Webley vs. Webley – The Final Showdown

Webley vs. Webley – The Final Showdown

The Finish, the Trigger, and the Accuracy Part 2 Part 1 Part 3

By Dennis Adler

A Webley has a very distinctive look, the Mk VI featuring a square-butt grip, flat sided barrel, and large triggerguard. Military MK VI models had a dull finish (like the CO2 Service Model) that was less reflective than the blued finish used on some Webley & Scott military sidearms and commercially-produced models. The Battlefield Finish is a brilliant compromise with a gunmetal look and edge wear of the barrel flats, cylinder flutes, and other parts.

Of all the vintage military CO2 pistols available today the three most complicated to faithfully copy are the Broomhandle Mauser Model 712, Luger P.08 and Webley MK VI, each for different reasons, but all demanding a level of precision far exceeding that of other WWI and WWII pistols. The Webley is certainly the least problematical to build of the trio; the Mauser Model 712 with its selective fire blowback action and the semiautomatic P.08 with a toggle link blowback action require far more complex mechanisms, but the Webley is just as exceptional in its design and operation for a revolver.

The Webley & Scott topbreak design was used from 1894 to 1935. By comparison, Broomhandle Mausers were produced from 1896 to around 1937, and the P.08 (introduced in 1908 but not the first Luger model) until around 1942. Thus the Webley has a long and distinguished history that makes it well worth reproducing as a CO2 model, more so since it is manufactured by Webley & Scott. [1]

The rubbed finish shows age and the wear on all edges gives the MK VI Battlefield Finish Model a very realistic look, more so than either the Service Model or nickel silver Exhibition Model.

The Battlefield Finish MK VI

The third MK VI, and for many, the best looking of the three Webley & Scott CO2 models, the Battlefield Finish version is an instant best seller because of its exceptional true to the era gunmetal finish showing wear to the edges of the barrel flats, muzzle, edges of the cylinder flutes, triggerguard and backstrap. There is even a wear line below the stirrup latch release lever on the frame. However, the most valuable characteristic of the surface wear on the MK VI model is the sights with faded edges that provide a better outline of the rear notch and front blade. This makes the sights easier to acquire and hold on target compared to either the dark flat military finish Service Model or bright polish Exhibition MK VI. This advantage alone bumps the Battlefield Finish MK VI to the front of the queue.

Edge wear and gunmetal finish actually make the front sight easier to see.

10 Meters Downrange

 We have established that the Battlefield Finish MK VI has the heaviest double action trigger pull at a hefty 10 pounds, 12.0 ounces average and a moderately light single action trigger press of 4 pounds, 8.3 ounces. The other difference between the nickel silver Exhibition Model is the feel of the trigger, which is more consistent and routinely stages the hammer for aimed double action shots. Fired single action, the Exhibition Model experienced some creep in the trigger pull while the trigger on the Battlefield Finish MK VI is smoother and more dependable from shot to shot. While these are very minor differences overall, for improved accuracy the Battlefield Finish MK VI has an edge. I like the authentic heft and balance of this CO2 model, which weighs an exact 38 ounces empty, the same as an original MK VI.

A Webley is unmistakable, especially with the gun’s massive stirrup latch used to release the barrel for loading and unloading. The large release lever on the left side of the frame is pushed down to pivot and unlatch a locking bar over the back of the topstrap, thus freeing the barrel assembly to be tilted downward for automatic extraction of spent shells and quick reloading. Notice the wear line on the frame which would have occurred over time from heavy use of the latch release in the field.

/s/m/Webley_MKVI_CO2_Pellet_Revolver_Battlefield_Finish/4482 Notice how the worn edges of the rear sight atop the stirrup latch make it easier to see, and also how the front sight’s wear contributes to making it equally quick to center and hold on target.

Although 10 meters is beyond the optimum accuracy range for a smoothbore pistol, since the MK VI Service Model can fire the same pellet loading cartridges it is included in this final 10 meter comparison. All three guns will be loaded with Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 grain lead wadcutters and I used my homemade sighting targets, which have a grid so the gun can be aimed precisely by determining proper holdover or holdunder.

I’m going to cut to the chase and test the Battlefield Finish MK VI first. At 10 meters fired single action my best 6-shot group measured 0.687 inches in the bullseye. The pistol required a 1.5 inch holdunder. Remember that. It was fired offhand using a two-handed hold. With a pellet-firing model this is the best I have done with the Webley. My simple explanation for this fine result, compared to previous tests with the Exhibition Model has a little to do with the trigger pull and a lot to do with how well you can see and hold the sights on target with the Battlefield Finish Webley MK VI.

Weighing in at 38 ounces, measuring an exact 11.25 inches in length and 5.75 inches in height, the MK VI air pistol is as close to the original Webley revolver as possible. Accuracy at 10 meters with the rifled barrel Battlefield Finish Model was what was expected of the Exhibition Model, somewhat unrealized with that gun but more than made up for with the latest model. The Battlefield Finish is the right combination of trigger pull ease and sights that are easy to acquire and hold on target.

The Service Model with smoothbore barrel firing the same pellet-loading cartridges delivered a best 6-shot group measuring 1.875 inches, which isn’t bad for a smoothbore at 10 meters.

The rifled barrel Exhibition Model got one more run at 10 meters delivering a best six rounds fired single action measuring 1.25 inches. No better than previous single action tests. The bright front sight is the main culprit here along with the less precise single action trigger pull. Why this is an issue with the Exhibition Model, which shoots 2-inches low at 10 meters when fired single action, still remains a mystery. But one thing is for certain, the Battlefield Finish model has redeemed the rifled barrel Webley MK VI.

It looks like a Webley because it is a Webley. Shown with an original MK VI (left) the latest rifled barrel CO2 model from Webley & Scott is the best of the lot with a perfectly aged finish showing high edge wear, the best combination of trigger and sights of the three CO2 models, and the best accuracy at 10 meters. This one is a keeper.

On Saturday, I will wrap up with a 10-meter double action field test of the Battlefield Finish MK VI.

[1] The MK VI is based on the original 1915 blueprints for the .455 caliber pistol, and manufactured at a factory in Taiwan set up to build the CO2 models to Webley & Scott’s stringent standards. The airguns are sold by Webley & Scott, which has its own storied history in the airgun market since the early 1900s.

Part 3 will be published on Monday.

 

4 thoughts on “Webley vs. Webley – The Final Showdown


    • Same as the others, still has the manual safety mechanism. I’ll add a right hand shot in Saturday’s conclusion on the gun. This is the best finish of the three models by far, and a great shooter compared to the Exhibition Model (still can’t figure out why). If you’re only going to get one MK VI, this would be your best bet.


  1. Dennis,

    First, I see that your Battlefield finish has is a bit less distressed than the one in the photos used by Pyramyd Air. Your specimen looks VERY good, but it also looks as though it would take less work than one might expect to get a black smoothbore model to that light degree of finish wear.

    Second, we know that even the most accurate smoothbore BB guns begin to lose accuracy on a steep curve after, say, 7-8 yards. As most backyard plinking is done at much less than 10 meters, I wonder if you would consider an additional double-action contest between the best of the two rifled models against the smoothbore, shooting pellets, at 7 or 8 yards. This would be akin to a catch-weight bout in boxing, where two fighters of comparable ability but a significant weight difference agree to meet at a weight between them. How might Henry Armstrong have fared against Sugar Ray Robinson had they fought at 142, not 147? Was Ray that much better or simply that much bigger?

    Michael


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