New Zealand guns smuggled to Pakistan [100 years ago]

Manu of Indian Defence News emailed me a link to a online reprint of a New Zealand newspaper article that was originally published on 13 May 1909. It says how New Zealand and Australia army rifles destined to Great Britain ended by being used by rebels on the Indian (now Pakistan) Afghan border.

The Englishman states that arms are being smuggled across the Pathan frontier which bear the Australian and the New Zealand Government marks. It is believed that they were sold when the new rifle was adopted.

Two years ago the New Zealand Defence Department disposed of a large accumulation of obsolete Snider and Martini rifles by tender, a condition being that they must go to England.

The purchaser of the greater number of the rifles gave an assurance that they were being sent to Birmingham, presumably to be taken to pieces and some of the parts used for more modern rifles.

The Government has since received advice that 28 of these rifles (bearing the New Zealand stamp) have been taken from the rebel hill tribes on the north-west frontier of India.

That must have been very embarrassing for the colonial New Zealand and British governments. I recently blogged that these old single shot Martini rifles are still being used by insurgents in the region.

1870 Martini-Henry .303 rifle which has been converted into a pistol.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Simon_The_Brit

    I have a Snider that is stamped up with New Zealand marks. It was recovered from rebels in Oman in the 1980’s.

    • Simon_The_Brit, interesting! Where did you get it from?

  • Simon_The_Brit

    I got it from Oman. This is the history as I know it….it was on a ship that sunk off the coast of Oman and it is one of those Sniders salvaged by the locals, many years later it was captured by the Sultans Armed Forces from rebel forces.

  • Try as I might, I just can’t wrap my head around what the recoil would be like whilst firing .303 in a pistol.