Slightly unusual Mk 1 pistol

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Slightly unusual Mk 1 pistol

Postby Chris-S » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:54 pm

Hi All

Just received a post war B4 MK 1 pistol in .177 with some slightly unusual features which make me suspect it is quite early for the type. The pistol is in very nice condition and appears to have had practically no use. Almost full blue overall including the butt straps. Grip plates are very sharp and shiny. The mainspring is very strong and the trigger pull is very light and crisp.

It has all the normal post war features except the breech screw has the pre war legend ‘NOT TO BE REMOVED’ rather than the post war ‘DO NOT REMOVE’. There is no red paint infill and the lettering is very small, as on pre war pistols, and so deeply struck that it has caused slight closure of the slot cut for the brace bit. The breech screw is of the post war flat style, not the pre war domed type, and is pinned in the usual manner. The finish of the breech screw is a perfect highly polished deep blue matching the rest of the pistol, and there is absolutely no sign of it having been tampered with.

Unusual feature number two is the batch number on the front of the spring guide (3 digits). This is struck in much smaller figures positioned closer together than the usual quite large widely spaced figures.

Unusual feature number three is the barrel. This has quite a long extension in front of the pivot lug (about 5mm). Nothing like the pre war straight grip of course but still noticeably longer than normal, and protrudes well in front of the face of the spring guide plug. That having been said I have noticed that the slant grip Mk 1 generally tends to have a longer front extension of the barrel than the Senior - my post 1958 example of the latter has less than 2mm.

Bruce notes that immediate post war pistols had no warning on the breech screw, followed by the usual red filled warning. Perhaps when the warning was re-instated Webley used the pre war warning at first, and then changed it for the usual one. Or perhaps they used the pre war warning at first then no warning for a while until the later legend was introduced. The other unusual features, especially the batch number, make me incline towards the latter.

I’d be very glad of any comments from our experts who will have seen far more of these pistols than I have out here in sunny Spain. If anyone is interested I will post relevant pics once I have taken them and find out how to post them.

ATB Chris S.
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Re: Slightly unusual Mk 1 pistol

Postby kj68 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:38 pm

Hi Chris is there any chance of a couple of pictures of this pistol, will be nice to see what it looks like.

rgds kj68 :)
Happy Shooting
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Re: Slightly unusual Mk 1 pistol

Postby Chris-S » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:22 pm

Hi KJ68

I will take some photos on the weekend and will endeavour to post them as and when they are done. Not sure how to do it on this forum but will give it a go anyway.

Many thanks for your interest, ATB Chris S.
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Re: Slightly unusual Mk 1 pistol

Postby Certus » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:26 am

Hi Chris,

Sounds like your Mk1 might as you say be an early post-war transitional model. I have come across similar anomalies on both transitional Webley and BSA products which tend to muddy the waters a bit for us collectors.

Regards

Brian
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Re: Slightly unusual Mk 1 pistol

Postby Chris-S » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:53 pm

Hi Certus

Many thanks for your comments - this is also my present thinking.

Bruce on p71 notes that some of the post war modifications to Mk 1 pistols were at the stage of being introduced when WW2 broke out, although he doesn't say which of the mods they were - this might have extended to producing some parts. Perhaps the flattening of the breech screw was one such, in which case that on my pistol may have been manufactured pre war and therefore marked with the pre war warning, and then used immediately after the war from unused stocks in the parts bins.

ATB Chris S.
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Re: Slightly unusual Mk 1 pistol

Postby Chris-S » Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:24 am

Hi

Here are some pics of the 3 unusual features on this pistol - hope they post OK.

IMG_1961 mod3.jpg
The breech plug with pre war warning



IMG_1950 mod3.jpg
The spring guide face with small figures



IMG_1951 mod3.jpg
The slightly long barrel extension


The pics seem to be OK.

Any comments welcome - ATB Chris S.
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Re: Slightly unusual Mk 1 pistol

Postby Chris-S » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:00 am

Hi

A couple more pictures of this pistol.

IMG_1955 mod1.jpg
Left side


IMG_1956 mod1.jpg
Right side


Please excuse any smears on pistol - courtesy of oily rag.

ATB Chris S.
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Re: Slightly unusual Mk 1 pistol

Postby Certus » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:51 am

Hi Chris,

Nice pictures of what certainly looks like of a very crisp example of an early post-war Webley Mk1. It would be nice if you could find a nice original box to keep it in. I have a fair collection of both pre-war & Post-war Webleys and have bought reproduction boxes for those without original boxes rather than keep them in boring old synthetic pistol covers.

Regards

Brian
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Re: Slightly unusual Mk 1 pistol

Postby Chris-S » Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:00 pm

Hi Brian – Many thanks for your post.

Yes, this pistol is very crisp, just a few odd minor marks here and there and a little wear in the usual places on the air cylinder - I would say it has had very little use.

I have been looking again at Bruce’s book on Webley air pistols, and noticed a few interesting details. On page 60 top left, two pistol rear views are shown – that on the right appears to have a flat, or at least a flattish, breech screw with early warning, and this on a straight grip Senior, no number given but of course must be 1935 or before.

On page 68 lower right, and again on page 70 top left is a pre-war Mk 1 slant grip s/n 63531 which seems to have a more flat than usual breech screw also with early warning.

On page 76 top right, are shown two pre-war Senior slant grip pistols, that on the left, stated to be an early production model, seems to have a flat breech screw with no warning.

It may be apparent from this that the flat breech screw is not a purely post-war innovation, but was in use, at least sporadically, during the 1930’s, when this item could vary from domed to flat with variations in between. In view of this it seems quite likely that the breech screw on my pistol, with its pre-war warning, could well be of pre-war manufacture, as I mentioned in a previous post.

Yes, an original box would be nice to house this pistol, however I personally would draw the line at paying the high prices asked for such items, and such a nice pistol needs to be in a nice box. A repro is a possibility, but I’m not sure I would really want that. I can see the attraction of the repro but I'm just not sure it's the way forward for me. The next thing would be a box for each of my Webley pistols (I only have half a dozen or so) and then what would I do with my plastic pistol cases?

For the cost of six repro boxes I could get another nice pistol or rifle. However, I may be tempted ... ... for just this one pistol ... ... But then what about my Mk 1 straight grip, that's another very nice pistol which deserves a nice (preferably original) box. And my late pre-war Junior, that's also got most of its original finish and deserves a nice box. You see the problem? ... ...

ATB Chris S.
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Re: Slightly unusual Mk 1 pistol

Postby Certus » Sat Jul 05, 2014 6:46 pm

Hi Chris,

I certainly know what you mean about the cost of original boxes, but they seem to come up so rarely that supply and demand dictates they won't be cheap. I thought I had finished collecting when I had a reasonable example of each Webley model, but then came other early English spring pistols followed by Webley accessories etc.

It is always nice chasing something though, especially when you come across a pistol like your Mk1 which provides the opportunity for some interesting research.

Regards

Brian
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