View Full Version : .44 Webley ammo
November 28, 2009, 01:20 AM
A friend of mine (not me, I swear) just purchased a Revolver chambered in .44 Webley (.442 RIC). Now, naturally, they are searching for ammo for it. Old Western Scrounger came up dry, as did Gunbroker. I can't even find much info on reloading options. Does anyone know where else I might look, or did my friend just buy a very nice paperweight?
November 28, 2009, 01:30 AM
I know of no source for RIC ammo.
If he attempts to roll his own, BLACK POWDER ONLY!
I can't stress that enough, the RIC revolvers, and the earlier Webley .455 military revolvers simply CANNOT tolerate even miniscule loads of smokeless powder.
November 28, 2009, 01:59 AM
I've already made that abundantly clear to him, as well as the need to have the gun thoroughly checked out by a gunsmith before even thinking about shooting it.
I found one source for custom ammo, starsandstripesammo.com, but I don't know if they're still in business. Beyond that, I can't even find brass.
November 28, 2009, 07:28 AM
Buffalo Arms has the brass.
I don't know the bullet diameter and weight, though.
November 29, 2009, 02:22 AM
Just FWIW, here are the dimensions:
Bullet diameter: .426-.447
Diameter at neck: .444-.452
Diameter at head: .446-.457
Diameter of rim: .492-.508
Case Length: .650-.740
The cartridge dates from about 1868 and was adopted by the RIC along with the revolver. But the first official ammunition issue was in 1892. That round had a 219 grain bullet of 12-1 lead-tin alloy, loaded with 10 grains of black pistol powder. The most common commercial loadings used a 200 grain lead bullet. It was made here by Winchester and in Europe up to WWII, later loadings being smokeless powder. In view of the age of the gun, I recommend sticking with black powder.
November 30, 2009, 09:03 AM
Thanks! I'll pass the info along, and maybe I'll have a range report ere too long.
January 13, 2011, 04:44 PM
I was told that brass can be made from shortened .44 russian
January 13, 2011, 07:42 PM
If the cases can be made from .44 Russian, they can be made from .44 Special and .44 Magnum also as the three rounds are the same diameter. But I think it might involve more than just cutting the case down. It would be easy enough to try; just cut a .44 Magnum case down and see if it fits.
(NO, I DID NOT say to load a live .44 Magnum into the chamber and fire it!!!!!)
January 13, 2011, 07:58 PM
Hello, ag05. You might check with Buffalo Arms Co., they have hard to find brass & dies. If I am not mistaken, the bullet for the .44 Webley was either
"heeled"..like a .22 L.R., the bullet was same dia. as case, with a short shank, or heel fitting inside case, or, They were hollow-base. I would slug that bore to make sure..If this is the case...any bullet you could fit inside a case would be undersize & fall through bore. Best of luck!
January 14, 2011, 12:28 AM
I'd try cutting back Starline .44 Russian brass. .44 Magnum brass is going to be a lot thicker sided down around the case head; the further down you cut, the harder it gets. If you use black powder, there's not going to be as much powder space as you would get with the thinner .44 Russian brass. That might not be a problem, but the cutting will be.
I'd borrow a .44 lead bullet (probably .429) from somebody and push it thru the bore. If it slides right thru, you have a grossly undersized bullet and will probably need a custom mold. If it needs to be pushed thru, you can measure the resulting groove marks and know how to size the bullets to be loaded. Keep in mind that a slightly undersized bullet will be "bumped up" a few thousandths by the black powder, so might well shoot OK. And you could always cast some round pure lead balls a little oversized, size them to the bore, and load them up. Sometimes those give pretty good accuracy at close range.
RICs are neat guns with a lot of history to them. They were used, and copied, all over the world, even used quite a bit in our Old West.
December 21, 2012, 12:18 AM
Looking for ammo other than antique ammo or what I need to do to reload, I see it holds cut down russian ammo what does one do to attain the correct lenght and fit for reloading this ammo.
December 21, 2012, 12:38 AM
it would be quite an undertaking. as I understand it .442 webley has a bullet diameter of .440 however most of the modern bullets available for 44 special and 44 magnum are actually .429 diameter, you would probably have to cast your own bullets and a .440 bullet cast would be very hard to find I'd wager. then you would have to cut fashion your own casings, probably out of 44 special or 44 magnum, depending on what you can get cheaper. there is always a huge gamble when you buy a gun in an obsolete cartridge and sometimes it just become more bother to try and fire it than it is to just put the gun in a pretty glass case and admire it.
the link to buffalo arms is no longer active as they have discontinued their 44 webley ammo line however they do still have brass (http://www.buffaloarms.com/44_Bulldog_Reloading_Brass_it-157287.aspx?CAT=3839) for 44 bulldog, a shortened, less potent cartridge compatible with 44 webley. as well as bullet molds (http://www.buffaloarms.com/Lyman_Bullet_Moulds_it-160626.aspx?CAT=4121) that may fit, though you may also have to run them through a sizer.
your biggest hurdle is going to be finding the proper amount of black powder to load into them without jeopardizing the gun.
December 21, 2012, 11:01 AM
The only other possible source for ready-made brass I can suggest would be Bertram from Australia. IIRC, Widener's and Graf are/were the two major US outlets. It's usually quite pricey, but they have historically been our best source of cases for obsolete Brit/Euro cartridges.
If you must, or simply opt to, make them yourself I'd suggest consulting the Gun Digest "Handbook of Cartridge Conversions" or a similar reference for the dimensional specifications and drawings. Can't say for sure that those'll be easy to find given just how long this cartridge has been 'extinct', but surely they can be found somewhere with some digging. Another possibility might be the standard reference book "Cartridges of the World". There may even be some history and, perhaps, loading data there.
FWIW, making cases may well involve a lot more than simply shortening the 'parent' case. Be aware that many times the rim must be altered in thickness and/or circumference to work and at times that can be enough to render the resulting case head's primer pocket too shallow to allow proper seating without some further rather delicate modification.
Personally, I'd use a lot of oil and a swaged, pure lead ball of about 0.451" to slug the bore and either use a good calipher or find a machinist with a set of 'plug' gauges to determine your chamber mouth size. Those results will tell you whether you can use an available commercial mold/cast bullet or will need to resort to having one custom-made. IIRC, RCBS has a list of special-order molds for obsolete calibers so that could be worth checking, too. Neither of the latter options would come cheap though.
Good luck with your quest! Let us know how it turns out for you.
December 21, 2012, 12:48 PM
Actually, as long as you have properly dimensioned bullets and cases, the amount of black powder pretty much is self indicated. You need enough to fill the case to the point of being lightly compressed when the bullet is seated, but no so much that you can't seat the bullet.
As Jim K noted in a message several years ago, that's about 10 grains of 3F black powder.
December 21, 2012, 01:00 PM
but since the 44 bulldog is a shorter case I doubt you could get the same 10 grains as jim recommended for the 44 webley, judging buy the significant differences in case length I couldn't see much more than 5 grains fitting in them if that's the only game in town.
Two Old Dogs
December 22, 2012, 12:34 PM
The .44 Webley (.442RIC) cartridge case can be made from .44 magnum, .44 Special or .44 Russian Brass. The process according to Donnelly in The Handloaders Manual of Cartridge Conversions requires shortening the case to 0.690", reducing the rim diameter and thinning the rim.
.44 Bulldodg cartridge cases are 0.57" in length with all other dimensions the same as the .44 Webley and therefore could be used in the Webley clhamber.
Bullet diameter for the .44 Webley is 0.436. The easiest way to produce a shootable bullet is to minie' a 0.429-0.430 bullet by drilling a 3/8" hole, about 1/4" deep in the center of the bullet to create a skirt that will expand and engage the rifling upon firing.
The original loading for the .44 Webley per Cartriddges Of The World was 15 to 19 grains of Black Powder. Donnelly in the above referenced work suggests 4.0 grains of Bullseye with a 200 grain bullet. I personally feel this load is EXCESSIVE and DANGEROUS in pistols of unknown quality. A charge of 1.5 to 1.8 grains of Bullseye would be more in line with Black Powder pressures. Another smokeless powder that will produce acceptable pressure levels is Trail Boss by IMR. I have not personally worked with Trail Boss but IMR loading data indicates that light charges will produce low pressures in obsolete pistol cartridges.
December 29, 2012, 10:04 PM
In my Belgium copy of the Webley bulldog in .442 Webley, I found it easier to use .45 Spl (Cowboy) Brass. This is shortened .45 LC brass for cowboy action shooters. You have to trim it to length, but, in my gun, it's perfect for those huge bored thru cylinders. it's rather convoluted to make the shells though, crimping being the big issue. perhaps this will give some ideas.
December 31, 2012, 03:45 PM
"... the rim must be altered in thickness and/or circumference to work and at times that can be enough to render the resulting case head's primer pocket too shallow... "
You don't trim the rim down by cutting down the case head from the back, you trim the rim down from the front, either in a lathe or in a drill press using a safe side file.
April 22, 2013, 09:10 PM
I believe it was one of these that was used by lawyer Charles J. Guiteau to assassinate President James A. Garfield in Washington, D.C. on July 2, 1881.
An interesting piece of history...
I have a another rare vintage round as well...
A 1940 Bulgarian military round -
Headstamped with a "Rampant Lion" at the 12 o'clock position & cyrillic 'B0' arsenal marking at 6 o'clock position.
B0 = VF (Cyrillic B and Phi) Voenna Fabrika (Military Factory).
The 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock position shows the date of manufacture, 19 & 40
4 or 5 unfired but empty R.P. 44 REM MAG casings also some fired .44 Rem Mag casings & a few used 38 SPL & 38 SPL + P casings
Anyone interested in these?
April 22, 2013, 11:30 PM
Anyone have a source for .455 Webley bullets?
April 23, 2013, 01:27 PM
Buffalo Arms lists them but none in stock... maybe tomorrow, they say.
April 25, 2013, 12:54 AM
Thank you. Good link.
Magnum Wheel Man
April 25, 2013, 08:29 AM
Don't know how I missed this thread... a while back, I bought what appeared to be an unfired 44 American Bulldog... I trimmed down 44 Special cases on my 1st test, & used a light load of Trailboss...
BTW... don't discount using soft lead round balls for guns like this ;)
& the reloading thread, in which I got a lot of info from forum members...
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