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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Webley Mark VI mystery mark


jckoenig

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Hello forum members. I have a mystery I am trying to solve. Perhaps someone out there can help me? I have a 1915 Webley Mark VI revolver which at some point in its history was converted to 22

caliber. Proof and inspector marks seem typical (see my sketchs) except for an unusual mark on the right hand side frame (SVC over 32).

Heres what I have been told so far from a Webley collector here in the states. Grips have S designation which means small. The letter/number size for the SVC over 32 is not typical for a regiment mark. The letter/number style dates back to the early nineteen hundreds . Regiment marks would not normally reside in this area. Gun might have been used at an ROTC college. S= college name? V = volunteer, C = Corps or Cadet.

My questions are:

1. What is the meaning of the SVC over 32 mark?

2. Why would one want to convert a wonderful revolver to a smaller caliber knowing that its a rim fire (not center fire) and that the geometry of the conversion results in a bullet that enters and exits the barrel at an angle? For training purposes?

3. Is there any useful info to be gleamed using the serial number? If so, where can one go?

4. Can anyone tell me more about this firearm than what I currently know (which doesnt seem to be much these days!)

5. Are there any books one would recommend to help solve this mystery?

6. I realize the condition is not the best but is this revolver rare? Collectible? I have not seen many of these conversions on the internet or at gun shows.

Photos are attached for your viewing pleasure. Dont know why but this gun intrigues me. I have owned it for many years. Its not much fun to shoot due to the inaccuracy; however, I love the look and feel of it.

Regards

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What you have is an accessory for your MkVI. It is a sub-caliber training unit. .22 long rifle is considerably less expensive to shoot than .455. Also the recoil and noise is less. It is easier to start a new shooter on something mild like a .22 rather than a full power load. Your .22 unit is removable. Remove the cylinder then unscrew the nut at the barrel muzzle and remove the barrel. Install the .455 cylinder and your Mk VI is back to .455 just like it started. If you don't have the original cylinder you can find one but it will have to be set up by a gunsmith so that it indexes properly.

And yes the .22 unit is very collectible. They are not exactly rare but neither are they common.

Edited by Reese
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Hello forum members. I have a mystery I am trying to solve. Perhaps someone out there can help me? I have a 1915 Webley Mark VI revolver which at some point in its history was converted to 22

Your Webley Mk VI has been fitted with a Parker Hale .22 conversion, done for training purposes.
At the end of WW1, Capt. W. Robinson a revolver expert at the Hythe School of Musketry, asked the A. G. Parker Company in Birmingham
( later Parker-Hale Ltd ) to develop and produce a conversion unit so that the .455 Webley could be converted to shoot the calibre .22 Long Rifle Rimfire cartridge for training purposes rather than using the much more expensive .455 round.
Alfred Hale patented his .22 conversion system on 17th January 1923, and after that, Hale's .22 conversion units were used by the British military for training, and were also supplied to the Canadian Defence Department, the Small Arms School Pachmarchi, India, and to Northern Ireland.
The conversion consisted of an auxiliary .22 calibre rifled barrel tube ( placed inside the original barrel ), and a cylinder assembly secured to the barrel strap by a thumbscrew mount which also retained the rear sight.

The Parker-Hale .22 conversion unit came in a boxed kit.

As to the ' SVC ' mark, that looks to have been placed there by some organization, and as your revolver would have been used for training, it could refer to a school or a cadet force. I have looked it up in my reference books, and as yet have not found a ' SVC ' mark recorded.
LF
Bruce & Reinhart - Webley Revolvers.

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the geometry of the conversion results in a bullet that enters and exits the barrel at an angle? For training purposes?

All the chambers in the cylinder are bored on a slope, in order that Rimfire cartridges could be fired with a centrefire hammer.

LF

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Shanghai Volunteer Corps?

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LF's comments about the expense of .455 cartridges for training are a clear reason for the .22 conversion.

There's also the issue of regulations for use - there were many indoor 'miniature' ranges cleared for use of .22 RF, but far fewer ranges available for fullbore pistol shooting, usually outdoor. Hearing protection at that time was usually primitive or non-existent, and firing a .455 in an indoor range is loud enough to disturb bystanders' balance - I remember the tin-hut range appearing to tip sideways the first time I heard one!

Regards,

MikB

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  • 2 months later...

hello, i have a shanghai volunteer corps mark vi 455 marked s.v.c 57....have not been able to find what the 57 stands for , i assume a unit.

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hello, i have a shanghai volunteer corps mark vi 455 marked s.v.c 57....have not been able to find what the 57 stands for , i assume a unit.

Hi - welcome to the forum:

Isn't the number likely to be the individual weapon number (sometimes called the "rack number") so the weapon is marked to the unit (SVC) and then it is revolver number 57 (for Armoury record keeping / log purposes.)

Chris

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  • 4 months later...

hello, i have a shanghai volunteer corps mark vi 455 marked s.v.c 57....have not been able to find what the 57 stands for , i assume a unit.

Hello ar10b. Question for you. Does the svc mark on your Webley reside on the frame (right hand side) or on the backstrap (I think that's what they call it).

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