A veritable plethora of Webley questions.


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Warren
March 14, 2007, 02:55 AM
Today I purchased a Webley-Scott WG Army Model. This being California I must wait 10 days before picking it up. :banghead:

It was originally sold through or by John Rigby and Sons.

Sometime later it was re calibered to .45 Colt. And who ever did that was not a steady hand with the punch as the characters making up ".45 Colt" are rather off-line from each other.

The bore is in excellent shape as is the forcing cone. The cylinder locks up tight when holding the trigger back and easing the hammer down, just as I've read they should.

It has a 6 in barrel and target (or not the birdshead type at least) stocks but does not have an adjustable rear sight.

Serial # is 12XXX but there is a four-digit number on the bottom of the trigger guard, 12XX.

The gun shop guy who sold it knows the guy who consigned it and said that that fellow shot mild smokeless .45 Colt loads.

With tax and transfer it was $660 OTD.

Now the questions:

1) If I choose to buy a barrel/cylinder group that is still .455 Webley is that an easy job of swapping out the parts?

2)Would it have to be from that particular model or could I put, for example, a MK VI upper on there? I love .45 Colt but being able to shoot an old school Brit round would be cool.

3) What, exactly was involved in changing calibers on these guns?

4) Is there any way to know when this was done?

5) Is it possible that the action for my gun considerably older than the barrel/cylinder group?

6) Is there any evidence of target length and stocked guns going out with non-adjustable sights?

7)How do I find out when the gun was made? Is there a reference for this?

8)What is with that other number on the trigger guard?

9)Am I okay with cowboy load levels in smokeless in this gun? Black powder would be fun though.

10) Did I get a good deal?

11) Will I be able to stop at just one Webley?

12) What would be the correct rifle to pair up with this gun?

13) What is the other kit I will need to go full "What ho, chap!"?

Thank you,

Warren

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Will5A1
March 14, 2007, 04:13 PM
I don't think you will have an easy time finding a barrel/cyclinder in .455 in decent condition, if you do the cost will be significant. Getting it fitted will be another challenge - you have a revolver that may well pre-date 1900, IIRC. I may well be mistaken but I believe the WG was introduced in the late 1880's.

Are you sure it has been converted to .45 Colt? I would have thought the cyclinder too short for that length. Does the revolver have Nitro proofs?

There are several references that would be helpful, The Webley Story (I think that's the correct title) would be the place to start. Please consider posting questions at the British Pub Forum on Gunboards.Com, there are several Webley experts there.

Can you post pictures - they would help, as would closeups of any markings. I believe Rigby is still in business and offers a serivce akin to Smith's Factory Letter. I will do a bit of research and post back.

Warren
March 14, 2007, 04:27 PM
Thanks.

Someone at sometime stamped the top of the barrel with .45 Colt. And the gun shop owner who sold it to me said that the gun owner shot Colt through it.

I do not know what a nitro proof looks like, it might be on there.

I will not be alble to post pictures until I have it in hand. Even then I'm not sure how to get the pictures from my camera into this thread.

Warren
March 16, 2007, 10:36 PM
Please consider posting questions at the British Pub Forum on Gunboards.Com, there are several Webley experts there.


I've registered there and have a user name, but they have not sent me the confirmation e-mail so I cannot activate my account. I sent an e-mail to the admin but it bounced so they may be having problems.

So if there are any members of gunboards who read this can you find out what is going on?

Thanks,

Warren

lwrnc1963
March 16, 2007, 11:00 PM
If all they did to rechamber to .45 colt was to bore out the cylinder farther you can probally go ahead and just fire .455 ammo out of it. The main differance between the two is just cartridge length. In fact .455 webley will fit in a .45 colt Vaquero. I didn't try firing it to see what it'd be like but a .455 round did chamber nicely in all 6 holes.

Will5A1
March 17, 2007, 09:10 AM
Warren,

Don't know what's up with the Gunboards process - if you can't get registered there I'll post your questions on the Pub forum, the guys there can cut through the chase on Webleys as to type, proofs and probably come close to date of manufacture. By the way most Webley collectors are now refering to the WG as the Webley Government model, as opposed to the Webley Green. Once you actually have the revolver in hand please post back, get pics if you can. You also asked for references, two are out of print but should be available through Amer. Book Exchange - The Webley Story/Dowell, and Webley Revolvers/Bruce & Reinhart.

I gave some more thought to the caliber question, and agree with lwrnc1963, and I think you can get cowboy .45 Schofield loads (shorter case than the .45 Colt). Another thought was that somone may have tried to stamp .455 Colt on the barrel, the .455 Colt is the same as .455 Webley. To confuse the matter a bit more I thought that most, if not all WG's were chambered for .476, which will fire the .455.

Post back or PM me if you want me to post the questions on the gunboards forum, I'm off to a gunshow today, maybe I'll find a Webley I can't resist. If I come across any pith helmets or Martini's I'll let you, you'll need a leather flap holster also.

Lone Star
March 17, 2007, 02:52 PM
.455 Colt is NOT necessarily .455 Webley. The Colt load used the old Mk. I case; most Webley .455s were intended for the shorter Mk. II case, although I think they'll use either length of cartridge.

And CIL/Dominion in Canada loaded the .455 Colt a little hotter than the British did. I think their 265 grain bullet went out at some 769 feet per second, against about 650 FPS for the Kynoch or Eley loading.

The Webley Army revolver may be one that is basically a nicer finished MK. VI.

PLEASE post photos if/when you can. This seems to be an interesting gun.

Lone Star

unspellable
March 19, 2007, 03:01 PM
Please don't run modern 45 Colt loads!!! That's how I split the forcing cone in mine! My WG would chamber 45 Colt loads but did not appear to have been modified in any way. It's years since I split the cone so now I have to rely on memory. I don't know what it was actually chambered for. Possibly 476 Eley which some say was the inspiration for the 45 Colt.

Warren
March 19, 2007, 03:08 PM
I would use cowboy loads only.

According to a poster at gunboards it "was built well into the smokeless era" so smokeless should be fine as long as they are not hot rounds.

Of course my goal would be to shoot mainly .455 Webley @ 650 FPS in it.

Vern Humphrey
March 19, 2007, 03:25 PM
If all they did to rechamber to .45 colt was to bore out the cylinder farther you can probally go ahead and just fire .455 ammo out of it. The main differance between the two is just cartridge length.

The rim thickness is different. If the revolver will close on a .45 Colt cartridge, it has been modified for .45 Colt, and .455 Ely and similar cartridges should not be fired in it because of excessive headspace.

Using Cowboy loads, or light handloads is a good idea.

artech
March 20, 2007, 05:50 AM
Here's a good link for ya, mate!

https://www.apexgunparts.com/index.php/cPath/28?osCsid=c5ad04fba276ef5d52e7d7e889992b2b

Hope this helps.

unspellable
March 20, 2007, 09:31 AM
This warning includes cowboy loads! The factory cowboy loads in 45 Colt are not significantly milder than standard loads. The old Webley just isn't meant to take such heavy loads. A Cowboy load will be running a good 200 fps faster than the original loads. Thats more than 25% faster! It amounts to a proof load! The forcing cone is very thin.

Warren
March 20, 2007, 05:19 PM
Artech-thanks for that link. Though I don't know if that upper will fit on my frame. I suppose the only way to find out is to buy it and try it.


Unspellable-Ok, I'm with you. But if the chambers have been bored out to accept .45 Colt length carts does this mean that the .455 Webley rounds will be less than optimal? The guy who sold it to me said that Webley cases might split if I fired them, and Vern mentioned that there might be a headspace problem.

How about BP .45 Colt loads?

Vern Humphrey
March 20, 2007, 05:28 PM
But if the chambers have been bored out to accept .45 Colt length carts does this mean that the .455 Webley rounds will be less than optimal? The guy who sold it to me said that Webley cases might split if I fired them, and Vern mentioned that there might be a headspace problem.

I think the two warnings are the same -- splitting can be a sign of excessive head space.

But why use .455 Webley cases? They're harder to find, more expensive, and you'll have problems finding dies and shell holders if you reload. Stick with mild .45 Colt loads and you should be fine.

Warren
March 20, 2007, 06:14 PM
Mild being around 550 to 650 FPS?

Vern Humphrey
March 20, 2007, 06:34 PM
I'd stick with starting loads in any manual. For example, the Hodgdon #26 manual lists 11.5 grains of HS6 behind a 240 to 250 grain bullet at 12,200 CUP. The standard allowable max pressure for the .45 Colt is 14,000 CUP.

unspellable
March 20, 2007, 06:55 PM
First question, is what is it really bored out to? The traditional 45 Colt chamber is somewhat oversized. I'd start by taking some measurements to determine what you really have.

I would expect that either 45 Colt or 455 brass will work without either splitting or headspace problems. But the measurements will tell.

If it chambers 45 Colt brass with proper headspace and the throat beginning in the right place for 45 Colt I would use 45 Colt brass. Since we are talking pretty mild loads in a big case I would consider Trail Boss for powder. BP is not required unless you want to use it, as BP pressures can be duplicated with smokeless.

Forcing cones are stressed more by the velocity and size of the bullet as it enters the forcing cone than by pressure. I would load plain soft lead bullets to the 600 to 650 fps range. Not sure how much powder that would take in the big case.

Measure the rifling and groove diameter also. If it's like a Webley Mk VI it was meant to take an undersized for groove diameter bullet with a deep hollow base that will expand into the rifling like a Mini ball.

If you have every thing right, it should be a tack driver. Back in the day, the Webley WG was the revolver to beat in formal target shooting circles. Somebody won at Camp Perry with one.

Carl N. Brown
March 20, 2007, 06:58 PM
I have a Webley Mark IV that was originally .455 with black
powder proofs and was factory thorough repaired about 1904
with new proof marks on each chamber.

After import to the US, the rear of the cylinder was faced
off to accept either .45 AutoRim or .45 Automatic Colt Pistol
(.45 ACP) in "moon" clips (.455 Webley was and is relatively
hard to find.) A revolver only needs the cylinder rechambered
and the barrel itself was not altered.

The Webley Mark V and Mark VI in .455 were proofed for
nitro powder, but in the .455 cartridge: a 260 gr bullet at
about 550 to 600 fps, a very low pressure load.

I load mine with .454 255gr lead bullets intended for .45LC
with a PyrodexP load equivalent to 16 gr FFFg and I would
not feed it a steady diet of .45 ACP factory loads:
The forcing code area of the barrel is relieved to allow the
build up of black powder residue during shooting and is very,
very thin.

.45 Long Colt is much too powerful for most .455 Webleys,
especially if they are proofmarked for BP only.

floridaboy
March 20, 2007, 07:15 PM
I have a Colt New Service in .455 Eley, NEVER been bored out. SO I'll give you the results of my experience and you can see how much applies to your gun. The .455 Eley and .455 Colt are the same round, loaded to different velocities. You can buy .455 Webley from Hornady or Fiocchi and it should work. If you get misfires, with either of these rounds, where there is an obvious hammer strike, but no ignition, it's been bored. My Ruger Blackhawk will not fire .455 webley, or original brass .455 Eley or Colt. It mis-fires.It does fire the mentioned .455 Webley mkII rounds quite happily. It will fire reloaded.455 colt brass from Buffalo arms, which is cut down, and rim thinned .45 Colt. I have not tried .45 Colt brass which has just been cut down without the rim being thinned, yet. If it's a BP proofed revolver, I'd use a case full of BP, or try something like Trail Boss or 777. If it is nitro proofed, I use 5.0 grs of Unique in the Buffalo Arms cases and get around 800 fps according to my Chrony. Just for reference, today I fired some .455 colt ammo with 6.0 grs of Unique and measured an average of 977 fps from the New Service. No sign of excess pressure.:eek:

bfoster
March 21, 2007, 04:28 AM
Here's a pic of a 94 WG.

http://www.bfoster.org/pics/Webley/WG_94.jpg

Note that the frame of WG models, excepting the early 82 model, is a single piece forging which includes the trigger guard. Sometimes late 19th & early 20th century vintage Webleys having this type of frame are referred to as Webley-Kaufmann revolvers. The later WS model did share most components with the MkVI revolver including the frame with a seperate trigger guard..

Exchanging the barrel & cylinder sub-assembly for one from a Mk series revolver may well be problematic. At a minimum, the cylinder cam and the cam lever, will differ from that used on the Mk VI. The trigger and hammer group of a WG, FYI, differ greatly from what was used on the Mk series- DA on a great WG feels not dissimilar to that of a Jungkind tuned Python. Like Colt and S&W, Webley was a thrifty company; it's not unusual to spot a particular WG made using up some of the parts left in inventory from an earlier model WG.

Non-adjustable sights on WG's are common. Vertical adjustment was carried out by filing the front sight (or replacing the blade), some WG's have have a drift adjustable rear sight that's devetailed into the latch. The most common barrel length is 6", occasionally you'll see a WG with a 7 1/2" barrel.

Providing that the rear end of the cylinder is intact and original, or if you use shortened 45 Colt brass (trim to Mk I length) that has also had the rim narrowed-

To my mind the most practical solution to your quandry with the lengthened chambers is to load and shoot 476 Enfield: many WG's were chambered (and marked) 455/476. The difference between a 455 chamber and a 455/476 chamber is that the later chamber is cut deep enough to accept the small full diameter band of the very soft hollow base heel bullet used in the 476 Enfield. The 476 Enfield case is very similar to the 455 MkI case. Loaded over black powder pressures are such that the revolver will handle the cartridge gracefully- exactly as was intended. I've had better luck using beeswax & tallow lube than modern bullet lubes here.

An alternative is to cast a bullet like that dropped from the mold offered by the RCBS custom shop (p/n 57920) much harder than you'd cast a 476 bullet, you want about what you'd get from wheelweights processed without quenching or heat treating. If you prefer a binary alloy the the original british service spec is 1:12. This will have roughly the same hardness as wheelweights. Using this bullet over 3.0 grains of Bullseye in a MkII case I get adequate accuracy without the leading problems you might expect- the hollow base is probably obturating enough to "seal" the bore. COAL is 1.295". No promises are made with this option. However I have seen it work fairly well more than once. How well it works will depend primarily on the relation between the chamber mouths and the barrel's major (groove) diameter.

If the rear end of the cylinder has been altred-

I'd be inclined to try something that headspaced better. 45 Colt cases trimmed to Mk I length have been used. The above ideas are also worth trying here- all that has changed is thatthe headspace (which is controlled by the rim width of the case) has been adjusted to fit your revolver.


Bob

Warren
March 21, 2007, 04:37 AM
Fantastic posts.

Thank you all.

I still have four days until I can bring it home. This is shaping up to be an interesting project.

Warren
March 25, 2007, 01:14 AM
All right I have it at home.

.45 Colt brass will not eject in the usual fashion as the cases are longer than the ejector can push.

When loaded with .45 Colt brass there is a gap about the width of a penny between the base of the case and the recoil shield. Would this be too much distance? Upon firing will the other cases back out and bind the cylinder?

Is the Webley and Scott logo a bullet with angel wings? Or is that some sort of proof mark?

There are other marks in the cylinder flutes but they are so small I cannot make them out. They all appear to be the same. Perhaps a shield with crossed swords behind it or a horned Viking helmet????

There is what maybe a mark between the names Webley and Scott but it could just be a scratch.

The cylinder is original as the last three numbers of the serial number are stamped on it. As is the number 476. Which must mean .476 Eley.

I'd be more than happy to fire .476 out of it even if it means some expense in getting hold of components.

cane
March 25, 2007, 01:30 AM
With that much space between the cartrige head and recoil shield, it sounds like the cylinder has been cut to accept .45 ACP in half/full moon clips. A couple of things you can do to check; First look around the rear of the cylinder and see if the numbers there are partially missing. Second, find some .45 ACP and a moon clip, or .45 Auto Rim (without the clip) put them in the cylinder and see if it will close and rotate.

Warren
March 25, 2007, 01:46 AM
The numbers are still all there.

I think my gun spent some time in the Twilight Zone.

I should also point out that my kid thisnks the small marks in the cylinder flutes are three spears, crossed.

Vern Humphrey
March 25, 2007, 03:38 PM
45 Colt brass will not eject in the usual fashion as the cases are longer than the ejector can push.

That's not a problem. The proper manual of arms with this revolver is to turn it upside down when ejecting spent cases, so the brass falls out of the chamber.

These and similar top break revolvers were notorious for allowing a case to tilt sideways, then fall back into the chamber. This locks the gun up and clearing it is a pain in the patoot -- hence the practice to turn the gun over when ejecting.

When loaded with .45 Colt brass there is a gap about the width of a penny between the base of the case and the recoil shield. Would this be too much distance? Upon firing will the other cases back out and bind the cylinder?

That may very well be the case -- which tells us the .455 cases, with even thinner rims would indeed be a problem. I agree with the previous post -- this gun was proably modivied for .45 ACP with half-moon clips.

The mark that looks like three spears may be the British Broad Arrow, marking the gun as British Army property. The Broad Arrow is just three lines coming together at one end.

tipoc
March 25, 2007, 04:19 PM
You may want to ask here as well...http://p090.ezboard.com/fcollectorguns35625frm5.showMessage?topicID=187.topic

tipoc

Warren
March 26, 2007, 01:48 AM
Measurements were taken, research was done, and conclusions were reached.

The cylinder seems not to have been milled as the numbers are still visible and whole.


There are other marks in the cylinder flutes but they are so small I cannot make them out. They all appear to be the same. Perhaps a shield with crossed swords behind it or a horned Viking helmet???? My kid thinks it may be three spears crossed.



Even under magnification the design is indistinct.
So I don't know what to make of them.

I have an odd duck of a gun. It has an army length barrel but comes with a target grip style.

The grips are original as the serial # of the gun is cut into the inside of each panel.

It is curious as to how the previous owner was firing .45 Colt as it seems that the firing pin won't quite reach the primer. The Colt cases are almost flush with the surface of the cylinder, not quite, but really close. Auto rim should work fine as the base is thicker.

So it was decided by myself and a fellow forensic revolverist that .45 AR cases with a 265 .455 Webley RNHB 20 to 1 bullet (from the RCBS mold) over Trailboss powder should be a nice shooting, easy on the gun load. Now, though I'm in the middle of a move and do not even reload as yet. As soon as I get settled I'll buy the needed equipment and set to it.

Carl N. Brown
March 26, 2007, 06:28 PM
Here are some of the marks I found on my Webley (I have
not yet done all the research I wanted to do on them.)
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=55502&stc=1&d=1174941309
The 'broadarrow' mark is for a military gun. A military gun
released to the civilian British market will have a second
broadarrow stampmaking an asterisk. Most British military
surplus sold in US does not have the overstamp.

Warren
March 26, 2007, 06:43 PM
Very cool, thanks.

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