577/500 Sporter

This rifle was evidently cut down from a British Enfield military gun and converted to a big game rifle. The forend has been cut back to what would be considered a splinter forend in a shotgun. This gun appears to be an early English conversion of their standard military rifle. It would be suitable for African or Indian big game

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BSA Model 12 and 13

During the period from approximately 1910 to 1930, Birmingham Small Arms made rifles based on their small frame or model 12 action. The model 12 was manufactured from 1912 until 1929 and featured a 29" barrel. The model 13 was introduced in 1913, featured a 25" barrel, and was dropped the same year as the model 12. Supposed a sporter version of the model 13 was manufactured in 22 hornet although I have never seen an example. These were also chambered in such cartridges as 310, 297/230, 297/250, 360 No. 5, and 22 rimfire. Many of these fine little firearms were considered rook rifles used for walking excursions in hopes of getting shot at what we'd consider varmints. This particular rifle pictured was originally in 22 rimfire judging from the 220 marking on the barrel. However, at some point the barrel was bored out and relined to 22 long rifle. It features a BSA rear pop up sight similar to the tang sights often found on older lever action American rifles. The front is a Parker-Hale globe type. If anyone has information as to what inserts fit this type globe, I would be happy to know the source as I have only the single insert which came with the gun. I purchased this rifle with another small frame Martini with the intent of selling it. However, the first time I shot it at an indoor 50 yard range I managed to put five of the Walmart special $8.88/550 Federal rounds into about three quarters of an inch from a bench rest. On reflection I decided to keep the little gun. The only thing I like better than an accurate gun is a gun which fires cheap ammo accurately.

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22 Jet

In the early 60's there was considerable interest in high velocity small caliber varmint pistols. This led to the development of the 256 Winchester Magnum for the single shot Ruger Hawkeye pistol and the 22 Jet for the Smith and Wesson Model 53 Revolvers. Neither pistol was a success and both were over-shadowed by the T/C Contender which had the advantage of interchangeable barrels and the Remington XP-100 in 221 Fireball. The 22 Jet cartridge is based on the 357 necked down to 22 featuring a long taper in the body of the case. The taper in the case led to extraction problems in the M53 S&W and it was eventually discontinued. Both the M53 and the Ruger Hawkeye pistols are collector's items today. Attempts to correct this problem led to the development of the 22 Super Jet (22 Jet blown out to eliminate the case body taper) and 22/256 (256 Win. Mag. necked down to 22) cartridges. The case capacity of the standard jet is similar to other small rimmed cases such as the 218 Bee suitable for the small frame Martini action. It is interesting to note that both cases are based on the 357 magnum pistol case necked down forming a 357 family of cases.

This particular cadet was converted to the standard 22 Jet using a Remington rimfire barrel and stocked with birdseye maple with walnut inlets on the forend tip and the pistol grip area providing for a striking appearance. Normally, in a conversion to pistol grip buttstock, the finger lever is bent to flush with the pistol grip or more often inlaid slightly in the wood. In this case the finger lever was not bend sufficiently to fit the pistol grip.

In loading for this rifle I have tried both .223" and .224" diameter bullets. Best accuracy was obtained with .224" 45-46g JHP bullets at fairly moderate loads (2700fps or less) using AA1680 as a propellant. Accuracy is on the order of 1.25" five shot groups at 100 yards.

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Modified Cadet

This rifle is fairly good example of a Cadet that is a candidate for conversion. It started life as a Cadet rifle in Australia used for training potential officers in the fine art of marksmanship. However, at some point in its life the buttplate was replaced by what seem to be a piece of hard plastic cut from a piece of scrap. The forend has been cut back and some of the furniture removed. Although the bore is fairly good, I have little interest in shooting the 310 Cadet cartridge. The gun is not in good, collectible condition and consequently, it is currently being rebarreled to 22/256. After rebarreling it will be fitted with Fajen walnut buttstock and forend in a classic style and outfitted with a fixed magnification scope. I have an old 10X Weaver in mind for this particular rifle. With good fortune it'll be ready by Christmas. As it happens the rifle was received prior to Thanksgiving with wonderful work done by Jim Wasmundt. However, I still need to shape the outside of the stock, fit the finger lever and buttstock, as well as finish the wood. When time permits.

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Martini Cadets were first manufactured by Francotte in Belgium (British manufacturers were too busy with orders related to the Boer Wars to fulfill the orders for Cadets) for the government of Australia around the turn of the century. BSA manufactured Cadets from 1907 until about 1914. Greener also manufactured Cadets but there is conflicting information as to dates. Many are marked with a kangaroo symbol on the top of the receiver immediately behind the barrel. I have seen frames marked with NSW (New South Wales), Q (Queensland), and VIC (Victoria). The original 310 Cadet cartridge featured a 120g bullet loaded to about 1200 fps.

Many Cadets and Cadet actions were imported into the United States in the starting in the mid 1950's. These were highly suitable to conversion to rimmed cartridges such as 357, 44 Mag. (some believe the 44 magnum is too large a cartridge for this action), 22 hornet, 218 Bee, 256 magnum, 22 Jet, 32 special, and 32-20. I have also seen one gun converted to 25-35. Guns could be converted to 32-20 as well as any case in the 32-20 family (32-20, 25-20, 218 Bee, 218 Mashburn Bee) or 32 special using the existing barrel. More often one sees a hornet or bee conversion using a 22 rimfire barrel. De Haas in "Single Shot Rifles and Actions" recommends limiting the Cadet action to cartridges no more powerful than the 222 Remington. Another source indicates that when the actions were first imported into the USA, an action was tested to 60,000 KSI without failure. Conversions, even using rimfire barrels, have a well deserved reputation for accuracy. Due to the compact nature of the action, they are an ideal project for what used to be called a small game cartridge.


I was introduced to this action as a teenager when my father presented me with a 22 hornet rifle which he and his gun buddies had built. He purchased a Martini cadet action for $12.50, acquired a Remington target 22 rimfire barrel from a takeoff project, and stocked the gun with fairly nice walnut. Thus, he was able to build his son a fine centerfire rifle very suitable for a 14 year old boy and I remain grateful for the gift of the gun. This was my first centerfire rifle and it is my favorite rifle. Alas, 25 years of shooting jacketed bullets have worn out the bore causing the 100 yard group size to grow from under an inch to about an inch and three-quarters and thus, it is currently at the gunsmith being reincarnated as a 22 K Hornet. Hopefully, it'll be back in my hands about the end of July. Well due to problems the gun had to go back to the gunsmith, H&S, for more work. However, while I was test firing it, I managed to take this one image with a Weaver K10 mounted on the gun.

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Peabody Martini's

I have always thought of Martini action rifles as either British in the case of the Enfields or Australian in the case of the little Cadet's so appropriately marked with a kangaroo. However, one's assumptions are often in error and this proved to be the case in this instance. The basic action was invented by an American, Henry Peabody, in 1862. A few years later the Swiss government became interested in purchasing rifles based on this action for their military and as a consequence the action was improved by a Swiss inventor named Friedrich Martini. The original action featured an exterior hammer and part of the Martini improvement was the internal striker. In the early 1870's the differences between the original Peabody action and the Martini patents were resolved and the Providence Tool Company of Rhode Island manufactured sporting rifles based on what became known as the Peabody-Martini action. These included the Kill Deer, What Cheer, and Creedmoor models. These sporting rifles were discontinued sometime in the 1880's due to economics.

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Free Pistol

One thinks of the small frame Martini action as most useful in a small game cartridge light weight field rifle. However, the basic action is capable of great accuracy and for many years was the basis of the 22 rimfire Hammerli free pistol designed for Olympic competition. BSA manufactured a target 22 rimfire competition rifle that imported into the United States until the mid 1980's. It is worth noting that Hammerli was making rifles based on the Martini action as early as 1887.

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Large Frame 22

One of the most common type Martini's that I see for sale is a large frame action of one variety or another which has been converted to 22 rimfire. It is my understanding that many surplus British rifles were converted to 22 long rifle for use by different British rifle clubs and societies. Certainly many of these have found their way into this country. Personally, I find the large frame action a bit over-sized for the diminutive 22 long rifle cartridge. However, one finds quite a few of these rifles including one at the most recent gun show that I attended.

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