Keith Biddle, of Keith Products Co., recently acquired this old Webley Mark 1 from a neighboring friend. His friend discovered the old revolver and no longer wanted it. Keith bought it for $100. Unfortunately the Mark 1 is in poor shape and it is doubtful it can be fired safely. The bore is rather rusted over. But Keith did not buy it for the purpose of firing it. It is more of a glorified paperweight with a history. Keith loves revolvers and the Webley is an iconic revolver. Heck, I would have bought it for $100 and it is better than a replica. Webley still makes the iconic revolver but as an air gun and they cost $100.

The Webley has some after market wood grips that contour your hand. I suspect the previous owner, who actually shot it might have been a bullseye shooter.

Even though the finish is long gone and there is a lot of oxidation, you can still make out a lot of markings stamped into the Webley.

Does anyone know what those side wing protrusions in front of the cylinder are for?

 

The rear sight is also the locking mechanism for the top break action.

 

There are a lot of arrow markings on the screws and parts of the frame. I am not sure what they are for. Screws are often marked to keep track that they are properly torqued. I have seen some people use paint pens to mark their position in relation to the frame they are installed in. Could that be the purpose of these screw markings?

The top strap has a very large arrow indicating the direction the cylinder rotates.


Here is the simple V shaped spring that holds the rear sight action lock in place.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What do you think, was this worth $100?



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  • Arie Heath

    It was most definitely worth $100. A little bit of time, Hoppes, and some TLC and you’ll have a wonderful conversation piece to keep on the shelf.

    • Giolli Joker

      If the barrel is decent, and the timing is not messed up, it may still be a shooter.
      It’s not that it runs on .500S&W pressures…

      • datimes

        I was thinking the same thing. It will take some time to clean up. Have your respected gunsmith take a look at it and if the gun passes muster shoot some low pressure reloads.

        • Light BLACK POWDER loads, only.

          You load up even a light smokeless powder load into this, and you might as well register it as an NFA DD, because you just made a hand grenade…

    • Major Tom

      A good solvent bath and a mild scrubbing pad or steel wool and that rust will clear right up. Then give it a good finish, some Hoppes number 9 and it should be shoot worthy. Provided as mentioned it doesn’t have the barrel all shot out.

  • nconnor

    The arrows, all of them including the top strap marking which was made when the revolver was surplussed, are the British ‘Broad Arrow’ ownership/acceptance/surplus marking. They have no practical function except to say “This is/was the King’s property”. Even in this condition, a MkI is well worth $100.

    • John

      That being said, if the arrows DID indicate which direction screws should be pointed at or what direction certain things go, it would be one hell of a professional trademark to have. Like the Nike swoosh or Amazon’s smile.

  • John A. Moore

    The arrows are British Ordnance “broadarrows” signifying British Govt. property.

  • iksnilol

    I’d love some detailed drawings of this. Making a slightly modernized version in .38 would be hella cool… or .32 acp for that matter.

    • PK

      Detailed drawings aren’t really available, it’s the same story with any old guns. I had to copy off mine to make new parts, but luckily it’s not like they’re complex guns!

      • iksnilol

        Well… I wouldn’t have that conundrum… IF I HAD AN OLD GUN TO COPY!

        • PK

          Photos, schematics, and a general size reference. It doesn’t need to be exact, right? Only reason I copied dimensions off of mine was so the parts would fit in that very gun.

          • iksnilol

            I guess. I just want a pocket revolver that’s break-open.

          • India makes one. LOL

          • Mike

            me too. in a big bore

          • iksnilol

            I wouldn’t mind a smaller bore like .38 or .32.

          • Able_Dart

            Squeezers are cheap and current .38SW loads are safe for most models in good shape.

          • iksnilol

            Not available where I am, nor legal for that matter. if I want one I’d have to make it myself.

          • ToddB

            They aint cheap. And why nobody is still making them, yes there is demand, but most unwilling to pay. I paid $1000 for copy of the old S&W full size 45 break top. Its all the machining required. No just threading a barrel into a cast frame. I have an old S&W in 32, very handy little gun, but finding a nice one is rare. Most at guns shows are little more than paperweights. The break open set up really restricts the pressure, no way you could use something like 357 mag in it, or even 9mm. Your not even supposed to use the modern loaded 32 S&W in mine. Best I can get out of a 90gr bullet within the pressure limits is 600fps.

          • iksnilol

            Yup, that’s one of the weaknesses of the design.

            But a small 8 shot .32 acp or something would be hella cool and could realistically be suppressed without affecting reloading.

      • Edeco

        I’ve been hoping laser scanning and CNC might lead to more repros.

    • Brett baker

      It’s called the MK. IV, it’s a .38 S&W. Oh, sorry, old boy, I meant .380/200!

  • Edeco

    Even w/o rust if it’s a Mk I it probably couldn’t handle 455 Mk II ammo which is like the closest to actually being available, and might have been worn out from trying it. The ones that can handle 455 Mk II have a bit more cylinder girth.

    Some of those screws may be relativrly valuable.

  • vwVwwVwv

    As someon from the old world I can say, only Americans know how to build a reover, others copy or fail. Nice pice of history.

    • Stephen

      I think the Webley range shows that other nations can produce first rate revolvers! The Mk VI was the best, Impossible to break, as strong as any solid frame revolver and passed the endurance test of the trenches.

      • vwVwwVwv

        No doubt, but it. Wa a bulky pice of equipment, American design is like hmm
        a woman, nice, round, it is a different feeling….
        The trench test was matched by the 1911, the c96 and 08……
        I should have written it’s the look I meant.

        • Stephen

          A Colt’s New Service is prettier than a Mk VI, certainly. But if I were carrying a revolver to protect my life, I’d choose the Webley.

          • vwVwwVwv

            Yes, wably is faster to reload and more steel makes it stronger….
            Would you carry it concealed? European revolvers are
            made as if they want you to get hurt if you grab them
            in hurry, lots of corners and edges, strange grips…
            and often unreffective loads like the
            nagant. But I was only after the look, the wably is not so hard to get in Europe,
            i had some in my hands and as a history enthusiast I would like to get one
            but I am in Europe and they don’t trust us with weapons.
            God bless the second amendment.

          • Stephen

            I live in Europe and they trust me with guns!

          • vwVwwVwv

            Where?
            In Germany you must be a collector to have more than what you need for competition.
            Let me guess, Hungaria, Tshechia, Slovakia????

          • Stephen

            No UK. I have a firearms certificate and I am a registered collector of vintage firearms. I have about 140 handguns in my collection. Most of them I don’t shoot.

          • vwVwwVwv

            great to know blairs ban on guns was not a total destruction.

    • iksnilol

      Tell that to Korth, Webley, Manurhin or Emilio Ghisoni.

      • vwVwwVwv

        Copy’s and Webley is a nice peace of history but compared to a scofield,
        a good old SAA just a peace of tech without soul.
        Look man, it’s just my personal feeling
        not at all real.

        • Jonathan Ferguson

          Then you should handle an Adams/Tranter.

          • vwVwwVwv

            I don’t, I am restricted to 3 handguns in Germany.

        • Edeco

          Different schools of industrial design. British is an aquired taste. I find the American more saccharine and sentimental.

        • iksnilol

          I literally can’t understand half the gibberish you’re typing.

          • vwVwwVwv

            Nino wonder
            It’s my bad English.
            Don’t worry, I was critical of the look.

          • iksnilol

            Ah, you were thinking of aesthetics, not mechanics.

            I guess… but all revolvers look so generiz.

          • vwVwwVwv

            I see I have autocorector on in German, that was really gibberish, sorry.
            Yes it was the aesthetics, I would not see any wably as junk,
            it’s may be the movie industry, I don’t know
            why but US revolvers look
            nicer for me.

          • iksnilol

            I dunno, the MP-412 REX has that cool cyberpunk vibe. And the Matebas look Sci-fi.

            I guess, I just find American revolvers generic looking for the most part. Though the German JTL looks the same so it does look generic (but classy).

          • vwVwwVwv

            Mateba is really a clas for itself.

          • iksnilol

            Too bad they are hard to get now… I apologize if I was rude earlier, I feel as if I might have been needlessly harsh.

          • vwVwwVwv

            If you have been, I diden’t got it, it’s ok.

  • Stephen

    I’m in the UK and have a Webley Mk I. It’s a black powder gun and I wouldn’t shoot it with nitro 455. I bought mine back in 2005 and paid nearly £700 for it, though it was in excellent condition with its original hard rubber stocks. Obviously they’ll fetch more money here than in the US because of the historical connections

    • A Hill

      I have a Mk I here in Canada (paid 1400 CAD, worth closer to 2k now) that I shoot very occasionally with Fiocchi 455’s. I use it as my wilderness carry piece due to a quirk in our laws that allows it because it is an “antique”. It also exempts it from licencing and registration requirements.

      • Stephen

        Ah, so you can shoot antiques in Canada without a licence? Nice. In the U.K. The pistol must be held on a section 7 authority (for collectors like me) or section 5 (if a dealer). It’s not classified as a antique here. If you have an antique ( e.g. Revolver chambered for 44 russian) then no licence required but you can’t shoot it.

        • A Hill

          Yes, they can also be shot anywhere anywhere it is legal to discharge firearms, an important distinction because non-antique handguns (or other “restricted” firearms) can only be shot at a range and have onerous rules associated with transporting them.

          The only part that requires a license with an antique in Canada is buying factory ammo. You can possess ammo without a license (giving ammo to a non-licensed person is an offence however) and reloading supplies do not require a license either so you need to roll your own if you want to shoot your antique without a license.

          • Stephen

            So an unlicensed person could legally acquire and shoot an antique revolver provided that they manufactured their own ammunition?

            In the U.K. reloading equipment and supplies are unlicensed, though a recent change is that we must show a licence when purchasing primers. But as soon as you have combined the component parts of shell casing, powder and primer into a cartridge is becomes a controlled item.

          • A Hill

            That is correct, provided they are over 18 and not subject to a court ordered weapons prohibition.

  • PK

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4ebf56459dfd32faa72ef03294b03c08a0fbdd4f5ec6d7b18d9276b6baca89a6.jpg

    “Does anyone know what those side wing protrusions in front of the cylinder are for?”

    Yes, it holds the cylinder in. It’s almost a U-shaped piece.

    • Some Rabbit

      I always assumed they were intended to make it easier to reholster (spreading the holster open so it wouldn’t snag on the cylinder).

      • PK

        That, too, is likely a design feature, but that U-shaped notch engages with a collar on the front of the cylinder, retaining it.

    • Mr Mxyzptlk

      That is not true, at least not for the Mk I. The picture you posted is for a .38 Mk IV, where they incorporated the holster guide and the cylinder cam into one piece of metal. On the .455 Mk I the holster guided were just a lump of metal coming off of the side of the gun (serving the purpose of making re-holstering easier as the name implies) and were independent of retaining the cylinder with that job just being done by a screw. On the Mk III onwards this was changed and the introduced the cylinder cam method, however it was a separate piece located under the holster guide. On all of the .455 guns the holster guides only served one purpose, and in fact were totally absent on some commercial variants as they were not necessary for function and added to the weight and bulk for a “pocket” revolver.

  • Guy from uk

    I think the metal wings are to assist with holstering the revolver

  • Scott Bruns

    I’ve got a Mark I that has had the cylinder shaved but I wouldn’t venture to try shooting 45 ACP in a gun that old. I remember reading somewhere that the sculpting at the back of the barrel at the forcing cone was done to allow space for black powder residue to escape when a round was fired – preventing the cylinder from binding up.

  • Some Rabbit

    When it came to military arms the Brits had no sense of aesthetics. The Webley pattern lives on in India where the state arsenal manufactures them in .32 for sale to women who fear being raped (although there is no shortage of modern semi-autos that sell for half the price on the civilian market).

  • NOUNBELIEVER

    clean it up, stop the rust….make a nice history item…..oh, me…the green eyed monster…

  • Xtorin O’hern

    the grips on that thing look fabulous

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    In its current condition, or with some mild clean up, it would fit very well into a steampunk outfit. I dont know of youre into that though. The old BP revolvers do a pretty good job too. A brass receiver 1858 is a thing of beauty and is perfect for such a getup.

  • Mike

    Do you want to double your money????

  • Able_Dart

    Looks like the cylinder was shaved for .45 ACP moon clips. Importers did this postwar. If this piece were in better condition, you could’ve fired (carefully made) blackpowder reloads using 45 Auto Rim cases. The grips are great but hide the frame hump which distinguishes the Mk I from subsequent models. Here’s my Mk III civilian model:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d4f7c5d2eed5e09a476b6c35972181267aa9417ffa929dd136996cc7924a348c.jpg

  • Ken Bryan

    While at West Point in 1955, I purchased a Mark 1 for $15 fro m Winfield Arms i Los Angeles! Still have it. Cylinder was shaved to accept 45 Auto!

  • Muttdad

    Webleys remind me of starter pistols.

  • steveday72

    Those grips look very ergonomic. I’d like to handle it and feel the balance. That beavertail should help a bit with the front-heavy weight distribution.