Webley Mk. IV - .445 Webley to .45 Colt?


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Remmi
December 31, 2007, 07:26 AM
The question came to me in my other thread on the Webley, found in Revolvers; that the .455 Webley was significantly slower then it's american cousin, the .45 Long Colt.

Looking around online, I've seen many notes where the Welbey Mk. IV was re-chambered to .45 ACP, so I was curious; in the timeframe of around 1902, would it have been possible to re-chamber a Mk. IV for .45 Long Colt?

They've got comparable dimensions nearly everywhere except for case and slug length; where the .455 has a rather long exposed slug and short case, and the .45 Colt has a much longer case and a shorted exposure of slug.

Curious to know!

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Jim Watson
December 31, 2007, 03:56 PM
Colt OAL is too great for the Webley cylinder. Even with the different lead-brass proportions you note, the .45 is .143" longer than .455; 1.600" vs 1.457".

Jim K
December 31, 2007, 05:29 PM
With its original 265 grain bullet, the .455 was certainly no speed demon at 600fps. However, caution should be exercised in trying to increase velocity of ammunition to be fired in the Mk VI or other older .450/.455 revolvers. Modifying the Mk VI to use the .45 ACP was a mistake, not only in terms of destroying what would become a collectors item, but because the .45 ACP is entirely too hot for the old break-top revolver. Had anyone fired those guns very much with .45 ACP or .45 Auto Rim, they would have had serious problems. Fortunately, most users fired a few shots and were happy.

That concern was also shown in England when the .455 Webley auto pistol was developed with performance close to that of the .45 ACP; the British Army warned repeatedly against firing .455 Auto ammunition in the Mk VI and other revolvers.

Military surplus importers reworked the Mk VI to accept .45 ACP (with half moon clips) for the simple reason that there was little ammunition available for that caliber and virtually none on this side of the Atlantic. The main reason was that the British military simply did not make or issue large quantities of revolver ammunition - one box of 12 rounds was standard issue, with one more box in the unit supply. ("Here are your twelve bullets, Leftenant Atkins, now get on with the war.")

Jim

4v50 Gary
December 31, 2007, 10:32 PM
Thanks Jim. Your knowledge never ceases to amaze me. I wasn't aware about the .455 Webley Auto ammunition warning in the Mk VI revolver.

Jim K
December 31, 2007, 11:54 PM
The .455 Webley auto is semi-rimmed and will fit and fire just fine in the Mk VI, even though the case is longer. But muzzle velocity is 750 fps with a 224 grain bullet, less than the 800 fps of the .45 ACP but with a pressure high enough to be undesireable in the Mk VI, let alone the older guns.

Just for info, here are some .45/.455 rounds. Two interesting ones are the .45 Army (sometimes called the .45 Schofield or .45 S&W) which was adopted as a common cartridge for the Schofield and the Model 1873 Colt; and the .45 Model 1909, which was adopted with the Model 1909 revolver when the small rim of the .45 Colt gave extraction problems.

Jim

Jim K
January 1, 2008, 12:08 AM
Let me try that pic again.

Jim

Jim K
January 1, 2008, 12:17 AM
OK, I give up! Defeated. Surrender. I have posted pics here many times, but this time it won't work.

Jim

Jim K
January 1, 2008, 12:35 AM
Again.

http://www.xecu.net/keenanj/Someammo.JPG

OK got it that time, sort of round the corner and down the street way to do it, but it works.

Jim

Onty
January 1, 2008, 10:36 AM
“…Modifying the Mk VI to use the .45 ACP was a mistake, not only in terms of destroying what would become a collectors item, but because the .45 ACP is entirely too hot for the old break-top revolver. Had anyone fired those guns very much with .45 ACP or .45 Auto Rim, they would have had serious problems. Fortunately, most users fired a few shots and were happy…”

Agree 100%. On top of that, if I am not mistaken, Mk IV was designed for black powder ONLY. Later, Mk V and VI started using smokeless powders. Shooting 45 ACP from Mk V and VI is actually shooting PROOF loads. For a while you could get away with such shooting but it’s the gamble that could end up like this: http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i219/GrantRCanada/Webley%20and%20other%20revolvers/Blown01a-1.jpg

See more here:
http://p223.ezboard.com/fbritishmilitariaforumsfrm8.showMessage?topicID=288.topic&index=1 .

Shooting 45 ACP from earlier Webleys is guarantied disaster. Be safe and shoot correct loads only.

Jim K
January 1, 2008, 11:48 PM
Quite correct on that, Onty. I didn't mention the earlier Marks because the question involved the Mk VI, but your warning (and picture) certainly show what should not be done. Even if the revolver doesn't blow, firing .45ACP will certainly loosen it up, and rather quickly.

I have no idea why, but some folks simply refuse to admit that top break revolvers are inherently weak, and will insist that the Webleys (Mk VI especially) are super strong. The usual argument is that they were used for so long a time, which says more about the backwardness of the British military than it does about the strength of the Webley.

Jim

Onty
January 7, 2008, 02:03 AM
...I have no idea why, but some folks simply refuse to admit that top break revolvers are inherently weak, and will insist that the Webleys (Mk VI especially) are super strong. The usual argument is that they were used for so long a time, which says more about the backwardness of the British military than it does about the strength of the Webley...

Well, I will take this relatively; for the cartridge it was designed, Webley is a strong gun. And many combat experts stated that it’s probably the best combat revolver; easy to empty and easy to load, effective cartridge, moderate recoil, moderate weight and dependable in harsh conditions. However, considering later development Elmer and others started, Webley should be left alone the way it is. Shooters should respect that and disaster like this one just shouldn’t happen. If you reload for Webley, make sure that pressure is within safe limits for it, regardless what is the case; Mk I, Mk II or 45AR. If you need more power, get appropriate revolver that will handle it...

Lo.Com.Denom
January 10, 2008, 12:01 PM
I read in the 2001 Gun Digest of a fellow who sections pistols to show their internal workings. He said that the Webley revolver's fame and cylinder were made of rather soft metal, which he found easy to cut away with his hand-tools. I should think that this contributes to the .45 ACP Webley KBs, more than anything else.

On a side-note, in Major Frederick Myatt's book on Pistols and Revolvers, he shows a picture of a Webley MK IV with the three uppermost chambers blown out, the top-strap gone and the trigger-guard missing. The author seems confused as to what caused such localised damage, but I reckon that I have a good idea. Something to do with the Webley being put in a vice, a single round of .455 auto in the chamber and a very long stick, just slightly too thick to fit through the trigger-guard... ;)

The lecture probably concluded with the words: "... And that's why you don't put rounds in guns that weren't meant to fire them."

Which, in a roundabout way, leads us back to the original question...

idtex
July 13, 2008, 10:53 PM
I have just inherited a webley mark VI and don't know if is early or late model. The cylindar has been shaved for moon clips. It doesn't show a patened year or make year. What about shooting .45 auto rim out of it? From what I have read it sounds like I will just have to keep it stored up and not be able to shoot it, which sucks, I like the old gun. I don't like having guns that I can't shoot.

Jim Watson
July 14, 2008, 12:42 AM
.45 Auto Rim specs at lower pressure than .45 ACP but still a good deal higher than .455.

Proper ammunition is pretty much a handloading proposition.

Fleetwood_Captain
July 14, 2008, 12:58 AM
I'm just suprised that they havn't created a modern equivelent to the webley. Something more acclimated to high-pressure smokeless powder bullets.

After all, top-break revolvers like the webley and the schofield were the best friends a calvalryman could have. They were designed to open the action with one hand and dump out all the empty shells by hitting the barrel against your thigh or saddle. Top-break designs like the webley and schofield are the only revolvers available that allow you to quickly empty the cylinder using only one hand.

Although reloading takes the same amount of time as a hand ejector, the ease of unloading a top break, in addition to the lack of a fragile ejector rod, make large-bore top-break relvolvers the greatest combat revolvers of all time.

rcmodel
July 14, 2008, 01:23 PM
Jim Keenan said:
have no idea why, but some folks simply refuse to admit that top break revolvers are inherently weak,That right there is your answer.

Even with modern steel and a stronger design, the top-break revolver is still a collection of finely fitted parts, waiting for something to break or wear out & get loose.

rcmodel

OFT
July 14, 2008, 03:25 PM
If your's is cut for 45 ACP and reload try 5.5 grains of Unique with a 250 grain lead SWC on top. That's what I've been running through mine for the last several years.

idtex
July 14, 2008, 06:28 PM
I just reloaded some shells. My dad had a big box of 255gr lswc. I only have IMR SR7625, I like the powder in my .40. I loaded the 45ar with 6.2 grs for the 255lswc. I shot it and it seemed a little hotter than the old 235gr factory bullets that my dad left with the gun. I might load the next ones with 5.5, I just don't want the bullet to stick in the barrel.
I did notice while looking for reloading data that on lead bullets in a revolver the powder grains increase as the bullet weight increases. I thought it was a type-o because in any other bullets I have reloaded when the bullet weight goes up the powder decreases. I guess this is due to it taking more engergy to get the lead bullet out of the gun. Is this right?

Fleetwood_Captain
July 14, 2008, 09:17 PM
Even with modern steel and a stronger design, the top-break revolver is still a collection of finely fitted parts, waiting for something to break or wear out & get loose.

I don't recall the .45 Schofields being known to shoot themselves loose. The .45 S&W is only about 100fps slower than .45acp. Umberti currently makes top-break Smith replicas chambered in .45 Colt, which is stronger than .45 acp. I havn't heard many complaints about those either.

As far as Webley's go, most of the one's I've handled are still nice and tight after ninety years of use. And I've yet to find one that hasn't been converted to .45acp.

I'm sure that most of these Webley kabooms are a result of people using ammo that is too hot for an old gun, not because of their top-break design. ANY gun will blow up if you run it too hot, especially an antique. Try running rifle-spec' .32-20 ammo in a pre-war S&W hand ejector and tell me how long it lasts.

Maybe this custom shop Colt Anaconda has an inferior design as well...
http://iris.nyit.edu/~bithead/anaconda/DSC00054.jpg

Jim K
July 15, 2008, 12:03 PM
Hi, Captain,

I am not sure of your point. Sure, any gun can blow with excessive loads. I don't know what you mean in saying the .45 Colt is "stronger" than the .45 ACP, but what counts is pressure. Standard pressure for the .45 Colt is about 14,000 psi, while the .45 ACP runs 21,000 psi, quite enough difference to present problems.

FWIW, I have seen loose (original) Schofields. Even though the original ammo was low powered, every shot loosens a jointed frame a little and when enough are fired, the gun becomes noticeably loose and it is time to retire it. There are tricks to allow it to shoot more, but the damage can only be delayed, not prevented.

I suspect most repro Schofields are not shot enough to be affected by wear or looseness. If they are, they will experience the same problems as the originals.

Jim

rcmodel
July 15, 2008, 12:34 PM
I suspect most repro Schofields are not shot with full power .45 Colt ammo either.

Many of todays "Cowboy" .45 LC loads are so low powered as to be almost dangerous. And far under the SAAMI spec 14,000 PSI for the .45 Colt.

rcmodel

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