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British Webley MKIV Revolver .38


Markings: WAR FINISH, .38 767, 3-1/2 Tons Accessories: Original Khaki WWII dated holster and lanyard in Excellent Condition Other Information: Nice clear proof marks, swirled tool marks on receiver, tight lockup on frame

The British company Webley and Scott, formerly just Webley, produced a series of revolvers from the 19th into the 20th centuries. The most well known are the range of revolvers in service use across two World Wars. From 1921, the revolvers were manufactured by Enfield, although they still carried the Webley name. The Webley revolvers involved many sub-marks and variations.

Mk I or No. 1. This was a large, top-break double-action weapon first sold in 1887 to the British Army, replacing the Adams .450. Produced in .455 calibre (11.6 mm), it was also available in .450 and .476 inch (11.4 and 12.1 mm) - produced for use in Britain's colonial wars in the 1880's. Commercial versions in various calibres were sold as Webley-Green or Webley-Kaufman.

Mk II .455

Mk III .455 (some uncommonly in .38) produced in the 1890's

Mk IV .455

Mk IV .38/200. Closer in appearance to the .455 Mk VI, with either a 4 or 5 inch (102 or 127 mm) barrel. Externally almost identical to the Enfield No 2 Mk I revolver, which was copied from the Webley design. Mk V .455 in use by 1913.

Mk VI .455 introduced in 1915, barrel lengthened to 6 inches (152 mm), grip changed from the "Bird's beak" style to the squared style.

World War I
The Mk V was in use at the start of the war. From 1915, the Mk VI was the standard sidearm for British and Commonwealth troops and was so for the remainder of World War I. It was issued to officers, airmen, trench raiders, machine-gun teams and tank crews and proved a very reliable and hardy weapon. Several accessories were developed for the Mk VI including a bayonet, speedloader device and a stock allowing for a customized carbine or trench raiding version.

World War II
After the end of the Great War, it was decided that the .455 calibre (11.6 mm) was too large, and required too much training to use effectively. It was decided that a pistol in .38 calibre (9.65 mm), firing a 200 grain (13 g) bullet, would be just as effective as the .455 at stopping an enemy. Webley & Scott immediately tendered the Webley Mk IV in .38/200 calibre, and, much to their surprise, the British Government took the design to the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock, who used the design, and came up with a revolver that was externally very similar looking to the Webley Mk IV .38, but was internally different enough that no parts of the Webley could be used in the Enfield and vice-versa. This pistol was accepted under the designation Enfield Revolver, No 2.

The Enfield No 2 Mk 1 was adopted in 1932, to followed later by the Mk 1* (spurless hammer, double action only), and finally the Mk 1** (simplified for wartime production) in 1942. The vast majority of Enfield No 2 Mk I revolvers were modified to Mk I* during FTR (Factory Thorough Repair) programmes during WWII. Ostensibly this was because the Tank Corps had complained about the revolver's hammer spur catching on things inside tanks, but most historians and collectors agree that this story was simply made up by the British Government to cover up the fact that the No 2 Mk I* pistol was cheaper, easier, and faster to make than the No 2 Mk I model.

The Webley Mk VI (.455) and Mk IV (.38/200) were still issued to British and Commonwealth Forces, as Britain was desperate for handguns during WWII and had to take what they could get.

The Royal Hong Kong Police and Royal Singaporean Police were issued Webley Mk IV revolvers, and they were also used in the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s.

The Webley revolver was declared obsolete in 1947, but was not completely phased out in favour of the Browning Hi-Power until 1963.

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This product was added to our catalog on Monday 19 November, 2007.

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