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.