Muzzle Loading Revolver Conversions In The UK

As I am sure most of you know, back in the late 90s the UK banned all centerfire and rimfire pistol ownership  (defined as any firearms under 24″ of length or with a barrel under 12″, excluding muzzle loaders). What I was not aware of is that they allowed muzzleloading pistols to be owned by members of target shooting clubs. A company called Westlake Engineering imports .38 Special centerfire revolvers  from Armscor, without cylinders and some other internal parts, and then converts them locally into muzzle loading pistols for target shooting. The converted pistols fire .357″ diameter 148gr Wadcutter bullets, using Herco smokeless nitro powder and ignited by 209  shotgun primers.




They sell two models, a straight converson for £495 (title image) and a upgraded match pistol with upgraded barrel, targets sights and weaver rail for £850 (above).

Many thanks to Alexander for the tip.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • dubcee

    thank God and our Forefathers we don’t have this problem here. I just hope we keep it that way.

  • lol say what thats crazy a 38 dubble action muzzle loading revolver in the US they can be shiped to your door and is not even considered a firearm

  • In a few years, the UK will outlaw everything but flint tipped spears, wooden clubs and atlatls. If they want to turn back time, why stop in 1860?

    • Sam Suggs

      actually as it stands the laws are slowly improving as they can now under special conditions own and keep a pistol at the range. still their rights dont mean anything without as their simply a privlige


    A state that fears its own people tend to social control.
    They try to tell people they have to give up in exchange for security livertad (CONTROL), DICTATORSHIP.

    And I always admired the
    British but I don’t know what their country is becoming, like the U.S.


    A state that fears its own people tend to social control.
    They try to tell people they have to give up in exchange for SAFETY or FREEDOM (CONTROL), DICTATORSHIP.
    (sorry 4 lapse)

    And I always admired the
    British but I don’t know what their country is becoming, like the U.S.

  • strongarm

    reverse working innovation.

  • Utterly stupid. Just goes to show you these bans never work. Companies will find ways around it to sell to the masses who are still interested. Meanwhile on the streets the criminals have access to any gun they choose. The only people not getting the guns are the law abiding citizens who use aren’t a threat. Sure, makes perfect sense. @_@

    • Uberyeti

      We do not actually need guns for self-defence in the UK; that is a key difference which many people do not appreciate. This is not a violent country (like most of Europe), and since almost nobody owns guns it is very unlikely that you will be harmed by one. Therefore you do not need one yourself to prevent their use on you. Yes, therefore this means that the weapons chosen for attacks tend to be knifes, fists and bottles, so violence still continues to be carried out against people, but the ease with which it may be done is greatly reduced.

      The situation is not really comparable with the USA. Since firearms are at the moment extremely prevalent and widely available there, there is a high chance that somebody with hostile intent can access and use one how they wish. In the UK that is simply not an option; there are vanishingly few guns available, even to criminals. They do exist of course, but they are uncommon, and their use on humans is therefore a rare and shocking occurrence rather than an every-day reality. The number of fatal shootings in the UK is under 100 annually – gun control has worked, in our country, but only because gun violence was not a major problem to begin with. I have my personal objections to the outlawing of some types of weapon (e.g. centrefire semi-automatic rifles for sporting use), but on the whole I’d rather have my recreational options suffer if it is effective at preventing death in wider society. The removal of most handguns from circulation in the UK certainly reduced the ease with which murders could be carried out. After all, long arms are very rarely used for this purpose as they are not concealable. Which is why I don’t think it makes sense to ban semi-automatic rifles.

      This type of gun control would not work in the USA, and therefore I would not agree with European style restrictions on ownership, as prohibition can never work when the supply of the commodity is so easily available. A wholly different approach is needed; I am not sure what it is, but I know that it is not outright removal of guns from society as this is impossible. I think there are basically two situations which can work to reduce the likelihood of being shot: either there are so few guns available that it is impractical to do so (like the UK now), or everyone is armed and trained all the time, so that an attacker can reasonably expect to get shot in return (what the NRA would like). Neither one of these situations is realistically going to come to pass in the USA, so I do not know what would be the best solution.

      Anyway, about the revolver itself. I think it’s a pretty neat workaround to an unfortunate problem. These are NOT designed for self-defence, as so many commenters appear to not realise. It is a target shooting gun only; for this purpose it probably works just fine but I’d like to know a little more about it, and the ease of reloading it.

      • “We do not actually need guns for self-defence in the UK” – bollocks, speak for yourself. What is actually the case is that we are not legally permitted guns for self defence in the UK. The UK overall is actually a violent place in comparison to *most* of America, a fact that would be obvious if you’d spent any significant amount of time in both places.

      • Cu-Aonaran MacAonghas

        Brittian has one of the highest incidence rates of violent crime per hundred thousand population, and it is getting worse by accounts. Sorry mate but you have been sold a load of bullshit.

      • degukid

        “This is not a violent country”
        …are you serious?
        I mean ARE YOU SERIOUS??

        Britain is one of THE most dangerous places to live out there! Changes of getting mugged or just beaten up = huge. Doesn´t help that almost any kind of self-defense is banned.

        So before you start preaching about things, you should get your own head out of your little bubble and look at the STATISTICS and facts. Simply THINKING that you don´t have a criminal activities or firearms in your country already prove that you´re awfully delusional, or ignorant. I´d HATE to live in GB, not only for its dangers, but for its stupid restrictions as well (having to be 18 to buy cutlery? I mean, seriously??)

  • michael

    In the world of the blind, the one eyed man is king. I would take this over a knife

  • Mr Mxyzptlk

    For a site with the tag line of “FIREARMS NOT POLITICS”, not a single one of these comments is to do with the weapon itself. Not everything has to be a political debate, can’t people just appreciate it for the clever little pistol that it is without making ignorant, verging on xenophobic, comments about something that they have little knowledge of? Westlake Engineering have a lot of ingenuity and make some good products, I myself am the happy owner of a Browning Buckmark Long Pistol made by them, and deserve some credit for it rather than this political bollocks.

    • arbitraryopinion

      Thank you, it seems all to often that people interject comments on their political beliefs instead of what we all came here to do, admire firearms.

      • Well, it is no question that such “innovation” exists only because of our current political climate, and how we can learn a bit more from our UK brothers and sisters from this pistol than just ballistics and engineering.

  • ElGuapo

    This is pretty darn cool. I’m surprised there isn’t a provision that a muzzle loader has to have a single bore or chamber and no revolving cylinder.

    • Hedegaard

      at my local shooting club the majority of muzzle loaders used are actually american civil war era (or replica) revolvers which I guess is why the “muzzle loader” category was not limited to rifles or single shot pistols

  • Sam Suggs


  • SonOfPlug

    Semi-auto centrefire pistols are not illegal every where in the UK, in Northern Ireland you can still get one.

    • I think you can also get a carry permit in N Ireland

  • gvass

    Colt M1873 (Uberti Cattleman) is also made with percussion/muzzleloader cylinder. It is categorized as non-firearm in some countries, like Hungary.

    • verymiddlleeuropean

      Since It is my first comment on this blog, so, first, let me say Hi ! to everyone.
      Few words about gun laws in my country- Poland. First, there are no
      police license required to own any non-cartdridge firearms that were
      manufactured before 1885, or fully functional (read: firing) replica of
      these. These weapons are not subject to registration of any kind, and
      can be obtained as long as you are at least 18-years old. So flintlocks,
      caplocks, non-cartdridge breechloading rifles (sharps, smiths,
      gallagers etc), and pre-1885 cap-and-ball revolvers (mostly italian and
      spanish replicas) are fairly popular here.

      Mentioned by gvass cap-and-ball Uberti Peacemaker is not very popular among traditional shooters, since its impractical, and not period correct ( loading is
      handicapped since it does not have lever), we stick to remingtons, colts
      and R&S here.

      As to the modern cartdridge weapons both center nad rimfire – you can obtain them if you obtain police permit, which – for sportsmen and collectors – is fairly easy to get (as long as you are sane, and not a felon). there are no limitations concerning
      barrel lenght, magazine capacity or folding stock, so if you want an
      SBR, or SBS – you can have one. Firearms and amunitions are expensive,
      comparing to our wages, so shooting is not as popular as soccer, mind
      you – most poplar selfloading rifles among the shooting crowd are
      AK-derivatives, Sa vz58, and SKS, german made AR clones -Oberland,
      Schmeisser and HK- are rather scarce here). You have to store them in
      safe or metal closet, and they can only be fired at the range. Licensed
      hunters also do not have a problem with getting permit for centerfire rifles and
      Permit for self defense handgun (only handguns can be
      carried for this purpose around here) is very difficult to get, unless
      you were attacked in the past (which hs to be confirmed by police
      investigation), work in Justice (not LE though – the policemen can only
      carry their service pistols when off duty, if their superiors allow
      them), or you`re politically connected 😉
      Selective fire weapons are strictly banned for civilians, even the ordinary policemen are not trained to use them, and do not have them equipped in cars or stations. Patrolmen have only pistols, and seldom a pump-action shotgun in car, or when attending soccer match (we do have some jackass soccer fans), or demonstration these two – with rubber bullets, of course.
      SWAT-like units use mostly glauberyt SMG-s, some MP-5, and few assault rifles.
      Some private security guards carry submachine guns when on money convoys, but thats about all of it.
      Crimes perpetrated with firearms are scarce here, even the poachers prefer wire traps to sawn-offs ( many bank robberies are commited with use of ASG pistols – to get lighter sentence I suppose, murder weapons are mostly knives, axes and blunt objects). In the 90-ties, and early 2000 there were some mob-related public shootouts, and famous firefight in Magdalenka between police and two guys equipped with plenty of automatic firepower, but now serious organized crime (as it is – Poland is, luckily, not Russia or southern Italy) is rather discreet in conducting their “business”, and prefer to use laptops over guns. Small time drug dealers, pimps and stickup guys have their flick-knives and golf clubs. Here is the funny thing – if you have baseball bat-like stick without permit, you are committing misdemeanor.
      But knives of any kind, swords, two-hand axes, morgensterns, spears, halberds etc are free, so you can get medieval on your enemy butt anytime you want. Talk about some wacky laws!
      Bows – traditional and compound – are free, but crossbows require police permit, and since even the policemen themselves are not so sure how to proceed, crossbows are virtually non-existent here, which is sad thing for history buffs and medieval reenactors.

  • james

    If it wasn’t so expensive I would actually like one. Seems fun and cheaper than .38 special to shoot right now hahaha. Never have to buy brass either. All the cheap fun of BP revolvers but with the power of real powder sounds nice.

  • TZH .

    hey cool, that is a heavily modded Armscor M200. I knew I recognized that grip design and frame. I have an M206 snubbie .38 and am mighty happy about it.

    the cylinder has a wee bit of play but it was my CCW for a year and is now my wife’s home gun for 2 years. shoots straight and reliable. the M200 should be a more pleasant thing to shoot w/ the longer barrel and all.

    and oh, muzzle loaders. daaaaaaaaaaaaaamn.

  • Laserbait

    That’s neat – I’d get one. I wonder if you can get multiple cylinders that you could load up before going to the range.

  • snmp

    You could found many old weapon (Antick) in Europe .38 rimfire.

  • mikewest007

    In other news, toy guns are still banned in the UK.

    • William Sparrow

      Well they’re not, no matter what you’re referring to

      • mikewest007

        Well, considering that the gumbint demands that you have a permit to buy a toy gun (excuse me, in Newspeak it’s called “realistic imitation firearm”), while one-eyed madmen run about with very real machine guns and grenades, killing helpless policewomen, someone fucked up badly.

  • Uhm, it uses a 209 shotgun primer, is that not still the banned centerfire? I’d hink a percussion cap would be required.

    • The 209 is the cap, this wouldn’t be considered centrefire because it’s not a cartridge firearm.

  • England sucks

  • Rick

    if the exchange rate between the dollar and the pound weren’t so bad right now, I’d be calling to see about one of these revolver conversions. 🙂

  • Gurjender singh

    Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.
    auction license