Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The British company 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, it could also chamber .450 and .476 - 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, reduced to .38 in the 1930s, 2.37 lb.
- Mk V .455 in use by 1913.
- Mk VI .455 introduced in 1915, barrel lengthened to 6 inches. The Mk VI was the standard sidearm for British and Commonwealth troops for the remainder of World War I.
It was issued to officers, airmen, trench raiders, machine-gun 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 was too large, and required too much training to use effectively.
It was decided that a pistol in .38 calibre, firing a 200gr 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, reverse-engineered it, and came up with a revolver that was externally very similar looking to the Webley Mk IV .38, but was internally just different enough to no allow interchangeability of parts.
This pistol was designated the Enfield No 2 revolver, and was also chambered for the .38/200 calibre.
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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