During a recent visit to my local gun shop, I was having a look through one of their cabinets when I spotted something interesting. A Webley-Bentley Revolver from the mid-1850s.
The Webley-Bentley was a double-action only, or as it was then known ‘self-cocking’, percussion revolver and a contemporary of the Adams revolver. Based on lock-work designed by Joseph Bentley the revolver was offered in a series of calibres. The Webley-Bentley was introduced in the mid-1850s and continued to be produced into the 1860s. This particular pistol was sold by R. Jones of Liverpool – remarkably the gun has stayed local for 160 years.
The pistol is a .36 calibre open-top revolver, with a 5-shot percussion cylinder and a hexagonal barrel. On the left side of the pistol is a James Kerr-style rammer for loading. It’s hammer is spurless and the action is double action only. The revolvers also came in larger calibres like .40 and .45.
The overall condition of the revolver wasn’t great, but it had that worn patina of a gun that’s seen some use, which is a charm in itself. The cylinder pawl was a little worn and the timing was a little off, but it still worked and the main spring was strong. On the left side of the revolver is a flat spring catch, held to the frame by a screw, that enables the hammer to be set at half cock, for loading. In this example the post that interfaces with the hammer has long since worn.
Of course Webley have since become best known for their line of top break, centre-fire revolvers which were used extensively by the British Army but it was interesting to get a look at one of their earlier pistols.
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Webley Revolvers, G. Bruce & C. Reinhart (1988)
The Webley Story, W.C. Dowell, (1962)
‘Improvements Aplicable to Fire-Arms’, J. Bentley, UK Patent #960, (04/12/1852)