Webley & Scott is a gun manufacturer, founded in Birmingham, England in 1790. While current production consists of shotguns, air rifles and air pistols, Webley is most famous for is revolvers supplied to the British Army in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Set-up by William Davis in Birmingham to produce bullet molds in 1790, Davis' son in law Philip Webley took over the company in 1834 who began the manfacture of percussion sporting guns, under the name of P. Webley & Son. In 1897 Webley merged with W & C Scott & Sons to form Webley & Scott Revolver and Arms Company Ltd, Birmingham.
The famed Webley Revolvers were adopted by the British Army in 1887, becoming (for the most part) standard issue. In 1921 production of the Webley revolvers moved to the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield, which was owned by the British government. The Webley revolver would remain the main side arm of the British Army until 1964. The Enfield No.2 manufactured from 1932 had been intended to replace the Webley revolvers, however, lack of materials and wartime shortages meant that the Webley would remain in the British Army until 1964.
The Firearms Act in 1920, restricting the sale of firearms to civilians, almost brought Webley & Scott to its knees. It was at this time the decision was made to build pneumatic (air) guns. The Mark I air pistol became the first of Webleys air pistols. Demand for air pistols grew in Britain in the 1920's hence rejuvenating Webley & Scott's market. Production of air pistols would go on, after the decision to stop firearms manufacture in 1979, until 2005 when Webley & Scott closed down.
At present Webley & Scott is owned by Wolverhampton based Airgunsport, whom relocated production to Turkey.
Webley and Scott, prior to 1979, manufactured shotguns and revolvers as well as air pistols and rifles. Initial guns were all hand crafted, with mass-production introduced to cater for Police and Military sales.
The first revolver produced by Webley & Scott in 1853. It was a muzzle-loaded percussion cap and ball pistol. All models were hand built meaning that, despite the Longspur's reputation for being the best revolver of its day (able to shoot as fast as the Colt revolvers and reload in a fraction of the time), the Longspur couldn't compete with the mass-produced Colt or Webley & Scott's own rival Adams.
British Bull Dog RevolverEdit
Manufactured from 1872 the British Bull Dog was intended for sale in the civilian market. Widely exported and copied the British Bull Dog was avaliable for .44 short rimfire, .442 and .450 calibers. Later smaller models were produced using .320 and .380 calibers.
Webley Revolvers Mk I - VIEditThe Webley & Scott Mk I Revolver entered service in 1887, replacing the Enfield Mk I & Mk II revolvers. The initial order ws for 10,000 guns as the Webley Self-Extracting Revolver (as it was officially named) had performed well at trials. The Mk IV became prominent during the Boer War of 1899 - 1902 and has become known as the best of the Webley revolvers, produced in 1915 and continuing in service until 1964. All Mks of Webley Revolvers used the .455 Webley cartridge, dictated by the fact that .455 was the standard issue calibre for British sidearms.
Webley-Fosbery Automatic RevolverEdit
The first commerically avaliable automatic revolver, designed by Lieutenant Colonel George V. Fosbery, VC in 1901. Using the recoil of the gun to slide the barrel, cylinder and action back on a slide the cylinder would rotate (due to a fixed pin in the frame and zig-zag pattern on the cylinder) and allow the next shot to be taken. Intended for military use the Webley-Fosbery was not a popular choice, prone to jamming in muddy conditions and hence production was stopped in 1915. However in target shooting the Webley-Fosbery had a very good reputation for being an accurate and quick shooting gun.
Webley Mk IV Service RevolverEdit
The Webley Mk IV Service Revolver was a .38/200 calibre version of the Webley Revolver. This version of the Webley Revolver would last until the 1960's while also bringing a legal dispute between Webley and Enfield (whom had released a near exact copy of the Mk IV Service Revolver named the Enfield No. 2 Revolver).
Produced from 1884 until 1915 and sold by the Wilkinson Sword company, the Webley-Wilkinson was considered a high-quality revolver avaliable for commericial sale.
Auto-loading pistols which, although never formerly adopted by the military some models were used as personal sidearms by officers. All of Webley's automatic pistols were designed around the basic pistol principles of Single action, blowback operating designs, all designed by William Whiting, production ending in 1940.
Webley 1905* (experimental gun)Edit
A self-loading pistol designed for military use. Brought to the SAC (Small Arms Comittee) in 1905 the pistol never became a service pistol for the British Army, preferring the Colt range of pistols. The comittee, however, did not recommend any automatic pistols over the service revolvers (which were all Webley manufactured).
Webley Self-loading .455 mark IEdit
By 1910 Webley designer William Whiting had designed the .455 mark I, a second self-loading pistol. Contrary to the previous 1905 experimental gun the SAC recommended the .455 mark I in 1911. It became the first automatic pistol to enter official service in 1912 when the Royal Navy adopted it. The Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Flying Corps would also adopt the Self-loading Mark I.
M1906 Webley & Scott .32 ACP Self-loading PistolEdit
Adopted by the London Metropoliton Police in 1911 following the Seige of Sydney Street and replacing the British Bull Dogs used at the time. It is also reffered to as the Webley MP for this reason.
Other notable gunsEdit
- Royal Irish Constabulary Revolver - 1867
- Boxer Revolver - 1868
- Mars Automatic Pistol - 1900
- Webley Mark I Air pistol - 1924
- Webley Mark II/III Air rifle - 1929
- Webley Hawk Mark III Air rifle - 1977
- Model 100 single barrel shotgun
- Model 400, 500 & 700 boxlock shotguns
- An experimental gun, never given a formal name
The Webley revolvers were standard issue from 1887 until 1964. Being seen as reliable, accurate and relativly cheap to manufacture (compared to other revolvers at the time) the Webley MkI - VI were used in the Boer War of 1899 - 1902 as well as both the First and Second World Wars. Although other Webley revolvers and pistols were never formally adopted by the military, many models were used (as private arms) on the field of combat.
Webley & Scott firearms were used by many commonwealth countries and police forces, being copied and exported in great numbers.
- Dowell, William Chipcase, The Webley Story, (Commonwealth Heritage Foundation, Kirkland, Washington: 1987)