Author Topic: The proper utilization of a Webley  (Read 1797 times)

Offline Baltimore Ed

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Re: The proper utilization of a Webley
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2019, 12:36:55 PM »
I would think that .45 acp target would be loaded down enough and be Webley safe, I don’t know if there is such a thing as a commercial .45 AR target load. The other problem is the diameter of the bullet, .451 vs .454. That undersized bullet is not going to be particularly accurate in a .455 bbl. The simplest thing would be to buy some .455 components and prevale upon the kindness of a friend with a reloading set up to build some for you. You don’t really need .455 dies, regular 45acp would work but you do need .454 bullets and a can of Bullseye, I use 4.0 gr.
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Offline Drydock

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Re: The proper utilization of a Webley
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2019, 05:05:21 PM »
45 Auto Rim (AR) 230 grain LEAD bullet loads are actually very close to Webley pressures, and can work in the MK V and VI. (V and VI have larger diameter cylinders)  I have a shaved Webley MK V that I handload for, but I have used the above loads.  BUt they  must be lead bullet rounds!  No JACKETED acp or AR is safe in any Webley.   MK I-IV must be handloaded.

FYI the SAAMI for 45 AR is 15000 psi.  AR LEAD rounds are rather less than this  .455 Webley MK II Nitro-cellulose loadings service pressure were just under 14000, with Proof being around 18000.  .45acp jacketed runs around 19000. (Note, these are standard rounds such as loaded by Remington.  Specialty makers like CorBon and others may be loaded to higher pressures and should NOT be used)

The jacket friction and resistance to deformation is probably harder on any Webley than the simple pressure of the rounds.  Common misconception: the "Ton" stamping on British arms is a reference to Service pressure, not Proof pressure.  It's not an exact conversion, but multiply the ton number by 2300 and you'll get roughly the service pressure in psi.  Yes, I know the imperial ton is 2240, but again, the conversion needs a fudge factor.  The proof load is 1/3 again that number.
 
The Lee reload book has several .45 AR loadings listed with pressures below the .455 service pressure.  If you find the 1st edition (Red) book it has a section for .455 Webley MK II, listing several common Alliant powders with pressure data for that short case.  Unique, Red Dot and Herco seem well suited for this application.
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Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: The proper utilization of a Webley
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2019, 11:42:51 PM »
Here is a picture of the ".455 Family" which I had in my personal arsenal in 2007 ... the family has been enlarged a fair bit since then, so I guess I should really get around to taking another "family portrait" ...



The revolvers in this photo are:  left column, top to bottom - .450/.455 Webley R.I.C. New Model, .476 Mark II Enfield (documented NWMP revolver), .455/.476 Webley "W.G." Target Model, .455 Webley Mark V; right column, top to bottom - .455 S&W 2nd Model Hand Ejector (documented WWI Canadian government purchase), .455 Colt New Service, .455 "O.P." revolver (Spanish-made S&W clone, British WWI purchase for secondary issue), .455 Webley Mark VI (engraved private-purchase sidearm of a Lieutenant in the WWI Canadian Expeditionry Force).

If you happened to note that I called this my ".455 Family", you might be a bit confused by the ".476" calibere designation which crops up a few times in the above descriptions. In fact, despite the the differing nominal calibre designations of the 19th Century British breechloading service revolvers and their cartridges - i.e. ".450" (Adams revolvers), ".476" (Enfield revolvers) and .455" (Webley revolvers) - all of them were in actuality .455 calibre ...

Here are a few of the newer members of my .455 Family, added since the above group shot was taken -


The Adams (in three "Marks", i.e. models) was the first British metallic cartridge military service revolver, and was also the first standard-issue revolver of Canada's North-West Mounted Police from its founding in 1873.  (This particular revolver is a commercial production example, and is thus referred to as a "Third Model" rather than as "Mark III".)


Although Webley had been producing various models of double-action cartridge revolvers, as preferred by the British, for years, this is their first "top-break" model, first introduced in 1878.


Despite the "Army" designation given to this model by Webley, it was not a "service revolver" model adopted by the British War Department.  Rather, the designation was intended to convey the fact that it was chambered for the ".476' and ".455" military service revolver cartridges and that it would be a suitable revolver for private purchase by officers (who in fact were obliged to supply all of their  own uniforms and kit, including weapons, at personal expense.



This is one of two .455 Colt New Service revolvers I have added, both of the earliest model and manufactured in late 1899 or early 1900 (whereas the revolver in the above shot is a WWI-vintage revolver of the later configuration.) This particular revolver bears the "M&D" property marking of the Canadian Department of Militia and Defence, and is one of a batch purchased for Boer War service.
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

Offline Drydock

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Re: The proper utilization of a Webley
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2019, 07:52:09 PM »
Looking thru this thread, I realized there is a common misconception here:  one of the reasons .45 Auto hardball rounds are so hard on Webleys is that virtually all Webley throats are .449!  This was a design rational of the British, who had a theory in the late 19th century that all velocity in a revolver was developed in the cylinder,  thus a tight throat to maximized pressure utilization, with a larger groove diameter to minimize friction in the barrel. 

True or not (not) it did help Cordite to burn more efficiently, and thus was never changed.  Also makes an insistence on using .455 bullets rather useless.  The need is for SOFT lead bullets, with .451 being just fine.

But shooting .451 Hardball in a .449 throated cylinder, at Proof pressures, is a VERY BAD idea!  It is a testimony to the ruggedness of the Webley design, that Webley parts are not currently scattered across the landscape!
Civilize them with a Krag . . .

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: The proper utilization of a Webley
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2019, 10:42:53 PM »
Drydock is quite correct - tight chamber throats were indeed a feature of British service revolvers of that era, and somehow the underlying theory he mentions does seem to work!  For example, the standard bullet weight of the Enfield and Webley revolver loads was 265 grains, yet the specified propellant charge was only 18 grains of "rifled pistol powder" (a fine, high-grade black powder.)  Compare this with the standard .45 Colt military load of 30 grains powder with a 250 grain bullet.  Yet the British revolver loads developed similar velocities and striking power, because the added resistance of the tight throats ensures very efficient combustion of the powder charge, with comparatively little unburned powder.

Another critical feature of British service revolver ammunition was that all bullets were quite deeply hollow-based, ensuring efficient expansion to engage the rifling in the barrel ... i.e. bullet obturation alone was not relied upon.




Such a hollow-base bullet design is best for use in the ".455 Family" of revolvers ... and I use that type of bullet in my loads -

Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

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