-450. Might be worth a P.M. if you still have the rifle.


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Posts: 12521 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: 11 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Randy, the Martini found a new home.

hilbily


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Posts: 13065 | Location: Alamogordo, NM | Registered: 03 June 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I want to say he described the incident in "Pondoro, Last of the Ivory Hunters". I read it earlier this year and seems like it remember it in there.
 
Posts: 1256 | Location: Western NC | Registered: 08 January 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Magnum Hunter1:
I want to say he described the incident in "Pondoro, Last of the Ivory Hunters". I read it earlier this year and seems like it remember it in there.



Yes, page 102.
Doesn't get specific other than "guns, rifles, kit and equipment went to the bottom of the river and doubtless are still there"
 
Posts: 2214 | Location: Colorado U.S.A. | Registered: 24 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks friend.


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Posts: 13065 | Location: Alamogordo, NM | Registered: 03 June 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have learned to check the date on these posts after noticing last year that there was a posting from Ritch (Idaho Sharpshooter) + thought, great the let him back on.But no,that was a 2 year old post.I never heard what he said to piss off the powers that be but he was always good for conversation + we bought + sold stuff over the years.


Never mistake motion for action.
 
Posts: 12521 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: 11 March 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Interesting thread.

I spoked to a Southafrican some years back(2009) about the .577/450 MH. He wasn`t impressed. The big slug could kill ofcouse but the animals ran too far before the dropped. The bullet as he saw it didn`t expand and left very little meat damage.

A modern .308win with a good Nosler PT will do better was his opinion.


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Posts: 2609 | Location: Denmark | Registered: 09 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Jens, the .577-450 as loaded in the late 19th century was similar to our .45-70 Goverment load in the Trapdoor Springfield. Very effective against men and horses. To make them shine as large herbivore rounds (think American bison or the large African antelopes), both benefit greatly from a soft lead slug with a flat nose rather than round.


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Posts: 13065 | Location: Alamogordo, NM | Registered: 03 June 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Not that not matters, but a friend has a beautiful army and navy hammer double rifle in .577-.450.
 
Posts: 987 | Location: The Bluegrass State | Registered: 21 October 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Colin, it would be so lovely to see some photos of that beauty -- maybe in the double rifle forum?


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Posts: 13065 | Location: Alamogordo, NM | Registered: 03 June 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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