Webley Mark VI service revolver with battlefield finish: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Webley Mark VI
Webley Mark VI service revolver with battlefield finish. This one is rifled and shoots pellets.

This report covers:

  • Zulu!
  • Velocity test
  • CO2
  • The test
  • JSB Exact RS
  • RWS Hobby
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • Velocity is increasing
  • And then…
  • Not finished testing yet
  • Shot count
  • H&N Finale Match High Speed pellets
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Zulu!

“Front rank fire; rear rank fire! Advance! Rear rank fire! Advance…!” So goes the volley fire scene in the epic movie, Zulu. That movie is based on the true story of the British Army defending Rorke’s Drift (a ford in a wide stream) in January of 1879, when 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors attacked just more than 150 British and colonial troops and tried to wipe them out. Just the day before at the Battle of Isandlwana, 20,000 Zulu warriors had killed over 1,300 British troops.

The fighting at Rorke’s Drift was so epic that 11 Victoria Crosses, Britain’s highest military honor and equivalent to our Medal of Honor, were awarded. In the scene shown above, Lieutenant Bromhead, who commanded the British forces, is seen with his Webley revolver. Whenever I see and hold this revolver, my mind springs to that movie scene that is supposedly quite realistic.

Velocity test

Today I look at the velocity of the Webley Mark VI pellet revolver. I am hoping this revolver is accurate like the firearm, so the pellets I’m testing today are the ones I intend testing for accuracy. I will shoot 5-shot groups for accuracy, so I will test more than three pellets today. Let’s get started.

CO2

I first installed a 12-gram CO2 cartridge in the grip. As I said before, the left grip panel comes off for this and the lanyard loop is the handle for the piercing screw. When the cartridge was pierced I heard nothing, but the first shot told me the gas was flowing.

The test

I will test each pellet in both single action (where the hammer is manually cocked before each shot) and double action (just pulling the trigger) modes. I will wait at least 10 seconds between each shot. Since the cylinder holds 6 pellets, that is what I will test in each mode.

JSB Exact RS

The first pellet tested was the JSB Exact RS dome. In single action they averaged 413 f.p.s. for 6 shots. The low was 390 and the high was 431 f.p.s. In double action the average was 410 f.p.s. The low was 388 and the high was 428 f.p.s. The spread in single action was 41 f.p.s. and in double action it was 40 f.p.s. At the average velocity in single action this pellet generated 2.78 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

RWS Hobby

The RWS Hobby pellet was tested next. In single action Hobbys averaged 437 f.p.s. The low was 415 and the high was 449 f.p.s. In double action the average was also 437 f.p.s. The low was 422 and the high was 460 f.p.s. The spread in single action was 34 f.p.s. In double action it was 38 f.p.s. At the average velocity in both single action and double action this pellet generated 2.97 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Next up was the pellet that would be the real speed demon of the test, the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutter. This lightweight pellet averaged 510 f.p.s. in single action. The spread went from a low of 503 to a high of 514 f.p.s. In double action the average was 508 f.p.s. with a spread that went from a low of 501 to 520 f.p.s. The spread in single action was 11 f.p.s. In double action it was 19 f.p.s. At the average velocity in single action this pellet generated 3.03 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Air Arms Falcons

Next we have the Falcon from Air Arms. This domed pellet averaged 433 f.p.s. in the single action mode. The spread went from a low of 420 to a high of 447 f.p.s. In double action the average was 422 f.p.s. The spread went from 414 to 439 f.p.s. The spread in single action was 27 f.p.s. In double action it was 25 f.p.s. At the average velocity in single action this pellet generated 3.05 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Velocity is increasing

As this test unfolds the velocity seems to be increasing slightly. I think the cartridges are breaking in as they are used. Knowing that sets us up for the next thing to happen.

And then…

Next up were H&N Finale Match Light pellets. I probably shouldn’t have tested them because the pellets I have are the old Finale Match High Speed pellets that weigh 7 grains, even. The Finale Match Light pellets that can be bought today weigh 7.87 grains, so my results are based on a pellet that is lighter than what you can purchase.

When my average for six of these 7-grain wadcutters in single action was only 394 f.p.s. I strongly suspected the gas cartridge was running on fumes. And the way to check that is to shoot another JSB Exact RS pellet that was the first to be tested. I did that and got a velocity of 394 f.p.s. The cartridge has clearly run out of liquid.

Not finished testing yet

The cartridge may be off the power curve, but I know most people won’t notice it right away. They will keep on shooting, so I did the same. Here are the next 11 shots of Finale Match pellets. I’ll number them as they occurred on the initial cartridge — taking into account the first shot that only tested that the cartridge was pierced.

Shot…….Vel.
56……….381
57……….362
58……….366
59……….362
60……….341
61……….354
62……….345
63……….319
64……….310
65……….303
66……….280

Shot count

That gives you a pretty good idea of the shot count to expect from a CO2 cartridge. You can pick where you want to stop shooting. I can tell you that by shot 65 I could easily hear the power dropping. You can pick your own point to stop shooting and replace cartridges. I did it here. Now let’s look at those H&N Finale Match High Speed pellets.

H&N Finale Match High Speed pellets

In single action on a fresh CO2 cartridge the average was 444 f.p.s. The spread went from a low of 433 to a high of 452 f.p.s. In double action the average was 440 f.p.s. and the spread went from 428 to 449 f.p.s. If you compare the single action average in this test (444 f.p.s.) to the one I shot with the first cartridge (394 f.p.s.) you can see clearly that the gun had fallen off the power curve.

The spread in single action was 19 f.p.s. In double action it was 21 f.p.s. At the average velocity in single action this pellet generated 3.06 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Trigger pull

The single action trigger pull is fairly crisp, with just a hint of creep. The trigger breaks at 3 lbs. 14 oz. in single action. Double action is much heavier. I will estimate between 18 and 25 lbs. pull, and in that respect it is very much like the firearm. You aren’t going to shoot this revolver double action that much. I can assure you.

Summary

This air pistol is hot! The specs say 430 f.p.s., but we saw a lot faster than that, and I think this one will continue speeding up a little as time passes. Loading is quick and easy and the cartridges don’t have to be extracted to do it. Just open the gun and load into the base of the shells.

I started this report by telling you how I relate to a big Webley revolver. I think the gun is cool and the pellet gun is very nice. I sure hope it’s accurate!

48 thoughts on “Webley Mark VI service revolver with battlefield finish: Part 3


  1. BB
    Volley fire obviously had it’s place in time. Semi-auto ‘riflemen’ before we had semi-auto ‘rifles’.

    Fortunately for us British Officers, like too many leaders in our own military today, ( in my personal opinion ) were not bright enough to figure out when to change tactics or come up with a winning plan of attack resulting in us winning the revolutionary war.

    You know BB it was getting a little frustrating to find out that the rifle you just purchased was issued just a month or so later in a larger caliber. The one you would have ordered in the first place. Same with the airguns finish. I contacted P/A about it a while back and it appears they are informing us of future product options to the best of their ability these days. They do listen to us.

    In the case of this Webley I got the bb version never knowing there would be a pellet version out soon but I lucked out. It was available in the nickel presentation finish so I now have another model to go with the barrel rifling. But … who knew there would be another distressed version of it !
    I should have figured it out after the Colt SAA came out. Quality airguns seem to handle it well.

    So tell me BB, How is the custom engraving working out for airgun sales? Should we expect it to continue?

    Bob M



    • Bob M,

      Volley fire with breech-loading weapons was a direct consequence of not evolving from muzzleloader proceedures. By that I mean; volleyfire still gives you a rate of fire that approximates that of the least proficient rifleman. That sort of stagnation is easily understood when the officers know that innovation by an officer, that isn’t clearly identifiable in advance as giving guaranteed superior results, is a career kiss of death.
      So with that system in place who gets promoted? Make no waves types.

      Preparations however are currently well underway to win our last engagement…, Lol!

      shootski


      • Shootski
        I figured I might get some replies to that comment. You obviously encountered this type of situation first hand. BB may have also.
        After presenting me with the Navy Achievement Medal at quarters one day for single handedly saving a C-118 from the bone yard while supervising the Airframe Shop in a previous squadron the commanding officer inquired why I was assigned to the tool room in this F-14 Squadron … Well he was late for class in the F-14 training school a few times and put on report. He was number one in the class standing and we wanted to make him an instructor but decided he was too unreliable. (Thank God it worked) Nothing came of it so he was assigned to the tool room as supervisor. Turns out he played an important part in starting up tool control for the Navy so he was kept there during the transition to the new F-14.

        I was the obvious candidate to make my next sea duty squadron tool control compliant. After that I would return to regular duties. Turned out that would be supervising the flight deck troubleshooters on the USS Constellation. Had to remind them I had never worked on the F-14 and could not remember much from the school I attended over two years ago. They sent me through it again and I made the best of it again. The most exciting, dangerous job I ever had, especially during night flight ops in a lights out blackout condition.
        In another reserve helicopter squadron I strongly suggested that we needed a third shift of a few qualified mechs to keep up with repairs overnight so as to have them ready for reservists to fly all day and into the night each day. We were simply not able to keep up with the demand for airworthy aircraft.
        They returned late at night in need of repair and servicing but just sat there till morning.
        The idea was turned down because the Commanding Officer who was a reservist himself “Liked to have a lot of people around him when he was there” To CHA more than likely.

        There are a lot of people in management positions who were shall we say misplaced there by self serving people above them.
        It’s probably not restricted to the military. College does not make you smart it makes you educated. You are either born to be smart or not. Common sense combined with education is a winning combination and in my experience not often found. Some people can achieve it through trial and error in life, OJT if you will, and they certainly have a lot to be proud of with success.

        Boy, I’m beginning to sound like an ‘Old Wise Man’ Time to do something stupid to keep me in place.
        Bob M


      • Shootski
        Blogging under the influence a little can really be confusing to others. Just reread the long comment I posted and it did nothing to make my point. When you work hard and become a key player in the game they will try to rat hole you in their command to take advantage of you and cover their butt.
        I wanted nothing to do with being a full time instructor or running a tool room after being an A-7 check crew supervisor and C-118 airframe supervisor. That’s what I did best.
        Dumped it all after 10yr to join the TAR Command and get into DC-9’s for future plans with a major airline. And that worked out just fine for another 20 year career with DC-8s, DC-9s and Boeing 767s.
        Bob M


        • Bob M,

          I had had a few myself and your writings made perfect sense to me!
          I should have been in the Brit system as a Flight Lieutenant or I should have gone USMC.
          It is funny to have the SECNAV and real Flag and General officers not understand how a stellar career founded on being raised well by a great CPO can be ended with no effort by the type Officer you are aware of and apparently referring to!

          shootski



    • August,

      The hammer is a rebounding type, so it must not be striking the valve stem quite as hard in double action as it does in single action. Why that is I don’t know, but it is common in all guns (firearms and airguns) that are both single and double action. That’s why I tested it both ways.

      In firearms the ignition is less positive in one or the other mode and the velocity will vary more when chronographed. There are some revolvers that have had action/trigger jobs that cease to operate in one of the two modes.

      B.B.


  2. You brought back fond memories of a 14-year-old and his cousin enjoying a great movie in summer ’64; first time seeing Michael Caine in action, teamed up with Stanley Baker. Bromhead and Chard. FM wonders if such a movie could be produced in these whiny, “politically correct” times – more so if made for a grown-up audience. “Superhero” flicks…me arse!


    • Basil,

      You brought me back to the film again. That’s the third time today! I own the movie and I guess I need to watch it again.

      Incidentally, Bromhead and Chard were lieutenants with 8 plus years in grade. In today’s American Army they would be captains.

      B.B.






    • Well the chap second from left, standing in front of the mealie bag redoubt, certainly didn’t much fancy having a blank go off just by his ear while trying to reload!

      As is mentioned below, he is one of those with a Long Lee-Enfield, used to pad out the numbers but disguised slightly by having the magazines removed. The loading process can be quite obvious, working a bolt rather than the lever of a Martini, so they were being fired and the actors concerned knew what they were doing.

      Iain


    • As usual , good designs are wasted on airsoft and not transitioned to pellet or bb cartridge airguns. I have seen 73 and92 Winchesters, bolt action o3 Springfield, 98 Mauset, and yes the Martini-Henry.


  3. B.B.,
    As a kid, I loved watching that movie, “Zulu,” with my Dad.
    (What a contrast between Isandlwana and Rourke’s Drift! http://samilitaryhistory.org/vol046fm.html )
    That was the movie that made me think Webley revolvers were just the coolest things. =>
    Those are good velocity figures; I hope the accuracy proves good as well for this fine looking piece of history.
    Thanks for another great report,
    dave


  4. BB,

    I for one hope this pistol cannot hit the broadside of a barn while standing inside. I have for years resisted the temptation of the replica airguns. I do not know if I can do such any longer.


  5. BB
    Yipes 25 pounds.

    Why?

    Was it so the primer could be pierced on the cartridge? Or did they do that to make sure the next round fired reliably. Reliability makes all the difference in a war or self defense situation.

    Was that why the trigger pull was so heavy? Or am I getting ahead of myself. The single pull on the pellet pistol is fairly light compared to 25 pounds double action. What is the trigger pull on the powder burner in single action?

    Yep alot of questions. Just thinking out loud. What I’m getting at is why does the trigger pull have to be so heavy in double action. Or is the single action have a high pull rate for the firearm too?



    • BB
      Yep I do remember. And read through the comments. That brought back some memories.

      And ok got it. They didn’t have the mechanics working right.

      So if a person knew what they was doing they could make a more friendly shooting gun. Or would that fall into the lawyer trigger category now days.

      Once you got to that point of a good predictable pull rate. You could have a close to unsafe trigger is what I’m thinking.

      But I bet there was some trigger work done on the firearm pistols your reporting on throughout time. It’s that nobody is willing to mention what they have done for various reasons.



  6. BB

    You do know that the MkVIs in “Zulu” are historically inaccurate? The first of the series, the Mk1 was introduced in the late 1880s, replacing the pretty terrible 1880-vintage Enfield .476”. At the time of Rorkes’ Drift, the issue revolver was a .450” Adams, though many officers carried the solid-frame, gate-loading Webley “RIC” model as a private purchase. The same pistol carried by George Armstrong Custer at Little Big Horn.

    I’m pretty sure if you look closely a couple of times during “Zulu”, some of the guys in the rear rank have equally non-historically accurate long Lee-Enfields.

    Anyway, it’s no worse than years of Westerns featuring Winchester 1892s in the 1870s or Colt 1873s in the late 1860s. And it’s a bloody BRILLIANT film. Even better than “A Bridge Too Far”.


  7. I just received yesterday and am returning today a Battlefield revolver. Considering that I have a blue bb and an exhibition pellet version , I expected similar handling. The other two revolvers have light , smooth single action pulls, and da pulls around 8 pounds at most. The Battlefield has an awful , gritty da pull . If you attempt to stack the pull it either drops the hammer early or stays at half cock. It also failed to pierce a co2 cartridge when screwed in all the way . It then did somethingI neverhad happen with over 25 co 2 revolvers. After around 30 shots the hammer dropped, and nothing happened no co2. , no firing. Checked barrel , clear . Unscrewedco2 , totally empty, no gradual decrease. That was it. Packed it up, sending it back. Have to believe it is just a lemon that slipped through considering how good my other two are.



      • While possible I doubt it. It just seemed like a poorly timed and fitted revolver. Seems like they paid more attention to finish than fit and function. Will see how the replacement handles. Usually I can shoot da action groups ripping out the black at 25 feet. This revolver threw da rounds all over the paper.


  8. BB
    The engraved Schofield No.3 at the show was probably the Texas Jack edition. It has been out a while and I have a pair already.
    The reason I asked about future engraving is because the Silver Exhibition Webley Mark VI seems to have the same finish. That would make it a prime candidate for engraving, but I may be wrong there. The finish is not quite as smooth and the black finish is not glossy like the Colt SAA. May be playing a part in the decision making?

    Interesting story, I had the engraved Colt SAA pistol with the gold enhansments and decided to get another for a matching pair. When I received it the engraved star burst on the hammer was missing. The pair did not match. I contacted Adams & Adams and they said it was put there to sort of cover up a gold plating flaw that just did not look perfect and that it was subsequently taken care of.
    They gladly offered to engrave it and so it was done. Now they are a matching pair. They are professionals.

    The fact that P/A still has limited edition engraved airguns left leads me to believe there may not be that much of a demand, they are costly, or perhaps they ordered too many for the market place? A smaller limited amount of engraved airguns offered may be the solution. Not only to sales but to collectability and increased value in the future. Or did they just decide to let customers have it done on their own if they want it. Now that would make for very rare airguns.
    Perhaps P/A could just make engraving an option for qualified airgun candidates? You don’t want to engrave an air tube. Now that would really be great customer service. Just some simple pattern that goes well with each Airgun. Engravers have that all figured out already.
    Bob M




  9. BB
    Ever notice how some short barreled CO2 pistols manage to have the same or faster FPS listed than the longer barrels?
    You don’t see it often. Perhaps they just reuse the description for a 6″ barrel and it varies with vendors.
    Is it possible they install a different valve in them? Be interesting to see what FPS a longer barrel on a snub nose pistol would do.
    Bob M


    • You can bet that they don’t change the valves. That would cost money.

      Typically, you get 25-50 FPS (roughly) per each extra inch of barrel in things like the Umarex CP88.


  10. Dave and RidgeRunner
    You won’t be disappointed. It’s a heavy, finely detailed replica. They even recessed the inner barrel about a half inch to enhance it. Every bit as good as the Schofield No. 3 and the Colt SAA.

    Dennis Adler has a good multi part article on it. Go to P/A’s web page on it and up on the top under the description is a link to it on the left. Just to the right of the 5 star review, Review, latest buzz.


    • Looks like the original BB versions and black ones as well as the Schofields are no longer listed with P/A and are all on back order on another site. Future collectables for sure.


  11. Bear River the importer of the Schofield recently changed ownership , so time will tell . The Schofield is marketed in Europe with better finishes by ASG , and a nice box, while they call one model a pellet revolver, it is a smoothbore with pellet shells. A great move would be for Pyramid to have some fitted with Lothar Walther rifled barrels and offer them as an exclusive. Who dares , wins


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