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Thread: Webley Mk. IV .38-200 project

  1. #1
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    Webley Mk. IV .38-200 project

    Hey guys,

    I inherited a really sweet Webley Mk. IV .38 from a friend of the family. It had some grips on ht that I wasn't crazy about, looked like some DIY grips that some previous owner had tried to thread for the original screw. Never really held on right, felt super square. Anyway, it has a nickel finish on it that I'm pretty sure was not factory original for a war finish model, so I'm sure it's not super collectible anyway.

    It's got a fighter's soul. It *wants* to be fired. It's accurate, it ejects cleanly and reliably, and the cylinder locks up tighter than a bank vault with the trigger depressed. I've been restoring it piece by piece, and presently my biggest sticking point is that I get intermittent light primer strikes.

    The previous owner had put a very large hammer spring from what I assume is a more modern revolver, something that didn't quite fit, would shift backwards and jam the trigger mechanism. My assumption is that they did this to correct the light strikes. However, given that the light strikes are intermittent, I do not believe the spring was the culprit. I've replaced the mainspring with the correct type, so the trigger pull weight is no longer 33lbs and I no longer have to disassemble the action every few trigger pulls to reinstall the spring because it's shifted backwards.

    However, the light strikes still happen.

    The barrel catch doesn't *quite* want to close perfectly all on its own, which I assume is probably a symptom of the nickel plating. I also assume someone in the past had issues with this, as there's a small dent in the back of the barrel catch that is shaped exactly like the imperfectly machined face of the top of the hammer, such that it was striking the barrel catch, and that may have caused light strikes in some other instances.

    The light strikes are intermittent, and the visual difference between a fired case and a light strike is VERY pronounced. As in, the former just looks like a healthy divot, and the latter looks like you dry cycled live rounds through a rifle with a floating firing pin. Just barely nicked it.

    Now, this happens once in a while firing in single action mode, maybe one out of every six to ten rounds or even less.
    But in double action I might se two to four light strikes in a cylinder of six rounds.

    It's a doozie, to be sure.

    I have a question for anyone who might be familiar:
    Is the firing pin supposed to rock up and down, and if so, by how much? Mine looks like it may have been slightly bent at some point and I'm wondering if the combination of being slightly out of spec and rocking too far up and/or down may be causing the firing pin to ride the inside of the frame occasionally, causing light strikes.

    Has anyone dealt with this issue? Am I barking up the right tree?

    Have attached a photo because it's just such a cool little gun.
    Webley.jpg

    It's nothing super fancy, but it's one of my childhood hero guns and it was given to me as a largely random gift from a dear family friend, and I am a damned sentimental teddy-bear of a man, which makes this thing one of my prized possessions. It will always be cool even if it never works right, but it would really be something special to me if I could get it to run like it did when it rolled out of the factory to murk some NAZIs in 1943 in spite of the nickel plating.

  2. #2
    WildBillCody's Avatar
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    I love webleys, but unfortunately I am cheap as well, so I've never owned one. I would love to have a mk v, did you know that you can remove the nickel?
    I love you guys...

  3. #3
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    Oh, for sure! I just don't feel like trying fruitlessly to duplicate the original bluing when the nickel makes it much easier to clean the gun, and in theory, preserve its condition for longer.

  4. #4
    Senior Veteran Has Been's Avatar
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    The FP on mine pivots about 3/32" at the tip.
    A worn FP will cause misfires, i.e. "light strikes". Check protrusion. Specs are: .040" min, .055" max.
    Excessive cartridge headspace will cause misfires even with FPP in spec. Frame/cylinder gap spec is .067" across each chamber with cylinder pushed forward. Be sure the front of the cylinder clears the barrel. No gap specs are given.
    Ok, I'll see your Webley and raise you an Enfield No.2 Mk.1
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    Last edited by Has Been; 02-21-2021 at 02:47 PM.

  5. #5
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    Yeah, headspace is right on the money, and firing pin protrusion is right at the bottom end, but still just barely in spec.
    What confuses me here is that it's not a threshhold thing, it's an all or nothing thing. I either get perfect primer strikes, or I get a dimple that looks like the primer was barely breathed on.

  6. #6
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    Sounds to me like you might have an interference issue of some kind. Maybe something rubbing on the frame or the internal workings are hanging up sometimes. Have you taken it completely apart yet?
    14EH AIT Instructor-PATRIOT Fire Control Enhanced Operator/Maintainer

  7. #7
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    That's about where I'm at with this thing too, some kind of interference issue.
    A habit I picked up a while ago with this kind of thing was to always start by cleaning the shit out of a gun before modifying anything, especially with old or complicated firearms. But the firing pin looks slightly deformed so I have this feeling that whatever's going on inside there could have something to do with it catching something.

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