Enfield or Webley and Scott Revolvers


DT Guy
January 4, 2005, 07:27 PM
I might as well confess right off the bat-I've been a Sherlock Holmes fan forever, and have always sort of wanted a Webley and Scott (I think it was) revolver like the one Watson kept slipping in his overcoat.

Silly? Absolutely. Just like the "James Bond" Walther. But at least now I've got my C and R, and I can (hopefully) get one somewhat cheaper than haunting a gun show.

Any pointers? Are any of these old Brit revolvers actually shooters, or strictly wall-hangers? I'd appreciate anything anyone could share to help me on my latest silly quest.


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January 4, 2005, 07:35 PM
Well here's Watson's service revolver for the low low price of $1,300 :eek:

Actually, I've seen quite a few Webely WWII era revolvers for cheap prices. The trigger pulls were way too stout, though.

DT Guy
January 4, 2005, 08:21 PM

I think you meant to post a link. For $1300, though, I don't think it matters. :D

You wouldn't know the model the good Dr. carried, would you?


January 4, 2005, 11:53 PM
For 60 dollars at a auction 20 years ago. Thought it was a .38 (didnt know about guns) Took it to walmart .38 went right thru it and no ammo would match up.
Took it to gander mountain in wilmot,wi. They told me the gun was worthless, use it for a fishing wieght or anchor.
Put ad in paper sold it first day for 60 bucks.
&@#!$ another gun smith from gander bought it. Put a price tag of 1200 dollars on it with 2 boxes of ammo!

Lone Star
January 5, 2005, 06:03 AM
Why me?--

What did you have, a cased Wilkinson-Webley with provenance of use by a certain identifiable officer who won a V.C.???

It's been years since I read the Holmes books, and Doyle knew diddley-dee about real guns. I think he said that Dr. Watson carried his service revolver. (He was a retired Army surgeon.) So, it probably was an Adams .450, but officers bought their own sidearms, so it could have been anything endemic to the times.

I think Holmes is most associated with the Royal Irish Constabulary revolver in.450 or .455, or the No. 2 pocket revolver. The 1883 version of the RIC revolver was compact and handsome. That's my first choice in a "Holmes" gun. Watson probably also bought something similar after starting to hang out with Holmes and needing a conceable handgun. British laws were then quite lax.

I would have taken a Colt Single-Action Army .45 with 7.5-inch barrel if I went after the Hound of the Baskervilles. In fact, I'd have also packed a big Winchester lever action rifle or a .450 Express double rifle!

The Speckled Band (Russell's viper) could be blammed very nicely with a pocket revolver, I guess.

Lone Star
P.S. Doyle also wrote, "The Lost World". If you've seen the syndicated TV show loosely based on the book, what do you think of the ordnance in it? You might like Lord John Roxton's ivory-butted Mk. VI .455's, which he wears in shoulder holsters during much of the last two seasons. He mainly wore a Colt M1911 before that. The series is set in 1920-1922. See it in re-runs on TNT at 5:00AM, Central time. Other characters have Webley Mk. IV (commercial series) .38s, and Marguerite has a hammerless S&W .38, sometimes subbed for by similar guns when the prop house didn't have it on hand.

DT Guy
January 5, 2005, 08:30 AM

Thanks for the info! Now at least I know what to start looking for...

I always wondered about that 'service revolver' in the overcoat pocket. Must have been a big overcoat!

I've caught The Lost World a few times, and knew it was from ACD-I'll have to check it out again and pay more attention to the guns...

Thanks again,


January 5, 2005, 10:16 AM
In the late 1800's in England (and the United States) men's fashions were very bulky. It wouldn't have been difficult for somebody to slip a Webley or a Colt 45 "Shopkeeper" snubby into a coat pocket. Concealable back then was very different from today. Lots of wool material.Must have been hot. I look at pictures of folks in the 1800's in Texas, Arizona, Georgia and I begin to understand why tempers were short. I'd be short fused as well if I was cooking. Whew.

January 5, 2005, 10:18 AM
My local convenience store owner, Sanjay Gupta Shah Ramachandran, has a Webley behind the counter for serious social situations. Brought it over from India.

January 5, 2005, 10:26 AM
I have a Webley & Scott in .38S&W, but among my friend who shoot we have Enfields and Webleys in .38S&W, .455, and .45ACP. I also have Colt New Service that was Canadian issue and in .455Eley, but was converted to .45Colt after WWI.

Almost all are shooters. A few are simply too worn, but there are enough out there that getting a shooter should not be a problem. Getting ammo for some of these, however, can prove pricey if you don't reload or the .455's haven't been converted.

January 5, 2005, 02:32 PM
Hey Guns:
Do you have any trouble shooting that canadian contract? Specifically key-holeing? I have one too and mine shoots like crap, but I still love it. Was wondering if I just need a new barrel or something or if they are all like that.

January 5, 2005, 02:37 PM
oops. IIRC Watson's service revolver was an Adams .450, but now that I look it appears there's some dispute on that point.



Lone Star
January 5, 2005, 02:38 PM

I owned a commercial New Service .45 Colt made in the 1930's, and it shot very tight groups.

Maybe your conversion was done sloppily. What caliber is it? It if they converted to .45ACP and you're using jacketed bullets, that may be the problem. You' d be using .450-.452 bullets in a bore that's probably .455-.456.

Lone Star

Lone Star
January 5, 2005, 02:40 PM

Nice post, that Mk. II Adams!

Lone Star

January 5, 2005, 02:44 PM
It's 45 Long Colt, but the rounds keyhole straight out of the barrel using several different loads. I figured I just needed a new barrel, which is not so bad because the barrel is 4" and I would like to have a 6".

Connecticut Yankee
January 6, 2005, 06:44 PM
1. If you want to reproduce what Dr. Watson probably used (I'll defer to to the Sherlockians) you want a .450 or .455 Webley Bulldog or Royal Irish Constabulary. These are five or six rounds two to almost three inch bbl., DA but side gate loading. There is a fair amount of 450 available from Fiocchi's runs, but they apparently aren't making it anymore, maybe Old Western Scrounger still makes it, there's a guy on Gunbroker who IIRC used to offer it for sale. The 450 is running 35 a box at gun shows so be warned. The 455 is now being reimported by Fiocchi brand new ammo get a coupla boxes and reload. I would NOT convert a Bulldog or RIC to 45ACP as many of them, but not all, are BP proofed only. BEWARE of 440, there are some fair number out there (also 360) unless you reload I"ve never seen commercial ammo for either of these calibers.

2. The best shooter is a Webley Mark VI. If you reload, get it 455 and don't modify it. Don't get the unprimed brass from Midway the dimensions are off a tad, use a coupla boxes of Fiocchi and reload. If you don't reload, the 45 ACP conversion is probably best, the rear of the cylinder face plate is shaved off to accomodate the thicker rim of the 455. The ACP runs 451 and the 455 IIRC mikes out to 454 so long term shooting of the ACP (Thousands of rounds?) will eventually affect the lands and grooves from escaping gas.

3. The Enfileds are the various Mk 1s and 2s all 38 S&W fun to shoot, almost all you see here are DAO. The Webley various Marks in 38 S&W are SA and DA and also fun.

4. There are several books on the entire Webley spectrum try www.abebooks.com and ebay for details of all the models.

5. Check out www.collectiblefirearms.com he usually has a good stock in hand.

January 6, 2005, 08:19 PM
I use lead RNFP 250gr from Miwall. Accuracy isn't the best, but no key holeing.

January 7, 2005, 01:37 PM
Just FYI--in my searchings, I have found collectablefirearms' (not to be confused w/ collectablefirearms) prices to be quite high. If you can exercise some patience, you will be able to find what you're looking for, for substantially less...

January 7, 2005, 01:40 PM
There was a really good Guns and Ammo article from the mid 1980s which I have filed away.

Gary James wrote it and I believe that he concluded that a good "Holmes revolver" would be any Tranter or RIC. I don't think Conan Doyle ever settled on a specific model in the stories.

Here's a Tranter on sale right now: http://www.collectorsfirearms.com/ah821.htm

January 7, 2005, 01:49 PM
Read a few of Sherlock's stories many years back. Don't remeber which one it was now, but I seem to sort of very vaguely recall Holmes saying something like..

"...if you would slip your revolver into your pocket. A Webley's #2 is an excellent argument with gentlemen that can twist steel pokers into knots...'

Or something resembling that. :confused:

January 7, 2005, 02:09 PM
"I should be very much obliged if you would slip your revolver into your pocket. An Eley's No. 2 is an excellent argument with gentlemen who can twist steel pokers into knots."--Adv of the Spekeled Band

Foghorn's memory is better than the actual quote too since Doyle was indeed most likely referring to a Webley No 2: http://www.melanconent.com/lib/holmes/things/gun.html

January 7, 2005, 02:13 PM
Excellent info (and no Tranters :o )


January 7, 2005, 02:17 PM
The 455 barrel is oversized for the 45 ACP or for modern 45 Colt factory loads.

To complicate the issue, a pre WWII 45 Colt barrel will be oversized for modern 45 Colt factory loads. Following WWII the 45 Colt was downsized to match the 45 ACP.

A third issue, is the Colt New Service Model of 1909 is NOT chambered for 45 Colt as everyone seems to think it is. It was chambered for the 1909 Colt 45 cartrdige, a distinctly different cartridge although it was meant to use the 45 Colt as a secondary back up cartridge. The civilian New Service chambered for the 45 Colt is just that, a 45 Colt, but has the pre WWII barrel size.

Another issue, is the Webley was designed with an under sized chamber throat and intended to use bullets with a very deep hollow base to expand into the barrel ala the Minie ball.

Given the correct ammo the Webley Greener target revolvers were the revolvers to beat in target competition at the end of the 19th Century going into the 20th Century. A good sound MkVI will have a very tight cylinder lockup and with correct ammo from a machine rest will probably provide better accuracy than a S&W. Shooting off hand the trigger pull is a bit stiff and the sights are not what you would call target sights.

Nominal groove diameters:

Pre WWII 45 Colt: 0.454

Post WWII 45 Colt: 0.451

45 ACP: 0451

1909 Colt 45: 0.454

455 Webley: 0.455

455 Colt 0.455

(The 455 Colt is the US and Canadian civilian version of the 455 Webley)

Bart Noir
January 7, 2005, 03:51 PM
Thanks, unspellable, and just what is the .455 Eley? Is it truly a different cartridge?

Bart Noir

January 7, 2005, 03:56 PM
Leroy Thompson also wrote a article for SWAT magazine (I have the issue, I'll have to dig it up) you could backorder the issue, where he goes over what he would have carried as a colonial British cop in the 1880s-1920s, and covers pretty much everything pistol-wise that was available at the time, including all the various Bulldogs, larger service revolvers, early automatics, etc up to howdah pistols.

He also describes the different calibers and operation, and his favorites, with pics, and references the RIC's in regards to Sherlock Holmes.

It's a pretty good rundown of what the Brits had at the time, and I have to admit, the DA Webleys would give any Peacemaker a run for it's money.

January 7, 2005, 04:08 PM
The 455 Eley is one of the very earliest revolver cartridges and predates the 45 Colt. There are some who believe it may have been the inspiration for the 45 Colt. It has a longer case than the 455 Webley, some where near the 45 Colt. I would assume the groove diameter would be the same as the 455 Webley.

January 7, 2005, 10:36 PM
Excellent thread! Here's a Webley Metro Police, RIC in .450 with a .45 Hydrashock for scale. This one popped up in a pawnshop here in Vancouver, WA of all places. It was issued to the New South Wales police.

Connecticut Yankee
January 8, 2005, 06:41 PM
Try http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=27666238 they call it a Military and Police but it sure looks like a Bulldog to me! N.B. See the little sharp projection behind the trigger? BE CAREFUL! As WHB Smith noted in his Pistols and Revolvers in rapid fire you can pierce your finger with this if not careful.

WHAT IS THE 455 ELEY? DOES ANYONE HAVE FACTS? I have tried websearches and my library including Smiths book noted above and my ctg books and I can't get an answer. It SEEMS to be a precursor to the 455 Webley MK II round BUT I keep seeing Colt New Services in this Caliber and so marked, so it is clearly distinct from "455".

Also go to http://www.auctionarms.com/Search/DisplayItem.cfm?ItemNum=6358543 appropriately labeled Blow Up, a conversion from 455 Eley to LC and it just went, scroll down to last picture to see restamp on bbl. Why you wear shooting glasses. Why I'm glad I wasn't on either his left or right on the firing line!

Connecticut Yankee
January 8, 2005, 06:43 PM
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=27666562 this is the RIC but remember it is 450 and the ammo is either not commercially available any more or only intermittently and expensively so to the best I"ve been able to find.

Connecticut Yankee
January 8, 2005, 06:51 PM
http://dogbert.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=200583565 this is the definitive study of Webley for 222.00 (!) by W C Dowell. A cheaper alternative is at http://dogbert.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=74715692 for 50 bucks haven't seen it but should be adequate.

Connecticut Yankee
January 8, 2005, 06:59 PM
Try http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vi...p?Item=27666238 they call it a Military and Police but it sure looks like a Bulldog to me!

Addendum: I just realized the MP they are referring to is standard Webleyese for the Metropolitan Police (i.e. London Police).

January 9, 2005, 12:22 AM
It's the same as mine, except that Gogswell and Harrison were resellers. Last time up this one hit $888 or so but never met reserve!

Lone Star
January 9, 2005, 09:31 AM

You hit the wrong key. That firm is Cogswell & Harrison.

Eley was a famed ammo maker. The .455 Eley IS the .455 Webley, I believe. There were two versions, Mk. I having a longer case. .455 Colt is much the same as the Mk. I. Colt New Service revolvers were popular among British officers, who bought their own sidearms then.

Actually, S&W Russian .44 revolvers in the hands of marksmen like Ira Paine were the guns to beat at Bisley, although the Colt and Webley guns gave a good account of themselves.

The man whose Colt has a four-inch barrel has a replacement barrel. The original War Office purchases in the New Service have 5.5-inch barrels. Commercially, the N.S. had a 4.5-inch barrel option, but not four inches. Every .455 Colt I've seen has had the 5.5-inch bbl.

Garry James has two "r's" in his first name. Whoever made that error above might want to remember that.

Lone Star

January 9, 2005, 12:42 PM
Back in the 1950s and 1960s it was not uncommon to see war surplus Colt & S&W revolvers with barrels cut back to 3½" to 4".

In the early 1970s it was damn near impossible to find a Colt that hadn't either been cut shorter or converted to .357 magnum.
Numrich Arms sold a bus load of barrels and cylinders to convert those old Colt .45s to .357.

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