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Thread: Are Webley's Overbuilt?

  1. #1
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    DougGuy's Avatar
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    Are Webley's Overbuilt?

    I have had a few Webley 455 cylinders in for throat honing, and I am going to tell you, those things are HARD! The steel they use in them is quite tough and time consuming to hone so that makes me wonder how strong the revolver is and what kind of loads will they handle?

    Throats on those guns typically run .449" .450" while the groove diameter is an honest .455" they seem to work much better with throats in the .455" ~ .456" range, I have gotten good range reports from the ones I have honed.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throats honed? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Click here to send me a PM You can also find me on Facebook Click Here.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy Ajohns's Avatar
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    I know your knowlege is more than mine, but I did a Mark 1 some time ago that had been converted to 45ACP. It was also pretty hard and the measurements were about identical to what you stated and all different. No two the same. Bore slugged at .455, matched diameters up with 265 gr. boolits and it shoots good. Just a bit high and to the left at 15 yds.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Might be good steel, but they apparently don't handle .45 ACP very well over time. So can something be over built in one way and not so good in another way.....you'll have to be the judge of that. They're just fine if left in the original caliber. I'll confess to owning two of them, a Mk.VI and a Mk. IV. When placed alongside a S&W they remind one of an old house built around 1910 with all the cast iron plumbing on the outside of the building.

    DG

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Webley cylinders are hard, but brittle. I've seen several destroyed shooting USGI .45 ACP hardball.

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    I sheared the barrel catch screw on my 1914 MkVI which had been shaved for .45 ACP, firing 230-grain lead cowboy bullets and 5 grains of Bullseye. Gun was repaired by milling frame to install larger diameter heat treated M7 metric bolt and reaming uniforming throats to .453". Gun shot much better afterwards.

    A few years later you honed and salvaged a pitted cylinder on another unaltered MkVKI and uniformed the throats to .4555" and that revolver outshoots my S&W Model 25, using Accurate 45-259H and 3.5 grains of Bullseye at 600 fps.
    Last edited by Outpost75; 07-22-2021 at 11:18 AM.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    OUCH! That's a nasty mess. Shooter must have sustained injuries, especially his hand & face.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    So, it’s the small throats and jacketed bullets that raise the pressure? It seems like the .452” bullets of the ACP would go through the .455” barrel without raising pressures too much. Is this why .45 Auto Rim is loaded with soft lead bullets? I’ve always wanted a shaved Webley but Yikes.......

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    So, it’s the small throats and jacketed bullets that raise the pressure? It seems like the .452” bullets of the ACP would go through the .455” barrel without raising pressures too much. Is this why .45 Auto Rim is loaded with soft lead bullets? I’ve always wanted a shaved Webley but Yikes.......
    Theory at the time was that the tight throats would enable the primitive smokeless powder in use (chopped Cordite) to build sufficient pressure for a clean burn. Am told the earlier black powder proved guns were dimensioned the same way, but I've not had one to measure. All three Webleys I own which I've pinned had throats were smaller than barrel groove diameter, and not uniform, typically ranging from .447-.452 in the same cylinder!. DougGuy brought my unshaved 1914 MkVI up to uniform size, in the process removing most of the old frosting and pitting resulting from use of corrosive primers over the years and the old beast gun shoots very, very much better now and most enjoyable if you keep the loads light.

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    Last edited by Outpost75; 07-22-2021 at 11:23 AM.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy Ajohns's Avatar
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    Mine the same dimension wise, for a Mark 1.
    I've had good luck with 3.5 grs of Titegroup, 265 lead

  9. #9
    Moderator Emeritus robertbank's Avatar
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    The Mark V! is a fine revolver for it's day. Gave Officers something to carry. Grand-dad told me the Officers would use them to shoot men who refused to go over the top when the whistle blew. I suspect most took their chances with the Germans and Gas rather than take a .455 in the back.

    Personally I would leave well enough a lone and stick with the caliber it was designed for. It will kill most of what we have here in N.A. as is, including paper.

    Take Care

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  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    By WWI, there was certainly some pretty good metallurgy, but while a Webley is among the strongest of the top breaks, it's still a top break with all the failings that implies.

    Probably best to consider the Webley as "strong for what it fires". Primary load was 265 grains at 600-ish feet per second, which would probably put a .455 proof load someplace around 800fps???

    Mine's a .455 in unaltered state. Not a problem since I'm casting the original MKII and MKIV hollow base bullet profiles. I wouldn't have a lot of hope for solid bases with the Webley's bizarre smaller-than-bore throat, but as designed, she does pretty well:

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    WWJMBD?

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  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master
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    About 20 years ago I had a chance at a Colt New Service in 455 Eley, and decided against adding yet another niche caliber to the long list of trivia chamberings I ride herd on. I could NOT say "No" to the 38/200, though--a Webley-Enfield DAO and a S&W M&P get some love from time to time, as do a Colt and S&W 4" 38 S&W. The first two are "trucks", the last two are jewels.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Dougguy did two Webley cylinders for me. Great work, really tightened the groups up on both revolvers

  13. #13
    Moderator Emeritus robertbank's Avatar
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    The Webley's in both .455 and 38/200 were designed by two committees in the UK. One committee was located in Scotland and the other in England and neither ever talked to each other. These are the two committees who designed most of the English automobiles during the 1950's.

    Tale Care
    Bob
    Its been months since I bought the book, "How to scam people online". It still has not arrived yet!

    "Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon..... No matter how good you are, the bird is going to s#!t on the board and strut around like it won anyway."

    "If the human population held hands around the equator, a significant portion of them would drown"

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robertbank View Post
    The Webley's in both .455 and 38/200 were designed by two committees in the UK. One committee was located in Scotland and the other in England and neither ever talked to each other. These are the two committees who designed most of the English automobiles during the 1950's.

    Tale Care
    Bob
    I take it they were responsible for Lucas electrics also?
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  15. #15
    Moderator Emeritus robertbank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    I take it they were responsible for Lucas electrics also?
    Had a friend who owned a Jaguar XKE. It had more miles on it going from his house to the local British repair shop then it had going anywhere else. Turn the lights on and the windshield wipers would go on.

    Take Care

    Bob
    Its been months since I bought the book, "How to scam people online". It still has not arrived yet!

    "Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon..... No matter how good you are, the bird is going to s#!t on the board and strut around like it won anyway."

    "If the human population held hands around the equator, a significant portion of them would drown"

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I'm smiling; I learned to drive in a Morris pickup. Cute little breakdown prone thing that was built like a tank.
    Every time I shoot my wife's 999 H&R .22, the Webley crosses my mind.

    Sent from my SM-A716U using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Old joke about Lucas electrics. Lukas lord of darkness. Frank

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