Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Old gun pr0n.

Sebastian has an illustrated piece up about his Webley Mk.IV.


Hunsdon said...

I used to be Cossack in a Kilt.

There is something magical about the Webley revolvers, to me at least. Although I primarily identify as the Celt side of my Anglo-Celt heritage, I cannot but help regard the English people as among the most marvelous and wondrous in history---and the Webley sixguns bring it all out for me, in plastic form.

I'm using "plastic" here in the old-fashioned sense: corporeal.

The double action top break British fighting revolver designs are elegant, complicated, steampunk solutions to questions that we, as Americans, answered very differently with our Remington and Colt single actions. (Out of all the American handgun designs I can think of, only the Merwin & Hulbert approaches the Webley's rococo elegance.)

A Webley top-break revolver---particularly, of course, in a big bore, but even in a dainty little .38 S&W (or .30/200!) chambering---is redolent to me of how this "nation of shopkeepers" built an empire on which the sun never set.

It's Issandwala and Kabul and a thousand other places conquered and governed by Kipling's Ortheris and Mulvaney, it's Tommy Atkins and the Thin Red Line and those poor bastards who went over the top at "Wipers." Aye, and it's Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson ("Damn it, Sherlock, I'm just a simple country doctor!") and it's even John Cleese in "Silverado."

I've got a Webley, a Mark VI ground down to .45 ACP, and yes, I shoot it from time to time, and yes, I use moon clips (or the marvelously rococo .45 Auto-Rim, with it's ridiculously thick rim and it's short, stubby Victorian looking case capacity) and yes, I load pop-gun loads for it so as not to overstress the delicate mechanism.

The Webley revolver makes me go all Walter Mitty---not that there's anything wrong with that (within reason).

Tam said...

"(Out of all the American handgun designs I can think of, only the Merwin & Hulbert approaches the Webley's rococo elegance.)"

Three words: Number. Three. Russian. ;)

Hunsdon said...

I thought about the No. 3 Russian! Top break points, the same kind of .38-.44 caliber spread, and double points for the spur under the trigger guard. Probably even extra points for the whole "how about we put the bullet INSIDE the case" design of the .44 S&W Russian.

I still think the M&H are in a "Webley-esque" class of their own, though.

Tam said...

To me, that trigger guard spur is the nee plus ultra of steampunk. :D

Hunsdon said...

Horses for courses! If we all bet on the same horse, how boring would life be?

The points you award to the trigger guard spur, I award to the twisty-changey barrel, the ejection of fired (but not unfired!) cartridges and the folding hammer spur I think I remember.

In the event (as Peter Hopkirk likes to write), both the top-break Smiths and the M&H revolvers share some of the marvelous Victorian feel of the Webley---we're in the same ballpark here in terms of bizarre sixgunnish coolness.

Tam said...

...ooh, and what about the pinfire LeMats?

Ken said...

"Walk wide o' the widow at Windsor
For 'alf o' creation she owns
We 'ave bought 'er the same
With the sword an' the flame
An' we've salted it down with our bones"

Ian Argent said...

"Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!"

From the Widow At Windsor to the Dolts at Downing St...

The Jack said...

I just got a No. 3 Schofield reproduction.

Not a Russian though so no spur.

Took it to Popguns for the first time this weekend.

There's just something about the break-action on a revolver.

Definitly worth it if you can find one.

Hunsdon said...


Got no---zip, zero, nada, nichego---time with any LeMat, although I did play with a repro a friend had at a shoot in Missouri.

Dang thing looked like Leonardo Da Vinci had cooked it up in the 15th century!

The grip angle was so unusual to me that it made the whole thing . . . less comfortable than a Webley, a M&H, or a S&W Russian 3.

Tam said...

Have you seen one of the cartridge models? They look different; less DaVinci than Verne.

Tam said...