Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver

The Webley-Fosbery was an early automatic handgun based on a revolver design. The top half of the frame was able to slide back under recoil, recocking the hammer and indexing the next round in the cylinder. They were made commercially in both .38 and .455 calibers, with the .455 version attracting interest from British Army officers.

We will have a more complete entry on the Webley Fosbery coming up, but for now we have a bit of video showing the basic function and history of the piece. Sorry for the rather dark footage; we were limited by our location when we had the chance to handle this pistol.



  1. Have been lucky enough to handle two of these pistols. As I recall commonly used by the RFC ( fore runner to the RAF). Was an improvement over throwing bricks or using side by side shotguns at German aircraft I guess?

    Interesting concept works well enough at ranges but not really smart in trench warfare where firearms tend to get a tad muddy!

  2. Hey Ian,
    Thanks for showing this rare revolver,I got my own Webley MK4 in neat condition….
    Webleys is something else,unlikely other revolvers the extraction is simple just by break open style…
    This feature allows Webley system to eject shooted rounds fast and insert new ones and by having this rare autoloading device will insert ammo instanteniously in..
    From my field of view Webley is better than Nagant system and much faster to reload…

    Ironicly I cant find parts to my 2nd Webley MK6 which is in .455 caliber,I need to buy a cylinder but nobody have it….

  3. While .455 compares well to the .38 caliber revolver cartridges (such as the .38 Long Colt, .38 S&W, or .38-200 that would later replace it) that it would have been measured against at the time, it’s important to remember that it was actually weaker than smaller caliber semiautomatic cartridges (in terms of muzzle energy) that were around only about a decade after it was introduced. Both period 7.65 Parabellum and 9mm Parabellum ammunition out-punch it for energy (and in fact, both of those cartridges are more potent than period .45 Long Colt, as well).

    It is interesting just how “weak” turn-of-the-century self-defense calibers really were, especially considering their much more primitive bullet construction, versus today’s myriad of advanced hollow point bullets.

  4. Webley revolvers were fameous with their “Double Lock Up” in which a spring
    forced stirrup type manual lock piece rotates over the rear end of top tang
    sitting over a recess on top at the standing breech,thus securely retaining
    the hinged barrel portion over the receiver against to the both recoiling and
    breaking up directions. No other break up revolver lock system of such strengh
    has been made.

  5. One reason we remember Sean Connery as James Bond is that after Bond he played in a bunch of dreadful films, like The Red Tent and… Zardoz, where a Webley-Fosbery is featured. I guess the producers thought it looked alien.

    The ONLY reason to watch Zardoz is to see the W-F.

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