Webley vs. Webley – The Final Showdown

Webley vs. Webley – The Final Showdown

The MK VI Battlefield Finish Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

By Dennis Adler

So this is where we left off last Thursday with the Battlefield Finish Webley MK VI CO2 model being compared to the .455 caliber MK VI civilian model from the 1920s. As you can see, the look of the Battlefield Finish model is that of a true weathered gunmetal steel pistol and is far more realistic than either of the other MK VI CO2 model finishes. The nickel plated guns were actually a rarity. When I completed this shot for Part 2 of the article, I actually pulled the CO2 model out of the studio mistaking it for the .455 caliber Webley model.

I have to begin this belated wrap up of the Webley & Scott Battlefield Finish MK VI with a story. After I finished last Thursday’s Part 2 article I put the MK VI Exhibition and Service Model CO2 revolvers away, which left the last studio setup to be broken down. That was the photo of the Battlefield Finish MK VI and my original .455 caliber civilian model Webley MK VI. I have owned that MK VI for over 25 years (along with a few others) and have even shot it a few times. I’m actually a big Webley & Scott and Enfield fan. Anyway, back to the story. I reached into the studio, picked up the MK VI and was walking away when I realized I had actually grabbed the Battlefield Finish CO2 model! For an instant it felt and looked exactly the same as my .455 caliber MK VI, and that takes us to the final examination of this superb CO2 pistol, because it is remarkably like the .455 caliber model.

The right side of the MK VI CO2 model has the telltale air pistol caliber markings on the frame and the mandated but really unnecessary manual thumb safety on the lower portion of the frame just above the triggerguard. (Shown with heavy canvas MK VI holster)

When you consider that it is a true Webley & Scott firearm (since Webley & Scott also manufacturers some of the finest air rifles and air pistols in the world), you have certain expectations for excellence, and for the most part that is now best exemplified by the Battlefield Finish MK VI. This is not only the most realistic looking of the three CO2 MK VI models but also the most accurate. And yes, that still begs the question “what is wrong with the Exhibition Model’s accuracy?”

Given that there are some variances in the trigger systems between each of the three CO2 models (smoothbore BB Service Model, and even the two rifled barrel models), my tests have all pointed to the greater difficulty of keeping that highly polished front blade on the Exhibition Model centered between the small, matte black notch of the rear sight. The Battlefield Finish completely changes the sighting dynamic with the rear notch having an aged gunmetal finish, rather than stark black, and the worn edges along the top even help outline it. The equally aged front blade sight is thus effortless to center, making the gun much easier to hold on target than the Exhibition Model. Fussy triggers? That goes with the territory; it’s an early 20th century military handgun design and the originals were even harder to shoot. But you learn to adjust. What you can’t adjust to is a front sight that is difficult to see clearly, and maybe that’s one of the reasons you rarely find a nickel plated Webley. The MK VI Exhibition Model is a good looking gun, no doubt, but if you want a shooter’s gun, then it is definitely the Battlefield Finish.

Along with the latest MK VI model is the newest MK VI period holster, the famous Webley heavy canvas belt holster. (Vintage military belt and buckle by Chisholm’s Trail Leather)

Double Action vs. Single Action

In point of fact, the reason double action revolvers were invented in the first place was to make them faster to shoot than a single action (fanning doesn’t count). Cocking the hammer for a single action shot with a double action revolver was mostly a luxury. Soldiers were trained to shoot double action and so were British law enforcement officers (those who carried sidearms), as well as other British law enforcement agencies like the Singapore and Hong Kong Police, all of who carried Webley revolvers well into the post WWII era. Webley models were also used by the British military in India and Ireland, essentially anywhere in the world where the British flag flew in the 20th century. It was once said that, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” Nor it seems did it set on Webley pistols for more than a century.

The rifled barrel MK VI pellet models have brass cartridges that load the 4.5mm rounds into the back of the cartridge. Although extra cartridges are available it is very easy to break open the MK VI and reload the shells in the cylinder.

I haven’t shown this in awhile but just a reminder that the CO2 loads into the pistol grip by lifting off the left panel. The period correct lanyard ring serves as the seating screw to preserve the authentic look of the airgun.

The right side detail shows the manual safety. This is a small slide that takes a fair amount of effort to move. In the forward position the red FIRE dot is exposed…

…pull the slide lever back, exposing the white SAFE dot, and the hammer is locked in position so the gun cannot be cocked or fired.

MK VI Double Action at 10 Meters

The Webley was designed specifically for double action use with an oversized triggerguard and a massive crescent shaped trigger to get hold of. So, in keeping with the intended purpose of the gun, the final test of the Battlefield Finish MK VI will be all double action.

This Battlefield Finish has already proven itself to be the most accurate of the rifled barrel MK VI models fired single action, with a best 10-meter group measuring 0.687 inches. Now we’ll see what happens at 10 meters by just pulling the trigger.

The key asset of the Battlefield Finish is the weathered gunmetal rear sight with its worn edges that perfectly outline the top of the sight and the center notch making it so much easier to acquire the front blade and get this gun on target.

Once again I will use a Weaver stance, two handed hold and fire Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters. Trigger take up on double action remained consistent from chamber to chamber for all six rounds. As previously noted the weathered finish front sight is very easy to hold centered on the weathered gunmetal rear sight atop the stirrup latch. I was able to cleanly stage the hammer (holding the shot after the cylinder rotated into battery, getting a clean sight picture, and then completing the trigger pull) for every shot. My best 6-shot group fired double action in 1-second intervals measured 0.75 inches with a second group measuring 0.937 inches; more than satisfactory for a pistol design developed in 1915.

Not a target pistol, but the Battlefield Finish MK VI certainly hits the target better at 10 meters than either of its companion models.

Conclusions   

As a precision shooting pistol the Battlefield Finish MK VI does a better job overall than the Exhibition Model or smoothbore Service Model firing 4.5mm pellets. None of them are up to target pistol standards but at 10 meters you’ll get the most fun per trigger pull out of the latest of the three Webley & Scott models. As for looks and handling, I think the Battlefield Finish Model speaks for itself.

The Airgun Experience will return this Thursday with the start of a new series on Dan Wesson beginning with the 8-inch barrel length model; the top accuracy gun in the DW line.

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


  1. Dennis,

    I think you misunderstood my question and comment in the Dec. 7 installment. My fault. Use the word “plinking” and folks often think of accuracy as no longer being critical. Put plainly, I believe at 21 feet the smoothbore will outshoot the battlefield finish model.

    Of the smoothbore you wrote the following:

    5/11/2017: “I shot a 21 foot target using the pellet shells in my older MK VI smoothbore, which cleanly out shot the rifled barrel model with . . . all six at 0.593 inches with five shots in one ragged hole and the sixth dead center in the bottom of the X.”

    10/21/2017: At 21 feet the “Webley smoothbore using the same pellet-loading cartridges and Meisterkugeln 7.0 grain lead wadcutters gave me a best 6-shot group measuring 0.50 inches in the bullseye.”

    Can the battlefield finish model group six shots under 0.50 inch in the bullseye at 21 feet? I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

    Michael



      • Dennis,

        Excellent! These revolvers, along with the Umarex Colt revolvers and Gletcher replicas, are all so well done, they deserve as much study and coverage as possible. I consider them to be welcome throwbacks to the golden age of Crosman CO2 pistols and revolvers of the 1960s and 1970s.

        Thank you,

        Michael


  2. The Webley smoothbore is very accurate at 21 feet using the pellet cartridges, so is the Schofield. At 30 feet , the rifled barreled revolvers usually retake the lead,which for some reason the rifled Webleys don’t/ The 7 1/2 barrel nickel Peacemaker is the king, but the ugly duckling nickel Nagant pellet revolver is no slouch either. Will have to shoot the 6 inch Dan Wesson next for accuracy da ,and sa at 30 feet. Will see what 177 pellet revolver makes it as a true target shooter as well as a fun shooter. That canvas holster is nice for the Webley ,but as yet have not seen a left hand model. Found a lefty leather one on ebay. Would be nice to see some new revolver replicas in 2018.


    • Lawman67,

      I find my Schofield and smoothbore Webley accurate with the pellet shells, too.

      In my collection the all-time accurate CO2 revolvers are a three way tie: Dan Wesson (non-715 but the older, black one) 8 incher with the original screw-together pellet shells, Umarex S&W 586-8, and Daisy Model 44 with rare 8 inch barrel. A close fourth is my Crosman 38T in .177.

      I’m tempted by the 7 1/2 inch Colt, but I’m holding out for a blued (or weathered blued) 4 3/4 inch gunfighter’s model. I also think Umarex should issue the Colt 1851 Navy and Crosman, which I guess owns Remington air gun branding, should issue the Remington New Model Army / “Model 1868”. I was a bit disappointed when they instead issued the Remington Model 1875. I always considered that in last place among the American Wild West revolvers, behind the Colt SAA, Schofield, Colt 1851 Navy, and Remington New Model Army.

      Heck, I’d also go for CO2 replicas of the Colt New Service and S&W Model 10!

      Michael


      • My Crosman 38ts are leakers soI haven’t shot them in awhile. You will be very surprised by the accuracy of Peacemaker. I am hoping for the 4 3/4 gunfighter version. It is amazing that Umarex doesn’t have that version out. I use mine for fast draw. The5 1/2 inchers are fast handling, but, would still like the short barrels . Would also like to see Percussion style revolvers . Lots of exciting possibilities for the airgun replica revolver market. Hopefully Bear River will get some short barrel Schofields out next year.the Wells Fargo has been rumored, andIhave seen pictures of a 3 1/2 barrel version as well . Make it so!


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