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Webley Model 1887

United Kingdom (1887)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Webley Model 1887 Six-Shot Service Revolver.

 Entry last updated on 8/9/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Webley Model 1887  
Picture of Webley Model 1887 Six-Shot Service Revolver

The long-running Webley Service Revolver series began in 1887 and saw consistent service into the Cold War years.

The Webley service revolver first appeared in 1887 and manufactured under the P. Webley & Sons brand label, selected to replace the disliked Enfield Mk I and Mk II line. The revolver carried a largely conventional yet distinct appearance which included a hinge for the frame and barrel to move downwards, a short four-inch barrel assembly for maximum compactness and a "bird's beak" style butt. All other elements were basic including a curved grip handle integrated into the frame, an underslung trigger group with oblong ring and exposed hammer. As with other revolvers of the period, the Webley also features lanyard ring under the grip handle. A front sight was position over the muzzle in the usual way while rear sighting was through a notch assembly.

The revolver was chambered for the .455 Webley Mk II cartridge of which six were loaded by hand into each awaiting cylinder. The break-action design of the frame allowed the cylinder to move slightly forwards and expose any spent shell casings in the cylinder, these automatically dropping out on their own while ready-to-fire cartridges were (theoretically) retained. The action was similar to the one as featured in the short-lived Enfield Mk I/Mk II service revolver taken up as the standard British Army sidearm from 1880 to 1887. The Webley design operated from a double-action or double-action only (DAO) system and featured a muzzle velocity of 620 feet per second with an effective range out to 50 yards.

The Webley initially appeared through the Mk I production model. This was followed in 1895 by the Mk II which incorporated changes to the grip and hammer. The Mk III was a revised form of the Mk II with a new barrel and improved cylinder lock function. The Mk IV was offered from 1899 and onwards and was known as the "Boer War" model using higher quality materials in its construction. The Mk V was an improved design appearing in 1913 and included support for smokeless cartridge ammunition.

The final Webley revolver form in this series was the definitive Mk VI which served British and commonwealth forces throughout World War 1 (1914-1918) and into World War 2 (1939-1945). The variant was given a new grip handle and supported a field bayonet. All other characteristics was based on the preceding Mk V offering. The Mk IV proved its worth across the battlefields of two World Wars and lesser conflicts in-between. They were largely replaced by the newer Enfield No. 2 line of revolvers appearing in number from 1932 inwards. Mk VI models were produced up until 1921 and saw official and unofficial use into 1963. Approximately 125,000 were produced in all.

Webley revolver users (beyond the British) included Canada, India, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg and the Philippines.
Any available statistics for the Webley Model 1887 Six-Shot Service Revolver are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering initial year of service, country-of-origin and manufacture(s) involved in bringing the weapon to market. Other qualities showcased are related to physical values such as the internal action, available calibers / chamberings, weight and lengths. Global operators are also presented in A-to-Z format as are any model variants available to the series.
Webley Model 1887 Specifications
National Flag Graphic
United Kingdom
Year: 1887
Type: Six-Shot Service Revolver
Manufacturer(s): P. Webley & Sons / Royal Small Arms Factory - UK
Supported Mission Types
Frontline Infantry
Special Forces
Close Quarters Battle
Designated Marksman/Sharpshooter
Area Effect/Suppression
Indirect Fire
Airspace Denial
Attachment Weapon
Internal Design, Weight and Dimensions
Firing Action: Double-Action; Rotating Cylinder
Available Caliber(s): .455 Webley Mk II
Ammunition Count / Feed: 6-round cylinder
Weight (Empty): 2.43 lb (1.10 kg)
Overall Length: 286 mm (11.26 in)
Sighting Assist: Fixed Front Blade; Rear Notch

Operating Performance
Muzzle Velocity: 620 ft/sec (189 m/sec)
Rate-of-Fire (RoF): 25 rounds-per-minute (rpm)
Typical Range: 164 feet (50 m; 55 yd)

Operators List
Canada; India; Ireland; Luxembourg; Philippines; Israel; United Kingdom

Model Variants
• Webley Mk I - Initial Production Model of 1887
• Webley Mk II - Revised grip and hammer design; appearing in 1895.
• Webley Mk III - Revised mk II with improved cylinder lock function.
• Webley Mk IV - "Boer War" model with better quality metal construction; appearing in 1899.
• Webley Mk V - Improved Webley supporting smokeless cartridge ammunition; appearing in 1913.
• Webley Mk VI - Definitive Webley revolver with new hand grip and bayonet support; appearing 1915.