American Rifleman takes apart the legendary English pistol
Webley Mark IV Revolver
NRA's American Rifleman brought in revered writer and Guns & Ammo Senior Editor Garry James to get inside the Webley Mark IV Revolver:
Chambered in the powerful .455 British service cartridge, the Mk VI Webley was adopted in 1915-during the Great War-and was supplanted by the .380/200 Enfield in 1936.
To most arms enthusiasts the stirrup-latch Webley is the quintessential British revolver, and they’re not wrong. It is also assumed it was the first repeating handgun to be accepted by Her Majesty’s forces, but actually the Webley was not accepted into service until the military had run through a succession of percussion and solid-frame Adams and a couple of ungainly, hinged-frame Enfield revolvers.
The Mark I Webley was accepted into British service in late 1887. Designated “Pistol Webley (Mark I) B.L. Revolver,” the caliber was .442.The six-shooter featured the famed stirrup latch devised by Edwinson Green, had a 4" barrel and “parrot’s beak” grip. It was loaded by pushing forward on the latch, and dropping the barrel to expose the chambers.
The gun was then snapped shut and after rounds had been expended it was again broken open where a spring-loaded star extractor ejected the empties. Soon thereafter the caliber was increased to .455, with both the cartridge and the gun going through several changes prior to the introduction of the Mark VI in 1915.
Basically the gun was a variant of the Mark V, which had appeared two years earlier, with the some of the main differences being that the Mark VI had a 6" barrel (though there were some 6" Mark Vs, and 4" and 71⁄2" Mark VIs as well), square butt and removable blade front sight, along with a number of minor alterations in frame,screws,pins,etc.The gun was rugged, reliable and popular with the troops.
Chambered for a formidable smokeless-powder .455 cartridge the Mark VI was standard until 1936, when it was replaced by the less-powerful 380 No. 2 Mark I “Enfield” revolver. Still, the Mark VI remained in service through World War II and as reserve standard until 1948.
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