Another ‘Khyber Pass Special’

Earlier his week a friend complained, tongue in cheek, that the Range Officer wouldn’t let him fire his Martini-action pistol on the pistol range. When I saw it, I knew why!

Some time back I wrote about an alleged Enfield Martini-Henry .577-450 rifle which was almost certainly a ‘Khyber Pass Special’, handmade (that’s not a positive in this case!) on the Pakistani/Afghan border; well, I’m pretty certain I’ve found another one.

Broadly speaking this second example would be classified as a hand cannon (or, maybe, a howdah pistol in polite circles). It’s a short .303″ barrel on a Martini-Henry action, with a simple rounded hand grip. The barrel isn’t original and is clearly an amateur gunsmithing job (there’s about ⅛” excess headspace!).

Now this might have been built around an original Enfield action, but all the ‘Khyber Pass Special’ warning signs are there. On the .577-459 rifle, the ‘R’ in ‘VR’ was reversed; in this case the VR is completely upside down (the broad arrow likewise).


The date stamp is 1910 and the monarch of that year would have been Edward VII or George V (there were two kings in that year) not Victoria; what’s more, the M-H ceased production in 1889.

The maker appears to have possessed a limited range of smaller number stamps, which he liberally sprinkled around, plus a single, larger numeral 2, which he also used to advantage.



IMG_2019The liberal application of stars around the cocking indicator and elsewhere would also be unusual on an Enfield-made action! ‘ICI’ features more than once; I wonder whether he saw the initials on an ammo carton?


Before anyone asks, just as with the .577-450 rifle, we’re not planning to shoot this!

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About Nigel

Retired law firm project manager based in Jersey, British Channel Islands. When he isn't shooting clay pigeons, he's polishing his collection of kukris or digging his vegetable patch.
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