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Thread: 455 Webley Case Length

  1. #1

    455 Webley Case Length

    I did some searching but didn't find a thread on this specifically. If I missed one, I would be pleased if someone would point it out.

    Way back in my 20's, I walked into my favorite gun shop and the owner had a Webley Mk VI for sale, complete with an original leather holster ( butt-stitched, no less!) and a box of Canadian 455 Colt cartridges. I foolishly shot a few. Wish I hadn't.

    My Dad thought it was probably faced-off for 45 ACP with moon clips. We bought some and it wouldn't close. 45 AR, however, did fit and functioned fine but accuracy wasn't the best. Back then, it didn't occur to me that the slugs were undersized.

    Years later, good sense sunk in and I realized that the cylinder couldn't have been modified as the proofs were still showing, duh!

    Not wanting to shoot any more of the Canadian stuff, I bought some Fiocchi, which were very expensive and extremely mild. They also looked very short.

    I decided to make some from 45 Colt brass and research on case lengths left me more confused than when I started.

    I finally decided to go with the 455 Colt length. According to my records, this was around .882".

    Being short on cash, a really good mold was out of the question so I bought a Lee mold intended for use in a Ruger Old Army. The fit was good, it was easy to cast and accuracy was streaks better than the 45AR. I used fluxed sheathing lead and the sack I have on hand says they weigh 225 grains.

    Am I just as well to stick with the 455 Colt length or is there a "best" case length? I didn't like the Fiocchi case because it didn't seem optimum for the bullet to have to travel so far before hitting the forcing cone.
    Last edited by LandSurveyor; 09-14-2018 at 10:11 PM. Reason: forgot something

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    After reading this I did a Google search on Wikipedia and found there are several different lengths for the 455 Webley, which explains why I have so many different lengths in my collection of Webley rounds. I guess the length was not a real matter for concern as long as accuracy was acceptable. Regards Stephen

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Not sure if this will help, but I have kept out of trouble using this

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
    This is from the Handloader's Manual of Cartridge conversion.

    AntiqueSledMan.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by AntiqueSledMan; 09-15-2018 at 07:25 PM.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    GONRA sez that figure is a great concise demonstration of original British
    Boxer Primer / Tubing Body-Washer Rim
    case construction.

    Clever Brits: Boxer primer’s battery cup BASE is upset to RIVIT assembly.
    (Clever as our Mother Country was 100 + years ago,
    not gud enuf compared to modern drawn solid head cases of course!)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by GONRA View Post
    GONRA sez that figure is a great concise demonstration of original British
    Boxer Primer / Tubing Body-Washer Rim
    case construction.

    Clever Brits: Boxer primerís battery cup BASE is upset to RIVIT assembly.
    (Clever as our Mother Country was 100 + years ago,
    not gud enuf compared to modern drawn solid head cases of course!)
    In fact, IIRC, those CIL 455 Colt cases I have are balloon head. Considering the low pressure of the cartridge, I expect they are fine, not that I plan to reuse any of them.

    Bullet velocities seem.to be in the range of a Benjamin pellet rifle and the tremendous nail-head of a firing pin crushes the primer. Cases practically fall out of the cylinder.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    This load data may be helpful:

    .455 Pressure Test Data - Submitted by Larry Gibson, Lake Havasu, AZ

    Test Firearm – T/C Contender .45 Colt 10” with strain gage interface to Oehler M43 Ballistic Test System

    All test loads assembled in Starline .45 Schofield brass shortened to 0.87” length and rims turned,
    Winchester LP primer, weighed charges of 3.5 grains Alliant Bullseye throughout.

    Accurate 45-240H (252 grs., 10 BHN) .452”, OAL 1.29” – 639 fps, 11,400 psi max.*
    • Only one shot recorded a high enough pressure to measure on the strain gage

    Accurate 45-260H (269 grs., 10 BHN) .452”, OAL 1.30” – 648 fps, 14 Sd, ES 42, 11,800 psi, ES 900 psi

    Accurate 45-290H (295 grs., 10 BHN) .452”, OAL 1.298” – 672 fps, 11 Sd, 32 ES, 12,600 psi, ES 1100 psi

    Expected velocity drop in 6” barrel revolver estimated -100 to 150 fps, depending upon cylinder gap.

    .455 Velocity Test Data

    _____________________________Velocity (fps), Sd _________Kirst Ctg. Conversion___”Rook Rifle”
    _____________________________Webley Mk VI 6” Bbl.______Ruger ROA 7-1/2”______H&R 20”
    _____________________________Cylinder gap 0.018”_______Cylinder gap 0.004”_____Solid Bbl.

    Kynoch K42 Mk VIz 265-grain FMJ___537 fps, 29 Sd___________580 fps, 32 Sd________680 fps, 40 Sd

    Handloads Assembled in Hornady .455 Mk II cases (0.77”) with Winchester LP primers
    #452374 225-gr. LRN 5.0 Unique____648 fps, 24 Sd____________716 fps, 11 Sd_______814 fps, 14 Sd
    MiHec 265-gr. Mk I 4.5 Unique______538 fps, 24 Sd___________679 fps, 32 Sd________788 fps, 11 Sd
    Accurate 45-259H 3.5 Bullseye______622 fps, 6 Sd____________720 fps. 16 Sd________813 fps, 18 Sd

    Handload in Starline .45 Schofield Case modified to .455 Mk I (0.87”) by Reed’s Custom Ammo
    Accurate 45-259H 3.5 Bullseye______546 fps, 16 Sd___________641 fps, 9 Sd_________753 fps, 11 Sd

    Column Means By Gun____________Webley 0.018” gap_______Ruger 0.004” gap______20-inch rifle
    Pooled Avg. All Samples:___________578 fps________________667 fps______________770 fps
    Velocity Gain from Webley__________0____________________+89 fps______________+192 fps
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    If the pistol is accepting, closing and locking shut on 45AR cases,,it should not IMO be shot with .455 case rounds or cases made from 45Colt brass.
    Both of the latter have rims that are way too thin. The .455 Webley is only .035/.040. The 45Colt unaltered is about .060.
    The 45AR has a rim thickness of .090".
    Something is off there somewhere if the gun made to only accept a rim thickness (headspace) of .035 w/ .455 Webley cases is now swallowing the .090 thick rims of the 45AR cases.

    Measure the headspace betw the back of the cylinder and the breechface with a feeler gauge.
    The gun may have been altered by cutting the breech face back instead of cutting the face of the cylinder.

    .055" is a lot of excess headspace in a firearm.
    Even using 45Colt brass at .060 rim thickness is leaving you with .030" excess headspace.

    JMO of course.

  10. #10
    Will check into that, thanks.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check