455 Webley…This may have been your grand-dads revolver!

Webley Cover 3s

In 1887, the British Army was searching for a sidearm to replace their .476 Enfield Mk I & Mk II Revolvers. Webley & Scott, who were already well known gun makers tendered the .455 calibre Webley Self-Extracting Revolver for trials. As it worked out the military was impressed enough with the revolver to adopt them on 8 November 1887 as the “Pistol, Webley, Mk I”.

The Webley revolver went through a number of changes, culminating in my gun the Mk VI, which was in production between 1915 and 1923. While the 455 Webley revolvers were retired from British military service in 1947, a great many were in use by constabularies around the the British Empire well into the 1960’s!

It is worth noting that the .455 Webley is one of those guns (like the 1894 Winchester lever gun) that made the transition from the Black Powder loads of its birth into the modern era of higher pressure smokeless ammunition. This is a tribute to the engineering and build quality of these fine old guns.

Having owned two other Webley Mark VI “self-extracting” revolvers I was delighted to learn (after the match concluded) that this example was very accurate. Like nearly every example that made the journey to the colonies, these wonderful old tools had their cylinders “shaved” to accept our commonly available 45acp ammo. That is where the issues with accuracy (and potentially safety) come in. 455 Webley bores generally run from .454”-.455” and factory 45acp bullets run .451-.452”. Undersize bullets don’t generally shoot very well and factory 45acp ammo is loaded much hotter than 455 Webley. Both issues can be overcome with careful cartridge selection and of course…reloading your own.

Watch the video and see if you can tell if I had any fun spending the day on the range with this fine old war horse!

9 Comments On This Article

  1. Good video but low info. These had to be lead bullets. Factory loads? Source?
    I have one with a lot of cylinder play when cocked. Unaltered. Anyone specialize in smithing these?
    I set myself a goal to own a Mk VI the first time I saw Lawrence of Arabia. Also the Enfield SMLE. I believe Lawrence accidentally shot his favorite Mehari (camel) in the back of the head during a cavalry charge on the Turks with his Webley. Poor trigger control.
    455 handloading recommendations, anyone? Oh yeah, Indiana Jones used one of these in at least one film but during the sequence the handgun changes from a Webley to a Smith or Colt swing-out and back again.
    Watch to the very end for more information. The word “err” is pronounced “ur”, not “air”. It’s “airrur” but “ur”.ok?
    Best wishes to the author’s wife. In my prayers. The Old Curmudgeon

    • Patrick E. Kelley

      Sorry, I guess I should write a script rather than just hit record. Not lead bullets, Federal Gold Medal Match 185 SWC @ 760 fps. I know of no specialty smiths, but any one worthy of the title should be able to diagnose and repair. You have a sharp eye mister, bet you are a good shot!

  2. I am very interested in your article on 455 Webleys. My dad owns a snub nose version but we are unable to find ammunition. Is there a source or must we reload to get some? We do not have any supplies such as cartridges, etc. Do you have a source for those supplies, if not a source for finished ammunition. Your response is greatly appreciated. Thanks!


  3. I’m 76 yrs old & have the Mark VI that belonged to my Mother. It was made by Enfield & marked 1926. Love to shoot it. Have no idea the value of my revolver. Excellent condition. Enjoyed your video!

  4. My question was going to be about the .45 acp ammo fired from these old Webleys but you addressed it nicely in this article. Used to own one and I wish I had it now. Nice revolvers!