Pritchard-Greener Bayonet: History & Build

Edged Weapons, pistol, Pritchard Bayonet, Weapons, webley, WWI

The Webley Mk VI .455 service revolver is an awesome bit of kit. It is the iconic sidearm of British and Empire forces during the Great War.

 

Incredible stopping power, six shots in single and double action and very handy used as a club. What could make it better? A bayonet of course.

 

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Arthur Pritchard enlisted in 1915, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Berkshire Regiment and rose to Captain by Armistice. In late 1916, Pritchard approached Wilkinson and their cutlery division produced a prototype (using the tip of an 1897 Pattern infantry sword). However Wilkinson’s factory was at maximum capacity producing bayonets and Cavalry swords and were unable to put the production time aside for this exploratory project.

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Pritchard then went over the road to Greener, a long-time competitor to Wilkinson, who had the time and facilities for the project. As 97 ptn. swords were still technically in service, cutting just the tip off for use in this wasn’t really efficient. However Greener did have a respectable supply of disused Gras bayonets purchased from France which made an excellent replacement.

This design was patented and sold as a private purchase item. This was never issued, nor was it designed to be used alongside the slightly more common carbine stock, in spite of suggestions made by the ill informed to both. The maximum number confirmed produced is 144 by serial numbers, though some confirmed originals have no serial number. It is fair to say that more replicas have been produced than there ever were originals.

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Anyway, I’ve been working on a replica for a long time, trying to work out the best way to produce an airsoft safe one.

When I started, I made parts by hand, but this wasn’t practical for producing an accurate replica with so many curves.

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So I drew out a 2D design and commissioned a friend to make and print a 3D model (this was before I learned 3D modelling myself).

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Once printed, I sanded it down to a smooth finish. If I were doing it again I would use filler paint as I do now on my other 3D models as it would give a nicer finish.

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As per the original, this needed a little hand fitting to the gun. I knew it wouldn’t be perfect on the first attempt with so many nooks and crannies.

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Once fitted, I could paint up, the base coat silver before painting the handle in a brass top coat.

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In place on the gun, it is taking shape.

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Once nice touch of the Pritchard is the sight picture it gives you. You may still use the foresight blade for precision but for snap shooting you can just drop your target in the ‘V’ and pull the trigger.

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I added a little detail to the locking catch to replicate the chequering on the button.

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I made a new blade in steel that is a more authentic shape, which really improves the look of the thing. To make it safe I shall make a rubber mould and cast blades for customer versions. The grips will have to be 3D printed as they will be a bit awkward to cast.

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So the next post ought to be a finished piece!

 

If you like this project or have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

If you would like to see more builds from the Great War era, you can find them here.

Don’t forget you can buy some of our complete products via Etsy

 

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Pritchard-Greener Bayonet: Complete

Complete builds, Edged Weapons, pistol, Pritchard Bayonet, Weapons, webley, WWI

The Airsoft Pritchard-Greener is finished, after some significant time!

I’ve been looking forward to this for so long, I can’t wait to use it in the field.

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This one is mounted on my trusty old Wingun. The rubber blade holds its shape well, but like my knives is soft enough to be safe to use on people.

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Although there is no locking catch on this, the friction of the holding spring and the close fit keep it securely in place.

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As mentioned in the build post, the sight picture of this is excellent. That deep ‘W’ shape is great for dropping people into and firing.

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And like the original, the revolver can still break open to reload.

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You can find the build and history post here.

If you like this project or have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

If you would like to see more builds from the Great War, you can find them here.

Don’t forget you can buy our complete products via Etsy.

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:

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The Wingun:

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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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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!

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

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!

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.