In my experience .38 Special target wad cutter ammo will fit the No. 5 Express but standard .38 Special loaded with ordinary bullets are too long.
Not mine, but where is it now? Pictured on the cover on the October 1971 issue of Guns Review. Does anybody have its twin?
I found this cool photo online. There has to be a Webley in there - somewhere
My WF .38 was just posted for Auction on Cowans, The final hammer drops May 2nd! All you folks out there that have any interest in ever owning one of these better get bidding. With only 30 of these left to be existent ion the world, only 2 of which are in full Nickle, its probably gonna be a long time before you see another one! The sales of these happen once in every 50 blue moons! This one fired perfectly the last time I shot it back in the 70's, then it went back into the sock drawer.
I really hate to see it go but someones gonna be pretty happy to see it enter their collection!
WOW! There are some really nice Webleys here.
I am new to Webley collecting, but I have had a few over the years.
I collect primarily WW2 German firearms.
That said - I have been looking for a Webley Fosbery for nearly two decades, maybe more.
*Whether it is my obsession with classic firearms, Bogart movies, The British Empire, eccentric inventors, or WW1 flying, or just their rarity, I am not sure, but the Fosbery epitomizes what it is about collecting old firearms I find exciting and stimulating.
Everytime I located one for sale, I was either not rich enough or didn't move quickly enough (a lesson I learned from.)
I once offered a 1970 Dodge charger with a big block as a trade for one.
But, this is a wonderful hobby, and every so often we get lucky.
Anyway enough waffling, here is the Fosbery in my collection.
No doubt Pit, they are rare and really beautiful (although Ive seen it described as ugly by those who didnt own one, just jealous!!). Hard to find a picture of the WF .38, much less one to buy anywhere anytime. Cowans just sent me a copy of the Catalog for the May 2nd sale. They gave my 38 a full page in the inside cover and a full page for the listing, must be they know its a big draw.
By the way, the catalog is really beautiful, loaded with some really awesome pieces of history, I cant believe mine is getting nearly top billing. Its even been to a few gunshows since they came up and picked it up in January, others have seen it and commented on it here and elsewhere.
I don't know the history prior to 1955 but it was rare the day it was shipped brand new to Burma in the early teens. Full nickle and not the .455 leads my mind to imagine it was more likely an award, dignitary or parade peice when first purchased, this isn't your typical trench officers pistol, too expensive and awfully shiny. Then, a couple wars and almost 50 years later, it popped up in Austria where my Dad bought it dirt cheap while training to be a Leader of Mountain Warriors.
Richard Milner confirmed its one of two like it known left to exist in the world. I guess Im gonna have to just be happy to have been one of the few folks left alive to have ever owned and fired one of these beauties (and hopefully a fistfull of dollars after the auction). I must add, the last time I shot it was back in the early 70's and at 12 years old, I could shoot it accurately at 40'+ and ity cycled perfectly. Me and my best friend used to take it out plinking telephone poles and the corner stop sign regularly before I ran low on ammo!
While he was a published poet early in life, Dad also died tragically and young. He was a Zardov before their was one; was a direct decendent of William Wallace, played the pipes, wore a kilt and was a Fencer in college. The catalog and pictures floating around imortalize him via his Army Arms Transport Shoe Tag. from the 50's.
The auction is open but bids are not yet showing up on any of the pieces but Im guessing thats because its still open for another 16 days and the real bidding will begin soon! .
Good luck with the sale - I wish I was in a position to bid on it!
This old 1906 .455 Fosbery was the single largest amount of $'s I have paid for any firearm in my collection, and it will likely cost a fraction of what your .38 realizes.
Your father sounds like quite a cool character. I am sorry you're selling the revolver, but I am sure it's not something you've entered into lightly.
I am going to shoot my .455, but, I'm in no rush, and will start with loads so light, they likely won't cycle the mechanism.
Ugly, beautiful - it's all so subjective - I always thought the Webley .455 Navy semi autos were just awkward and very ungraceful, until I started to read about them. Now I'd really like to add one to my collection.
Somehow reading up on a thing, weighing the work that went into something, the extraordinary characters involved, inventors, original thinkers, the combat situations they were dealing with - it can all color a thing, until your respect for it's aesthetics are altered, too.
What a great story and pistol. I wonder if it could have been a German or Austrian WW1 bringback from the trenches, as I bet getting a Fosbery would have been a prized trophy for the Alleyman.
pit, that 455 is a very nice unit, much better than the Motercycle you sold to get it, damn sight safer! I am sad to see it go but the truth is, Ive got lots of my dads long guns and used most of them my whole life hunting and plinking. This one lost its luster when I became afraid to shoot it or keep it on the mantle. Not that I dont love it, I do, just afraid to hurt it.
Thanks niceziel, he was a was always ready for a challenge and a party, just born a few hundred years too late! Im a bit the same with a tadd more realistic approach!
I have only shot reloads out of my 455 Fosbery. I use the starting load listed in an old Lyman book, 3.9 grains of Unique under a 262 grain bullet. It's a bit like shooting a BB gun, you can feel the upper half going forward into battery. I know the loads are weak, but she cycles OK and why push your luck? So far I'm averaging 12 rounds a year.
I have the 7 1/2" target barrel. She shoots a bit to the left, but I still haven't decided if I should adjust the sight or not. So far, I've just left it alone.
The 38 shot like a champ, very smooth, never a misfire but those were all factory loads, 1930's era. Biggest cycling problem is a limp wrist when you fire or a dirty weapon (what Ive heard). Mine would get a bit of a hydraulic slide action if I didnt keep a little lube on it. The upper receiver group takes all the kick so any slack or hesitation in your grip can make it undercycle. Start with lighter loads; safer, hold it firm, and let her rip.
Ive fired MG's. Missiles, Mortars, Mines, C4, TNT and every type of weapon standard past about 1930 ish but this one isnt like any of those and truthfully, any Grunt can play with the other stuff, very few people have ever touched a WF much less fired one.
Its the smoothest action ever, a real Gentleman's Piece and even without the punch of the more powerful solid body beasts, it will do what it was designed to do very well. You dont have to worry about planting the front blade in your forehead, fire very level and quickly.
Im not thinking the 455 is going to be much more kick than the 38, next to none. I hope you do enjoy it, its a keeper for sure!
Those are pretty sharp, the markings are so un-uniform it makes you wonder how they came from the same branch. I guess things have become much more dress right dress since. Years ago at the end of every drill, one of us Platoon Sgts had to inventory all of the contents of the arms rooms, never twice in a row for obvious reasons. Being Anti Armor, we had at least 15 different arms, Nods and sensitives locked up from pistols to Mk 19's and MG's of all kinds in between. The bolts were all stored seperately from the weapons so that doubled the count. No less than 500 items, every single serial number had to be verified and even the ones that were out for repairs had to have paperwork validating their lack of presence.
What a nightmare, Id rather be Sgt of the Latrine, lots less responsibility too! One oops and you have the FBI at your door! Sgt Robinson, the armory seems to have misplaced a Maw Deuce and a TOW night sight and you were the last one to see them, any thoughts, just one, help!!!
Excellent point Joel. Is yours a W prefix 1911 .455 also ?
I'll email you with a few details, but I have never seen a 1911 marked RFC, however have seen a few with R.A.F. and also marked in two different distinct spots.........
Warren, Mine is serial number W108510 with a perfect .455 barrel and the correctly marked magazine. I also have a commercial version cased and retailed by Fraser.
Your Right David, that does suck worse, at least I got to play with guns!!!
It would be interesting to see at what number they started the RFC markings. Mine is a very early W series...
I think you meant RAF markings Warren.
The Weller & Dufty catalogue for June 1980 lists Lot No 1004.' A Colt British Contract Model 1911 service auto pistol, serial number W29388. backstrap stampted "19" over "RFC" over "4".'
This pistol may have been - most probebley- from a batch numbered from W29001 through W29444 shipped on 10th January 1916 to the London Armoury Co. 400 of this 444 were for a British military contract, this being the second contract following the first contract of 200 pistols in July 1915. The balace of 44 pistols were shipped to the UK in later orders and a few sold in the USA.
There must be other examples of these early pistols knocking around?
Thanks Alan. I was pretty sure there should have been some with that marking, but I've never seen one.
Anyone with .455 mags and miss matched serial numbers interested in a data bank of serial numbers...just in case we can match up one or two with the guns. A LOT better chance of this happening with the Colts than with Lugers and other serial numbered pistols due to the smaller sample. I have one that will never be matched. The guy who gave me the mag tossed the pistol in the river as he got scared in having it around the house. :-(##
That's sad to read!
The rivers & oceans around the world are the home of a lot of interesting & not so interesting hand guns .
I know of old Colts, Lugers, Broomhandle Mausers & now I fear a 577 Webely or Tranter that was stolen, has meet that fate !
Very sad, happens a lot in country's where hand guns a restricted !
Yup, they try to convince every generation that were more safe than the last even though the stats dont prove that to be the case! My Grandma gave my Grandfathers WW2 Service 45 to the local police in NM because she was worried it might be dangerous after his passing many years ago! She should have known better, it wasnt dangerous, it was however worth a pretty penny and the police should have said so instead of taking it and giving it to someone on the force to profit from!
They havent convinced the crooks to turn them in and every time they see another good citizen throw away their right to self protection, they get a little bolder and in charge of our destiny! In the end, the only ones left packing heat will be The Cops and The Robbers, the rest of us are just garden mulch!
My understanding is that the W and C prefix serial numbers were intermingled, although there were runs of consecutive W prefix serial numbers such as W29001/W29444 which must mean there is on C prefix Colt Government model C29001 to C29444.
That Rraser in the case is very hansom. There was a cased Government Model retailed by William Evans featured in Man at Arms a few years ago, it had a rare 15 round magazine in the case. I think it was .45 .
The cleaning rod in the Fraser case appears to be a WW2 Smith & Wesson rod, perhaps the original was lost?
I'm sure it must have been misplaced Alan. That was what was in the case so I left it there.
My WF 38 goes on the auction block today at Cowans and someone else will become the new proud owner. All you folks out there that want a chance at it need to step up quickly cause once its gone, I think it may be a very long time before another comes along. The number of 38s left in existence worldwide are less than 100 and very few WF's in factory Nickle can be found period.
5 months ago when I started the process of figuring out what I had tucked away in my safe, this gunboard filled my head with bits and pieces of history on it that really captured my attention and others. I was lucky enough to catch Richard Milners interest and hes been instrumental in highlighting the rarity and measure of it. Its not pristine or even close but it is a really rare find in the collecting world, one of 2 like it left known to exist and its a classy unit by all measures.
Additional info not offered in the listing comes from Jack Lewis of Cowans, " The bore is excellent in the 38 Caliber Webley Fosebery", I just wish that was stated in the listing and it a Fosbery not a Fosebery. Additionally, a brass thumb loop Webley Cleaning/ push rod comes with it, I cant say its original but it came with the piece in the 50's. I did send one round of pre 50's original ammo with it also but that may not be able to be sold with it.
Im still gonna keep my Moniker even if I no longer own the piece it came from. If the new owner owns it longer than I did, I will give it up then (not likely cause Im not so young).
Thanks everyone for your commentary and insights, its been a blast! Just because its gone doesnt mean I am, I like it here and Ive been a collector most of my life, I also truly appreciate the 2nd just like most real Americans do! JR
Last edited by Webley Fosbery 38; 05-02-2012 at 06:30 AM. Reason: CANT spell for crap!!!
Just Just wanted to toss in another Webley into the pot that you don't see very often. This is one of the Canadian 1939/40 contract guns for the Canadian Amoured Corps officer training. The total order was for 25 and I think 4 others have surfaced.
Apparently the Canadian government made a formal complaint to the British Government that the order to Webley had not been filled. Even though war had been declared, "where the H*LL are our revolvers!!!"
That yellow background is stunning...
Turning relics into near-relics since 2005.
I tried other colours and they seemed to soak up the blue. Yellow shows up the colour case hardening rather nicely.
To the post by DannyBMW from Alabama dated 1/21/2011
re W-G Model 1896 SN 15134 retailed by Army & Navy C.S.L
per A&N C.S.L Book 26, page 132 (at Glasgow University, Scotland):
WG plain (blued, 6"barrel), .476bore, received in stock April 26, 1900,
sold May 2, 1900 to Thornton, Capt. (no first initial or regiment mentioned)
In Hart's Annual Army List 1901 (effective as of 31 December 1900), there are
9 officers on the "Active List" with the last name Thornton.
Charles Edward Thornton , North Lancashire Regiment, with 14 years of service,
is a Captain (date of promotion 14 Sept 1898), Indian Staff Corps, 16 Bengal Lancers.
I thought I would share some of my collection with the forum although one revolver isn't a Webley. On the image showing the 450 CF Webley Bulldog and 380 CF RIC, the top revolver is a Tranter model 1879 Army in 450 CF which is a particular favourite of mine and contemporary to the Webleys. The first photo shows a boxed 1907 with instruction sheet at the bottom and a 455 Navy automatic pistol dated 1916 with its original 1916 Navy holster which you can distinguish by the brass rivets, the last image is a closer view of this. One image shows an 1892 Government model in .476" as the top revolver , below it is an Army model in 455"/476" and finally a Mark IV shown out of its wooden case which was issued to the British South African Police and I am doing some research on this to see if the owner had any link to the Jameson Raid. The MK V1 revolver has a 1916 dated Webley and Scott flare pistol underneath it.
I should mention that with the MK 1V "Boer War Model" there is a service number on the back strap and the medal roll for the BSAC has been preserved, many of the Jameson Raiders were or later became members of the British South African Police so there is a possibility, albeit slim, of a link with this revolver and of obtaining some provenance which is tough to do with most guns. For example, I bought an Arisaka rifle last November in Tulsa and the dealer told me he bought it from the widow of the soldier who had picked it up in the South Pacific but didn't even bother to ask her if she knew where her husband had landed and fought...........
Wow!! Well done Rigby, well done!!!
Thank you Captain John. Incidentally, if anyone wants a copy of the Webley Instruction leaflet I would gladly email them a copy.
Do you have a .380? When I was collecting the autos, that and the RHA .455 Auto were the hardest to find.