Webley Revolver

Webley Revolver

barrel. [§ 7816, LoC]

*Mk III Identical to Mk II, but with modifications to the cylinder cam and related parts. Officially adopted 5 October 1897, but never issued. [§ 9039, LoC]

*Mk IV The "Boer War" Model. Manufactured using much higher quality steel and case hardened parts, with the cylinder axis being a fixed part of the barrel and modifications to various other parts, including a re-designed blast-shield. Officially adopted 21 July 1899, with a convert|4|in|mm|sing=on barrel. [§ 9787, LoC]

*Mk V Similar to the Mk IV, but with cylinders convert|0.12|in|mm|sing=on wider to allow for the use of nitrocellulose propellant-based cartridges. Officially adopted 9 December 1913, with a convert|4|in|mm|sing=on barrel, although some models produced in 1915 had convert|5|in|mm|sing=on and convert|6|in|mm|sing=on barrels. [§ 16783, LoC]

*Mk VI Similar to the Mk V, but with a squared-off "target" style grip (as opposed to the "bird's-beak" style found on earlier marks and models) and a convert|6|in|mm|sing=on barrel. Officially adopted 24 May 1915, [§ 17319, LoC] and also manufactured by RSAF Enfield under the designation Pistol, Revolver, Webley, No. 1 Mk VI from 1921-1926. [Skennerton, Ian D., "Small Arms Identification Series No. 9: .455 Pistol, Revolver No. 1 Mk VI", p. 10, Arms & Militaria Press, 1997.]

The Webley Mk IV .38/200 Service Revolver

Infobox Weapon
name=Webley Mk IV .38/200 Service Revolver

origin=United Kingdom
type=Service Revolver
used_by=United Kingdom & Colonies, British Commonwealth,
wars= World War II, Korean War, British colonial conflicts, numerous others
designer=Webley & Scott
manufacturer=Webley & Scott
number=approx 500,000
weight= 2.4 lb (1.1 kg), unloaded
length=10.25in. (266 mm)
cartridge= .380" Revolver Mk IIz
caliber= .38/200
action= Double Action revolver
rate= 20–30 rounds/minute
velocity= 620 ft/s (190 m/s)
range=50 yd
max_range=300 yd
feed=6-round cylinder
sights=fixed front post and rear notch

At the end of World War I, the British military decided that the .455 calibre gun and cartridge was too large for modern military use, and decided (after numerous tests and extensive trials) that a pistol in .38 calibre , firing a 200-grain (13 g) bullet, would be just as effective as the .455 for stopping an enemy. [Stamps, Mark & Skennerton, Ian D., ".380 Enfield Revolver No. 2", p. 9, Greenhill Books, 1993; Smith, W. H. B., "1943 Basic Manual of Military Small Arms" (Facsimile), p. 11, Stackpole Books, 1979.]

Webley & Scott immediately tendered the .38/200 calibre Webley Mk IV revolver, which as well as being nearly identical in appearance to the .455 calibre Mk VI revolver (albeit scaled down for the smaller cartridge), was based on their .38 calibre Webley Mk III pistol, designed for the police and civilian markets. [Maze, Robert J., "Howdah to High Power", p. 103, Excalibur Publications, 2002.] Much to their surprise, the British Government took the design to the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock, which came up with a revolver that was externally very similar looking to the .38/200 calibre Webley Mk IV , but was internally different enough that no parts from the Webley could be used in the Enfield and vice-versa. The Enfield-designed pistol was quickly accepted under the designation "Revolver, No. 2 Mk I", and was adopted in 1932, [§ A6862, LoC] followed in 1938 by the Mk I* (spurless hammer, double action only), [§ B2289, LoC] and finally the Mk I** (simplified for wartime production) in 1942. [§ B6712, LoC]

Webley & Scott sued the British Government over the incident, claiming £2250 as "costs involved in the research and design" of the revolver. This was contested by RSAF Enfield, which quite firmly stated that the Enfield No. 2 Mk I was designed by Captain Boys (the Assistant Superintendent of Design, later of Boys Anti-Tank Rifle fame) with assistance from Webley & Scott, and not the other way around. Accordingly, their claim was denied. By way of compensation, the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors eventually awarded Webley & Scott £1250 for their work. [Stamps, Mark & Skennerton, Ian D., ".380 Enfield Revolver No. 2", p. 12, Greenhill Books, 1993.]

RSAF Enfield proved unable to manufacture enough No. 2 revolvers to meet the military's wartime demands, and as a result Webley's Mk IV was also adopted as a standard sidearm for the British Army.

Other well-known Webley Revolvers

Whilst the top-break, self-extracting revolvers used by the British and Commonwealth militaries are the best-known examples of Webley Revolvers, the company produced a number of other highly popular revolvers largely intended for the police and civilian markets.

Webley RIC

The Webley RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) model was Webley's first double-action revolver, and adopted by the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1868, [Maze, Robert J., "Howdah to High Power", p. 30, Excalibur Publications, 2002.] hence the name. It was a solid frame, gate-loaded revolver, chambered in .442 Webley. General George Armstrong Custer was known to have owned a pair, which he used at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. [cite web |url=http://www.geocities.com/burntumber60/MPdoerner.html |title=Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn |last=Doerner |first=John A |publisher=Martin Pate |accessdate =2006-08-03] [cite web |url=http://www.westernerspublications.ltd.uk/CAGB%20Guns%20at%20the%20LBH.htm |title=Guns at the Little Bighorn |last=Gallear |first=Mark |accessdate=2006-08-03 |year=2001 |publisher=Custer Association of Great Britain]

British Bulldog

The British Bulldog series of revolvers were an enormously successful solid-frame design featuring a convert|2.5|in|mm|sing=on barrel and chambered in a variety of heavy-duty calibres, including .442 Webley and .450 Adams. They were designed to be carried in a coat pocket or kept on a night-stand, and great numbers have survived to the present day in good condition, having seen little actual use. [cite web |url=http://members.aol.com/hrftx/TBBD.htm |accessdate=2006-08-03| last=Ficken |first=H. R. |title=Webley's The British Bull Dog Revolver, Serial Numbering and Variations] Numerous copies of this design were made in France and Belgium (primarily the latter) during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, [cite web |url=http://guns.connect.fi/gow/QA14.html |accessdate=2006-08-03 |publisher=Gunwriters | last=Kekkonen |first=P.T. |title=British Bulldog revolver] and they remained reasonably popular until World War II. They are now generally sought after as collector's pieces, especially as ammunition for them is (for the most part) no longer commercially available.

Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver

A highly unusual example of an "automatic revolver", the Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver was produced between 1900 and 1915, and available in both a six-shot .455 Webley version, and an eight-shot .38 ACP (not to be confused with .380 ACP) version). [Dowell, William Chipchase, "The Webley Story", p. 128, Commonwealth Heritage Foundation, 1987.] Unusually for a revolver, the Webley-Fosbery had a safety catch, and the light trigger pull, solid design, and reputation for accuracy ensured that the Webley-Fosbery remained popular with target shooters long after production had finished. [Maze, Robert J., "Howdah to High Power", p. 78, Excalibur Publications, 2002.] [cite web |url=http://world.guns.ru/handguns/hg91-e.htm |title=Webley top-break revolvers|publisher=world.guns.ru]

Cultural impact

Webley Revolvers often serve as a stereotypical British revolver in film and television—their appearance in the film "Zulu", for example, is an anachronism, as the film is set in 1879 and the Webley Mk VI revolvers shown in use by the British officers were not introduced until 1915, but the Mk VI is based on designs from around the period in which the film is set, and can thus be seen as a stand-in for the historically correct (but more difficult to obtain) Beaumont-Adams Revolver.


*flag|Commonwealth of Nations
*flag|United Kingdom



* Dowell, William Chipchase, "The Webley Story", Commonwealth Heritage Foundation, Kirkland, WA (USA), 1987. ISBN 0-939683-04-0.
* H.M. Stationer's Office, "List of Changes in British War Material", H.M.S.O, London (UK), Periodical.
* Maze, Robert J., "Howdah to High Power: A Century of Breechloading Service Pistols (1867-1967)", Excalibur Publications, Tucson, AZ (USA), 2002. ISBN 1-880677-17-2.
* Skennerton, Ian D., "Small Arms Identification Series No. 9: .455 Pistol, Revolver No. 1 Mk VI", Arms & Militaria Press, Gold Coast, QLD (Australia), 1997. ISBN 0-949749-30-3.
* Smith, W. H. B., "1943 Basic Manual of Military Small Arms" (Facsimile), Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, PA (USA), 1979. ISBN 0-8117-1699-6.
* Stamps, Mark & Skennerton, Ian D., ".380 Enfield Revolver No. 2", Greenhill Books, London (UK), 1993. ISBN 1-85367-139-8.
* Wilson, Royce, "A Tale of Two Collectables", "Australian Shooter" Magazine, March 2006.
* Gerard, Henrotin, "The Webley Service Revolvers", H&L Publishing - HLebooks.com, Belgium, 2007 (downloadable ebook)

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