I had a 'few issues' with my fresh Webley Mk. IV .380 .. My first trial ammo batch as loaded failed to fire around a third of the time .. some fired OK with a second hit. - So was this a gun problem, powder, primers or me having done something stupid at the hand-loading press?
As it turns-out the issue resolves around the CCI primers being hard .. I loaded a further sample batch using fresh Federal small pistol primers and they all functioned perfectly. - However ALL of the first CCI loads fired after further hammer hits in the new wee revolver. This ex Singapore Police Force gun is in "as new" condition & has a pleasant trigger pull .. and it will use Federal primers from now going forward.
Why was the 'old' 38 -200 caliber chosen for the Mk. IV? .. the story I like best is that when the British Army asked Webley to develop a smaller, lighter gun that would be easier for novices to handle .. one that would still hit like a heavy-weight - Webley looked to their Mk III .380 that had long been supplied to the Royal Irish Constabulary.
- When consulting the ammunition makers on how to up-power the .38 S&W cartridge - Kynoch's advise was to seat a 200-grain soft lead round-nose bullet on top of a charge of 2.8 grains of Neonite nitrocellulose. - A heavy lump of tumbling metal .. substituted for the old .455 "Man Stopper".
- Subsequent testing revealed this load to have a velocity of 630 fps at the muzzle and 577 fps at 50 yards.
"A little powder and a lot of lead - Shoot them once and shoot them dead."
The First World War ballistic theory as calculated says that a half inch lead shrapnel ball of 170 grains impacting at around 400 feet per second would deliver a fatal blow of 60 ft/lb energy out to 400 yards range.
This is about the same delivered energy as a .22" SHORT rimfire round. 'Knock-Down Power'.
- Yes .. this was tested thoroughly on bombing ranges by using tethered livestock.
I used Lee 9x19 mm dies to reload my Webley 38 Mk IV ammunition .. a look at this below image shows how this can work with the very close sizes - but the shell holder used was for the rimmed .38"/.357". You don't use much powder in this antique, economic low pressure cartridge.
Plenty of pills available from the .38 - .357 bullet range albeit they may be considered a few thou undersized .. Experience shows that a few thousandths of an inch undersize can be tolerated in moderately powered handgun ammunition - remembering that brass cartridge cases are designed to expand and seal chamber combustion gases .. while projectiles also function by obturating and expanding into the barrels' rifling grooves.
"obturation" refers to the action of a soft metallic cartridge case being pressed outwards against the chamber walls by the high pressure of the internal gases. This creates a self-sealing effect which prevents gasses from leaking out of the breech mechanism".
- This linked video is a fun SUPERB history & review of the large bore British Webley Revolvers:
.. Mae has to be the best range reviewer anywhere - she both talks sense and looks great. The bearded bloke does well too.