Khukuris and guns

Discussion in 'Gurkha House Forum' started by Johan van Zyl, Feb 15, 2002.

  1. Johan van Zyl

    Johan van Zyl

    372
    Oct 11, 2000
    Well, I find myself in the uncomfortable position of starting to believe what forumites are saying, directly and indirectly, namely that this forum needs a major injection to get back some of its lost vitality. Let me hope, under adverse indications, that this new thread might elicit some interest and response.

    It is a well-known fact that many collectors do not specialise. I do believe most collections are quite varied. I myself definitely do NOT collect khukuris alone. I am probably more of a collector of militaria than anything else. Khukuris have been used to good effect as weapons of war, therefore some of them fall under "militaria". Even a brand-new SN1 will, to my mind, be militaria. Now it appeals to me to know that khukuris used in the First World War were carried in conjunction with, for example, Short Magazine Lee Enfield rifles (SMLE's). And it is a statement of fact that a person collecting WW I khukuris, PLUS Mk III SMLE's, PLUS WW I uniforms and accroutrements belonging to the relevant units, will have a very nice thematic militaria collection indeed. To me it will be more interesting than eg. a collection of khukuris alone. In contrast, Mr. John Powell is a specialist in khukuris, but that's fine by me.

    Not only SMLE's were carried by khukuri-wielding Gurkhas. According to information I happened to come by, the attack on the Peiwar Kotal, Afghanistan, by 5th Gurkha Rifles in December 1878, was delivered by Gurkhas carrying SNIDER RIFLES with yatagan bayonets. These Gurkhas would have had khukuris at their belts. Opposing them were Scottish Highlander units carrying the newer Martini-Henry rifles. Highlanders would have had their claymores as well. Every man to his edged weapon!

    Of course, "modern" khukuri-carrying Gurkhas would be equipped with the most advanced firearms, but I am not really interested in modern-day weapons. It's the Sniders and SMLE's in Gurkha hands which make interest reading for a guy like myself. Maybe like yourselves, too!
     
  2. Lt. Dan

    Lt. Dan

    539
    Aug 6, 2000
    Did the Gurkhas skip over the generation of the Martini rifle? I guess it's entirely possible, but I wonder if there could've been a short time when they were used.

    Sorry, but the Martini was a love at first sight thing for me. That would be a great combination - a Martini and khukuri. Thank you for filling in the info gap for me, as I'm more than a little ignorant of lots of foreign militaria. Guess I've been spending too much time in marmot holes or something. :rolleyes:
     
  3. Berkley

    Berkley

    May 5, 1999
    Not at all.
     
  4. Johan van Zyl

    Johan van Zyl

    372
    Oct 11, 2000
    Berk, you scalliwag, how could you have done this to nice guys like Dan 'n me? You sit there at your 'puter an' plonk a pic on the forum of a Gurkha with a M-H rifle (jus' what we were looking for but didn't know nuthin' about), an' you don't follow up immediately with the GRAVY. Ag pleez, spill it, friend! I'm not goin' to make it through the day! What's the unit the guy belongs to, an' what type of khuk is he wearing? Got a c/u pic of the type of khuk he might have worn?

    (Dan, where does he get this stuff?)
     
  5. Berkley

    Berkley

    May 5, 1999
  6. Johan van Zyl

    Johan van Zyl

    372
    Oct 11, 2000
    Isn't it wonderful to get so much info at your fingertips! THANKS A LOT, BERK!

    Look what I found: "The Elcho bayonet was designed to work with the Martini-Henry Rifle. It was modelled after the Gurkha Kukri with a saw added on one side." What do you think about that, Dan? I wonder if the guy who made the statement that it was modelled after the khukuri, had positive evidence for his claim... Hope it's not just an opinion! The Elcho looks as if it could just as well have evolved from a dozen other edged weapons. If it has substance, the claim should be of great interest to all khukuri enthusiasts (and of course, newbie Martini-Henry nuts like me). Wonder where I can get an Elcho bayonet...? See, the symptoms of that durn disease that I (we) caught when I (we) was little...

    Once again, Berk, my sincerest gratitude. I stayed up late last night, casting 120 445 grain roundnose bullets for my M-H. We have a reenactment with black powder rifles on Saturday, and I've gotta be ready.

    (Smilies don't work: Imagine wide grin)
     
  7. Lt. Dan

    Lt. Dan

    539
    Aug 6, 2000
    Yeah, buddy!!! Way to go with the pic and info, Berk! I should've suspected you would have the scoop. Man, ya caught me lookin' on this one. Thanks ever so much for this savory tidbit that appeals to both the khukuri and firearm enthusiest in me.

    About that funky bayonet - I just wonder what the Gurkhas thought and had to say about it! It almost seems like a bit of Brit humor to think of something like that.

    Let me 'fess up and tell you up front that when I think M-H, I see a Cadet with as much of a trigger and firing pin job as can be done, a custom firing pin bushing, a hole through the rear receiver block to enable a cleaning rod to be used from the breech, custom figured wood, a 10x Unertyl scope with external adjustments, and a heavy bbl chambered in a classic rimmed low pressure caliber like the 218 Bee. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it! Go ahead and toast me right here and now, but that's the way it is.

    Of course, I wouldn't mind having both the large and small action models in original calibers in fine condition as well. And the appropriate khukuri to go with the bigger bore model would be a nice touch.

    Johan, this news from Berk is indeed good stuff...even better than blissful ignorance.;) :p :) It would be interesting to hear how yours shoots.

    Dan
     
  8. SkagSig40

    SkagSig40

    Feb 1, 2001
    Interesting stuff! I don't know much about it though. I'll just keep reading and learning!:)
     
  9. Johan van Zyl

    Johan van Zyl

    372
    Oct 11, 2000
    Very interesting to read how you approach your hobby, Dan. What I like about you and many others that I know, is that you don't try to bamboozle others into believing that you are just as crazy about their chosen hobby as they are themselves. That's honest and straightforward. But you still show interest in what others have chosen as THEIR coup de grace. You've got VARMINTING written all over your face, and I drive people crazy with my incessant talk about my interests. But that's fine by me. My hobby doesn't rule my life (although it sometimes does come close). Only thing to ever turn my life upside down (sorry, that's RIGHT SIDE UP) is my religion.

    Concerning my collection of militaria, something I've rued is the way I have lost some of my items to persuasion by fellow collectors. I had a BEAUTIFUL Snider, and I'm sorry that I let it go. It would have been a most prized item in my current collection, but unfortunately I didn't know my own mind when I let it go in the middle seventies.

    What about you, Berk? What amongst your own collecting interests really turns you on? (In my own case, I believe it's my 16" Ang Khola khukuri, my reproduction .44 percussion Pennsylvania Long Rifle, and my .577/.450 Martini-Henry, and the application AND history accompanying them.)
     
  10. Lt. Dan

    Lt. Dan

    539
    Aug 6, 2000
    Glad to have you along for the ride, Chris. These guys always seem to come up with some good stuff to add to my own interests! Hope all's well with you.

    Gee whiz, Johan - you humble me (and gladly so). There's always more to learn from other folks, and it's much more interesting to hear what they have to say than the drivel that runneth over my keyboard. There's so much neat stuff out there to learn, and often times it relates to and furthers my own hobbies. And I couldn't agree more with what you say about the Almighty working in our lives.

    The pre-WW2 BSA #13 Martini had a heavier bbl and was offered in 22 Hornet! Here's the URL of an excellent stock maker. (www.claudegatewood.com) You'll see the Martini right away when you pull it up, and is an example of what I mean by nice wood. (I prefer a stright comb stock, but sans cheekpiece.) As much as I appreciate a sweet varmint number, I can also appreciate the virtue of keeping a clean military model all original. For a parallel example, my favorite long range pistol (Remington XP-100) has fallen victim to rifle conversions, and has driven up the price of original pistols.

    I'm wondering which khukuri would be a good companion to the smaller Martini Cadet version...maybe the mini jungle.

    Sorry about your Snider. Don't ya just hate it when that kind of thing happens, and the replacement cost goes sky-high?!

    And now ya just had to go and bring up the PA rifle! I would love to have a nice Jaeger repro, but without a patchbox. My name is Swiss (but I'm really almost all German) and it's a direct derivative of Jaeger. There are some fine flint squirrel rifles that are quite accurate.

    OK, now I'm wondering how close the WW1 khukuri is to the issue knife that went with the M-H.

    Dan
     
  11. Berkley

    Berkley

    May 5, 1999
  12. Johan van Zyl

    Johan van Zyl

    372
    Oct 11, 2000
    Berk & Dan, please forgive me for not replying earlier. I'm terribly busy and can only glance at the forum some days. Yes, what marvellous sites, Berk! To be sure I'll spend some time there. We had our reenactment on Saturday. The ol' MH spoke up twenty times during the day. Unfortunately I haven't had time to properly sight the rifle, so I was "stealing" all the time. That's Afrikaans for aiming off the target in order to hit it. At 220 meters I had to aim off the lower right hand corner of the one-and-a-half meter high gas canisters we are using for the "enemy".

    At 220 meters I scored 5 hits out of ten shots. The last five were consequtive hits once I "found" my target. At 300 meters I got 1 hit out of two shots, but at 400 and 500 meters I got nary a hit out of six shots. Sighting my rifle properly is my prime priority for the next few weeks.

    The guys asked me why I was not wearing my khuk. (I vary my dress now and then.) One guy said he had an engraved Gurkha swagger stick which he would bring along to show me. Of course I will try to twist his arm.

    Go well!
     
  13. Berkley

    Berkley

    May 5, 1999
    Over here that's referrred to as "Kentucky windage".:)
     
  14. Johan van Zyl

    Johan van Zyl

    372
    Oct 11, 2000
    How do you USE the term "Kentucky windage" in a statement over there?

    Afrikaans: "Ek steel maar 'n bietjie (na regs)". Eng, literal: "I will have to steal somewhat (to the right)".
     
  15. Lt. Dan

    Lt. Dan

    539
    Aug 6, 2000
    Johan, the current term around here for placing a shot off target to compensate when reading the wind is to "hold into the wind" and high or low for distance.

    "Kentucky windage" is the same thing. I can't think of any classic movie lines, but his is a typical situation. Here in Virginia, it gets very windy in the spring, when the groundhogs are especially hungry and their fur is stained a bright orange color from digging dens in the clay. It's the ideal time for hunting them because the field grass is too short to hide them and the flourescent green color provides fantastic contrast. A brother and I were at my dad's home place on one especially gusty March day, and I could see one waaay down in the hayfield. He missed the first shot, and held off about a head's distance into the wind and a couple of inches high. The second shot from his Ruger #1 25-06 popped him right in the head. We checked the distance with a laser range finder, and that 90 grain pill started its journey at 3600 feet per second to buck gale force gusts for 402 yards to find the mark. Maybe the best varmint shot I've ever seen, and I asked him how much he held off the 'hog. He said, "Just a little Kentucky windage." Yeah, right!

    As you probably know, the present trend in long range precision shooting is to use rangefinders to take the guess work out of distance estimation. Good target scopes have high windage and elevation knobs that have very repeatable clicks that enable you to dial in changes and return precisely to zero again. Using drop charts that plot trajectories of known distances of that gun's pet load will help the shooter put the crosshairs right on the money every time. That is, if factors like elevation, wind, temperature and humidity are the same. An extra trick is to mount a level bubble on the scope.

    I personally don't like the high profile of target knobs, as they snag on stuff and dig into my back when carrying on the sling. My rifles are all humble factory made, but if I was shooting heavy weight custom rifles from a rest on a bench like the benchrest guys and some prairie dog hunters, it would be nice to check the knobs with only an eye movement.

    Another approach to adjust for windage and elevation is to use ballistic or mil-dot type reticules that have extra crosshair markings you can use for quicker references than adjusting the knobs. My next custom pistol bbl (maybe a 17" chambered in 5.56x50mm Mag rimmed necked up to 6mm) will have the Burris 3-12x posi-loc pistol scope with their ballistic plex.

    Actually, some folks are returning to such guns as the small action Martini with low pressure rimmed cartridges and fixed power scopes. There's something more artful about this kind of shooting that requires guesstimations in range and target acquisition. I don't really like to mess with turning knobs, and prefer using a little of your "Kentucky windage". (latest purchase was an unfired .222 Remington Classic [1993 only] to go with and an old Leupold fixed 10x scope that has the dot reticule)

    Of course, there's nothing quite like the simplicity of an unaltered, as-issued Martini (black powder loads) with iron sights and a khukuri of the same vintage on the belt. There's just something almost "right" about the combo.

    Whether using a little Kentucky windage, holding into the wind, or stealing a little to the side, it's all good, my friend.:)

    Dan
     
  16. Berkley

    Berkley

    May 5, 1999
    Johan,
    Took me a while to think up an appropriate sentence: Hitting the target with a cap-n-ball Colt takes some experimentation to determine the right amount of Kentucky windage to apply:).
     
  17. not2sharp

    not2sharp Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 1999
    Yikes!!!

    I spent years trying to track a good one down, and when I did I was outbid at the $2500 level. There are also some good reproductions made in India for World Wide Arms during the 1970s and these pop up every so often. Some are unmarked and some have Alex Copple tang stamps which should turn on the alarm since Alex Copple never produced these. Go prepared for grizzly if you are hunting this kind of game.

    n2s

    Here is one of the replicas with a 15 inch AK.
     
  18. Johan van Zyl

    Johan van Zyl

    372
    Oct 11, 2000
    Good grief, Berk! Did you see the stuff that ol' Dan has churned out! Now you can see what the guy is into most of the time. Verrrrry intresting, buddy! And thanks for your well-thought-out statement, Berk! It works, that's for sure.

    Not2sharp, thanks for the info! I did read somewhere that you get repro's for Elchos nowadays. Over the past weekend I went to a friend's house to buy a fresh supply of black powder. I was talking about bayonets, whereupon he ushered me into a small outhouse where he kept all kinds of stuff. Would you believe it - he showed me TWO original Elcho bayonets (albeit a bit rusty & no slabs on the hilt) and TWO nice Pattern '86 socket bayonets adapted for MH!

    Dan, I'm gonna have t' read yore stuff agin. Varminting the way you do it is a whole new world to me.

    Stay well!
     

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