Gahendra Martini Rifle, .577/.450

The Mahendra variant of the 577/450 Martini Henry rifle was produced in Nepal under the direction of General Gahendra Rana in the 1880's (later research calls this date into question) to provide Gurkha regiments with what appeared to be the latest British Military Rifle.

Although similar to in appearance to the Martini Henry, the Gahendra is significantly different and is closer in design to the early Westley Richards Model 1869 rifle. The obvious external difference is the underlever on the Gahendra being pivoted in front of the trigger rather than the rear as in the Martini. Internally the two are totally different with the Gahendra operating with leaf springs rather that the coil springs of the Martini Henry.

In the last twenty years a large stockpile of Gahendra’s (and other 19th century firearms) have come onto the market after the discovery of a huge arsenal within the Palace of Lagan Silekhana in Kathmandu. The rifles have been in storage for over 100 years in less than perfect conditions and their condition reflects this.

The Nepalese Script on the top of grip is believed to read – “Sri Teen Chandra Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana”. This refers to Prime Minister Chandra Rana, the 5th prime minister of the Rana dynasty. He was born in 1863, became PM in 1901 and remained in office until his death in 1929.

Next line reads a date “1962” but as the Nepalese calendar is 57 years ahead of the western calendar the year is 1905.

The next character is a Nepalese character meaning “Number” and underneath this are three characters that I believe say “267”.

On the under lever are a series of characters that are believed to identify the unit or regiment to which the gun was assigned. At this stage all I can identify are “??? Arsenal”

Chandra Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, Prime Minister of Nepal, after being invested by the British with the title Honorary Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath


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