From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The famous Webley
, standard sidearm of the British Army 1915-1932
Webley and Scott
is an arms manufacturer based in Birmingham,
England. Webley produced
handguns and long guns from 1834.
The company ceased to manufacture firearms in 1979 and now produces air pistols and air rifles.
Webley is famous for the revolvers and automatic pistols it supplied to
Empire's military particularly the British Army from 1887 through both World War I and World War II.
The Webley company was founded in the late
18th century by William Davies, who made bullet moulds. It was
taken over in 1834 by his son-in-law, Philip Webley, who began
sporting guns. The manufacture of revolvers, for which the firm
became famous, began 20 years later. At that time the company
was named Webley & Son. In 1897
Webley amalgamated with W & C Scott and Sons to become The
Webley and Scott Revolver and Arms Company Ltd of Birmingham.
Webley's revolvers became the official British
sidearm in 1887 and remained in British service until 1963. However after 1921
Webley service revolvers were manufactured by the government-owned
Small Arms Factory in Enfield.
No.2 .38 inch calibre revolver, based on the Webley Mark
VI, became the standard British service revolver. However,
wartime shortages ensured that all marks of the Webley including
models in .455 and .38/200 remained in use through World War Two,
and the pistol remained in service as a substitute standard weapon
into the early 1960s.
the passing of the Firearms Act in the UK, which
limited the availability of handguns to civilians, caused their
sales to plummet. As a result the company began producing pneumatic guns in 1924, their first being the
Mark I air pistol.
Demand for air guns increased rapidly in the
1920s and Webley's business began to grow again, with an inevitable
peak related to weapons supply for British military use during
the Second World War. Declining sales led to the decision to give
up firearms manufacture completely in 1979, and Webley then only
manufactured and distributed air guns until 22 December 2005, when the company closed
down. Webley's dependent company - Venom Custom Shop - ceased
trading as well. It was then bought by Wolverhampton-based company
In March 2007 Airgunsport Ltd announced it
was to take advantage of the historical name by re-branding itself
as Webley Ltd, with the Webley & Scott name retained for its
Until 1979 Webley and Scott manufactured shotguns and revolvers for private use, as well as producing
sidearms for military and police use. This came to include both
revolvers and self-loading (semi-automatic) pistols.
Webley's production originally consisted of
hand-crafted firearms, although mass-production was later introduced
to supply police and military buyers.
The first Webley production revolver appeared
in 1853. Known as the Longspur
it was a muzzle-loaded percussion
cap and ball pistol. Some consider it to be the finest revolver
of its day as it could shoot as fast as the contemporary Colt revolvers and was faster to load.
However the hand-made Longspur could not compete in price with
mass-produced revolvers such as the Colt, and production never
equalled that of Webley's competitors Adams (Deane, Adams &
Deane) or Tranter.
Webley's first popular success came with its
revolver, adopted by the Royal Irish Constabulary
in 1867. A pair of Webley
RIC Model revolvers were presented to Brevet Major General George Armstrong Custer by
Lord Berkeley in 1869, and
it is believed that General Custer was using them at the time
of his death in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
There is some question whether the gun or guns presented to George
Armstrong Custer were Webley RICs. Other sources indicate
that Lord Berkeley Paget presented Custer with a Galand &
Sommerville 44 calibre revolver (manufactured in England by the
firm of Braendlin & Sommerville) and gave another to Tom Custer.
Of course, it is possible that Lord Berkeley Paget may have given
Custer two revolvers, both a Galand & Sommerville and a Webley
RIC or even given the Custer brothers, in some combination, a
pair of Webley RICs and a pair of Galand & Sommervilles. A
cased Galand & Sommerville revolver certainly formed part
of Tom Custers estate. It is an unconfirmed possibility
that the Galand & Sommerville 44 revolver chambered the same
ammunition as the first Webley RICs, i.e. Webley's .442
Almost all of Webley's subsequent revolvers
were of a top-break
design. A pivoting lever on the side of the gun's upper receiver
was pressed to release the barrel and cylinder assembly, which
then tilts up and forward on a bottom-front pivot. After loading,
the assembly is tilted back into firing position and locked closed.
Webley went on to produce more revolvers for
the civilian market, introducing the Webley Boxer, which
used the most powerful handgun cartridge of the day, the .577 Boxer, in 1868. Webley's popular series of pocket revolvers,
the British Bulldog, were developed in 1872, available in .442 and .450 calibres, and
In the 1880s Webley developed a rugged and
powerful revolver for the British military, the Webley Mk 1. Nicknamed "the British
in the United
States, it was manufactured in .450, .455, and .476 calibre
and founded a family of revolvers that were the standard handguns
of the British Army, Royal
Navy, and British police constabularies
from 1887 to 1918. The Mark
VI (known as the Webley Revolver No. 1 Mark VI after 1927) was
the last standard service pistol made by Webley; the most widely-produced
of their revolvers, 300,000 were made for service during World
Webley began experimenting with semi-automatic
action in 1900 and in 1909 they began producing a
series of semi-automatic pistols for civilian and police use.
Their .32 Automatic Pistol was adopted by London's Metropolitan
Police in 1911. The
same weapon in .38 calibre was used by the Royal Navy as a substitute standard weapon
during World War II.
In 1924 Webley produced its first air pistol,
the Mark I.
Webley introduced its Mark II air rifle. During World War
II Webley air rifles were used for rifle training as well as civilian
target shooting and hunting.
The Mark II, known as the service air rifle
because of its use by the UK military, used break-action with
a superimposed barrel locked by bolt action. The detachable barrel
was easily interchangeable with others of the three calibers available.
The Mark II was discontinued in 1946 and replaced by the Mark III, in production
until 1975. The Mark III
was a top-loaded air rifle with a fixed barrel and used underlever
cocking. It was only made in .177 and .22 calibers.
Webley continues to manufacture air pistols
in .22 (5.5mm) and .177 (4.5mm) caliber, and air rifles in .22,
.177 and .25 (6.35mm) caliber. A variety of actions are available
in several different models, including the Nemesis, Stinger,
and Tempest air pistols and Raider, Venom,
and Vulcan air rifles. In early 2007 Webley broke away
from its traditional 'barrel overlever' design to launch the revised
Typhoon model, a 'break-barrel' design with a recoil-reduction
Webley and Scott has also returned to shotgun
production with alliances with European manufacturers, and now
markets a number of sporting and competition shotguns.
The Webley Longspur Revolver (1853)
The Royal Irish Constabulary Revolver (1867)
The Boxer Revolver (1868)
The British Bulldog Revolver (1872)
Developed from the RIC Revolver, with a barrel
only 2 1/2 inches it could fit in a coat pocket.
Revolver Marks I - VI, (1887 to 1923)
Sold commercially as the "Webley-Government"
The Webley-Wilkinson (1884 to 1914)
A very high-quality revolver manufactured by
Webley, sold by Wilkinson
The Mars Automatic Pistol (1900)
The Webley-Fosbery Automatic
The Webley Mark I Air Pistol (1924)
The Webley Mark II Air Rifle (1929)
The Webley Mark III Air Rifle
The model 100 single barrel shotgun
The model 400, 500 & 700 boxlock shotguns
Webley & Scott automatic pistols
A number of designs were made after the turn
of the century. One would go on to be adopted by the Royal Navy,
and serve in both world wars.
Dowell, William Chipcase, The Webley Story,
(Commonwealth Heritage Foundation, Kirkland, Washington: 1987)
Webley and Scott Webpage
Gun Quarter, Birmingham