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Old February 21, 2014, 11:57 AM   #1
RickB
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Webley RIC

A shooting buddy gave me the carcass of a Webley RIC Mk. 1 First Pattern, from circa 1870.
I normally wouldn't be too interested in such a beast, but it is rumored to be the type of revolver that George Custer used as a personal sidearm, and that's kept me interested.

http://www.gunsandammo.com/2011/10/0...ters-last-gun/


It appears that the extractor is very similar to the Russian Nagant revolvers, with a pin that is withdrawn from under the barrel, which is then rotated around the barrel on a crane to align with the chamber that is aligned with the open load/ejection port on the right side of the frame.
The head of the ejector rod is grooved around its circumference, and I'm wondering if the rod itself is threaded into the frame or base pin to secure it; does the extractor rod have to "unscrewed" so it may be withdrawn?
The whole mess is rusted pretty badly; I don't know if I'll ever get the extractor rod out, and even if I could, the crane assembly doesn't look like it's going to rotate on the barrel.
It appears that Webley rapidly developed the RIC, and that there were a half-dozen distinct models made over a short period of time, and parts from one "mark" or "pattern" won't necessarily work with another.
Two of the action springs are retained by the trigger guard, and it looks like the Mk. 1 First Pattern did not share its trigger guard with any of the later models.
Any help would be appreciated.
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Old February 21, 2014, 12:16 PM   #2
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Rick

Not a Webley but I have a Forehand and Wadsworth version of this revolver in .44 Webley/.442 RIC.

The ejector rod design is as you describe, although I have not been able to budge the head/knob of the ejector rod to get it out.

This pistol works fine and shoots well.

I gave 175.00 for the pistol and then fifty bucks for 250 round of .44 Webley black powder reloads.

The case for the reloads is a cut down .44 Special. Dimensions are near perfect to match the upper end of the specs for the original .44 Webley.

I do not know who reloaded these rounds but they did a great job of cutting the cases and loading them up.

Lot of fun to shoot.
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Old February 21, 2014, 12:41 PM   #3
Mike Irwin
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"I normally wouldn't be too interested in such a beast, but it is rumored to be the type of revolver that George Custer used as a personal sidearm, and that's kept me interested."

If I had one of every gun that Custer was "supposed" to have had at Little Big Horn I'd have one hell of a collection.

Over the years, in addition to the RIC, I've seen it speculated that he had (among others):

1. S&W Americans
2. Early S&W Schofields
3. British Webley Bulldogs
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Old February 21, 2014, 12:45 PM   #4
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As for help with your specific revolver, you've already given a pretty fair assessment that it's a basket case and may well be beyond recovery.

Parts are going to be impossible to find. You might end up making some or modifying some others to maybe fit/work.

Stick it in a shadow box as a relic of a bygone age.
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Old February 21, 2014, 12:54 PM   #5
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Add to that...

Quote:
Over the years, in addition to the RIC, I've seen it speculated that he had (among others):

1. S&W Americans
2. Early S&W Schofields
3. British Webley Bulldogs
A Trapdoor Carbine and a RRB Carbine, both of which were his favorite rifle.
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Old February 21, 2014, 06:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Over the years, in addition to the RIC, I've seen it speculated that he had (among others):

1. S&W Americans
2. Early S&W Schofields
3. British Webley Bulldogs
You are preaching to the choir. Custer was a "gun guy", and could have owned all of the above. There are many references to "Bulldogs", often plated and with ivory grips, which could have been just about any short, British-made revolver. My RIC, and the one pictured in the G&A article, appear to have nickel-plated hammer and trigger.

The gun came to me with a single round of .45 GAP, which fits perfectly in the chambers.

Quote:
Stick it in a shadow box as a relic of a bygone age.
That's Plan B. I've been to the LBH battlefield, shortly after the fire that left it looking much as it had 100 years earlier. A few pics, an arrowhead, a moldy bullet, and it would look good hanging on my wall.
There is some sort of "Webley RIC Collectors Society", or similar, about 100 miles north of me in British Columbia, but their website doesn't have a phone number or email address.

Last edited by RickB; February 21, 2014 at 06:40 PM.
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Old February 24, 2014, 05:24 PM   #7
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A little video blurb on the gun (skip to 25:00):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFJk4ykc-ko
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Old February 24, 2014, 05:45 PM   #8
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I would try and talk to the collectors society. I have what I believe to be a 1883 Webley RIC "bulldog" in .450. I have had a friend load me some rounds. It shot pretty awesome and is in great condition. It is reblued however. Other than that I dont know anything. My grandpa told me, he was told he could shoot .45 acp out of it. I haven;t found any information to say that this is safe. It will fit, however. I have been to numerous gun shows and shops. No one knows a thing about it except that it is what it is.
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Old February 24, 2014, 07:16 PM   #9
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You absolutely do not want to fire .45 ACP out of a blackpowder pistol made in the 1880s that's chambered for something else!
I think shooting ACP out of even WWI-vintage Mk. VI Webleys is probably not a good idea, either; .45 ACP is equivalent to a .455 proof load.
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Old February 24, 2014, 08:21 PM   #10
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There is a saying that Webley once made two guns alike but it was an accident and was not allowed to happen again. So I can't speak about all Webley's or all RIC's but my RIC ejector rod does not unscrew for use (though the rod head unscrews from the rod). It has a system where once in place it is turned about 1/8 turn clockwise (as seen from the muzzle) to lock in place against recoil, then reversed to pull it out to be turned for ejection.

The base pin has a large head, shaped to fit around the barrel and the crane that holds the ejector rod; it can be (normally) removed once the ejector crane is swung out of the way. The crane is not on a collar around the barrel like on some revolvers, but pivots on a screw fitted into a frame boss. HTH

Jim
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Old February 25, 2014, 12:28 PM   #11
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I think your description of the ejector system is correct for all RICs made after the First Pattern.
The majority of pics I see of RICs, and demos on youtube, show the ejector rotating around a fixture on the frame, but the RIC 1/1 ejector does rotate around the barrel, a la the Russian Nagant.
Check out the pics here:
http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Webley_RIC
You can see the seam created by the collar around the barrel of the top gun, and you can see some of the frame-mounted mechanism of the 2nd Pattern, below.

EDIT: Here's another series of pics, showing the ejector rod connected to the barrel, and no mechanism mounted to the frame:
http://forums.nitroexpress.com/showt...?Number=157554

Last edited by RickB; February 25, 2014 at 07:00 PM.
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Old February 25, 2014, 07:06 PM   #12
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Cool factor for an RIC is off the charts

Bulldog revolvers were a successful part of the Webley story. So successful that EVERYBODY copied them.

I think President Garfield was murdered with one of them.
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Old February 25, 2014, 07:38 PM   #13
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Me too

Quote:
Not a Webley but I have a Forehand and Wadsworth version of this revolver in .44 Webley/.442 RIC.

The ejector rod design is as you describe, although I have not been able to budge the head/knob of the ejector rod to get it out.

This pistol works fine and shoots well.

I gave 175.00 for the pistol and then fifty bucks for 250 round of .44 Webley black powder reloads.

The case for the reloads is a cut down .44 Special. Dimensions are near perfect to match the upper end of the specs for the original .44 Webley.

I do not know who reloaded these rounds but they did a great job of cutting the cases and loading them up.

Lot of fun to shoot.
I have a similar pistol. I cut down cases myself and load in .44 lead round balls.
They look like this. The longer cartridge is the .44 Webley, the shorter one is the .44 Bulldog.


I had some loaded for me by GAD Custom cartridges. The bullet in the picture comes from him.
The gun...kinda beat up but the bore is good and it shoots nicely.

That all being said...I would love to see a picture of the new acquisition. I lust after Webley pistols in general and generally cannot afford them.
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Old February 25, 2014, 07:47 PM   #14
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RickB is correct. Dowell says, "Very many variations of the R.I.C. revolvers were manufactured..." That is a neat piece of understatement.

FWIW, mine is a much later model with a fluted cylinder long enough to accept .45 Colt and has, in fact, been converted to that caliber. Yes, the recoil is a bit hefty.

Pres. Garfield was assassinated with a .44 Webley British Bulldog. A picture can be seen in the Wikipedia entry on the assassination.

Jim
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Old February 25, 2014, 11:29 PM   #15
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A guy on gunboards says his Mk. 1's ejector rod is retained only by the pressure/friction of an internal spring, and that it can be just pulled straight out. I have applied a brass mallet judiciously, and it's not moving.
I also found a thread there started by a guy who's missing the same two springs that I'm missing.
This is kind of fun, on an intellectual level, but I suspect the gun will end up in a shadow box.
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Old February 26, 2014, 10:40 AM   #16
James K
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Can you turn the ejector rod at all?

Jim
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Old February 26, 2014, 01:35 PM   #17
RickB
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It looks like everything is rusted to everything else.
If I could get the ejector rod out, I could try to "tap" the crane assembly to free it up, and if I could get it rotated out of the way of the basepin, I could perhaps "tap" that out of the frame. I've been tapping on just about everything.
I can see the tip of the ejector rod through the frame when the hammer is cocked, a la Single Action Army, and I may try to remove the hammer so I can get at that end of the ejector and try to "tap" it out from the rear.
I've thought about using (padded) pliers to grab the head of the ejector rod, to see if I can turn it, in the interest of loosening it, but I'm more interested in not breaking anything, than I am in loosening the rod so it can be removed.
Even if I can get it all apart, find a trigger guard and springs, the results will be my saying, "Wow, it works!", and then it will go into the box, anyway.
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Old February 27, 2014, 05:53 AM   #18
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project

Quote:
Even if I can get it all apart, find a trigger guard and springs, the results will be my saying, "Wow, it works!", and then it will go into the box, anyway.
It would be a nice project, in any case, to get that old gun up and running.
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Old February 27, 2014, 12:31 PM   #19
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First step, spray it down really well with a penetrating oil.

Second step, wrap it really well in foil or heavy paper, something that will keep the oil from dripping.

Third step, stick it in your deep freeze for a couple of days.

Fourt step, take it out, and see if you can start breaking things loose. If not, repeat steps 1-3.

If you don't have a deep freeze, consider getting some dry ice.

I've always found that cold does a much better job at freeing up rusted parts.
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Old February 27, 2014, 07:57 PM   #20
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I'll give that a try. thanks!
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Old February 27, 2014, 08:20 PM   #21
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Another possibility is kind of the opposite to freezing, and that is boiling. Boiling kills live rust; how it would work on that much rust I don't know, but it can't hurt.

Jim
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Old February 27, 2014, 09:20 PM   #22
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Go to your local health food store and buy a bottle of "100% pure, natural wintergreen oil." (NOT the Walgreen's stuff.) I was turned on to this by the late Clarence M. Bates (manufactured 45-70 revolvers, among others), and it is the greatest penetrant I have ever used. It helps if you heat the metal to the point where it is uncomfortable to hold, then let a few drips go into wherever you want it.

Try it; It works.
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Old February 28, 2014, 12:28 PM   #23
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I guess I'll be spending the weekend in the kitchen . . .
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Old February 28, 2014, 12:54 PM   #24
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I've never had any success with the boiling, but I have had lots of success with the combination of freezing and penetrating oil.
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Old March 2, 2014, 04:32 PM   #25
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Made some progress, today. Using a couple of long, thin punches I was able to drive ("tap") the ejector rod out from the rear of the frame. Then, I was able to rotate the ejector "crane" to about 4:00 by tapping on it with the brass hammer, and after tapping it back and forth a half-dozen times, I can now rotate it by hand through its full travel. The cylinder base-pin, which has a large knurled head on it, is next . . .
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