Unblinking Eye
Webley and Scott Automatic Pistols

 

Webley & Scott Automatic Pistols
Part 1: 1903-1907

by Ed Buffaloe

Weamon-St-Factory-19th-cent-S

Webley Factory on Weamon St. - Turn of 20th Century

For the early history of the Webley company, please see William Dowell’s The Webley Story. Dowell covers the auto pistols, but not in detail. In 1897 the firms P. Webley & Son, W. & C. Scott & Sons, and Richard Ellis & Son merged, forming The Webley and Scott Revolver & Arms Company Limited of Birmingham and London. In 1906 the name of the firm was changed to Messrs Webley & Scott Limited.

At this writing, there are two primary sources for information on the Webley & Scott auto pistols: Gordon Bruce’s Webley & Scott Automatic Pistols, and Stephen Cuthbertson’s Worldwide Webley and the Harrington and Richardson Connection. To the best of my knowledge, Webley & Scott never referred to any of their guns using a production date as a model number. Prior to Dowell’s book model numbers may not have been assigned to many of the pistols. Dowell, Bruce, and Cuthbertson do not always agree on model nomenclature, but from them we have starting points for sorting the various guns.

Bruce’s book is arranged by order of production, as much as is feasible, whereas Cuthbertson’s book is ordered by caliber, making it somewhat easier to find information on a particular gun, but more difficult to get a sense of the chronology of the guns. I have chosen chronological ordering. I have tried to include detailed information on the more common guns, but have necessarily had to limit the information I can provide on experimental pistols. For complete information on all models, please consult one or both of these excellent books. Any errors in the data provided here are almost certainly my own.

Winged-Bullet

Webley & Scott Winged Bullet

Right around the beginning of 1903 Webley & Scott employee William John Whiting began to consider how he might design an automatic pistol. Whiting had already assisted Hugh Gabbet -Fairfax in trying to perfect the Mars pistol (probably between 1900 and 1903) so he had some idea of where to begin. Development of the Mars pistol had taken place at the Webley & Scott production facility in Birmingham, and hence the pistol is sometimes referred to as the Webley-Mars. The Mars pistol was not commercially successful, but William Whiting must have learned a great deal from his experience with the gun because he spent the rest of his life in the development of various automatic pistol designs.

According to Gordon Bruce the Webley & Scott company was largely idle in 1903 due to the end of the Boer war the previous year and the subsequent expiration of the company’s contracts with the British War Office. In the Spring of that same year Whiting was promoted to the company Board of Directors and was given carte blanche to develop a much-needed new product. The mostly idle manufacturing facilities of the company were placed at Whiting’s disposal.

Links to Webley & Scott Automatic Pistol Models
Sorted by Caliber

.22 LR Model 1911 Single Shot Practice/Target Pistol

.25 ACP Model 1907
.25 ACP Model 1908 Standard Hammer Model
.25 ACP Model 1912 “Hammerless”

.32 ACP Model 1905
.32 ACP Model 1908 Standard Model
.32 ACP Metropolitan Police Model
.32 ACP Model 1921 Improved Model

.380 ACP Model 1908

.38 Caliber Model 1903 Experimental Pistol
.38 Auto Model 1911

9mm Browning Long Model 1909
9mm Browning Long Model 1922 New Military & Police
9mm Parabellum Experimental Pistol

.455 Webley & Scott Automatic Model 1904 Experimental
.45 ACP Model 1906 Experimental Pistol
.455 Webley & Scott Automatic Experimental Pistols of 1909-1911
.455 Webley & Scott Automatic Mark I Model 1912
.455 Webley & Scott Automatic Royal Horse Artillery Model
 


Model 1903 Experimental Pistol

British Patent 1903-19032

 Webley & Scott M1903 Experimental

Whiting’s first patent was filed on 4 September 1903 (British patent 1903-19,032), for an automatic pistol of a locked-breech design with an external hammer, recoil spring beneath the barrel, a buffer lever at the rear of the recoil spring, and an unusual rotating locking stud mechanism on either side of the gun. This gun bears more than a passing resemblance to the above-mentioned Mars pistol. According to Stephen Cuthbertson: “The cartridge pictured in the patent drawings (19032) is rimmed, apparently a .38-inch calibre revolver cartridge.” I agree with Cuthbertson’s assessment of the patent drawing, but should note that Dowell states the gun was “designed for the .455 calibre regulation rimmed cartridge...” Cuthbertson states that Whiting was never able to make the gun function properly, even with rimless .38 auto cartridges, but he filed a patent on the design in the hope he might make it work at some later date.


.38 Caliber Webley & Scott Experimental Model 1903

Weight

unknown

unknown

Height

147 mm

5.79 in

Length

219.07 mm

8.625 in

Barrel Length

142.24 mm

5.6 in


Model 1904 Experimental .455 Caliber

Whiting filed three patents in 1904 (British patents 1904-3820, 1904-17856, and 1904-25028), each a further elaboration of the same design. The new gun featured a locked-breech, with a falling-block locking mechanism, a recoil buffer, and a v-shaped recoil spring and lever under the right
Webley & Scott Model 1904 - .455 Caliber

 Webley & Scott M1904 Cal. .455

grip, a design feature taken from the Webley-Fosbery revolver that would be retained in virtually all future Webley & Scott automatic pistols. Early versions of the gun were chambered for the .455 Webley revolver cartridge but by mid-1904, in conjunction with Kynoch, a new semi-rimmed cartridge was developed with an extractor groove suitable for automatic pistols. This cartridge, loaded with 9 grains of smokeless powder and a 225 grain lead bullet, became known as the .455 Webley auto. At least one example of the Model 1904 was chambered for the .38 auto cartridge. Details of this gun and its evolution are available in Cuthbertson’s excellent book; suffice it to say that the Small Arms Committee of the War Office did extensive testing on the gun. Whiting made a number of modifications at their request, and the War Office authorized the purchase of 10 pistols and 5000 rounds of ammunition, but the design was ultimately rejected, the committee citing four issues: the exposed position of the slide safety, the gun’s sensitivity to dirt and grit, its tendency to eject cartridge cases in the shooter’s face, and excessive recoil.


.455 Caliber Webley & Scott Experimental Model 1904

Weight

1396.2 g

49.25 oz

Height

152.4 mm

6 in

Length

260.35 mm

10.25 in

Barrel Length

165.1 mm

6.5 in


The Model 1905 .32 Caliber

British Patent 1905-15982 Patent Drawing

 British Patent 1905-15,982 Patent Drawing

With no sign of an imminent military contract, Whiting turned his attention to developing a small-caliber unlocked-breech pistol suitable for commercial sale. He did not abandon his efforts to develop a locked-breech pistol suitable for military use, but Webley & Scott needed a product it could market immediately, so the commercial pistol was given priority. Whiting filed his first patent for a fixed barrel, unlocked-breech pistol on 4 August 1905 and was granted British patent number 1905 -15,982 on 22 March 1906. Webley & Scott simply referred to the gun as their Automatic Pistol .32 caliber. Cuthbertson refers to this gun as the Model 1906, whereas Dowell and Gordon Bruce refer to it as the Model 1905. Since the patent was filed in 1905 and production actually began late the same year I have followed the Dowell and Bruce precedent, though distribution did not actually begin until several months into 1906.

Lugs at each end of the detachable trigger guard lock into
 Webley & Scott M1905 Cal. .32 - SN 69

 Webley & Scott M1905 Cal. .32

slots cut in the base of the barrel, front and rear. The spring steel trigger guard serves as a recoil buffer when the slide moves to its full extent in either direction. An external transfer bar runs under the left grip plate. When the hammer is released, it cams the transfer bar down and out of engagement with the sear until the trigger is released. The manual safety lever on the hammer locks it into a half-cock position when applied, and when the hammer is manually cocked again the safety is automatically disengaged. A recoil lever under the right grip connects with the slide at its upper end, and is tensioned by a V-shaped spring with a roller on one branch that connects with the lower end of the lever.

A flat area is milled in the top right-hand corner of the slide, the forward portion of which forms an opening over the rear of the barrel to serve as the ejection port for the gun. The rear portion of the flat houses the bottle-neck spring steel extractor.
Webley & Scott M1905 Slide Detail - SN 1000

 Webley & Scott M1905 Slide Detail

The ejector is an extended lip on the left side of the magazine.

The magazine holds eight cartridges. The finish is carbon blue with a nickeled magazine. The transfer bar is fire blued. The gun is relatively simple, with only 35 parts total. It originally sold for 42 shillings, which was half the price of the 1903 Colt, which sold for 85. The Model 1900 Browning sold for 65 shillings. The wholesale price for the Webley was only 28 shillings in 1906. This pricing information was taken from Gordon Bruce’s excellent book Webley & Scott Automatic Pistols, page 109.

The earliest pistols are hand-engraved on the left side of the slide in all-capital serif characters:

WEBLEY & SCOTT LTD.
LONDON & BIRMINGHAM
7.65m/m AUTOMATIC PISTOL

The Webley & Scott winged bullet logo is also engraved above the trigger guard at the front of the slide. A second inscription has also been observed, as follows:

WEBLEY & SCOTT
.32 AUTOMATIC PISTOL

Later examples are roll-stamped in all-capital sans-serif characters, originally at the rear of the slide on early pistols and at the front on very late pistols:

WEBLEY & SCOTT LTD.
LONDON & BIRMINGHAM
7.65
M/M & 32 AUTOMATIC PISTOL

The Webley & Scott winged bullet logo may be seen stamped either at the front or rear of the slide, opposite the inscription. Also observed is the following inscription:

WEBLEY & SCOTT LTD.
LONDON & BIRMINGHAM
32 AUTOMATIC PISTOL

Very early guns, up to at least serial number 16, have their serial number stamped on the right side of the frame, just in front of the hammer. By serial number 25, it had been moved to the same position on the left side of the frame. The serial number, or the last three digits thereof, is also stamped on the bottom of the barrel and slide. The last two digits of the serial number are stamped on many small parts. The barrel, at least on early guns, is stamped on the left side with the caliber.

Buy Worldwide Webley on AmazonThe grip plates are of hard rubber or vulcanite, though walnut grip plates were available by special order from the company. Both grip plates have hollow areas underneath, the left plate to accommodate the transfer bar, and the right plate to accommodate the recoil spring and lever. The vulcanite right grip plate is especially easily broken, due to the large hollow area on the back. Early grip plates have a small screw escutcheon, whereas later grip plates have a larger escutcheon.

The wide round-head hammer is drilled through and milled in an inverted cone shape with  circular grooves. The earliest hammers are checkered on their upper surface, as are the early hammer safeties, but the majority of hammers have lateral triangular-cut serrations across the upper surface, as do most safeties. The slide is not serrated, but the checkered rear sight extends out slightly on either side and can be used to retract the slide. The rear sight also serves to retain the firing pin in the breech block. The firing pin is made of phosphor bronze.

The magazine is held in place by a spring-loaded lever at its base, which is squeezed toward the front of the grip to release the magazine. This follows the pattern set by the Model 1899/1900 Browning. The length of the (internal) magazine release lever was reduced by about 5mm sometime around mid-1906 (possibly after only 100 or so pistols were manufactured), so that the earliest magazines do not work in later guns, and vice-versa. Some early magazines were modified to work in later guns with the shorter release lever.

The original design underwent considerable modification over the next three years, as Whiting corrected minor problems, simplified production, and sought to make the gun more marketable. Hence, multiple variants were produced, making them highly collectible. Later pistols modified from the original pattern are sometimes referred to as Model 1906 or 1907 pistols by collectors, or as “transitional,” which is how both Bruce and Cuthbertson designate them.

Model 1905 Variations - Transitional Pistols

Model 1908 .32 with Hammer Safety

 Whiting’s Original Hammer Safety

Model 1908 .32 with lever safety

 Whiting’s Lever Safety

I am somewhat ambivalent about the use of the term “transitional” since all early .32s with the heavy frame should be considered 1905 pattern pistols. The term “transitional” is commonly used but loosely defined. Changes to the original design began to take place almost immediately, hence the vast majority of Model 1905 production could easily be included under the rubric “transitional.”

The first issue addressed was the safety. The original rather primitive hammer safety puts the hammer in a half-cock position, so the gun has to be manually cocked from its safe position to fire. Whiting also developed a lever safety, above the grip on the left side of the gun, that simply serves to move the transfer bar down so that it no longer connects with the sear. It does not lock the sear or the hammer. Serial number 6 is said to have the lever safety, as do serial numbers 636, 1000, 1207, 1737, 3083 , 3171, and 3317, whereas serial numbers 16, 69, 114, 292, 1212, 1390, 2125, and 4101 have the hammer safety.

An alternative safety was designed within six months of the start of production, consisting of a horizontal lever beneath the left grip that pivots from the front. A serrated rectangular button in the middle of the lever is set into a notch in the top of the left grip plate. When the button is pushed up the word SAFE appears in the grip plate notch beneath the button, indicating that the safety is engaged. When engaged, the rear of the safety lever moves upward to lock the sear and the hammer, while a projection at the forward end presses the transfer bar down and out of engagement with the sear, and a lug just behind the button fits into a notch in the slide to lock it in place. Additionally, there is a stud projecting from the back of the safety lever into the frame.
GB-1906-24382-pat-drwg-S

 British Patent 1906-24,382

Carter-Murray-button-safety-S

The Carter-Murray Button Safety

When the last round is fired the magazine follower rises up and pushes the stud and safety lever up, locking the slide in the open position and disconnecting the transfer bar. When a new magazine is inserted, the safety lever can be pressed down to close the slide. This mechanism was patented by John Carter and Frank T. Murray of the Webley & Scott company on 1 November 1906 (British patent 1906-24,382).

On 1 May 1907 John Carter and Frank T. Murray of the Webley & Scott company filed a second patent for an improved safety mechanism. Patent number 10,104 was granted on 3 October 1907. It adds another small lever known as the “rocker pivot” between the horizontal safety bar and the transfer bar. When the safety is engaged the front portion of the safety lever presses the rocker pivot down, moving the transfer bar out of alignment with the sear. But the rocker pivot has a second function: when the trigger guard is pulled down to disassemble the gun, the recoil lever engages the rocker pivot and also causes it to move the transfer bar out of alignment with the sear, preventing the hammer from being released during disassembly. A spring and plunger assembly at the rear of the gun tensions the safety bar, holding it in either the on or off position. To sum up, this safety mechanism not only disconnects the transfer bar from the sear, but also locks the sear and hammer when the hammer is cocked, while additionally disconnecting the transfer bar when the trigger guard is removed, and also locks the slide open and disconnects the transfer bar after the last round is fired.

Cuthbertson states that the majority of guns with the button safety fall in the serial number range between 3500 to 4909, though serial number 25 also has one. It is likely that this early serial number was retrofitted with the later design, since the rocker pivot was not patented until 1907; additionally, this serial number remained in the Webley & Scott collection until 1955.

By the end of the first year of production it became obvious that the removable trigger guard was rather more easily misplaced than anyone had imagined and, since it held the barrel in place, without it the gun was totally inoperative. Some users also tended to try to re-insert it backward. John Carter and Frank T. Murray filed a patent for a mechanism to retain the trigger guard on 22 January 1907 and were granted British patent number 1907-1601 on 20 June 1907. Gordon Bruce shows a gun (serial number 4736) with this mechanism installed. However, clearly the mechanism was too complex and too expensive to manufacture, as it was never adopted. Instead, a simple pin was installed on the back of the trigger, or a hook or shoulder was added to the rear of the trigger guard, to prevent its being separated from the rest of the gun.

WS-M1905-Triggers-M

Original 1905 Pattern Trigger

Trigger with Pin

Trigger with Hook

The early bottle-shaped extractor is made of spring steel. During 1907 the extractor is shortened from 1.75 inch to 1 inch, and the milled area on the right corner of the slide is eliminated. The new shorter extractor is machined from stock and requires a coil spring to tension it. The short extractor begins to appear around serial number 4900 (according to Cuthbertson), but does not become standard equipment until after serial number 5000.

The width of the hammer is reduced from 10 mm to 7 mm around serial number 7000. Later still, the succeedingly smaller and deeper circular grooves in the hammer are eliminated. The new hammer has flat sides with a hole drilled through the round head.

Near the end of production, the rear sight is eliminated and replaced with a groove milled in the top of the slide. The front sight is shortened accordingly. The contour of the slide above the trigger guard is changed to simplify machining. The new slide has 17 triangular-cut serrations at the rear. The firing pin on guns with no rear sight is retained with a transverse pin.

.32 Caliber Webley & Scott Model 1905

Weight*

569 g*

20 oz*

Height

114.3 mm

4.5 in

Length

154.94 mm

6.1 in

Barrel Length

88.9 mm

3.5 in

* Weight varies slightly in transitional models with differing features.


Field Stripping the Model 1905 .32 Caliber Pistol

  1. W&S-4101-L- Field-Stripped-S1Remove the magazine and make sure the chamber is empty.
  2. Grasp the trigger guard firmly and pull it sharply at a 45 degree angle down and forward.
  3. Pull barrel and slide off the frame toward the front.

Note: These guns are very closely fitted. A small leather or plastic mallet may be used to lightly tap the rear of the slide in order to remove it from the frame. If you have an early variant with the removable trigger guard, be sure to note its proper orientation with the bulge toward the front. Do not try to reinsert it backward. When reinstalling the trigger guard, make certain the slide is properly positioned at the rear of the frame--you may need to cock the hammer--before you snap it into place. Place the front lug into its slot, then snap the rear of the trigger guard into place.


The Model 1906 Experimental .45 Caliber

Webley & Scott M1906 Patent Drawing - British Patent 1906-13570-pat-drwg-S

 Webley & Scott M1906 Patent Drawing

Whiting apparently never entirely stopped work on his locked-breech auto pistol design, even during development of the .32 auto. With the Model 1905 in production, on 13 June 1906 he filed for a patent on a design in which the barrel has a rectangular area above the breech that locks into a rectangular opening in the top of the slide, which also serves as the ejection port. Angled ribs on the side of the barrel fit into angled grooves on the interior of the slide. When the cartridge is ignited the barrel and slide recoil together for a short distance, until the ribs, moving in the grooves of the slide, force the barrel down just enough to allow it to clear the opening in the slide, allowing the slide to move backward on its own to eject the spent cartridge case. On 25 October Whiting was granted British patent number 1906-13,570 for this design. This patent formed the basis for all his future locked-breech pistols. The same patent was submitted to the U.S. Patent Office on 26 July 1906, and U.S. Patent 896,496 was granted on 18 August 1908.

Like other early Webley & Scott pistols,
Webley & Scott Model1906 - 45ACP - SN2

 Webley & Scott M1906 Caliber .45

the 1906 design has a V-shaped recoil spring under the right grip, with a roller on the branch that touches the recoil lever. The gun is characterized by a stud or pin inserted through the right side of the slide, against which the recoil lever beneath the right grip operates, and which also serves as the disassembly mechanism for the slide and barrel. To disassemble the gun, the slide is retracted a few millimeters and a button on the right side is depressed, holding the recoil lever away from the stud and allowing it to be removed, after which the slide and barrel are removed toward the front. The trigger guard is fixed. The spring-steel extractor is top-mounted.

An internal slide stop lever on the left side of the gun has a small projection that is lifted by the rear of the magazine follower when the magazine is empty in order to lock the slide open. The same small projection serves as the ejector. The slide stop lever, when lifted by the magazine follower, also lifts an external button at the left rear of the grip frame. This button, when pressed down, releases the slide stop lever, and can also serve to lock the slide open manually.

The gun has a transfer bar on the left side, connected to the trigger at the front and reaching to the sear at the rear. A disconnector consisting of a vertical bar on the left side is depressed when the barrel drops under recoil, forcing the transfer bar out of connection with the sear and preventing multiple shots from being fired. The transfer bar and disconnector are covered by a small housing behind the trigger, extending under the left grip plate. A hammer safety, identical to that on the Model 1905 .32 auto pistol, forces the hammer into a half-cock position when applied, and automatically disengages when the hammer is manually cocked.

The slide inscription, likely hand engraved, is on the left side in all-capital italic serif characters as follows:

WEBLEY & SCOTT LTD.
.45 AUTO PISTOL
PATENT APPLIED FOR IN U.S.A

The Webley & Scott winged bullet logo is in front of the slide inscription. The serial number is stamped on the left side of the frame behind the trigger, and on the top of the slide and barrel.

This gun may have been intended for submission to the U.S. Ordnance Board tests which had been scheduled to begin in September of 1906, but which were eventually carried out in January of 1907. Whiting is known to have visited the U.S. in 1905 and was probably made aware at that time of the development of the .45 Automatic Model 1906 cartridge. But the gun was never submitted for testing, despite the inscription “Patent applied for in U.S.A.” I have designated it an experimental design. Roy G. Goodman, in his 1962 article on the Webley & Scott .455 pistols avers that the Model 1906 is actually in .455 caliber, and Dowell also states the same. Cuthbertson clarifies the issue by stating that probably only three prototype guns were made in .45 caliber, but that three years later the Small Arms Committee of the British War Department tested a modified version of this same pistol chambered in .455 Webley & Scott Automatic Model 1904, but the modifications were extensive enough (an internal hammer plus other changes) that the gun is considered separately (see below: 1909-1912 Test Pistols).
 

.45 Caliber Webley & Scott Experimental Model 1906

Weight

1318 g

46.5 oz

Height

139.7 mm

5.5 in

Length

216 mm

8.5 in

Barrel Length

129.54 mm

5.1 in


The Model 1907 6.35 mm

The Browning 6.35 mm cartridge was designed in the U.S. in the period 1903-1904, but was first manufactured commercially in Belgium in 1906. The cartridge (and the FN Browning pistol it was designed for) was an instant success. Arms manufacturers throughout Europe began to design small self-loading pistols to shoot the new cartridge. Diminutive auto pistols became a “craze,” and Webley & Scott sought to claim a piece of the market for themselves. When this cartridge was
British Patent 1906-29221

 Carter-Murray Design of 1906

introduced in the United States in 1908, it was known as the .25 ACP.

As early as 22 December 1906, John Carter and John Townsend Murray of Webley & Scott filed a patent for a gun that appears to have been intended to fire the 6.35 mm Browning Cartridge. The gun was of an innovative design, with the recoil spring surrounding the striker, a front-mounted grip safety, and a barrel held in place by an angled screw beneath it. British patent number 1906-29,221 was granted on 28 November 1907. But this gun was never manufactured.

Instead, William Whiting miniaturized his existing .32 caliber design, with several innovations inspired
British Patent 1907-1601 Detail

 British Pat. 1907-1601 - Trigger Guard
with Recoil Buffer

British Patent 1908-1856 Detail

Detail from Pat. 1908-18,567

by Carter and Murray. A month after filing the above patent for their pistol with the grip safety, on 22 January 1907, Carter and Murray filed a patent for a pivoting trigger guard. British patent 1907-1601 was granted on 20 June 1907. This design retained the twin cuts in the base of the barrel that received twin locking lugs, but only the front locking lug was part of the trigger guard, which pivoted on a pin at the front. The rear locking lug is described in the patent as a “sliding bolt” which is pressed upward and held in place by the rear end of the trigger guard, and which also serves as a recoil buffer. During disassembly, the bottom of the bolt was specified to either block the trigger in its lower (unlocked) position, or otherwise block or deflect the transfer bar, so as to render the firing mechanism inoperative, though neither method is shown in any detail in the patent.

Whiting chose to use only the front locking lug to retain the barrel of the 6.35 mm pistol; the lug pivots into position when the trigger guard is locked in place. The rear of the trigger guard has a small hook and is designed in such a way that it appears contiguous with the frame. The exact design may have never been patented, but is clearly shown in a 1908 patent drawing that covers the design of the frame and slide for a top -ejecting pistol. The new pivoting trigger guard continues to be made of tempered spring steel, but no longer serves as a recoil buffer. Gordon Bruce comments that the new trigger guard design also “required fewer machining operations in its construction than the previous form, thus making the weapon far more economical to produce.”

British patent 1909-23564 Patent Drawing

Whiting’s Magazine Release
from British patent 1909-23564

Whiting also designed a more elegant magazine release, which is first seen on the Model 1907 6.35 mm pistol, but which was subsequently used on all later Webley and Scott auto pistols. It consists of twin pistons, with inclined grooves and a pin, working at right angles to each other, designed in such a way that depressing the vertical piston on the bottom of the grip retracts the horizontal piston that pierces the back of the magazine, allowing the magazine to be withdrawn. The vertical piston is spring loaded in such a way that when the magazine is inserted and the horizontal piston lines up with the hole in the back of the magazine, the piston is forced by spring pressure to lock the magazine in place. This mechanism was not patented until 23 January 1909, in a design that had a lanyard attached to the base of the vertical piston (see British patent 1909-1664), but the release as we know it today is shown in a patent Whiting filed on 15 October 1909 for a grip safety mechanism (see British patent 1909-23564).

Like the Model 1905 .32 caliber,
Webley & Scott M1907, SN13367 - photograph by Bill Chase

Webley & Scott M1907 6.35mm

the Model 1907 6.35 mm retains the recoil lever and V-shaped mainspring  beneath the right grip, a roller on the spring where it contacts the lever, an external hammer, a phosphor bronze firing pin, and an ejector formed by the left lip of the magazine. The transfer bar remains on the left side, but is internal, concealed under the left grip plate. A lever safety is used, and becomes the standard safety for most future commercial production auto pistols. Safety levers on the early model are crosshatched with finely cut lines to form a gripping surface at the rear. The word SAFE is stamped on the slide at an angle, in such a way that when the safety is disengaged, by pushing the lever upward, it covers the word. There are no sights on the Model 1907, not even a sighting groove.

The hammer is flat, unadorned, and has no hole drilled through the head. There are 12 triangular -cut serrations at the rear of the slide on both sides. Early Model 1907 pistols are quite scarce. Serial number 10731 (shown in Cuthbertson) has the winged bullet logo at the very front of the slide, on the left slide, with the slide inscription immediately behind it, but on serial number 13367 the Webley & Scott winged bullet logo is at the rear of the slide, just in front of the serrations. The slide inscription is in all-capital sans-serif characters at the front of the slide, as follows:

WEBLEY & SCOTT LTD.
LONDON & BIRMINGHAM
6.35 M/M AUTOMATIC PISTOL

The serial number is on the left side of the frame in front of and beneath the hammer, and may also be found stamped on the back of the grip strap of some examples. The last three digits of the serial number are also stamped on the bottom of the slide and barrel. The grip plates are of hardened rubber and the grip-frame cutouts beneath them are rectangular, with rounded corners. The magazine holds six cartridges. The Model 1907 was about two ounces lighter than the 1906 FN Browning, and eight ounces lighter than the Webley & Scott Model 1905 in .32 caliber.

According to Gordon Bruce, production began “prior” to May 1907. Cuthbertson says, “[b]y late 1907, fourteen prototype pistols...had been assembled. Serial numbers are in the same series as the .32 caliber pistol. According to Gordon Bruce, the earliest 6.35mm serial number manufactured was 7060, and the first eight pistols were in the range 7060-7067, followed by 7078-7083, 10000 -11099, and finally 13000-13799 approximately. According to Cuthbertson, only about 2100 of the Model 1907 were manufactured.*

Webley & Scott Models 1907 & 1908 - photo by Bill Chase

W&S Model 1907 6.35 mm

W&S Model 1908 “Standard Hammer” 6.35 mm


.25 Caliber Webley & Scott Model 1907

Weight

314 g

11.05 oz

Height

77.47 mm

3.05 in

Length

109.22 mm

4.3 in

Barrel Length

53.975 mm

2.125 in


Field Stripping the Model 1907 .25 Caliber Pistol

  1. W&S M1907 .25 Caliber - Field StrippedRemove the magazine and make sure the chamber is empty.
  2. Grasp the trigger guard and pull it down and toward the front of the gun.
  3. Pull barrel and slide off the frame toward the front.

Note: Take care when removing the left grip plate not to break off the thin area beneath the safety lever.


Webley & Scott Automatic Pistols: Part 2 (1908-1911)
Webley & Scott Automatic Pistols: Part 3 (1912-1953)
Harrington & Richardson Automatic Pistols of 1912 and 1916
 


* Please contact me if you have information about, or can provide photographs of, Webley & Scott automatic pistols discussed in this article:  edbuffaloe@unblinkingeye.com.


References

  • Boothroyd, Geoffrey. The Handgun. Bonanza Books, New York: 1970.
  • Bruce, Gordon. Webley & Scott Automatic Pistols. Verlag Stocker Schmid, Zurich: 1992.
  • Cormack, A. J. R. Famous Pistols and Hand Guns. Profile Publications, Windsor: 1977.
  • Cormack, A. J. R. Small Arms in Profile, Volume 1. Doubleday & Company, Garden City, NY: 1973.
  • Cuthbertson, Stephen. Worldwide Webley and the Harrington and Richardson Connection. Ballista Publishing, Gabriola Island, British Columbia: 1999.
  • Dowell, William Chipchase. The Webley Story.  Commonwealth Heritage Society, Bellingham, Washington: (1962) 1987.
  • Goodman, Roy G.  “The .455 Webley & Scott Pistol,” American Rifleman, May 1962.
  • Thurlow, C. W. and Bewley, Eric G. Webley & Scott Ltd., 1790-1968. Second Edition, 1968.
  • White, Henry P. and Munhall, Burton D. Pistol and Revolver Cartridges. A. S. Barnes and Company, South Brunswick and New York: 1967.
  • Wood, J. B.  Troubleshooting Your Handgun. Follett, Chicago: 1978.

Special thanks to Bill Chase and Jim Frank for photographs and other assistance,
and thanks to Stephen Cuthbertson for answering questions.

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