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A single shot rook rifle in .450 calibre built on a miniature Francotte Martini breech-loading action, retailed by James W. Rosier, Melbourne, approximately 1870s.
The Martini action was developed by Swiss engineer, Fredrich von Martini (1822-97), though had resemblances to, and may have been influenced by the Peabody action of Henry Peabody. The action consisted of a lever that extended along the stock behind the trigger which, when pulled forward, dropped a sliding ramp through which the only recently developed metallic cartridge ammunition could be slide down and into the barrel.
Although limited to still being single shot when, by the end of the century most rifles would hold magazines of multiply rounds of ammunition, it was a robust and popular mechanism that was used for the better part of two decades after its adoption by the British military in 1870, and numerous adaptations of it were introduced on civilian sporting rifles.
Much like the Snider rook rifle, this Francotte Martini rook rifle is an excellent representation of how advancements were quickly incorporated into sporting rifles, this one using a variant of the Martini action developed by Belgian gun firm, Auguste Francotte & Co..
It is of a type that was common in the colony in the 1870s and into the 1880s, and probably would have had the framed escutcheon on the barrel top engraved with the dealer's name in the UK, prior to being dispatched. While this one clearly carries Rosier's markings, others are known with the names of other Australian dealers.
This one is a very similar to the other Martini rook rifle here in the slightly smaller .442 caliber.
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