.455 Webley
Overview
 
.455 Webley is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 handgun
Handgun
A handgun is a firearm designed to be held and operated by one hand. This characteristic differentiates handguns as a general class of firearms from long guns such as rifles and shotguns ....

 cartridge
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

, most commonly used in the Webley top break revolvers
Webley Revolver
The Webley Revolver was, in various marks, the standard issue service pistol for the armed forces of the United Kingdom, the British Empire, and the Commonwealths from 1887 until 1963.The Webley is a top-break revolver with automatic extraction...

 Marks I through VI.

The .455 cartridge was a service revolver cartridge, featuring a rimmed cartridge firing a .45 bullet
Bullet
A bullet is a projectile propelled by a firearm, sling, or air gun. Bullets do not normally contain explosives, but damage the intended target by impact and penetration...

 at the relatively low velocity of 650 ft/s (190 m/s). The result was a cartridge and handgun combination with relatively mild recoil, but with good penetration and excellent stopping power
Stopping power
Stopping power is a colloquial term used to describe the ability of a firearm or other weapon to cause a penetrating ballistic injury to a target, human or animal, sufficient to incapacitate the target where it stands....

. It was rated superior to the .45 Colt
.45 Colt
The .45 Colt cartridge is a handgun cartridge dating to 1872. It began as a black powder revolver round developed for the Colt Single Action Army revolver, but is offered as a magnum level handgun hunting round in modern usage. This cartridge was adopted by the U.S. Army in 1873 and served as the...

 in stopping power in the disputed United States Thompson-LaGarde Tests
Thompson-LaGarde Tests
The Thompson-LaGarde Tests were a series of tests conducted in 1904 to determine which caliber should be used in new military handguns. The US Army's fighting men had considerable difficulty stopping the Moro warriors and other combatants with the .38 Long Colt, and the Army began to consider the...

 of 1904 that resulted in the adoption by the U.S.
Encyclopedia
.455 Webley is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 handgun
Handgun
A handgun is a firearm designed to be held and operated by one hand. This characteristic differentiates handguns as a general class of firearms from long guns such as rifles and shotguns ....

 cartridge
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

, most commonly used in the Webley top break revolvers
Webley Revolver
The Webley Revolver was, in various marks, the standard issue service pistol for the armed forces of the United Kingdom, the British Empire, and the Commonwealths from 1887 until 1963.The Webley is a top-break revolver with automatic extraction...

 Marks I through VI.

The .455 cartridge was a service revolver cartridge, featuring a rimmed cartridge firing a .45 bullet
Bullet
A bullet is a projectile propelled by a firearm, sling, or air gun. Bullets do not normally contain explosives, but damage the intended target by impact and penetration...

 at the relatively low velocity of 650 ft/s (190 m/s). The result was a cartridge and handgun combination with relatively mild recoil, but with good penetration and excellent stopping power
Stopping power
Stopping power is a colloquial term used to describe the ability of a firearm or other weapon to cause a penetrating ballistic injury to a target, human or animal, sufficient to incapacitate the target where it stands....

. It was rated superior to the .45 Colt
.45 Colt
The .45 Colt cartridge is a handgun cartridge dating to 1872. It began as a black powder revolver round developed for the Colt Single Action Army revolver, but is offered as a magnum level handgun hunting round in modern usage. This cartridge was adopted by the U.S. Army in 1873 and served as the...

 in stopping power in the disputed United States Thompson-LaGarde Tests
Thompson-LaGarde Tests
The Thompson-LaGarde Tests were a series of tests conducted in 1904 to determine which caliber should be used in new military handguns. The US Army's fighting men had considerable difficulty stopping the Moro warriors and other combatants with the .38 Long Colt, and the Army began to consider the...

 of 1904 that resulted in the adoption by the U.S. of the .45 ACP
.45 ACP
The .45 ACP , also known as the .45 Auto by C.I.P., is a cartridge designed by John Browning in 1904, for use in his prototype Colt semi-automatic .45 pistol and eventually the M1911 pistol adopted by the United States Army in 1911.-Design and history:The U.S...

 cartridge.

The .455 Webley cartridge remained in service with British and Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 forces until the end of the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Six main types of .455 ammunition were produced:
  • .455 Webley Mk I: 265 grain
    Grain (measure)
    A grain is a unit of measurement of mass that is nominally based upon the mass of a single seed of a cereal. From the Bronze Age into the Renaissance the average masses of wheat and barley grains were part of the legal definition of units of mass. However, there is no evidence of any country ever...

     (17.2 g) solid lead round-nosed bullet propelled by black powder, dating from the late 19th Century. All subsequent .455 designs used cordite
    Cordite
    Cordite is a family of smokeless propellants developed and produced in the United Kingdom from 1889 to replace gunpowder as a military propellant. Like gunpowder, cordite is classified as a low explosive because of its slow burning rates and consequently low brisance...

     propellant.

  • .455 Webley Mk II: 265 grain (17.2 g) solid lead round-nosed bullet propelled by 6.5 gr cordite
    Cordite
    Cordite is a family of smokeless propellants developed and produced in the United Kingdom from 1889 to replace gunpowder as a military propellant. Like gunpowder, cordite is classified as a low explosive because of its slow burning rates and consequently low brisance...

    . There are minor differences between the Mk I and II bullet shape, though these concern the internal dimensions and so are not immediately apparent.

  • .455 Webley Mk III: the famous "Manstopper" bullet intended for police, civilian and colonial
    British Empire
    The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

     use. Essentially, the Mk III was a 218 grain lead "hollowpoint" design, propelled by cordite. The cylindrical bullet had hemispherical hollows at each end—one to seal the barrel, the other to deform on impact. This bullet was soon prohibited for use by the military because it was not compliant with the Hague Convention of 1899
    Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
    The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907...

    .

  • .455 Webley Mk IV: 220 grain, flat-nosed wadcutter
    Wadcutter
    A wadcutter is a special-purpose bullet specially designed for shooting paper targets, usually at close range and at subsonic velocities typically under 800 ft/s . They are often used in handgun and airgun competitions...

     with cordite propellant.

  • .455 Webley Mk V: identical to the Mk IV bullet, but cast from a harder lead-alloy containing more antimony
    Antimony
    Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

     with cordite propellant.

  • .455 Webley Mk VI: a 265 grain full metal jacketed
    Full metal jacket bullet
    A full metal jacket is a bullet consisting of a soft core encased in a shell of harder metal, such as gilding metal, cupronickel or less commonly a steel alloy. This shell can extend around all of the bullet, or often just the front and sides with the rear left as exposed lead...

     bullet intended for military purposes, designed to comply with the Hague Convention
    Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
    The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907...

    . This bullet was used during World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

     and World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

    . The propellant was 5.5 gr cordite or 5.5 gr nitro-cellulose.


  • .455 Webley Auto Mk I: Produced from 1913 to about the middle of WWII. This is a semi-rimmed cartridge for the Webley & Scott Self Loading pistols, along with some M1911 pistols purchased by the Royal Navy
    Royal Navy
    The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

    . The cartridge headspaces on the rim and was loaded with a 224 grain cupro-nickel jacketed bullet with a muzzle velocity of 700 feet per second.


In addition to the Webley revolvers, the British and Canadian armies also ordered several thousand Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson is the largest manufacturer of handguns in the United States. The corporate headquarters is in Springfield, Massachusetts. Founded in 1852, Smith & Wesson's pistols and revolvers have become standard issue to police and armed forces throughout the world...

 .44 Hand Ejector revolvers, chambered in .455 Webley, in a rush to equip their troops for the Great War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The urgency was such that the earliest of these were converted from revolvers already completed and chambered for .44 Special
.44 Special
The .44 Special or .44 S&W Special is a smokeless powder center fire metallic cartridge developed by Smith & Wesson in 1907 as the standard chambering for their New Century revolver, introduced in 1908.-Development history:...

. Approximately 60,000 Colt New Service
Colt New Service
The Colt New Service was a double-action revolver made by Colt from 1898 until c.1940. It was adopted by the U.S. Armed Forces in .45 Colt as the Model 1909 U.S. Army, Marine Corps Model 1909, Model 1909 U.S. Navy and in .45 ACP as the Model 1917 U.S. Army...

 revolvers were also purchased, in .455.

The Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 firm Fiocchi and American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 firm Hornady
Hornady
Hornady Manufacturing Company is an American manufacturer of ammunition and handloading components, based in Grand Island, Nebraska.The company was founded by Joyce Hornady in 1949 and is currently run by his son Steve Hornady who took over after his father's death in a plane crash in 1981.Hornady...

 are currently the only commercial manufacturers of the .455 Webley cartridge (in Mk II). Hornady, RCBS and Lee produce equipment for reloading .455 Webley cartridges.

Despite the apparent difference in caliber name, .476 Enfield
.476 Enfield
The .476 Enfield is a British centrefire black powder revolver cartridge....

 was quite similar to the .455 Webley. The .476 had a 0.05 mm (0.00196850393700787 in) shorter case than the .455 Mark I and could be fired in weapons regulated and marked as safe for the caliber, such as the Webley 'WG Army' model. This had a cylinder that was long enough to accommodate the significantly longer cartridge in which the bullet swelled out to .476" beyond the case. It would not chamber in any government-issue .455 Webley Marks I-VI. The .450 Adams
.450 Adams
The .450 Adams was a British black powder centrefire revolver cartridge, initially used in converted Beaumont-Adams Revolvers, in the late 1860s...

 (1868), .476 Enfield
.476 Enfield
The .476 Enfield is a British centrefire black powder revolver cartridge....

(1881), and .455 Webley (1887) British service cartridges all featured a case diameter of .476 inch.

External links

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