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Hi everybody, I recently got a Martini-Henry Mk. IV from International Military Antiques and I noticed a sizeable horizontal crack on the underside of the stock. It's underneath the lever so it's hard to see until you pull the lever down. It looks like a small piece of metal was drilled or punched across the length of the crack. I also noticed a small vertical crack near the butt plate and noticed that when you close the breech it looks like it doesn't completely cover the chamber? I've attached photos of all of these to the best of my ability but I apologize if they're blurry or poorly lit. As you might imagine I don't plan to shoot this much but I would like to eventually load my own ammo for it. It would be quite a challenge! I'd like to take it to a gunsmith and disassemble it for a deeper cleaning but I appreciate any advice y'all can give. I've collected a number of antique and C&R firearms so I know how careful one needs to be when doing any kind of maintenance on them.
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The wood areas are easy to repair, but the simplest is simply to patch them with wood epoxy and prevent them from worsening. Lowest cost, least technical and DIY.

The other route would be to repair them. Drilling out the affected areas and "plugging" (circular crack) or doing a burn in process on the butt crack.

[he said "butt crack"] :s0140:

If you have the tools and the know how, that is peferrable, but it will cost a pretty penny to have someone else do it and, honestly, the epoxy route preserves some of the character of the rifle that is desierable to some. Moreso the butt crack than the lever action area crack (that's a bit ugly), but that one isn't blatantly obvious and easy to get away with.

A bit of prep work will be required though cleaning out debris and deteriorated wood before epoxying. Colored wood expoxy is readily available so the final result would be fairly unnoticeable unless someone was looking for it.
 
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The wood areas are easy to repair, but the simplest is simply to patch them with wood epoxy and prevent them from worsening. Lowest cost, least technical and DIY.

The other route would be to repair them. Drilling out the affected areas and "plugging" (circular crack) or doing a burn in process on the butt crack.

[he said "butt crack"] :s0140:

If you have the tools and the know how, that is peferrable, but it will cost a pretty penny to have someone else do it and, honestly, the epoxy route preserves some of the character of the rifle that is desierable to some. Moreso the butt crack than the lever action area crack (that's a bit ugly), but that one isn't blatantly obvious and easy to get away with.

A bit of prep work will be required though cleaning out debris and deteriorated wood before epoxying. Colored wood expoxy is readily available so the final result would be fairly unnoticeable unless someone was looking for it.
I have a lot of hand tools and some basic woodworking experience so I'll likely go the epoxy route. Thankfully the ugliest crack is on the underside of the stock and is concealed by the lever so even though it's an eyesore it has the courtesy to not be terribly visible, lol.
 
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I have a lot of hand tools and some basic woodworking experience so I'll likely go the epoxy route. Thankfully the ugliest crack is on the underside of the stock and is concealed by the lever so even though it's an eyesore it has the courtesy to not be terribly visible, lol.
Exactly. Without closer examination it's difficult to tell, but it looks like a plug that was nailed in place.. that split the plug. The little bit of grain you can see though seems to kind of blend as if it's one piece, but the direction the crack is going would be inconsistent since it's across the grain.

If it IS a plug then it would be easy peasy to just drill it out and replace it (sans nail... that was a pretty shoddy idea).

The back end I wouldn't do anything with but clean it up and fill/replace material. Burning it in would be the most attractive end product, but epoxy will do ya.


I can vouch for their burn in products.

Process:

This one isn't bad either demonstrating some finish grain work.

They also sell some epoxy fill sticks. The sticks don't "bind" as well and act more as a filler, but it's an option. A commercial grade wood epoxy would be better.
 
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Yeah it's definitely some kind of plug. Stamping on the stock indicates that the rifle was sent to Rawalpindi in 1908 so there's no telling what kind of "repairs" got done there. Thankfully there are no cracks in the wrist or behind the tang, and the metal and bore are in great shape with only some very light pitting on the trigger guard.
 

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