Nice early post war Senior

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Nice early post war Senior

Postby Hamish » Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:02 am

DSCF2364.JPG
I just lucked onto a beautiful post - WWII Senior, with both the .177 and the .22 barrels. The batch number is 43, which suggests early production. The breech end has "NOT TO BE REMOVED"
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which suggests that some parts left over from pre-war production were being used up too.

The box was a complete wreck, but all the labels were in decent shape and came off easily after a soak in water. I'm working on restoring the box and hope to be able to post "before and after" pictures. I scanned the 4 labels for posterity (that plus the fact I have managed to damage a few labels in the past, and at least this way I can re-print them)

The gentleman I purchased it from told me that he and his had brother bought it as teenagers in the late 1940s. They certainly looked after it as there is no rust or pitting, nor chips on the original grips. He included the parts list with it, which has prices I wish could be purchased for today! For example, grips were priced at 1/6d! I recently purchased a pair of "NOS" grips from the UK which cost me, with postage, about $85.00!!! - and, they still had the 1/6d sticker on them.

Gordon Bruce's great book, "Webley Air Pistols", states that the length of the barrel knurling was reduced from 2-3/8" to 2" in late 1949, so this one apparently pre-dates 1940. It seems the brothers purchased both barrels together as they both are rifled and have the longer knurling.

Any questions or comments are welcome of course.

Cheers! Hamish.
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Re: Nice early post war Senior

Postby Certus » Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:03 am

Hi,

Congratulations on really nice find. I would agree that your pistol is probably a late 40's early 50's transitional model. It's a pity that Webley replaced Ser Nos with Batch Nos after the war which obviously made dating that much harder, but at least the length of the barrel knurling and the warning on the end cap provide some clues. I hope the box restoration works out OK as this kind of work is extremely difficult to get right. Look forward to seeing some pictures of the results and maybe getting some tips based on your experience.

Although I do like the post-war Seniors, I actually prefer the pre-war 'Slant Grip' model with the plain barrel and without the Webley logo on the grips. This is just a personal preference based solely on appearance.

Regards

Brian
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Re: Nice early post war Senior

Postby Hamish » Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:27 am

So, I'm pecking away at my repro box. The original labels are quite useable though I've made a copy or two, cleaned up in Photoshop. Not quite sure whether I should use the originals or my repros. Suggestions welcome of course.

I do have a question which I'm hoping someone can answer:
There is a little section inside the box which apparently held a few pellets. The dimensions are 2-3/4" X 1-5/8" and of course are the same depth as the box itself - about 1-3?8". I do have several pictures of various green Webley pellet boxes but none of them are the same size as the section inside the pistol box. Any help along these line will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers! Hamish.
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Re: Nice early post war Senior

Postby Certus » Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:36 pm

Hi Hamish,

Although Webley provided nice little complimentary cardboard pellet cartons to fit into their pre-war pistol boxes, this practice was discontinued after the war. Unfortunately, none of the early post-war tins will fit the box compartment, so although not contemporary with your pistol, you might want to consider using this little cardboard box from the mid 1960s.

Image

I have used these packets for some of my boxed pistols as at least it carries the Webley name and could realistically have been added at a later date. Otherwise, you could just keep some spare breech washers or cleaning lint etc in the compartment.

I would recommend not using original labels on reproduction boxes as you may well come across a nice original box which may benefit from a better label.

Regards

Brian
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Re: Nice early post war Senior

Postby John M » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:40 pm

Hi Hamish,

Good advice from Brian. During the 1930s, Webley used a Z shaped partition in their boxes, which was simply designed to hold the pistol in place within the box. The rectangular compartment was pretty much intended to do the same.

Not sure if you're aware but there were 4 variations of boxes for the Webley Senior, post war. The first three used the same label but placed on 3 different types of background, whilst the 4th 'Design Centre' label was different altogether as the graphics were completely changed. What colour is the background to your label?

Kind regards,

John
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Re: Nice early post war Senior

Postby Hamish » Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:37 am

Thanks for your comments John.

Boxes are as scarce as hen's teeth on this side of the pond - I've only seen 2 boxes ever - one was a new one I had sent from England in the early 1960s.

I've looked at every one I could find on the 'net and one difference I noticed was that mine does not have "Made in England" under the "Model" immediately below the "SENIOR".

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I've attached a picture or two of my "nearly completed" repro box, which has a reasonable facsimile of the color (sorta green). I scanned the original labels and used the scans to build the box, keeping the originals "just in case". I don't think it shows in my pictures, but there is a faintly stamped ".177" stamped on the end label. One of the early pictures shows the reinforcement I added to the inside corners, hopefully to get a little more life from the box.
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The little label (red printing) above the picture on the third photo was a separate label glued on later

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Questions and/or comments welcomed always.

Cheers! Hamish.
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Re: Nice early post war Senior

Postby Chris-S » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:50 am

Hi Hamish

Really nice pistol which, judging by the breech plug warning, would seem to be a contemporary of my early post-war Mk 1 described in an earlier post. Very interesting also to hear of the background to your pistol, particularly the approximate date of purchase, which would seem to confirm that these pistols are in fact early transitional products and not just fitted with some old breech plugs found at the bottom of the parts bin at some later indeterminate date. The early style barrels also help to confirm the early production period.

Does your pistol also have the small close together figures of the batch number on the front of the spring guide flange like my Mk 1? Interesting also that my pistol has no trace of white paint in the lettering whereas yours does - perhaps only Seniors were given this extra treatment immediately after the war to indicate their enhanced status. I have seen later Mk 1 pistols with the white paint and some without but don't know when it was introduced for this model. If this could be established it might assist in tying down the approximate production period of Mk 1 pistols.

Congratulations on your excellent find - especially with the 2 contemporary barrels - historically very interesting link between pre- and post-war production.

ATB Chris S.
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Re: Nice early post war Senior

Postby Certus » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:16 am

Hi Hamish,

The Senior box looks like it's coming on pretty well.

I use blue or green felt to line the bottom of my boxes to help protect the finish which can sometimes become a bit dull when the pistol is stored directly against the card for a number of years.

Here are few pictures of a couple of boxed Juniors and my originally cased pre-war 'Slant Grip' Senior with the correct pellet tin and oil can.

Image

Boxed post-war Junior.

Image

Boxed post-war Junior.

Image

Cased (non-original) post-war Junior

Image

Cased (original) pre-war 'Slant Grip' Senior.

Regards

Brian
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Re: Nice early post war Senior

Postby Hamish » Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:43 pm

Good idea about the felt Brian. I'll try and find some at our local hobby store.

I don't think the batch no. is of the type you describe - they are in fact quite "mis-aligned". I'll post a couple pictures ASAP.

I found your comments on the white paint quite interesting. Mine has quite clear white paint on the "WEBLEY SENIOR" side, but the address & "Webley patents" side is devoid of any trace of paint. I used some "Whiteout" (the stuff old time typists used to correct mistakes) on both sides to compensate for my poor photographic skills.

When I bought the Senior, I also received one of the little oval hang tags shown in your "Army & Navy Co-Op" box. Back in my Webley revolver collecting days, I had a mint condition nickel plated Webley RIC revolver in .455 caliber marked with "Army & Navy Co-operative" along the top of the barrel. (My Granddad was an RIC member, which got me started collecting that model of pistol).

Unfortunately, the guy I bought this Senior from seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth, so I can't find any more history on it.

I've had several "Juniors" and most all of them had smooth bore barrels. My daughter, who lives in New Zealand, sent me one with a rifled barrel, which seems to be the norm for Juniors sold in New Zealand. It was sold on as it really was in poor condition. Another one which I received as a gift a couple years ago had the extended lug at top of the LH grip - unfortunately, I could not locate a matching grip, so sold it to a collector who was missing his.

Anyway, that's all I can think of for now, so more when I get the photos done.

Cheers! Hamish.
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Re: Nice early post war Senior

Postby John M » Sat Aug 02, 2014 1:22 pm

Hi Hamish,

If your box came with the 'crocodile' style background to the label, which is common to boxed Webley Juniors, I would estimate date at around 1950. When I originally researched the styles of labels on post war Seniors, I thought the crocodile pattern was the first but subsequent information has come to light, which suggests the light grey was first with the crocodile second, followed by the more common black background.

My revised thoughts are based on examining boxed Webley Juniors with a similar grey background. In each instance, the pistols had pre 1950 features. If we deduce from this the crocodile background came in around 1950 on Webley Juniors, it is possible a similar background was used for the Senior's box at around the same time. As well as the above, respected British collector Bryan Organ, who knows far more about paper and card styles than I pointed out to me the card used for the grey background labels was earlier than the crocodile background.

Kind regards,

John
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