Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mystery Revolvers

I recently wrote about a mystery rifle that I own; today we have some mystery revolvers.  Many years ago the Missus and I were visiting a gun shop in Van Nuys that specialized in collectible firearms.  On display were several Webley revolvers and in the group were these two.  Webley made handguns for the civilian and the military market; they were sold all around the world for years but except for military surplus revolvers the brand was not common at all in the U.S.   

This pair are consecutively numbered and in almost new condition.  the 5" barrel version used to be the most common in this country being imported military surplus revolvers post World War Two.  These are 4" barrel commercial finish revolvers complete with the really cool 'flying bullet' logo.  For some reason the Missus was feeling really generous and she allowed me to buy them to be my very own.

They have no importer's marking as required since 1968 so they possibly have been in the U.S. previous to that time.  I shoot one and have kept the other unfired by me.  Both have just a slight bit of finish wear at the muzzle which says that they were possibly carried in a holster but if so, not very often.   My daughters enjoyed shooting the Webley and both said that they'd like one when I didn't need them anymore.

So, fast forward to about a year ago when I read of a service in the UK that for a reasonable fee will research your Webley and provide a copy of the sales receipt from the original sale so that it can be determined who it was sold to, when, and where the buyer was.  I had to jump at that!

I subsequently learned that my pair were part of 650 revolvers sold to New Scotland Yard, the London Metropolitan Police force in the mid '50s.  Now that is really cool!  Traditionally British police have not been armed and weapons were issued on a select basis to only a few.  The condition of mine certainly bears that out!

Now for the (minor) mystery:  how did the revolvers make it from New Scotland Yard to the Pony Express gun shop in Van Nuys?  Were they sold as surplus and brought here or did someone walk off with them one day and the Metropolitan police are still looking for them?  I hope the latter is not the case at all because I do like these shooters.  They are elegant yet efficient and the blunt nose .38 slugs that these throw hit a metal target with a satisfying clang at the distance that these are intended to be used.

These should have names:  Winston and Margaret perhaps?

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