Webley vs. Webley – The Final Showdown
By Dennis Adler
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.