Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

British holster for a small revolver


msdt
 Share

Recommended Posts

Just for the sake of comparison, a 1916 Webley and a FN Browning. (and I just like pistols)

khaki,

Two great examples, and an excellent comparison illustration.

Regards,

LF

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SD,

The U.S. .32 can be equated to either the European 7.65 mm or 7.62 mm, and Sassoon's Browning Pistol was actually in 7.62 mm calibre.

Regards,

LF

Cartridge calibres are often imprecise, and are usually regarded as 'names' rather than exact bore, groove or bullet diameters. Bullet diameter on the 7,65 auto cartridges I used to handload was .307" or 7,798 mm. I think .32" ACP was chosen as the name for the US market as .32 was a calibre that revolver users were already familiar with, although there was no diameter approaching 0.32" very closely. Bore diameter would be around .300" + 0.002"/ -0, and the difference would reflect manufacturing tolerances rather than deliberate designation. I've never heard of this round being habitually known as 7,62 though I believe it was occasionally called .30" Browning Pistol.

I used to shoot a Colt Model 1903 .32 and a Browning 1910 7,65. Both took the same round as Sassoon's and Prinzip's pistols, and tolerance overlaps were such that there was no sensible way of distinguishing between the chamberings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never heard of this round being habitually known as 7,62 though I believe it was occasionally called .30" Browning Pistol.

MikB,

I know nothing about the Browning Semi-Automatic Pistol used by Sassoon, however, every reference I have seen to his type of pistol, refers specifically to it being chambered in 7.62 mm, including the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum who have his actual pistol.

Here is one such reference to the Browning 7.62 mm Pistol :-

" The FN / Browning model 1900 pistol was a first of a long and extremely successful series of the Belgian-made pistols, designed by the American firearms genius John Moses Browning. The first semi-automatic, blowback operated pistol was designed by J. M. Browning circa 1896 and latter improved by the 1897. He offered his design to Belgian company FN Herstal circa 1898, and production began in 1899, as the Modele 1899. in 1900, this pistol, in slightly modified form (with barrel shortened from 122 to 102 mm), was adopted by Belgium as Mle.1900. Relatively simple and well designed, this pistol is also known as the Browning Number 1 pistol (Browning No.1). Widely used across Europe as a civilian and police sidearm, this was chambered for a new smokeless round, 7.62x17mm SR, which is also known in Americas as the .32ACP (.32 Colt Automatic). FN - Browning M1900 was widely copied in many countries, especially in S-E Asia. It was manufactured until the 1911 or so, with more than 700 000 pistols made. "

It seems, there are many variations for this calibre.

Regards,

LF

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As for WSC carrying a s/auto pistol in WW1, I dunno, but I find it likely. He had carried a C96 in the Boer War, and he packed a 1911 in WW2.

I know you aren't suggesting that WSC carried his C96 in the GW, and I think it unlikely that he did, WSC was a very intelligent man and I am sure that he was aware of his diminished chances if captured carrying a Mauser pistol regardless of when or where he purchased it. He presumably had a British pistol, maybe his status of Sea Lord afforded him the opportunity to obtain the Webley semi auto, but also considering his unceasing fascination with new technical developments, maybe a Fosberry would have appealed to him?

khaki

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lanc,

Sorry, but I think 7.62x17 SR has to be a typo or suchlike - it isn't an established name for the round. The only round I know of designated as 7.62x17 is a rimless Chinese variant (so the SR - semi-rimmed - suffix doesn't fit). The round for Sassoon's pistol is much more usually identified as 7,65 Browning, .32" ACP, or punctiliously as 7,65 x 17 SR.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lanc,

Sorry, but I think 7.62x17 SR has to be a typo or suchlike - it isn't an established name for the round. The only round I know of designated as 7.62x17 is a rimless Chinese variant (so the SR - semi-rimmed - suffix doesn't fit). The round for Sassoon's pistol is much more usually identified as 7,65 Browning, .32" ACP, or punctiliously as 7,65 x 17 SR.

Not one, but several different references state 7.62 mm, also, here is the headstamp for a 7.62 Semi-Automatic Pistol round, so clearly they did exist.

Regards,

LF

post-63666-0-96772700-1456423892_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know you aren't suggesting that WSC carried his C96 in the GW, and I think it unlikely that he did, WSC was a very intelligent man and I am sure that he was aware of his diminished chances if captured carrying a Mauser pistol regardless of when or where he purchased it. He presumably had a British pistol, maybe his status of Sea Lord afforded him the opportunity to obtain the Webley semi auto, but also considering his unceasing fascination with new technical developments, maybe a Fosberry would have appealed to him?

khaki

khaki,

I just located my reference for Winston Churchill's semi-automatic pistol, he owned a Webley Model 1908 Semi-Automatic Pistol in .32 calibre, very similar to my Harrington & Richardson.

In Gordon Bruce's excellent reference book on ' Webley & Scott Automatic Pistols ' page 151, he confirms the serial number of Winston Churchill's .32 Webley Pistol as being 130104.

Attached is a photograph of Winston Churchill at the Front during WW1, armed with a Pistol, and the foot of the Pistol's Magazine can been seen.

Regards,

LF

post-63666-0-01592300-1456424535_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Firearms expert Gordon Bruce, who wrote an excellent reference book on ' Webley Automatic Pistols ', and also co-wrote with Christian Reinhart another excellent reference book on ' Webley Revolvers ', when referring to the Harrington & Richardson .32 Semi-Automatic Pistol ( as per my example ), he equates that to 7.62 mm.

LF

post-63666-0-93114500-1456426359_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Firearms expert Gordon Bruce, who wrote an excellent reference book on ' Webley Automatic Pistols ', and also co-wrote with Christian Reinhart another excellent reference book on ' Webley Revolvers ', when referring to the Harrington & Richardson .32 Semi-Automatic Pistol ( as per my example ), he equates that to 7.62 mm.

LF

Yes, and 7,62mm is near enough literally correct for the bore (land) diameter - but it isn't the accepted common name of the calibre, and there was no distinct model of Browning 1900 in 7,62 as opposed to 7,65 calibre. As indicated by Stoppage Drill, the 7,62 x 25 round you posted is a considerably different bottleneck cartridge - between 2 and 3 times as powerful as the 7,65/.32 ACP - using a somewhat heavier bullet of similar diameter. There's also the 7,65 mm. Parabellum round, also bottlenecked, aka .30" Luger.

Whoever translated Georges Simenon's 'Maigret' novels into English used literal equivalences to the calibre names, because I remember reading of ".301" automatics, which is correct for 7,65 to the nearest thou.

I'm almost sorry now I joined in this to back up Stoppage Drill's original correction! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, and 7,62mm is near enough literally correct for the bore (land) diameter - but it isn't the accepted common name of the calibre, and there was no distinct model of Browning 1900 in 7,62 as opposed to 7,65 calibre. As indicated by Stoppage Drill, the 7,62 x 25 round is a considerably different bottleneck cartridge - between 2 and 3 times as powerful as the 7,65/.32 ACP - using a somewhat heavier bullet of similar diameter. There's also the 7,65 mm. Parabellum round, also bottlenecked, aka .30" Luger.

MikB,

I appreciate all your good information, it is confusing when the general written reference is to 7.62 mm as being a comparison to the .32, in connection with the earlier WW1 Pistols, when clearly there seems to be many other variations also ranging from 7.62 - 7.65 mm.

Several other of my Semi-Automatic Pistols, such as the later WW2 Semi-Automatic Walther Pistols, notably the Walther PP and PPK, are marked as 7.65 mm.

Here for comparison is my WW1 Harrington & Richardson .32 Semi-Automatic Pistol alongside my WW2 Walther PP 7.65 mm and my Walther PPK ( RZM Political Leader's Pistol ) 7.65 mm Semi-Automatic Pistols, with both the Walther's Magazines also marked 7.65 mm.

Regards,

LF

post-63666-0-89367000-1456435669_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice pic, Lanc, and they all use the same round as Sassoon's Browning.

I once had a Walther PP in .22 LR calibre. It only had about 40% bluing left on it, and there was an asymmetric ring-bulge near the muzzle from some earlier mishap, but I don't recall it ever jamming, and even I could shoot a 93/100 with it on a good night. If there was one pistol I could have back, it'd be that one. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Close up of the foot of Churchill's Semi-Automatic Pistol's Magazine.

LF

The holster appears reasonably large for a small auto, and small auto's are usually almost invisible in their holster, maybe the .455 Webley auto ?

khaki

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The holster appears reasonably large for a small auto, and small auto's are usually almost invisible in their holster, maybe the .455 Webley auto ?

khaki

khaki,

Although we know Winston Churchill owned a .32 Webley Semi-Automatic Pistol, I deliberately refrained from describing his pistol in that photograph as being a .32, which as you correctly say, would be far too small a pistol to fit in with that photograph.

Also, in that photograph what appears to be a Lanyard Ring, can be seen attached to the top of the magazine, which the .32 did not have, which Churchill has attached to his Lanyard, and if Churchill's Pistol is in fact a Webley, only the larger Webley Semi-Automatic Pistols such as the .455 calibre, had that large Lanyard Ring.

So yes, I agree with you, in that photograph Churchill is armed with one of the large Semi-Automatic Pistols, which could well be a Webley .455 calibre Semi-Automatic.

Regards,

LF

post-63666-0-95438900-1456465509_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was displayed at a recent Great War Centenary event in Melbourne Australia, displayed as Sassoons revolver.

post-120875-0-73839400-1456467027_thumb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was displayed at a recent Great War Centenary event in Melbourne Australia, displayed as Sassoons revolver.

As khaki has said, it would be interesting to know the provenance of Sassoon's Webley Mk VI Service Revolver shown in Melbourne.

As in the quote from one of Sassoon's books mentioned in the Royal Welch Fusiliers' Museum article, Siegfried Sassoon refers to his ' Colt ' revolver, as follows :-

" One such officer was renowned poet and author Siegfried Sassoon. As he confides in Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (1930):

..I was weary of my Colt revolver, with which I knew I couldn't hit anything, although I had blazed it off a few times in the dark when I was pretending to be important in No-Man's Land. The only object I could be sure of hitting was myself.But it wasn't simply the inaccuracy of the revolver as an offensive weapon which troubled Sassoon. Like many others, he was appalled by the prospect of a slow death "lying out in a shell-hole with something more serious than a Blighty wound". In such circumstances, he reasoned, it would be necessary to end it all quickly, while "to blow one's brains out with that clumsy Colt was unthinkable". With this grim prospect in mind, Sassoon purchased a 7.62mm Browning semi-automatic from the London branch of the Army and Navy Stores in March 1916, on his way back from leave to France. "

Sassoon was presumably referring to the ' Colt New Service ' Revolver which was one of the 60,000 Colt revolvers specially made in .455 calibre under a contract Colt had with the British War Department in 1916 to supplement the supplies of the Webley Mk VI .455 Service Revolver.

It may well have been that the Webley Mk VI shown in Melbourne, was in fact Sassoon's original WW1 Service Revolver, obtained before he got his Colt Revolver, which he then later changed for his Browning Semi-Automatic Pistol.

It is interesting that Sassoon refers to his Colt as being ' Clumsy ', and this may have been due to the larger size and shape of the butt on the ' Colt ' which somewhat larger than that of the Webley Mk VI and also the Smith & Wesson Mark II Hand Ejector .455 Revolver, which again was supplied by Smith & Wesson to the British War Department in 1916 as part of a 69,755 .455 Service Revolver contract.

Owning all 3 .455 WW1 Service Revolvers, the Webley, the Colt and the Smith & Wesson, and depending on the size of your hand, the Colt certainly feels less comfortable to hold, and the Colt's trigger feels somewhat farther from the butt when gripping the revolver to fire, and this may be the reasons for Sassoon's ' clumsy ' comment when referring to his Colt revolver.

Please let us know if you have any further information on Sassoon's Webley Mk VI.

Here also is my WW1 Colt ' New Service ' Revolver specially made on .455 calibre for the British War Department in 1916.

Regards,

LF

2

post-63666-0-96286800-1456496789_thumb.j

post-63666-0-48042700-1456496829_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good Lord, Lanc! 4 of those rounds are Mk.VI .445 Ball FMJ, not issued until WW2!! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For comparison, here from my Collection are the three WW1 .455 calibre British Service Revolvers, from the top, the Webley Mk. VI .455 with a 6 inch barrel, the Colt ' New Service .455 with a 5.5 inch barrel, and the Smith & Wesson Mark II Hand Ejector .455 with a 6.5 inch barrel.

LF

post-63666-0-26866300-1456499180_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good Lord, Lanc! 4 of those rounds are Mk.VI .445 Ball FMJ, not issued until WW2!! :D

All my firearms are live-firing, and periodically, I shoot them at the range to keep them in excellent working order, and use ammunition from my stock, which includes older and current ammunition, and as you probably know, the .455 round is getting harder to source and is very expensive.

Here are samples from my current .455 stock.

Regards,

LF

post-63666-0-19495500-1456499991_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All my firearms are live-firing, and periodically, I shoot them at the range to keep them in excellent working order, and use ammunition from my stock, which includes older and current ammunition, and as you probably know, the .455 round is getting harder to source and is very expensive.

Here are samples from my current .455 stock.

Regards,

LF

I'm thinking the 2 left-hand rounds are Fiocchi, the middle 2 Hornady. The right-hand 2 have to be Mk.VI military, possibly R/|\L ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm thinking the 2 left-hand rounds are Fiocchi, the middle 2 Hornady. The right-hand 2 have to be Mk.VI military, possibly R/|\L ?

Left to right - Fiocchi - ' Dominion ' .455 - WW2 1943 Military .455.

Were I lucky enough to find original WW1 .455 rounds, I would only use them for display, they would be far too rare and valuable to fire !

Regards,

LF

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My apologies, I thought I included the link.....Sassoons Webley was displayed as a component of the WW1 Centenary, over 350 items on loan from the Imperial War Museum. I took the photograph in July last year.

http://museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/whatson/the-ww1-centenary-exhibition/

Part of around the world tour for these items..

Robert

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...