Shooting A Martini-Henry Beyond 300 Yards

Nathaniel F
by Nathaniel F

The YouTube channel britishmuzzleloaders consistently puts out excellent content in areas of firearms history that rarely receive much attention. Most recently, he took his .577/.450 Martini-Henry out to the range, to shoot at ranges of 100, 200, 300, and 400 yards. What does shooting an old blackpowder* breechloader at these ranges entail? Watch the video embedded below to find out:

Not being a shooter of much blackpowder, I got a lot out of watching this video, as I do all of britishmuzzleloaders’ productions. It’s not a stretch to say that blackpowder firearms exist in a whole other universe apart from smokeless firearms. The use of that propellant dictates almost every feature of the firearm and its ammunition, from the neck length (to accommodate generously-sized wadding), rim, barrel length (to keep the acrid smoke away from the shooter, among other duties), and bore diameter, and even implies what cannot be done, and what isn’t of any use (could one imagine even attempting to design a self-loading rifle for blackpowder, when even a breechloader such as the Martini-Henry begins to struggle and choke if shot at its full rate? For that matter, what use is a device like a flash hider, when your rifle smokes like a chimney after every shot?).

*And they are actual blackpowder loads, not using black powder simulant. I was very impressed with britishmuzzleloaders’ attention to detail in loading his Martini-Henry ammunition, which is covered in another of his videos.

Nathaniel F
Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at

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