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    Post .455 Webley Overview

    Webley .455 Revolvers



    For the collectors out there here is a minimally detailed pictorial over view of the Webley .455 revolver from Mk I to Mk VI high lighting the major differences between each mark. There are many detailed engineering differences that I will not mention, please refer to the reference books. As with all Britishicon weapon’s many variations exist and if fellow collectors have a different example please post. A fair amount of these revolvers have had their cylinder’s shaved to accept .45 auto rim for the North American market which decreases their desirability, in my opinion, and is a hazard as only the Mk V and VI have the cylinder designed for higher pressure ammunition.

    For reference I highly recommend Ian Skennertonicon’s SAIS No.9 book .455 Pistol, Revolver No. 1 Mk VI and Webley Revolvers by Gordon Bruce. Information posted here are from these two fine books.


    Webley Mk I

    Approved in 1890 and with approximately 40,000 made it is a commonly found example with the hump behind the cocking piece on the rear strap being its greatest distinguishing sign.
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    Webley Mk II

    Differs from the Mk I by having a hardened steel face shield backplate, a heavier hammer, no grip hump. Official productions numbers are estimated in the 23,000 range and are also commonly found.
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    Webley Mk I*

    Is a Mk I revolver upgraded to Mk II status by installing a dovetailed hardened backplate and in some cases the hammer is replaced with the Mk II pattern. This example has not. The rear strap hump was also approved for removal but few have been observed with its removal. Quantity converted is unknown and they are an unusual variation
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    Webley Mk III

    A short lived example that introduced the Whiting mechanism for holding and releasing the revolver’s cylinder. Few appear to have been ordered for military service with most examples found today being of civilian production. Official production numbers are not known and early civilian versions and military production models are very collectable.
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    Webley Mk IV

    The standard pattern revolver for the next 14 years, it is commonly known as the “Boer War Model” and varies from the Mk III in type of steel used in construction, the profile and size of the hammer, and the enlarged trigger stop slots in the cylinder. Once again official production numbers are unknown, but over 36,000 examples were delivered between 1899 and 1904 and are a common variation.
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    Webley Mk V

    A second short lived example with a production of approximately 20,000 units is basically a Mk IV with an enlarged cylinder to handle nitro powder ammunition. Most are found with 4” barrels but a fare amount were also produced with 6” barrels found on the Mk VI revolver. Examples of this type is common in the 4” but are a harder find in the 6”.

    My example here is a unusual example that was sold out of service and sent back to Webley, refinished, regripped, and had a 7.5” target barrel fitted. The target barrel is marked “Mk V” and “Webley & Scott Ltd, Birmingham & London” and is serial numbered to the frame. Fortunately the original 4” barrel stayed with the set.
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    Webley Mk I** and Mk II**

    These are Naval conversions of existing Mk I, I* and II revolvers to the Mk V version mostly found with 1914 and 1915 dates. The cylinders of these revolvers were replaced with the Mk V version and the barrels were replaced with either 4” or 6” examples fitted with the Whiting cylinder system. Conversion numbers are unknown with the Mk I** with 4” barrel being the most common example. In finer detail this Mk I** still has its original Mk I backplate, while others observed have the correct Mk II dovetailed example.
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    Webley Mk VI

    The most common type seen by collectors and the best known example. This mark of revolver has the squared target grip making it easily identified. Most have a 6” barrel with removeable forsight, but some post war models have been fitted with factory 4” barrels. Over 280,000 examples were produced during WWI. In the early 1920’s Enfield produced an unknown quantity of Mk VI versions of the revolver.
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    Webley Mk IV**

    An unofficial conversion done in India, it is a Mk IV fitted with a Mk V cylinder and Mk VI barrel (this one 1925 dated). This example is in poor to fair condition and has an India inspection stamp on the receiver. Also of interest is that the s/n is 77550 making it one of the first Mk IV’s produced. This example is the only one I have come across.
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    Webley Cut-away’s

    Many different variations exist with this one being having a Mk II frame and a commercial Mk IV barrel assembly.
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