I just came across an announcement from the 2016 SHOT Show and I have to admit to having very mixed feelings. It appears that a gentleman by the name of Anderson Wheeler (ascot and all) is resurrecting the Webley revolver. If you are unfamiliar with the Webley it has much the same iconic status within the UK as the 1911 has in the US.
Like the 1911, the Webley and the caliber (.455) came about due the inability of existing British military sidearms to stop enemy insurgents. Also like the 1911, the Webley was the iconic sidearm of the British military for over seventy years. Wikipedia has a decent but short history of the Webley here.
The new revolver will not be chambered in .455, instead they have chosen the far more common .357 magnum for the new Webley (Wheeler). While this allows the MK VII to chamber 7 rounds instead of six, it’s a real shame to chose this caliber instead of the original or even another .44 or .45 caliber. But the real reason I’m so conflicted about this announcement is the price. New Webley’s, sorry Wheeler’s, will be priced around $10,000 with only a handful manufactured each year.
Needless to say, I won’t be on that waiting list. Nevertheless, I do wish the company well and hope they are successful.
Thanks to the folks at Guns America for posting an article (link) on this new release. Stop in over there and read the whole article. They also have a video interview with Anderson Wheeler about his plans for this new venture.
The Webley revolvers hold a special place in my heart. My grandfather purchased a surplus Webley revolver after WWII. That firearm was his “bedside gun” for almost two decades before I was born and continued to be until just a few years ago. He passed it on to me before he died and to be honest, no gun in my collection means more to me than this old break top revolver.
As a MK II, this revolver was manufactured between 1895 and 1897 and was designed and manufactured to fire black powder cartridges. Like most surplus Webleys this one was converted to fire .45 ACP from moon clips which, unfortunately, means it is unsafe to fire commercial ammunition from this gun. I plan on hand-loading some very low power .45 ACP rounds in the near future to allow me to (safely) take this to the range.
That will be a special day for me to be sure.