"Thin Rimmed" .455 Automatic ammunition questions


#1

Can anyone please tell me if there is any relationship between the Webley and Scott 1904 “Thin Rim” .455 Automatic cartridge and the .455 Automatic ammunition specially adapted for use with 6 round “full moon” clips in Webley- Fosbery Automatic Revolvers, which also had thin rims? I haven’t been able to discover a timeline for the W-F ammunition. Are the cartridge case heads identical, except for headstamps? Thanks!


#2

There are a number of variations of the .455 Webley Auto cartridge, including two specifically for the Webley Fosbery “Atomatic Revolver”.

The first departure from the normal .455 British Revolver round was for the Fosbery, and appeared in 1901. It is thin-rimmed, but IS a true rimmed cartridge. It evidently can be used, despite its slight longer case, in the Webley revolvers, interchangeable with the Webley Mark I and Mark II .455 Revolver cartridges. This cartridge was also used, for reasons unknown to me, in the 1902 prototype of the Webley Automatic Pistol, Cal. .455. These cartridges do not have the extractor groove and extractor groove bevel traditional to cartridges for self-loading pistols. They were headstamped specifically for the Fosbery handgun, “W K F .455.”.

In that year, a semi-rimmed version of the original 1901 cartridge was made. This was to become the second Webley Auto round, the Model 1904,made for the pistol of the same Model Designation. This round had slight case dimension changes, and sported a fiarly pointed soft-nose bullet.

The next type is the Model 1910 Model. It has the thin .030" rim of the earlier rounds. Like the Type 1904, the Type 1810 is headstamped “W&S.AUTO .455-K.” Some of the early Webley-Fosbery rounds with the “W F” on the headstamp are found that have been head-trimmed for use in the Model 1910 Pistol.

The final cartridge of the series is the Cartridge SA Ball Pistol Self-Loading, .344 Inch Mark I, also known as the Pattern 1912. Despite the 1913 designation, it was first produced in 1912, with manufacture continuing until circe 1942 and was, with the exception of at least one run by Kirkee Arsenal in India in 1925, only made in England. There are Fiocchi of Italy boxes for this cartridge, and it was carried in their catalogs for a time, but every box with which I am familiar contained Eley-maufacture (and headstamp) military ball rounds from the WWI era, most 1918. There is no evidence that Fiocchi ever actually manufactured the cartridge, but rather simply repacked British surplus WWI ammunition.

For far more complete details of this series of cartridges, see the fine work on them by Lynn H. Harris (R.I.P.) of New Zealand, who was one of the premier collectors and students of ammunition (and many other fields of study) in New Zealand/Australia. “Webley’s .455 Auto Pistol Cartridges, Published by the Author, 1994.”


#3

John,
Brandt also lists a short version of the 455 Webley Fosbery Type I , but no info but dimnesional data are reported in the book. Do you have any info about this short round?


#4

Pivi - I have no information on that at all, other than whatever Brandt has in his revised version of the original Erlmeier and Brandt book.

In my haste this morning with the answer to this thread, with necessary chores to do, I forgot one of the rounds leading up to the standard .455 Webley Auto Cartridge, Mark I. Evidently designed in 1911 (there is an Eley factory drawing dated in that year) is a thin-rimmed cartridge almost identical to the Model 1910 version. However, although having the thin .030" rim of the 1910, it has the wider extractor groove and bevel of the Mark I (1912) cartridge. Headstamp is “. ELEY . 455 AUTO” (the two dots are really more like tiny rectangles). It is the only round of this series that has that headstamp, or perhaps more accurately I should say it is the only one I have seen that has it. It also has the 0.215" diameter primer of the finalized 1912 type. This round is evidently a transition between the 1910 type and the final Mark I type. It was not covered in the 1994 version of Lynn Harris’ book that I have, but I have it in my own collection.

I see in my notes that there has been earlier Forum discussion of the Webley series of self-loading pistol .455 cartridges.

Lew Curtis has a short article in IAA Journal 440, Nov/Dec 2004. It pictures what is reported to be a “short-case” Webley-Fosbery round. There is no real information on it other than its headstamp and a picture of the case, however.

There is also a blurb by Lynn Harris in the IAA Journal 371, May-June 1993. It mentions the transitional round described above. If it was also in the 1994 edition of his book, mentioned earlier, I missed it in my cursory examination of the text this morning.

While a small group of cartridges, even if every date is considered, there are enough “exotics” in the mix to make this a really interesting cartridge.

One last comment. While I am not sure if the earliest Webley-Fosbery “Automatic Revolvers” would chamber and fire a standard .455 Webley Revolver cartridge, it should be noted that later versions would, and were probably intended for that round. I owned one years ago, a fairly late version, and it worked o.k. with standard revolver ammunition. Its only hitch was the spring that returned the upper half of the revover to battery, after it recoiled to the rear to cock the hammer and revolve the cylinder, was too weak so that the top only returned to battery as the handgun was returned to horizontal (from its full recoil position, “muzzle up”). No real malfunction - just a delayed operation. This was absolutely consistent with every shot fired. I don’t know if that was a common (mal)function, or simply my particular specimen, as it is the only Fosbery I ever fired.


#5

My Webley Fosbery 1906 fired standard .455 revolver just fine -
British and Canadian marked WW2 boxed.

With modern Hornady loads, the load was too light, and did not move the hammer all the way to the rear, with obvious results - see video of me shooting it.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUhMQopTweI[/youtube]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUhMQopTweI