Request: Reference Link Proving Mark VI Webley Cannot Fire Half-Cocked - THR

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Old April 12, 2014, 08:08 PM   #1
Connecticut Yankee
Join Date: September 12, 2004
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 140
Request: Reference Link Proving Mark VI Webley Cannot Fire Half-Cocked

I am looking for a web link to a reference that definitively states that a Mark VI will not fire unless fully cocked and the trigger is pulled, i.e., that it is impossible for a partially-cocked Mark VI to fire if dropped to the ground. It would help if there was a mechanical explanation and/or pictures.

I have done multiple internet searches using various wordings of the question and am unable to come up with anything for the Webley that definitively states this.

Based on what I can see with my Webley VI I am sure this is the case. Holding the empty revolver on its side one can clearly see the firing pin go though the recoil shield (recoil plate) when the revolver is cocked and the trigger pulled. No matter how far back I pull the hammer if I let it go I do not see the firing pin go through the shield.

The reason I am asking this is that I wish to post a Technical "Goof" on a particular movie and want to have a clear reference that I can cite and send the URL for.

I don't want to name the movie since I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it. If you want to know what the movie is please send me a PM and I will let you know.

Thank you all for any help you can give me.
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Old April 12, 2014, 09:21 PM   #2
Join Date: February 24, 2005
Posts: 1,091
I do know that when Century imported a batch of these several years back, they had to be modified with an internal safety to make them drop-safe. I do not know if this was a sound engineering decision, or just an unnecessary legal requirement.

Edited to add:

This thread gets interesting from comment number 5 on down:


Includes photos of the century-added parts, and suggests that an old American Rifleman article was written on the topic.

I ain't givin' to any charity that calls it a "tragedy".
I'm only givin' to charities that call it an "attack".
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Old April 13, 2014, 11:08 PM   #3
Jim K
Join Date: December 31, 2002
Posts: 14,595
Please note that this post is in relation to ORIGINAL Webley Mk VI revolvers, not ones modified for a hammer block safety, whether by a previous owner or an importer.

The [unmodified] Webley Mk VI does not have a hammer block safety, it has a rebound lever which retracts the hammer when the trigger is released. The main purpose of a rebound lever (or other rebound mechanism) is to retract the firing pin from the primer and make the gun easier to open for ejection and reloading. In most cases, the rebound mechanism will provide some protection against the gun going off if dropped on the hammer. But in an extreme case, where the blow on the hammer is very heavy, the rebound mechanism may be damaged, the hammer pin sheared off, or the hammer bent or broken, allowing the firing pin to reach a primer.

It is when there is such an extreme blow that a hammer block or transfer bar will prevent firing, when a rebound lever or slide will not.

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Old April 15, 2014, 09:29 AM   #4
Connecticut Yankee
Join Date: September 12, 2004
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 140
Thank You Jim K

Aha, yes, a rebound lever. This is exactly what I needed to know. So it is possible that a Webley could fire under the circumstances you note. This information is very helpful. Thanks again and good luck.
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Old April 15, 2014, 10:30 AM   #5
Join Date: February 13, 2007
Location: Buckeye Country
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Slightly off topic, but I typically give about 5 years grace period for talking about spoilers.
By that point, anyone who'd care has seen it.
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Old April 17, 2014, 02:48 PM   #6
Jim K
Join Date: December 31, 2002
Posts: 14,595
Huh? The thread opened 12 April.

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Old Yesterday, 05:22 AM   #7
Lone Star
Join Date: January 3, 2003
Location: SW USA
Posts: 1,529
I used to have two and it never occurred to me that a simple fall would fire one. Never seen any reference in print that it's ever happened, either. It would take a severe blow, if it can happen.

Those things, in various marks, were used throughout the former British Empire and had a good repuation. Never heard of any accidental discharges of that nature.

Is this for some legal case where it's alleged the gun did fire on being dropped?

I've never seen one altered for a safety. I think that was applied to some MK IV .38 Webleys and was solely for a legal import issue. The Singapore Police did order some from Webley with a safety, but it was a different safety and was required so they could say the gun had a safety, to quiet critics who were afraid of trigger happy cops in an area where most people know little about guns. Even in most UK police forces using the .38 Webley and in colonial police use, they had no safeties. Neither do most other revolvers.

The only quality DA revolver that I know of having ever fired on being dropped is the well publicized case of the S&W Victory Model.38 that fell on a steel ship's deck and killed a sailor. S&W then designed an internal safety bar to prevent this and have used it since late 1944. But that basic gun had been in production since 1899 with no such prior incidents being recorded, so far as I know. Most guns that are dropped don't even land on the hammer.

But DO NOT carry most SA revolvers with a round in the chamber under the hammer. They can fire if dropped. New Model Rugers can't.

Last edited by Lone Star; Yesterday at 05:36 AM.
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