The RL 39 round with a lead bullet is quite interesting. Obviously, the primed case is original - correct primer and seal. The bullet at least has something resembling a correct ogive. I have no answer for it. I agree with Tony entirely. I don’t think it is factory, but have no explanation for why it ended up up in that case, or what it might have been used for if it is factory.
By the tinme is was made, lead bullets in military handguns were pretty much banned for combat, I think. Interesting round, though.
Ray - the bullet in the picture with the RL 39 case looks different to me than the others. In fact, none of the three look identical with each other to me. Could be the angle the pictures were taken at I guess. Three differenct rounds isn’t much when you are discussing something on the Forum with all the people who read it, and all the ammunition accumulated. Two have showed up here in .455 Auto (I know nothing about .455 Revolver - lots of lead bullets in those I would guess), but the combined research of many different people, including Peter Labbett and Lynn Harris, two of the greats when it came to British ammo, nevered turned up any. that is not to make it impossible that both the E18 and the RL39 are legitimate. My opinion is that they are not factory loads, but it is an opinion based only on what has shown up before, and what I see as a lack of military usefulness for them. Lord knows some strange things have shown up that proved to be absolutely genuine. I have my opinion on them now, but my mind isn’t totally closed to the possibility that they are more than just home loads in primed cases.
Regarding the pistols. I am not surprised they don’t show up much now in England, Vince. I don’t know your age, but years ago, when England really started getting tough on handguns, the were forcing people to turn them in if they weren’t licensed collectors, or whatever (I don’t really know what the criteria was even then for owning handguns in England). Then, as Governments do, despite thinking that somehow pistols in the hands of perfectly fine British subjects was somehow on a par with possessing a nuclear explosive device, they felt perfectly free to sell them at auction for sale in the United States. In the early 1960s, we purchased, thru our agent in Liverpool, W… Richards Ltd (this is NOT Westley Richards), some 890 assorted handguns. There were scads of Webley .455 and enfield .38 Revolvers, a few Enfiled-produced .455 revolvers, three Webley Fosbury “Auto” revolvers, and a fair assortment of .455 autos, not to mention 80 German Artillery Model Lugers, about the same number with 4" barrels, etc. The point is, within the last four or five decades, so many pistols have let the hands of British citizens, and gone either to destruction or elsewhere, that it is not surprising one would think they were not ever available. that was our biggest importation, but not our only one. I suspect Richards found for us, over a few years, probably about 1500 handguns. those who knew our store know that we had a fair collection of British cartridge boards decorating it. That was a result, primarily, of our association with Mr. Len Brown, of W. Richards, also. As was our almost lLegendary purchase of the “few” British-made Mauser Broomhandle Pistol stripper clips Kynoch had left in their basement - those “few” turned out to be 32,000.
When I had my auto pistol collection, sold in the 1970s, I had a Model 1912 Mark IN, An Army issue 1912, a Royal Flying Corps Webley with genuine shoulder stock serial number 3, two .38 Hammerless Webley Autos, 9mm Browning Long Webley autos commercial, and South African Police Model. Even though out of my field, I also had a Webley .32 auto, of which I have forgotten the model, but it was an extremely early one with a safet lever around or on the hammer, brand new in the original box. That was a gift to me, and I wish I had kept it when I sold my collection. Every one of my .44 Webley autos was picked, when I decided I wanted one, from several available at large gun shows, except the Royal flying Corps Model. So were my 9mm Longs. The .38 Hammerless Models were always rare in the U.S. and I owned the only two I personally have ever had my actual hands on, one at a time. I had one and was able to upgrade it, so I gave my other one to a friend who collected. I have seen Webley collections in America that had literally dozens of Webley auto pistols, ranging from 6.35s up to .455s. Oh yes, I also had an RAF-marked M1911 Colt. Should have kept that one too, I guess, but heck, I could say that of the whole collection I suppose.
I still would like to be kept up if anyone finds out anything positive about any here-to-fore unknown .455 auto load. While I only have 25 or so specimens in my collection (no dates just for the dates, of course), I really like the caliber for some reason.