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Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Webley Mars Automatic Pistol:

I received Nevilles  GrG (guns are good) 'picture of the week' earlier - and although I had seen this gun before - I took a peek on-line about it.
Webley Mars Semi-Automatic Pistol - The Gabbett-Fairfax Mars.
Patented 1900.
Hugh Gabbett-Fairfax was the inventor about 1898 of this large and powerful 9.5" barrel lump - it weighed 48 oz. (same as a LAR Grizzly in .45 Win Magnum calibre) and operated on the long recoil system - but it drew its cartridges backwards from the magazine and used an elevating system to raise the cartridge into line with the barrel.

- Now, if you've been  reading my earlier posts - you'll recall that this system is something like the Boberg pistols who were recently sold to Bond Arms of Texas.

Boberg XR9-L
(The new Bond version of this interesting 'sub-compact'  Boberg should be appearing shortly with any luck.)
The Mars was only built in small numbers and failed to impress the British military - well it actually impressed them too much as it was most unpleasant to fire - being heavy recoiling and awkward - with a ten lb. trigger pull and empty cases also thrown straight back to the rear. - Its barrel bore is noticeably high above the grip / trigger area so it must have 'flipped' strongly not withstanding its mass and length.
Mars Cartridges ..45"Short, .45Long .360"Mars, 8.5mmMars(.335")
The .45" Long Mars Had a 220gn Bullet at 1250ft.per.sec.
Webley & Scott made 56 of these hard hitting pistols under Gabbett-Fairfax direction before giving up - and some further examples were produced by a consortium of investors called 'The Mars Automatic Pistol Syndicate'
Around 80 guns total were built between 1900 to 1907 but none of the known examples are proof marked so it seems likely that none were commercially sold.
Military Trials showed failures to feed and the pistols habit of ejecting the fired cases straight back into the shooters face tended to add-up to it's unpopularity.
A Commercial Failure - but Powerful and Interesting eh.
'Forgotten Weapons.Com' has an excellent post on this early Brit.

Marty K.