Mark III Martini – Greener shotgun

by Jim Green, Gunsmith on October 26, 2011

After W.W.I, the Egyptian Government sought a weapon suitable for arming their police force. W.W. Greener of Birmingham won the contract with their submission of a handy, smoothbore Martini actioned shotgun with a full length wood forend. These shotguns were known as the Greener Mark I/14. The “14″ referred to the bore size. One of the clever features of the new shotgun was that it used an off size 14 1/2 gauge straight sided shot shell. This prevented the weapon’s use with commercially available shotgun shells. Thus, if the weapon fell into the wrong hands, it couldn’t be used against the Egyptian Police. Greener referred to this cartridge as “14 bore for use in Mark I guns”. These cartridges were made by Kynoch. Most were loaded with smokeless powder, but some have been noted with black powder loads. By 1922, over 30,000 Greeners had been supplied to the Egyptian Government. In the 1930s, it was discovered that stolen Mark Is were being used against the authorities by wrapping a thick piece of paper around standard 16 gauge shot shells in order to beef them up to 14 1/2 gauge! Greener answered this problem with the Greener Police Gun Mark III, Patent Number 463628/35. The Mark III could be ordered in three different chamberings:  the original 14 1/2 gauge Mark I shells, standard 12 gauge 2 3/4″ shells and a special bottlenecked shell for the Egyptians. The Mark III bottle necked shell was .782″ diameter at the base, and was necked down to .740″. Overall length of the shell was 2 7/8″. The new bottlenecked form of the cartridge was enough to prevent the weapon’s unauthorized use by the bad guys, but Greener went a step further by adding a large annular groove in the base of the shell. When a shell is chambered, two lugs protrude from the face of the breechblock and engage the annular groove in the base of the shell. This meant that the gun could only be fired if the correct, grooved shells were used. Kynoch and Service Armament Co. made shells for the Mark III Special into the 1960s. Mark III Specials are commonly seen for sale in the US $150 neighborhood.

 

 

I had one of these oddities ( MARK III ) in my shop today. This particular model has had the ” wings ” to either side of the firing pin removed so the gun can fire standard 12 gauge shells.

 

 

Unfortunately the trigger pull was around 15 pounds ! So I was able to polish the sear engagement surfaces to lighten it just a little bit.

 

 

Unlike the Gahendra Martini I had in the shop last summer, this is an internal striker fired gun vs having an internal hammer. The nature of the striker assembly precludes having anything near a decent trigger pull on this shotgun.

 

 

This series of photos will give you an idea of the simplicity of the old design. The pictures are in sequence as the gun is reassembled after a good cleaning and some trigger work.

 

 

And the picture below shows you the breech end of the gun. Not exactly conducive to hunting, but it’s a fun little gun to shoot. The action is reminiscent of the old Martini – Henry rifles from Victorian England. They operate pretty much the same.

 

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cal April 22, 2012 at 11:50 PM

It’s more than just reminiscent of the Martini-Henry rifle. I think the Greener shotguns were actually built on old Martini receivers.

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