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Old October 4, 2008, 04:52 AM   #1
NotJim
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A nice find for my Webley

As recently discussed in this thread, I have a nice old 1918 Webley Mk VI. I decided to go on the hunt for a few of the appropriate period accessories for this pistol. It seemed a bit lonely all by itself in its plastic case.

I've located and purchased a couple of nice old sealed packets of British ammo for the .455, some recent Hornady cartridges, a couple of 90-year-old holsters, and a few items useful for reloading.

The old ammo and the better of the two holsters (a British officers' type in prime shape) have yet to arrive, but today I did receive one holster. It's an NCO type, open top. It fits the revolver just fine, and though a little creaky, it's well intact. But the REAL bonus is the cleaning rod that came with the holster.



The brass rod was covered in verdigris where it had lain inside the holster slot for untold years, but I found the substance was oil-soluble and could be removed easily without otherwise affecting the metal or its patina. (The rod is in nice shape, no pits nor any apparent damage except for its surface coloring.) This allowed me to seek out its markings. The mottled patina obscures the markings, but it is stamped:

Parker-Hale
Made in England

I was delighted to learn that this is a relatively rare version of the .455 cleaning rods, which are not plentiful in general. One is offered for sale here at collectorfirearms.org for $225.00. It's more perfect than mine and probably overpriced; but it's valued at more than twice the prices of other .455 Webley rods on the same site.

Evidently my 'new' cleaning rod is worth something like twice what I paid for holster and rod together.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject, I ran onto an Australian auction that has some of the rarest of collector gems for the .455 Webley: An original shoulder stock for the pistol:



And, two different versions of Parker & Hale .22 caliber rimfire conversions used for training military recruits in use of the .455 Mark VI:



The device above is an 'aiming tube' that is used sans cylinder, single-shot. The lower set includes a cylinder for a more natural mode of fire.

Very cool stuff. I want it all. But the prices! I think I'll do without, for now. But I doubt these old things will grow any cheaper with time.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg AAA%20AUG08%20169.jpg (19.7 KB, 868 views)
File Type: jpg aimingtubes.jpg (9.1 KB, 866 views)
File Type: jpg Dscf0255.jpg (54.2 KB, 863 views)

Last edited by NotJim; October 4, 2008 at 06:36 AM.
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Old October 4, 2008, 05:48 AM   #2
Tamara
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Cool!

Did you check and see if the shoulder stock is on the C&R exempt list? If you didn't need a Form 4 for it, it might be worth it just for the "gee whiz!" factor at the range.
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Old October 4, 2008, 06:12 AM   #3
NotJim
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Quote:
Did you check and see if the shoulder stock is on the C&R exempt list? If you didn't need a Form 4 for it, it might be worth it just for the "gee whiz!" factor at the range.
Oh, you're so right. I would get SUCH a kick out of having that stock!

But it's estimated to sell between AUD$500 and 800.00 -- roughly $400 to $600 US. Probably worth every penny and more, but at present I have to at least prepare a bit for expenditures like that. I'll keep an eye on it, but will almost certainly have to pass it up.

I'm pretty sure it's got C&R status.
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Old October 4, 2008, 08:02 AM   #4
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.455

Just for laughs, have you thought of CC that Webly? Can you fire .45ACP in it? It looks like a great set up either way.
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Old October 4, 2008, 08:12 AM   #5
4V50 Gary
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That detachable stock is so pristine. I've only seen it in a book and never in a museum. That color photograph really captures the image.
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Old October 4, 2008, 04:50 PM   #6
NotJim
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Webley CC

Quote:
Just for laughs, have you thought of CC that Webly? Can you fire .45ACP in it? It looks like a great set up either way.
Actually I had.

The pictured holster could probably be rigged to a shoulder harness.

But the gun's really too big, at least for me to carry that way. My son, who's 6'3" and around 300lbs, thought of the same thing. For him, it's feasible! And who's gonna tell him 'no'? (Most of that weight isn't fat. ;-)

The Webley is unaltered, so no, .45ACP isn't an option, but I have a decent supply of .455 ammo, and have lately set up to reload. So far I've cranked out about 25 reloads, using hollow-base lead bullets. Will be trying them out in a week or two.
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Old October 4, 2008, 05:06 PM   #7
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Awesome Stock

Quote:
That detachable stock is so pristine. I've only seen it in a book and never in a museum. That color photograph really captures the image.
Yes, that's the first good image I've seen of one of those, and it's a dandy. I was pretty sure lots of other people here would like seeing it too. My first thought was, 'Gotta post that pic!'

The thing looks pristine. I'd be willing to bet it sold for more than expected.

After I posted this thread last night, I decided I should at least put in a lowball bid, went back and looked more closely at the auction. I found that the auction date is TOMORROW. And they're something like 18 hours ahead of us. Bid submissions had to precede auction time by 48 hours, so I never had a chance even if I'd tried to bid the second I saw it.

That site posts all results for its auctions, so we can expect to know what the winning bids were before long.
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Old October 15, 2008, 06:46 PM   #8
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Auction results

The auction results have now been posted for the items pictured above in my post of 10-04.

The link is: http://www.australianarmsauctions.com/past_auction.htm (Auction A31, item numbers 169, 170, 171)

The .22 rimfire Parker-hale conversions for the Webley Mark VI sold for $1000 (Australian dollars) each.

The shoulder stock sold for AUD$2100.
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Old October 15, 2008, 06:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
The shoulder stock sold for AUD$2100.
It sold for more than double their estimate!

They must have been reading this thread.
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Old October 15, 2008, 08:25 PM   #10
James K
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Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't that shoulder stock originally intended for use with the flare pistol, not the Mk VI revolver?

Sort of moot but BATFE has removed handguns that are otherwise curio and relics that have an ORIGINAL shoulder stock from the purview of the NFA. This includes the Mauser C96, BHP, and Luger and should include the Mk VI as well.

Jim
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Old October 15, 2008, 09:35 PM   #11
NotJim
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Quote:
Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't that shoulder stock originally intended for use with the flare pistol, not the Mk VI revolver?
As it happens, I was just reading various links including some forum discussions on this topic. Here's one of particular interest.

Evidently (I've not seen the references), at least some of the Mk VI's that were fitted with shoulder stocks had a slot or groove cut in the frame to accept a tab or tongue on the inside face of the shoulder stock grips.

This makes some sense, since the ordinary Mark VI grips attach using a single central screw and a couple of sturdy but shallow pins that fit into holes in the otherwise flat inside surfaces of the grip panels. This arrangement might lack strength to support a shoulder stock reliably. But then, the stock's grips are made of steel and brass, both of which are a great deal stronger than bakelite. I would question whether the tongue/groove, which required a customized gun, were considered too troublesome or costly to be used in all cases.

The stock for the flare gun reportedly has no tongue/groove, but is otherwise practically identical to that intended for the Mk VI and fits the Mk VI grips. Images for comparison:


Above is a flare gun with stock, below a (reputed) stock for the pistol.

Legitimate questions abound. If a stock intended for a Webley flare gun fits the Mk VI perfectly now, it did so THEN as well. It's not farfetched to suspect they were considered interchangeable in their day.

Personally I'd not worry too much about the distinction unless authoritative references made it clearcut. The stocks appear to be very scarce -- veritable treasures nowadays regardless. I'd sure love to have one.

Some additional images of the stock in question (possibly a flare gun stock, assuming there's a difference!).
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File Type: jpg gunWebleyScottflaregun1.jpg (7.7 KB, 673 views)
File Type: jpg webleystock.jpg (20.2 KB, 671 views)
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Old November 17, 2008, 09:30 PM   #12
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Hello everyone!

I've actually owned three of the stocked Webley flare guns and the tongue/groove has been present on all of them. They were produced during WWI, and I find it hard to believe that they made some of them without that setup. As was pointed out, the tongue groove setup gives the stock its stability so it doesn't rotate down from the pistol grip. The No1 Mk1 Webleys were made from 1914-1918, based on stamps imprinted on the sides of barrels of various samples I've seen over the years.

The replica stocks lack this tongue/groove setup. I purchased one of those in 2001, but it only had the one screwthrough the middle to stabilize it. I'll try to track down pics of it. After looking at the pics here of the replica, I remember that mine never properly aligned at the top when the screw was threaded into the brass half of the grip.
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Old November 22, 2008, 08:05 PM   #13
James K
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A general statement on .455 Webleys (and other revolvers in that caliber):

Please resist the temptation to convert those to fire .45 ACP. Not only does that require the cylinder to be cut down at the back to use a moon clip*, but some .455's have blown their cylinders when fired with the .45 ACP, a higher pressure round than the old .455 Webley revolver cartridge.

So, doing that conversion not only reduces the collector value, it may well reduce the gun to junk.

*Otherwise, the .45 ACP falls into the chamber and won't fire.

Jim
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