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NitroXAdministrator
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Handgun of the Empire
      #251275 - 30/07/14 01:32 PM



Webley Mk VI .455 revolver and Fairbairn-Sykes commando dagger

The handgun of the Empire, the large frame big bore .455 Webley Mk VI, was adopted in 1915 during the First World War and continued in service until after World War Two. The series originated in 1887 with the Mk I.

The Fairbairn-Sykes dagger, the two edged service knife of the Commandos, the SAS and the Paras in World War Two. The dagger is the centrepiece of the Winged emblem of the SAS.

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eagle27
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: NitroX]
      #251278 - 30/07/14 04:47 PM

I had and used one of these which had a 4" barrel and fixed front sight, not the pinned version as shown in the photo. A magnificent, strong double action weapon with selective ejection of empty shells from the cylinder.

A breeze to load for and shot most jacketed and cast bullets quite accurately. Mine accounted for one or two red deer, a few goats and more than a few possums, rabbits and hares.

It sure was the handgun of the empire with an enviable history.


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Daryl_S
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: eagle27]
      #251314 - 31/07/14 02:22 AM

Has anyone see or shot the Fosbery? - semi-auto converting that gun (separate gun actually, longer frame) into a semi-auto single action revolver.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webley-Fosbery_Automatic_Revolver

Webley's are sure fun to shoot - & fastest reload of any of the martial revolvers - when converted for full moon clips.

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Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


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TH44
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: Daryl_S]
      #251333 - 31/07/14 08:43 AM

Daryl - I shot one many years ago when handguns were legal in the UK, interesting, you could "feel" the action working

They fetch high prices these days, as they can be held under Section 7 of the firearms act (Kept secure, no ammo, cannot take them from your home without police authority etc)

Good pics and discussions occasionally on the British Militaria forums

Tony

Edited by TH44 (31/07/14 08:44 AM)


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: TH44]
      #251343 - 31/07/14 02:12 PM

The .455 Webley cartridge. I gather it is quite a powerful handgun cartridge, especially at the time? Is this true? What does it compare to?


For some reason, in my ignorant mind, I had always pictured these Webley's as being ineffective and low powered. But perhaps that was the .38 round which gave me that opinion?

Happy to be educated.

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eagle27
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: NitroX]
      #251353 - 31/07/14 05:48 PM

Quote:

The .455 Webley cartridge. I gather it is quite a powerful handgun cartridge, especially at the time? Is this true? What does it compare to?


For some reason, in my ignorant mind, I had always pictured these Webley's as being ineffective and low powered. But perhaps that was the .38 round which gave me that opinion?

Happy to be educated.




Most often compared with the 1911 in 45 Auto. The Webley had a heavier 265gr bullet at a lower velocity than the 230gr 45 Auto cartridge but some say the heavier conical shaped bullet at lower velocity had the edge on the Auto for close range killing. Apparently many got quite skilled at using the big Webley in double action mode when the chips were down.

There are quite a few stories around of the effectiveness of the 455 Webley in action, Pondoro Taylor recounts shooting a lion with his Webley, through the shoulders dropping it on the spot. A famous Ghurka soldier used his Webley to take out five Germans, and got another two with his khukri knife when he unexpectedly came on their patrol.

It was a heavy revolver but sat in the hand nicely and to me, did not recoil overly much, although I've shot a 6" S&W 44 Magnum and didn't think it was anything special in the recoil department.

The Webley revolver trigger would not win any prizes on the range, it was very heavy but smooth as was the double action. I carried mine in a shoulder holster when out hunting, handgun hunting illegal here but at the time was living in wild South Westland. Not designed as a concealed carry weapon but would be okay in a hip/leg holster as the military used.

Had a lot of fun with my Webley and tried a variety of loads and bullets.

185gr FMJ, 250gr HP and 250gr Cast loads for the 455 Webley



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Daryl_S
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: eagle27]
      #251375 - 01/08/14 01:25 AM

Rather have a .45 Colt New Service, but the Webly was/is a fun gun to shoot. Number of blokes here have them and shoot them, usually loading in the .45 Auto power range.

Had a New Service Colt some time ago, that originally was a .455, but had been re-chambered to .45 Colt, as many were. I gave or sold it to my brother along with a spare old New Service NWMP holster. I packed my 4" M29 in my NWMP holster while he packed the 5" New Service in his.

260gr. usually under 700fps in a 4"bl. The standard ballistics, IIRC, were around 670fps with 260gr. Conical.

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Marrakai
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: Daryl_S]
      #251393 - 01/08/14 09:38 AM

Wasn't going to respond to this thread, 'cause I'll be here for hours.... Instead I'll try to be brief.
Suffice to say that a few of us here in Darwin shoot Webley revolvers often at our Collector shoots, and prior to Australia's post-Monash restriction on .45 calibre for pistol club use, I regularly shot the full 90-round Service Pistol match with a Mark VI, occasionally placing! Went through many thousands of WestCast pills, hollow base with the green coating, loaded in Mountain & Sowden brass. Even made my own cannelure tool to improve the crimp for better accuracy. And yes, the trigger required utmost concentration...!
My favourite .455 however is the Mark II, rounded birds-head fits better in my hand and love that over-sized hammer shroud!
Also have S&W Hand Ejector and a couple of Colt New Service in .455 as well as the other Marks, love them all but the Webley "manstoppers" definitely have more historical appeal, probably due to our British Colonial origins.

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eagle27
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: Marrakai]
      #251404 - 01/08/14 04:06 PM

Marrakai what sort of money did you pay for the M&S brass? I made my own brass for my Webley by thinning the rims and shortening easily obtained 45 Colt cases. Didn't take long to make up enough cases and they last forever.
Fiocchi did and likely still does load 455 Webley ammo.


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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: eagle27]
      #251416 - 01/08/14 11:05 PM

Hornady occasionally makes a run of .455 Mk II brass.

I have a nice S&W .455 Hand Ejector that remains unmolested. Hornady also makes the correct bullet for your Manstopper rounds.

Here are a couple of photos of my S&W and the ammo I loaded:





I displayed my S&W on this thread: S&W .455 Mk. II Hand Ejector 2nd Model #69234

Curl

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eagle27
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: CptCurl]
      #251436 - 02/08/14 07:22 AM

Damn CptCurl why did you have to go and post that, what a super rig, I'm green with envy.

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Checkman
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: eagle27]
      #251888 - 11/08/14 01:37 AM

One of my favorites. I wanted one for several years and a few years ago I finally acquired one. Now mine is actually an Enfield Mk VI made in the early twenties after Enfield took over making the Mk VI for the military, but it's still a Mk VI. Grand old warhorse.




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Daryl_S
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: Checkman]
      #251902 - 11/08/14 04:04 AM

Doesn't Starline make .455 Webley brass?

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Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


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eagle27
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: Daryl_S]
      #251931 - 11/08/14 04:13 PM

I obtained an original Parker Hale 22RF conversion kit for my 455 Webley. The kit was for the 6" barreled Webleys and was composed of an insert barrel using a a knurled sleeve at the muzzle to tighten and center the 22 barrel in the 455 barrel and a complete replacement cylinder holding six 22 rimfire cartridges. The normal firing pin worked on the 22 cartridges. As my Webley was a 4" barrel model I made up an adapter that was used in place of the sleeve to accommodate the 2" of 22 barrel extending from the muzzle. The adapter locked and centered the insert barrel and looked just like a silencer.

The '22 Webley' was just as accurate as the parent cartridge and the Webley functioned the same as the 455.

Sold my 22 conversion to an owner of a 6" Webley, I could cast and shoot the 455 just as cheap as shooting 22 Rimfires and it was more fun with the bigger cartridge. Recall shooting a few bunnies and possums with the 22 Webley before I sold it on but shot many more with the big Webley in 455 guise.


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Marrakai
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: eagle27]
      #251945 - 11/08/14 11:21 PM

eagle27:
Can't recall the cost of the M&S brass, it was a loong time ago but they are still going strong.
Also bought a couple of boxes of Fiocchi loaded rounds at one point (they were expensive!) and used the brass from them for reloading too.
Good tip about working the .45 Colt cases, thanks for that. R.P. cases for that round are cheap locally and always available.
And I too also have a .22 trainer insert for the Mk.VI, interesting that the chambers are bored eccentric in the cylinder to allow the firing pin to work on the rimfire cartridges, the bullet has to make a slight "turn" as it exits the chamber and enters the forcing cone! Only the Brits would think of this, but it works!

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Marrakai
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9.3x57
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: NitroX]
      #252395 - 20/08/14 05:58 AM

Quote:

The .455 Webley cartridge. I gather it is quite a powerful handgun cartridge, especially at the time? Is this true? What does it compare to?


For some reason, in my ignorant mind, I had always pictured these Webley's as being ineffective and low powered. But perhaps that was the .38 round which gave me that opinion?

Happy to be educated.




John:

Your "picture" of the cartridge is pretty clear. I hope I do not start a war, here, but the .455 is not very powerful.

I have basically little/no experience with it but its ballistics are nothing to write home about. I do have experience with the standard .45 Colt loadings and many others killing stock in the corrals and with that experience can interpolate pretty well what to expect with the .455. Having said that, compared to some others that were common as opponents guns, like the 8mm Nambu and .32 ACP, the .455 stands tall!

What I can tell you is this; I can see no difference in killing effect/reaction to shot on goats and sheep in the 40-250 pound range at all regardless of whether the round being used is the .45 ACP or 9x19 {or the others listed below except for the magums with JHP's}, so I doubt a 265 @ 600-650 fps is going to demonstrate superiority in any way, shape or form. I have killed dozens and literally tons of animals including cattle with service pistols including the following calibers; .22 LR, 7.62x25, 9mm Mak, 9x19, .38 Special, .357 SIG and .45 ACP, A few with the .45 Colt {w/ 265 grain semi-pointed Lyman 454190 bullet}, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum and .41 Magnum. Some chickens with the .32 ACP...they were nearly bullet proof!

Anyway, NONE of the common service pistol calibers {including the .45 ACP} generate much for energy or severe traumaitc effect and I CAN say with certainty a slow moving 265 grain bullet is an unimpressive performer compared to a fast-moving 250 or so grain bullet.

Lethal? Of course, but in solid lead or FMJ persuasion {which is what military service calibers are stuck with}, none of them are much.

I had an Aussie FTR'd S&W M&P in .38/200 and for an anemic round, there it is. That one you mentioned, too, and in my opinion whoever authorized that thing for active service should have been court-martialled and married to an ankle chain for the rest of his natural life.

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eagle27
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: 9.3x57]
      #252419 - 20/08/14 05:57 PM

9.3x57

I don't think you need worry about starting a war, I do have quite a bit of experience with the 455 Webley on game but would agree that none of the pistol cartridges are anything to write home about on animals at least. Even the 44 Magnum in a Ruger Carbine was not exactly a king hitter compared to a decent rifle cartridge, even my early rifle in 32 Remington I used as a teenager to take a lot of deer and goats was miles ahead of the 44 Magnum cartridge.

Perhaps in some comparison to your experience in using the various pistol cartridges to kill stock, there is an interesting article in the 4th Edition of COTW called "Handgun Lethality". The article covers the US Army Tests of 1904 where a variety of tests were carried out with several cartridges of the day from the 30 Luger, 9mm Luger, 38 Colt Army, 38 Colt Auto, 45 Colt Auto, 45 Colt Rev,455 Colt and 476 Colt. The tests on cattle and horses was carried out in the Chicago stockyards and involved shooting into the lung and intestinal areas from a range of 3 feet to test for shock on the animals. No shots were fired into vital organs or the brain.

The 45 Colt revolver show great shock and distress and dropped the animals by the 4th or 5th shot while the 455 and 476 dropped them by the third shot. It was noted that those shot by the larger calibres would begin to bleed from the nose and mouth by the 2nd or 3rd shot while this did not happen with the smaller calibres.

From this series of tests the Army chose the 45 Auto which while not as good as the 45 revolver and 455 suited the handgun better that they wanted.


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: eagle27]
      #252425 - 20/08/14 06:58 PM

I didn't know this was a discussion comparing handgun cartridges vs rifle cartridges killing capacities. Obvious difference for most rounds. Animals? Man is often a much more softer target than most animals. In any case, a handgun is a handgun and has a handgun's limitations.

Of course if hunting, a handgun has its limitations. But no different from there being limitations to using BP, a bow, a shotgun etc.

This is a discussion on a handgun, used from the late 1800's to the 1950's in countless countries, many wars and during the peak of the British Empire.

Interestingly the .455 Webley probably had some of its origins for the same reasons as the excellent and powerful .45 ACP. As probably everyone knows the .45 ACP was created at least in "popular" history as the US .38 revolver service round had trouble dropping crazed Philippino rebels or warriors. Anyone want to discuss this, it would be a great topic for a NEW thread, on the .45 ACP and its origins. In handgun discussions most Americans discuss the merits of the old .45 ACP compared to say the much weaker 9mm Parabellum. The .455 Webley probably saw use it dropping crazed Zulus (though not in the Zulu wars which were slightly earlier), Matabeles, Somalis, Mau Maus, Malays, and other races of very angry people.

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eagle27
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: NitroX]
      #252429 - 20/08/14 07:47 PM

Yes agree the discussion is about a handgun but when we start talking about 'powerful', for those who may not have experience with handguns on game and most of us won't have experience on humans, perhaps the 'powerful' is put into perspective if we can compare with rifle cartridges which most of us do know.
The 455 Webley was very effective against the natives in the early colonial days and solders in the early wars but this cartridge and others are not so effective against 'armoured' personnel as the modern soldier is now. The 357 Magnum was found to be effective in the Korean war where early armour was worn whereas the usual battle cartridges of the day were often caught short, even the venerable 45 Auto.

I've been told that the 455 Webley projectile could be stopped by a heavy army great coat worn over battle dress and a leather or webbing belt. I wouldn't like to test that out with any rifle.


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: eagle27]
      #252432 - 20/08/14 09:39 PM

Quote:

The article covers the US Army Tests of 1904 where a variety of tests were carried out with several cartridges of the day from the 30 Luger, 9mm Luger, 38 Colt Army, 38 Colt Auto, 45 Colt Auto, 45 Colt Rev,455 Colt and 476 Colt. The tests on cattle and horses was carried out in the Chicago stockyards and involved shooting into the lung and intestinal areas from a range of 3 feet to test for shock on the animals. No shots were fired into vital organs or the brain.

The 45 Colt revolver show great shock and distress and dropped the animals by the 4th or 5th shot while the 455 and 476 dropped them by the third shot. It was noted that those shot by the larger calibres would begin to bleed from the nose and mouth by the 2nd or 3rd shot while this did not happen with the smaller calibres.

From this series of tests the Army chose the 45 Auto which while not as good as the 45 revolver and 455 suited the handgun better that they wanted.




Re-read your earlier post. Interesting how the choosing of the .45 ACP was determined.

Quote:

The 357 Magnum was found to be effective ...




Good point on the more modern .357 Magnum handgun cartridge. Something I will bring up again much later in this discussion.

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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: NitroX]
      #252434 - 20/08/14 10:18 PM

Just for fun I went on the net for images of the Webley in action. It is surprising how many times it has been used in movies of all sorts, including great ones. And to re-create its actual use in the historical events.

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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: NitroX]
      #252435 - 20/08/14 10:38 PM

The first chosen, perhaps the greatest adventure movie ever made, "Lawrence of Arabia".

Even the DVD cover has the Webley though blurred.





In battle.




The perfect gift.



But didn't do this guy much good against a SMLE .303 at range.




Make sure your Webley is loaded!





Even can be used as a gavel at a public meeting. Maybe an effective one at either end.



An enthusiasts recreation of the look.

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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: NitroX]
      #252437 - 20/08/14 10:50 PM







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9.3x57
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: NitroX]
      #252438 - 20/08/14 11:07 PM

John: You started it...

I'll just make mention of a few things as I have researched these issues quite a bit {spurred on due to my disappointing experience w/ .45 ACP many years ago}.

1} The referred-to Thompson-LaGarde Tests were a farce and should be studied by any student of handgun lethality and history of the .45 ACP cartridge. Their conclusions fly in the face of their own test results!

2} The "Charging Moros" line was also nonsense. I had my doubts and began to wonder about whether that was a myth as tho we read of the .45 being introduced as a result of handgun problems and lack of stopping power we do not read of much after that, meaning, "did the .45 work?". The answer to the latter is..."No". The gunwriter Jack Lott also was curious about this and he did research and wrote up a piece proving it did not and what is more, neither did the 12 ga '97 shotguns or Krags that were issued during the insurrection!

3} Gen Julian Hatcher {US Army Ordnance General of great fame} in his excellent c. 1935 tome on handguns explains the real reason the .38 Colts were dumped. They were mechanical abortions. Junk. Breakdowns occurred and the mechanism was improved {resulting later in the excellent Army Special and Official Police w/ essentially the same actions as the later Python}. The resurrected .45 Colts served reasonably well MECHANICALLY. He gets twisted around in his book, tho, first saying that the stopping power of the various big .45's was superior but then citing cases where there failed.

4} Development of the .45 ACP followed T-LaG's recommendations which the Army swallowed BUT, AS HATCHER NOTES...the end result was not what they really hoped for in that a round nose hard jacketed FMJ is a very poor creator of trauma {I don't like the term "stopper" as with hard service bullets, it really doesn't apply}. Indeed, the gun shooting ammo developed as a result of experience in the Filipino conflict was the special 255 grain loading for the Colt New Service. At 900+ fps it is just about the most powerful service round ever loaded, maybe bested a bit by the huge Montenegro wheelgun round. That semi-pointed bullet penetrates! But again, as for trauma in little folks like people, well...

Remember, all of this applies to round nose lead or hard FMJ bullets.

I was a devoted .45 ACP fan for many years until my experience and research demonstrated flaws in the storyline and terminal reality of the ".45" service rounds. I daily carry a 9mm due to one more reason among others; modern JHP loadings have made all the standard service/carry rounds virtually equal, and...the 9mm holds more of them in the handle.

John, it is a really interesting topic, so I guess starting another thread could be interesting?

Back on topic; the Webley was/is a mechanically sound revolver. It works. THAT is its greatest feature, and when you think about it, that is the greatest feature of many of the sterling performers of yesteryear; during a time when many service weapons were "iffy", the Colt, smith and webley revolvers chambered in .455 were dead nuts reliable, excellent under most conditions and superior to the "competition".

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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: Handgun of the Empire [Re: 9.3x57]
      #252440 - 20/08/14 11:35 PM

Cool. Some good points. Why not copy them to a discussion on the .45 ACP and the 1911 model pistol.

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