Reloading question for shaved .455 Webley

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by cjwils, Oct 17, 2021.

  1. cjwils

    cjwils Member

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    Many .455 Webleys in the US had the cylinders shaved to take .45 ACP ammo. The guns with shaved cylinders tend to cost a lot less than the unmodified guns. I understand that they should not be fired with full strength .45 ACP ammo. If I got a shaved Webley, I would use handloaded ammo with very low pressure. Here is my problem: I shoot at indoor ranges where jacketed ammo is required. If I loaded .45 ACP cases with standard .45 jacketed bullets, using a very light charge of a mid-range powder (powder change to be determined later), would that be ok? In other words, is the Webley ok with jacketed .45 bullets, with an acceptable powder charge?
     
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  2. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Yes, there was a jacketed load that was used in Webley. For Webley Mark VI used during WWII there was a 265 gr FMJ bullet.
     
  3. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    I recommend using the starting load for a given.45acp load as maximum.

    I have a shaved MkII. It already has a “swollen” chamber. However with light loads such as 3.5gr of Bullseye under a 200gr SWC, it shoots POI/ POA at 15yds. It’s also surprisingly accurate. This load ejects easily and cases are reloadable..

    I’d stick with light cast/swaged lead bullets. However, a plated 230gr TCFN should make a decent load.
    The original.455 load only ran about 550-650fps depending on sources and barrel length. My MkII is 4.5” iirc. You can see the bullets in flight against a white background!
    Don’t try to catch one though! Like kicking a cannon ball! It’ll take your foot off at the knee!
    Mine served the Empire for five decades.
     
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  4. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    A .455 Webley shaved to take .45 ACP in moon clips will also take .45 AutoRim, basically a thick rimmed version of .45 ACP.
    The .455 Webley Marks V and VI were rated for cordite smokeless powder.
    The earlier .455 Webley Marks were black powder and their cartridges should be loaded with black powder and lead bullet matching original .455 Webley black powder specs.
     
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  5. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    Medium-0116192046a.jpg

    My shaved Webley has never complained about FJM or JHP mild hand loads in the 20+ years that I have owned it.
     
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  6. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    Use plated Berry's or Rainer bullets, the range people aren't going to know and the benefit of plated bullets is they're cheap and the plating so thin that it should reduce pressure some to keep the Webley in good shape for a long time.
     
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  7. Rock185

    Rock185 Member

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    cj, I started with .452" cast bullets, but now use a Rainier 230 grain .451" plated bullets in my shaved Webley. I haven't used jacketed bullets, but don't think they would be hard enough to create an issue. I use both .45 ACP and Auto Rim cases. My loads average about 700 FPS, and seem to be pretty close to point of aim at 15 yards. I initially assumed the groove diameter of my old Webley was ~.455", and wasn't sure that it would even be on the paper with the .451" and .452" bullets I was using. I needn't have worried.

    FWIW, I used pin gauges to measure the cylinder throats of my MK VI, and found them to be .450". I also used pin gauges in the Webley's bore. The largest that would fit was .441". I have read that Webley lands are .004". If that is so, the groove diameter of my gun is ~.449". Significantly less than the assumed .455", and perhaps why my old gun seems to shoot well with my .451" plated bullets.

    Fun old pieces of shootable history in any case.
    Webley MKVI at 15yds..JPG
     
  8. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Interesting I am going to have to measure my Mark VI. I have been loading Matt's Bullets for mine (unshaved) and they are a fairly faithful reproduction of the Mk II bullet and sized .455, a 265gr Round Nose Hollow Base bullet.

    PcwVELyl.jpg
     
  9. Rockrivr1

    Rockrivr1 Member

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    I'm very careful with my shaved Webley. The internet is packed with stories of those that thought they were fine shooting full load 45acp out of them when all of a sudden one day it turned into a grenade and they got hurt. Not worth the chance. The metal from back then was not made of the quality that can withstand the pressures of today's modern round.

    For me I use 45 AutoRim with Berry 230 Gr FMJ bullets and for my Webley I keep the pressure around 700 fps. This has been an accurate load for me for this weapon. Safe and fun all at the same time.

    This is from 8 yards
    CJJmdDr.jpg
     
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  10. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Not much to add but to remind everyone to check the actual proof marks on old guns; don't just assume by their manufacture date or model # they're nitro-proofed.
     
  11. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

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    In my unshaved MKV .455 I too load the Matts 265 HB over a load of 4 grains Winchester 231 which is a little lighter than Fiocchi factory 262 grain loads and is accurate . I have 1/2 an 8 pound keg of Win 231 after 10 years !
    In my 1920 made Mark VI , which is shaved the same bullet in .45 Auto Rim cases, which are reserved for .455 Webley chambered weapons which are shaved , I up that to 4.3 grains as they are latter guns and Colt and S&W also. You are talking 770+- fps in 5-6" barrel guns with the .45 AR cases. The 4 grains in the .455 Mark V 4" barrel is 50 FPS less .
     
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  12. mcb

    mcb Member

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    When I got home tonight I measured my 1916 Webley Mark VI

    Throats: .451
    Groove: .452
    Bore: ~.444 (not easy to measure without gauge pins being a 7 groove barrel)

    Tighter than I thought it would be.
     
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  13. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    Do you guys suspect there is any downside to pushing .454 projectiles down a .452 bore if ones Webley happens to run a tight bore? I scored 200 bullets pulled from fiocchi .455 and they are supposed to be .454 dia. I will have to do some measuring to see where my Mk.VI falls.
     
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  14. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I have been pushing .455 diameter bullets through mine with no ill effect. The hollow base bullets I am using makes them pretty forgiving to the slight oversize. They shoot decent and no leading issues.
     
  15. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    They should shoot very well.
    The lead will swage down easily and the hollow base will obturate to seal the bore.
     
  16. Rock185

    Rock185 Member

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    Just for the heck of it, I bought one of those Webley conversion plates so I could try some factory .455 ammo in my shaved gun. Shot about half a box of the Fiocchi stuff. I pulled a bullet and it actually was .455", with a hollow base. Didn't experience anything unusual in shooting the factory .455 Webley ammo, other than rather low velocity of just over 550 FPS.

    ETA: Went back through my notes on the factory Fiocchi .455 ammo. I made a mistake on bullet diameter, it was actually .454". Exact velocity in my gun was 554 FPS.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2021
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  17. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    If you are measuring your bores by using pin gauges you are not getting the maximum id. You are getting bore diameter. If you want to know the true diameter you need to push an oversized lead ball down the bore and measure the grooves. Being an odd number of grooves merely adds to the fun.

    But, 454 through any of the bores mentioned should not be much issue.

    Kevin
     
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  18. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I use Cerrosafe to cast my chambers and barrels for measurement. Lot easier than forcing a lead slug down the barrel or chamber and gives you more detail too. Odd numbers of lands and grooves does make is fun.
     
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  19. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Before I discovered Cerrosafe, firing a lead ball into a bucket of sand worked for me. It doesn't take much more than a primer to push a fishing weight through. Until it does.. then it's a pain to get it the rest of the way though. Top breaks aren't so bad, most pistols and bolt-action rifles are easy, but semi-auto rifles with fully-enclosed actions and lead balls stuffed into the mid-bore can be no fun at all.
     
  20. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I urged my friend to buy the Remington .454" swaged hollow base .45 LC bullets for his Webley and WG.
    He didn't and now they are gone.
     
  21. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    And there are LONG lines waiting for more unfortunately. The custom casting outfits I prefer have long waits or just aren't casting less popular bullets to save on resources. GT Bullets (one of my favorites) has .454" 255gr Hollow Points cast from 2-2-96 - about a 2 month wait. Reed's makes the genuine article, .455" 265gr. HB-LRN but they're OOS and no date for when they'll be available.

    The GT's I use in .45AR pumped up to .45ACP velocities for my Smith 1917, and in .45Colt for the Ruger Vaquero, sized .452", and they're very good bullets in both revolvers. My Webley is a Mk.I so I use the HB-LRN exclusively and BP in .45AR cases. No sense beating up an antique.
     
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  22. Rock185

    Rock185 Member

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    StrawHat, Yes of course. Pin gauges do not measure groove diameter. That's why I said I had read that Webleys have .004" lands. And if correct, groove diameter on my particular gun would be approx. .449".

    FWIW, I did previously push a lead slug through the barrel. I couldn't precisely measure 7-groove diameter, but the largest diameter I could measure on that was .450". So I think it safe to say that groove diameter of my particular MK VI Webley is approx. .450".
     
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