For the first time in about fifty years this old Webley MKII barked and sent lead downrange. The old girl tossed 255 grain copper coated (not jacketed) lead bullets with the grace and style befitting her age. Given that she is now close to 120 years old, those rounds didn’t move with the same speed or punch they once might have but then again she wasn’t battling the Boers and their allies for control of Southern Africa, facing a charging Zulu warrior, a “Hun” in the trenches of the Somme or a Nattack at Dunkirk. She was punching holes in paper at 30 feet on an indoor range.
She served her time, through countless regional conflicts and two World Wars until she ended up on these shores, cut down to accept the more common (and cheaper) .45 ACP instead of the .455 Webley cartridge she was designed for.
She was my grandfather’s before she was mine. From sometime in the 1950’s until just a few years ago she protected three generations of my family that lived and grew up in his home. She was the first center fire firearm I ever laid eyes on. I was taught that this was a tool for a very serious purpose and I learned that lesson along with the lesson that it is a man’s responsibility to protect and safeguard his family.
Her trigger is long and heavy but smooth from over a hundred years of service and use. She is heavy, built to withstand the rigors of a much harsher time. The rounds I used were built by hand with very precise and light loads so as to not inflict any damage on the old girl’s frame or cylinder. The slow burning powder and light loads combine with her heavy frame to give her a very unique recoil impulse; a slow roll rather than a snap. Her bark is still strong and warns of an ability to inflict damage that is only slightly diminished by time.
With well over a hundred years of history protecting an empire and a humble southern family it was an honor to take he out to the range. It was a connection to history and a connection to the man who raised me, who was a father to me that I cannot be described with mere words. I am truly blessed to have been able to do so.
She will make another trip to the range before too long. On that trip a fourth generation of our family will be able to make that connection. I hope it means as much to them as it does to me.