The Webley review

Customer Reviews, Imperial Era, pistol, Weapons, webley, WWI, WWII

I thought it was about time that I took a look at the new Well Webley. Having owned a Wingun for some time and having seen the incredibly low price point of the Well I had to see what it was like.

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First impressions:

Side by side, these two guns look very similar in shape. It’s clear that the Well is a plain clone of the Wingun, differing in a few small details, other than the obvious differing finish. Although the Wingun is available in a black finish, I’ve never had one to compare to this.

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The Well finish is thick, when you first get it it needs breaking in a bit to make the action smooth both in the hammer, trigger and break-action.

The Well lacks the detail of trademarks, but in use these are not things you will realistically notice. It does however have some seamlines which would need filing off for the optimal aesthetics.

Weight-wise they are very similar, with similar heft and balance. On the scales, there is only 10g between them. It is quite clear that the Well is a direct clone on the basis of this. Aside from the finish and trades, the only clear identifier of the Well is the screw that controls the cylinder lock. This is a Phillips head rather than a flat head. I have no idea why they chose to do this as they use flat head screws elsewhere.

 

The shells appear to be interchangeable (however see below for more detail on this), I can drop Wingun and Well shells into each revolver with both cycling absolutely fine. The Wingun shells are better fitted and finished, with the heads of the Well shells being a little more rough and a little softer. The Wingun shells also have ‘Webley .455’ written on the back, which may seem to make them more authentic at first glance, this is disregarding the diameter of the shells being .38.

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In terms of feel, both are pretty much identical. The Wingun is perhaps a little smoother, but to be fair it has seen heavy use ever since I bought it, meaning any rough edges have long since worn off. The break action is slightly easier on the Wingun, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. I have had this revolver open on me in the field: resulting in either spilt shells or a delay while I close it in order to fire. The Well appears to have a little nodule on the action lock which gives a slightly more positive lock-up.

The Well, on first opening the revolver, had a very loose fitting cylinder. The cylinder lock does not work like the original (which is very well replicated on the Wingun), but appears to be entirely reliant on the two screws that hold the locking piece itself. These were initially far too loose, meaning that the locking piece did not grip the cylinder. On tightening, the cylinder no longer fell out, however it became unreliable to cycle in double action. Loosening the cylinder lock slightly allowed the cylinder to remain locked in place and cycle fairly reliably.

The auto eject works well on both guns. The Well is perhaps a little heavier, but again this could be due to wear on the older Wingun. The barrels, on all airsoft revolvers I have experience of, move forwards and backwards with an attachment that interfaces with the cylinder to provide a seal and reduce gas loss. On the Wingun, this is aluminium. On the Well it is some kind of rubber. I’m yet to see if it actually makes any difference in wear over time but it does seem to make single action use slightly heavier for the Well. Not so much that you would notice in anything other than a precision shooting environment, which these replicas are really not designed for.

On the note of precision, the Well has a feature the Wingun is seriously lacking. The Well comes with a fixed hop pre-installed in the barrel. Although it is not a majorly difficult feat to install a fixed hop using either the o-ring method or a flat hop, it is nice to be saved a job, especially given it would not have been a difficult thing for the original manufacturers to do.

Testing

Conditions of testing:

Chronoing and accuracy testing will be with .25g BBs. The Wingun is not in stock configuration, it has had an o-ring hop added. The temperature outside hovered around 1 degree Centigrade. It was probably colder in the workshop.

 

Time for the fun bit. Firstly, I loaded a new CO2 cartridge into each gun, fired off 12 shots from each to take the edge off (good practice when you are shooting at people!) and loaded the shells. I started with the manufacturer provided shells, then shot some of the Vintage Airsoft single and shot shells

The results were… interesting and somewhat unexpected. To the point where I will probably retest at a later date. It was VERY cold in the workshop which will account for some of the results but not the inconsistency.

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After firing off a couple of batches of shells it felt like the Well was low on power, so I put it aside to run the same tests on the Wingun. When I finished two Wingun tests, I picked the Well up to continue testing and it was back up to strength. Interestingly it seems like the Well suffered from cooldown much more than the Wingun, which considering their build is near-identical is surprising.

Accuracy:


Accuracy tested at 5m, obviously you will generally be further than this. I may come back and do further testing on this at a later date.

On these Huns head targets, the bull is 30mm, the second ring is 70mm.

The Well:

well

The Wingun:

wingun

In this test, the Wingun produced a significantly smaller group. In fact the first Well group was largely not on the paper. Further testing is definitely required.

Notes on use:

The extractor of the Wingun is a a bit more positive. The Well sometimes fits the shells and sometimes does not. It seems random as to when it does or does not, I presume this is due to cylinder movement as described in the first part of this review.
It is hard to see the spacing issue with the VA shells due to their being white, in the picture below you can see that the rims sit proud of the cylinder. It’s no more than a millimetre but it prevents rotation and even lockup.

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How it should look:

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Also, when loading the CO2, the Well grip panel did not click back into place easily. I had to bend the spring clip a few times to try and get the correct angle for it to fit into the lock and hold the grip in place properly.

Another issue I had with the Well was that it did not always cycle reliably, the hand would push the cylinder but not push it all the way around somehow.

 

After using the Well for a bit, this happened:

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The extractor snapped. Hence having to come back later.

Summary

In summary… if these revolver were the same price, from my experience of these two samples, I would say the Wingun edges it. It is more consistently reliable and hasn’t broken in my extensive use of it whereas the Well example I have broke in the testing phase.

The Well does have a more positive lockup, which is nice. Also the ready-fitted hop is a good thing, though when firing the shot shells it appeared to have very similarly tight groupings to the Wingun with its o-ring hop.

So the difficult bit is that they are not the same price point. The Well is, at the time of writing, 1/3rd of the price of the Wingun (on a good day). It is hard to say that you should spend so much more even when out of the box reliability is such an issue.

 

I am sure that the Well could be made reliable, but it will require time and effort. The Wingun is a pick up and play gun with minimal maintenance required to keep it going.

 

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Revolvers, giving you hop. Colt Single Action Army stripping.

Imperial Era, pistol, Weapons

Our willing volunteer to have a hop added is this gorgeous blued Colt Single Action Army.

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First step, remove the side plate.

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Then take out the spring and the hand (the part which pushes the cylinder round).

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You can then pull out the centre pin and the drum.

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There is a pin at the top of the barrel in the frame, push this out with a punch and a second pin that holds the ejector unit in place.

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With both of these removed you can take the barrel off.

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You can then slide the inner barrel out. At this point get out the o-ring and round needle file. The o-ring should be 1-2mm thick.

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Then, start working on the barrel. Keep the channel the file produces on one side, by the time you work through to the inside you want about 3-4mm of the circumference removed from the inside. You may wish to give yourself a little extra space on the outside to hold the o-ring. Use a very sharp knife to cut the rubber roughly to size.

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Once in situ, use the knife again to chamfer the edges of the o-ring so that it sits fairly flat against the barrel. There should be minimal space between the rubber and the barrel to preserve the gas seal. Through the barrel you should see just a flat, small line of rubber across the top. It doesn’t need to be much, just enough to catch the BB as it passes. If you can’t see it, file away a little more but go slowly, you can’t add material back on.

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Use the collar at the back of the barrel to hold the o-ring in place. Check inside the barrel to make sure the o-ring hasn’t slipped in. It should be firmly wedged in place by the collar, depending on the pistol you may wish to seal it with electrical tape or PTFE.

Some pistols have a locating lug on this collar, which keeps the barrel oriented in a specific way. This gun does not, but if yours does then make sure the hop window is oriented correctly to the top.

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Put it back in place, make sure the hop window is at the top.

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Re-assemble the gun, there aren’t really any specific tips to put the SAA back together. While you have it open however, oil the moving parts with a little light oil (3-in-1 is perfect) and if you haven’t a CO2 cartridge in, put silicone oil into the cartridge pin and on the seal. Revolvers don’t need a lot of maintenance, but a bit of oil every now and then keeps them going nicely.

 

If you are so inclined, you could use a flat file and install a flat hop instead, though this fixed hop is quite adequate. 

 

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‘Fabricators’ Luger P04 holster: Review

Customer Reviews, Luger P04, pistol

Having finished my P04 Naval Luger, I had been tucking it into my belt for a few weeks and needed a better carrying solution. There are a few holsters about and I picked this one up from Ebay from a seller based in India called ‘Fabricators’.

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At £27, free postage I thought it was worth a punt. If it was truly dreadful I could send it back or sell it on easily enough!

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On the back, there are two loops to hang it on a belt. There is no way to stop it moving on said belt, but that is the way of German webbing. British webbing kind of spoils you !

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The quality of the stitching is very good overall, there are no places where I am anxious about it coming loose.

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Down the side, there is a space for a cleaning rod. This is one aspect I was nervous of: in the picture on Ebay the Sam Browne stud was not well fitted. In the example I received it was however and the slot to close the flap well sized, not too tight or loose.

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Inside the flap of the holster, there is a pouch for the disassembly tool.

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And as a rather nice touch, it came with the disassembly tool! The pistol is a good fit, it sits deeply in the holster.

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On the side there is a tab, which you pull to lift the pistol and grab the grip.

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So, the downsides. The quality of the finish of the leather is not the best. It is painted on and not deep set within the material. In the picture above you can see a line above the cleaning rod pouch where it has flaked a bit, which is how it came rather than wear. Also, there are a few spots where glue has been slightly misplaced.

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However, for a hard leather holster for an unusual pistol I am pleased with it for the price. My main kit is British, so it will only be used when I fancy a change or when I’m playing CQB and am not using the Webley.

 

I’m not going to score items when I review, the numbers are subjective and meaningless. Instead, I judge items by whether a) I would buy it again if I needed another and b) whether I would recommend it to a friend. In this case, the answer is the same to both: Yes.

 

This may not be the best quality bit of kit out there, but it is a very fair price for what it is. To get better, you would have to spend a good deal more money-if you could even find one for this particular pistol.

 

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Airsoft Welrod: Part 1

Cold War, Custom builds, pistol, Suppressed, Weapons, Welrod, WWII

Our long-term readers may remember a long time ago an introduction to the Welrod.

 

While the initial project was for an airsoft model, it ended up being an inert replica for the client in question. Well, the Welrod is back for another attempt at the quietest airsoft pistol around!

The base gun for this is a double-action non blow back CO2 pistol. For those of you who like the internals of guns here is a picture!

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In order to keep things simple (K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple, Stupid is my motto), I’m keeping as much of the frame as possible as it does a good job of holding the internals and designing a new frame… well suffice to say that life is short. The red coloured areas will be removed over the course of the build.

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The donor with several of the red panels cut away on one side. I actually quite like the slightly steampunk aesthetic of being able to see some of the internals.

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The receiver in progress, the first step is to cut out a recess for the donor.

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Which, with both halves now matching, fits in very nicely. Inside the tube is a buffer that holds the front of the barrel and stops the mainspring. In theory this could be adjustable to make the barrel unit strike the valve harder/softer to control FPS. I’m not sure at this stage how feasible this would be though.

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The front cap and back cap, freshly turned on the lathe! Both parts are in mild steel so will match the rest of the receiver nicely when all finished. The dip around the muzzle is to disperse the muzzle blast more effectively when used at point-blank range. Which it often had to be as accuracy was pretty appalling with the original!

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A close-up of the back end.

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The next stage is to make the trigger guard and housing unit, then modify the pistol grip.

 

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P04 Navy Luger: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, Era, Imperial Era, Luger P04, pistol, Products, Weapons, WWI, WWII

Some pictures of the completed build! It’s not 100%, I think I will re-visit the rear sight at some point in the future and improve on the shape a little.

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With the exception of the areas left in the white, there is a thin coat of paint over the whole pistol in a dark blue, to try and simulate the blued effect of the original. It is quite successful, though the dream is to have an all steel model that is correctly blued!

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The text is slightly highlighted with off-white paint to improve visibility as well as authenticity.

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The original magazine plugs of the era were wooden, sadly this can’t be achieved with this model but I have painted them to give some of the effect for now until I can find a solution.

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And the DWM mark on the toggle lock. I need to find a way to fill this more effectively with paint, for some reason the usual technique isn’t working so well but the etching itself was satisfying!
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To see the whole of this build from the start, you can see it here.

P04 Navy Luger: Part 2

Custom builds, Imperial Era, Luger P04, pistol, Weapons, WWI, WWII

When testing the Luger the first time round I found a few issues with certain features. The barrel’s paint job wasn’t ideal, I just did a quick spray job to make it usable at the time. I could have re-done it with several coats and lacquer but decided instead that Oil finishing was the way to go. I cleaned the barrel, heated the piece and dropped it in the oil tank.

(If you want to see how oil finishing works, you can check out this article here).

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Also, the single screw holding the rear sight came loose under recoil after about half a day’s play so I added a second screw and loctite to keep it tight and in place.

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A second day’s testing and it’s ready to have the finishing touches added!

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A few last bits of paint…

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Finished photographs to follow soon.

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P04 Navy Luger: Part 1

Custom builds, Era, Luger P04, pistol, Weapons, WWI, WWII

Just to remind you, this is how the KWC P08 Luger starts out life! All black with minimal markings.

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As I wanted a usable gun ASAP, my first modifications were internal. Using the ‘shot in the back test’, I determined that it was shooting much too hot for a pistol (at a guess  400fps plus with .25s). I trimmed approximately 8mm off the mainspring to make the hammer strike much softer.

While in there, I modified the hop. This gun has a fixed hop and in its natural state is very over-hopped. A dremmel tool took it down to the level it needed to be. The gun now fires at 309fps.

The next step and first aesthetic change, is the grips. These came in brown bakelite or walnut normally so two a red/brown mix of acrylic paints were used, followed by a spray-on varnish to protect them during use. To create the inconsistent, almost dappled effect I mixed small amounts of paint at a time so that it was not a consistent colour all the way across. If you want to do one thing to improve your replica Luger this is the best you can do! In the long term I plan to make walnut grips for it.

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The next external improvement is the barrel. The P08 has a 4″ barrel, the P04 has a 6″ barrel. This piece is turned from black mild steel round bar on the lathe, inside has to be drilled to several different diameters to make it function with the internal parts. For now I am keeping the original barrel but there is scope to upgrade and lengthen the barrel.

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With the inside fitting snugly, I could check the action operated properly. In the picture below you can see the old and new barrels side by side.

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I could then weld on the foresight unit, which itself was hand-made and welded together in advance.

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And cleaned up and back on the gun.

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The rear sight is also very different. For the P08, a simple flat bar with a V-notch is used, the P04 however uses a large, finned tangent style sight.
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So the sight has to go!

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This makes space for the new rear sight unit, which is fixed rather than adjustable. In the longer term I would like to replace this with an adjustable one as per the originals.

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It’s held onto the toggle with a screw. If this proves insufficient I’ll add in a second screw.

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In context on the gun.

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Obviously it needs a little bit of cleaning up!

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Moving onto some detail work now, starting with etching the DWM logo onto the toggle. I produced a dxf file of the logo, shrank it down to the correct size and printed it out. Here it is superglued to the toggle.

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I then followed the lines with the etching tool.

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I could then get started on cleaning the paint finish off some of the components that were left in the white on the original gun.

_DSF7594 So far, so good!
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I need to work on getting the logo finished nicely now, but the majority of the work is finished!

 

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Webley MkVI Buttstock Complete

Add-on kits, carbine, Complete builds, pistol, Products, Weapons, webley, WWI, WWII

You can see the build post for this product HERE if you’re interested!

This buttstock is strongly based on the model available for the original Webley MkVI.

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The stock is made entirely of steel and real, solid walnut.

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The steel is oil blued and the wood has been finished with danish oil, followed by a protective layer of hardwax oil.

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The only real aesthetic improvement would be to make the remaining standard grip a brass colour, which it was with the original when the buttstock was attached.

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If you would like a stock like this for your own or you have a great idea for an accessory, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or get in touch on Facebook!

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P-04 Navy ‘Luger’

Custom builds, History, Imperial Era, Luger P04, pistol, Weapons, WWI, WWII

Disclaimer: The Germans never referred to their toggle-locked service pistol as the Luger officially. However in this history of the pistol I will refer to the various models as the Luger as it is far more commonly known by that name today.

The P-08

The most well-known rendition of the Luger pistol is the P-08, adopted by the German Army after extensive trials as a pistol and another version (with an 8″ barrel, removable stock and adjustable tangent sight) was adopted as an artillery carbine. However, this was not the first rendition of a toggle-lock pistol, nor even the first Luger.MIT400-S-F1-H

The Borchardt C-93 was the first use of a toggle-lock, however it was somewhat clunky and quite uncomfortable.

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Georg Luger took this design and made huge improvements to the balance, weight and ergonomics, much to the chagrin of Hugo Borchardt who felt his idea had been ‘stolen’. However the improvements Luger made to this mechanism really made it viable for use as a sidearm.

This was then adopted by the Swiss (who had a reputation of staying ahead of the curve) and four years later by the Imperial German Navy in 1904. This featured a rear sight adjustable to 100 and 200m and a 6″ barrel. This is the rendition in question.

 

VDD64-K-F1-H VDD64-K-F2-H

While it is possible to get Lugers in all three German service versions that take green gas, they have a bit of a varied reputation, among which problems include firing full auto on occasion. I’m also a CO2 man myself, I much prefer the stability and reliability of CO2 cartridges.

The KWC Luger P08 will be the donor for this conversion, which will feature a longer barrel, the adjustable rear sight, new grips, lots of extra detailing (including maker’s marks missing on the KWC), some tweaks to the magazine and an overall refinishing. Plus some internal modifications to make it skirmishable as it is firing pretty hot, as my back will testify.

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As the Webley is my main sidearm, I forget sometimes how big it is. KWC’s 1:1 Luger is no midget of a gun, but it is positively tiny in comparison.

I’d like to go into a lot more detail about the history of the toggle-lock and the Luger specifically as it had a long and successful service life as well as entry into a number of trials in countries that nearly adopted the Luger but it’s a broad subject and at the moment building the replicas is what allows me to do this blog rather than the other way around. If you want to see more content along those lines, let me know and I’ll try and write more.

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Webley MkVI Buttstock (build)

Add-on kits, carbine, Imperial Era, pistol, Products, Weapons, webley, WWI, WWII

Those of you who have been following Vintage Airsoft for a while know that the Webley MkVI is a firm favourite. So far, we’ve made replacement shells, shotgun shells and added a hop unit.

There are still a few accessories to complete however, namely the removable butt stock which allowed the pistol to be used as a carbine and the Pritchard-Greener bayonet. The latter of these are rare, with no recorded use in combat, the former however was common enough.

The practice of producing a butt stock to fit pistols was commonplace among manufacturers from the introduction of revolvers. It allowed the shooter to make the most of a pistol cartridge out to ranges that would be quite difficult to achieve useful accuracy by hand only. A more commonly recognised use of this idea is the Artillery Lugers, issued by Germany to troops not wanting the bulk of a full rifle but needing something easier to use than a pistol. Essentially, this is the fore-runner to what in current Western parlance is called the PDW or Personal Defence Weapon.

WebleyRevolverStock&Bayonet

Firstly, a digital design to work out what needed to go where. This could then be printed out to check the proportions were correct.

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This would then be converted into steel in a batch of laser cuttings.
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It is made up of three layers to make the shape without having to perform milling operations. The thickest inner layer (4mm) is chamfered on both sides around most of the length to allow deep penetration of the joining weld.

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You can see in the photograph below the two screws full-length protruding from the grip. These run through two corresponding holes drilled in the butt of the pistol itself, which is the only modification required to fit this unit.

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These, along with the excess weld can be ground down to a smooth finish. It can then be laid out on the wood for the stock and drawn round, using the screws at the back as reference points. The excess material can then be removed.

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Once the parts were all in place, they could be separated and finished. The surface of the metalwork was gone over with a sanding drum for a smooth finish, then slightly oil blued to achieve a similar finish to the original.
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The walnut stock itself took a thick coat of danish oil. Several more will be applied before it is complete along with a coat of hardwax oil to give it a tough, wear-resistant finish.

 

Photos of the finished product to follow!

 

If this post has inspired you to want a custom gun of your own or has given you a great idea for an accessory, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or get in touch on Facebook!

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