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Thread: Which cartridge are the civilian Webley .38 revolvers sighted for?

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    Really Senior Member Colonel Enfield's Avatar
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    Which cartridge are the civilian Webley .38 revolvers sighted for?

    An interesting discussion came up among my historic arms enthusiast friends the other day which I thought I'd ask your input on as well - especially given how (oddly) slow this sub-forum is - namely, which cartridge are the civilian Webley Mk IV .38 revolvers sighted for?

    We were trying to work out was whether the civilian models were sighted for the 145gr "standard" .38 S&W cartridge, the 200gr .38/200 round or whether they were chambered for the .380 Revolver Mk IIz cartridge with its 178gr FMJ projectile.



    It would seem logical the "War Finish" models were sighted for the .380 Revolver Mk IIz round, but I don't know if the cartridge was ever available for sale to the public, unlike the 145gr .38 S&W rounds which continue to be made until the present day.

    Does anyone have any thoughts or insights on the matter?
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    Really Senior Member Johnny Peppers's Avatar
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    I certainly don't know for sure, but it would certainly seem logical to be the 200 grain load. The FMJ load was developed by the military to satisfy the Hague Convention on the use of expanding bullets.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    I think also it's the 200 gr round nose lead.
    Regards, Jim

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    Really Senior Member emmagee1917's Avatar
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    Well , I have several WW2 S/W in .38S&W . All shot very low with factory 145 gr S&W . 200 grain reloads ( 1.6-1.8 gr Win 231 ) also shot low . Further study showed the guns were sighted in for 38/200 , which is NOT the same as Americian 38 S&W which has to be loaded down for the cheepy small break-tops . I worked up to the 38/200 loadings I found on line and settled on 200 gr lead # 507 Magnus bullet ( .357/.358 diam for the .38 special spec barrels these have . They also offer a .360 spec bullet ) seated to the crimping groove above a charge of 2.7 grains of Win 231 . NOTE THAT THIS IS A GRAIN ABOVE THE .38 S&W . DO NOT USE IN CHEEPY BREAK TOPS. Bullets now hit where they are supposed to and there are no pressure signs at all in these guns . If you make these , invest in those plastic ammo boxes and clearly mark them to not be used in anything else .
    Chris

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    Really Senior Member Johnny Peppers's Avatar
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    General Julian Hatcher wrote in [I]"Hatcher's Notebook"[I] about the effect of different loads in handguns shooting high or low. The actual trajectory of the "creepy" loads versus the high velocity loads is probably less than 1" at 25 yards, but the barrel position when the bullet exits is different. The barrel of the handgun is actually pointed below where the sights line up, and the handgun starts to recoil the instant the bullet starts moving and with proper calibration the barrel crosses the target as the bullet exits the barrel. The hotter load recoils more, and the barrel is at a higher point when the bullet exits.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Wish I'd known that some years ago. Would have explained things better to others...
    Regards, Jim

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    Really Senior Member Colonel Enfield's Avatar
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    Emmagee, thanks for the info!

    I read somewhere the S&W "Victory" model revolvers were basically the .38 Special guns with a different cylinder in them and sighted for the .380 Revolver cartridge the Britishicon were using, so I'm not at all surprised to hear they're capable of safely firing what sounds like a .38 S&W +P round.

    As for the Webleys, I always figured the civilian models (as in, guns manufactured expressly for sale on the commercial market in the 1940s-1970s) were chambered for the 145gr projectile cartridge since that seems to have been pretty much the only one that was available for commercial sale at the time - I know there was a .38 Super Police round as the civilian version of the .38/200 military cartridge but I don't know if it was ever sold in the UK or the Commonwealth in any great quantity.

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    Really Senior Member emmagee1917's Avatar
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    That is basicly true . The Britishicon was worried at first about how the extra bullet diam . of thier ammo would strain the thin barrels . They even went so far as to backbore the muzzels because of this . I guess someone pointed out that after the .002 oversized bullet had gone down 4-1/2 inches of barrel it wasn't going to swell back up for the last 1/2 inch .
    Chris

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    Deceased January 15th, 2016 Beerhunter's Avatar
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    Initially at least the .38 Webleys could not have been sighted for the .38-200 cartridge because it did not exist. For example I have a Mk.III Pocket Revolver of the turn of the 19th/20th Century and the .38-200 round was not approved until November 1930. It has nitro Proof marks and so that revolver would have been chambered and sighted for the .38 S&W.

    However during wartime who knows what they may have done. For example, I have a .38 M&P "War Finish" which I still need to research. However by the time they arrived the "Cartridge S.A. Ball Revolver .380 inch Mark I" as the .38-200 was officially know had been replaced in 1937 by "Cartridge S.A. Ball Revolver .380 inch Mark II" and so that revolver would not have been sighted for the .38-200 either. It will have been set up for either the bog standard .38 S&W (the Mk.IV's original chambering) or the .380 Mk.II.

    BTW does anyone have an original Cartridge S.A. Ball Revolver .380 inch Mark I or Mk.Iz that they could measure for OAL for me please. I'm not looking for guesstimates or Wikipedia entries, I need the genuine measurement for some research that i am doing.
    Last edited by Beerhunter; 08-21-2014 at 01:49 PM. Reason: typo

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    When we classified with revolvers in Malaya, as we carried them, we just had to hit the target. That was quite a feat for most of those armed with pistols as it was an old door against the bank at 20 yards or so. I got most of my 6 on the door but my friend Alan Sanford (he jumped into the fire trench only to find it already occupied by what he described as a xxxxxxg great xxxxxxg big snake that couldn't get out - but that's another story) the Technical storeman got all 10 of his on the door and he only fired 6 rounds. Zeroing was by a left or right cranked blade. Up or down was adjusted by aiming '...... up or down a bit.......'

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